Plethora, abundance, surplus, smorgasbord...those are just a few words to describe the shortstop position in fantasy baseball this season. Plenty of high-end options, plenty of undervalued mid-tier options who can return top-tier value, and even some late-round fliers that can outperform their draft prices. It's entirely possible to have three or more shortstop eligible players on your roster as starters. But who should you be prioritizing? Glad you asked.
Here are a few names I’m targeting in drafts at shortstop.
Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays
My Rank: 7
NFBC ADP: 54.73
ATC projection: .293, 18 HR, 80 RBI, 90 R, 8 SB, 144 games
Wanderboy had a tough start to his major league career. Over his first 15 games he hit .197 with 15 strikeouts. Then the All-Star break happened. Over the final 55 games, Franco hit .314 with an .872 OPS. He also had just 22 strikeouts compared to 19 walks. That K/BB ratio would be third best in baseball behind just Yuli Gurriel and Juan Soto. Need I remind you Wander Franco was 20 years old last season! The pace numbers are crazy good too. Post All-Star break, he had a 162-game pace of 15 home runs, 94 RBI, and 133 runs! And Franco has yet to tap into his steal potential. What we do know is he had an 85th percentile sprint speed last season. The stolen base numbers should follow. I want all the shares of Wander Franco I can get in 2022.
Corey Seager, Texas Rangers
My Rank: 11
NFBC ADP: 78.52
ATC projection: .289, 25 HR, 82 RBI, 83 R, 2 SB, 132 games
Seager is a Statcast darling, a four-category stud, and just signed a huge contract to a new team. Yet he seems to get overlooked when discussing breakout candidates. I mean, it wasn't that long ago when Seager was a third round pick in fantasy drafts. Now he can be had outside the top 75. Last season, Seager posted an 80th percentile average exit velocity, an 89th percentile hard hit rate, and a 93rd percentile xwOBA. His slash line was .306/.394/.521. Any way you cut it, Corey Seager is a great baseball player. He's a bargain at his current ADP.
Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City Royals
My Rank: 13
NFBC ADP: 92.49
ATC projection: .257, 21 HR, 69 RBI, 67 R, 17 SB, 126 games
If the ATC projection for Bobby Witt Jr. doesn't get you salivating, I don't know what will. Witt Jr. crushed the minors in 2021. In 123 games between Double-A and Triple-A, he hit .290 with a .936 OPS, 33 home runs, and 29 steals. He could be Kyle Tucker like as soon as this coming season. Sometimes a prospect’s speed numbers don't translate. The Royals have a track record for letting their base stealers run, and I don't see why Witt Jr. would be any different. The top 100 player price for this future fantasy first-rounder seems justified to me.
Willy Adames, Milwaukee Brewers
My Rank: 16
NFBC ADP: 133.35
ATC projection: .255, 26 HR, 73 RBI, 77 R, 6 SB, 144 games
Adames has been on record in saying the batter's eye in Tampa Bay caused him issues. The numbers even back it up. He's a .217 hitter with a .616 OPS at Tropicana Field. Away from the Trop, Adames has a .291 average with an .858 OPS. To even further that point you can look at what Adames did after being traded to the Brewers. Over 99 games, he hit .285 with an .886 OPS and 20 home runs. The breakout seems legit. And let us not forget Adames was a top 20 prospect in both 2017 and 2018. He's got the pedigree. He's a steal going outside the top 125.
Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals
My Rank: 28
NFBC ADP: 234.02
ATC projection: .267, 3 HR, 42 RBI, 64 R, 17 SB, 137 games
If you wait on steals, Nicky Lopez is a great speed source going late or even undrafted depending on formats. Lopez hit an even .300 last year with 22 steals and 78 runs. The BA is helped by his low strikeout rate. His K-rate of 13.1% was sixth-best in baseball. Plus, he's arguably the best defensive shortstop in baseball, so playing time shouldn't be a concern. Batting average help and steals are tough to find, especially late in drafts. Lopez can be a sneaky asset to fantasy rosters in 2022.