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Staff Post: Shortstops to avoid in 2022 fantasy baseball

The Fake Teams writers make their cases against a few shortstops for 2022 fantasy baseball.

MLB: OCT 03 Orioles at Blue Jays Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I say it nearly every time we talk about avoiding any players...please consider this as more information. Should you outright avoid any player? It’s tough to say. I think most players have a price at which I would consider them, if they fell far enough. Most, not all.

But pundits have to offer takes, and we have to even out our world after giving you targets yesterday. So what follows are some cases against a few shortstops, and many of them high profile, which always makes me cringe. But that’s the beauty of the fake game...there’s always a flip side to the proverbial coin.

Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox (Mark Abell)

NFBC ADP: 32.74
Draft rank: 4th

He had a BABIP of .372 last year, which is among top shortstops. To his credit he had marks of .383 and .399 the prior two years, so it’s normal for him. Add to this a walk rate of 4% and a strikeout rate of almost 22%. Again, both normal for him (albeit concerning). Now the next steps, his pull rate jumped almost 20%, so not only does he lack discipline but he’s chasing pitches. Add to this the likelihood that the ball is less juiced this year and his average exit velocity of 55% suddenly isn’t as attractive. Tim certainly has entered a Javier Baez type niche, but I’m seeing trends that will hit a wall at some point, and that is not something I would want from a top 5 pick at shortstop.

Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers (Skyler Carlin)

NFBC ADP: 41.53
Draft rank: 6th

Let me preface this selection by saying that Marcus Semien was incredible last season with the Toronto Blue Jays. The veteran infielder ended the 2021 campaign with a career-best 45 HRs, 102 RBIs (first year with 100+ RBIs), and an eye-popping .273 ISO. Semien was a massive value last season at his ADP, but this season his price has severely increased following his career year with the Blue Jays. After betting on himself in 2021, Semien joined the Texas Rangers this offseason, which will lead to lower numbers across the board. At this point, everyone’s heard what Semien’s numbers would have been from last season if he had played at Globe Life Field. Despite Globe Life being considered a hitter-friendly park in previous years, it has tipped closer to being a pitcher-friendly park in the past two years. While Semien could post another solid season in 2022, I’d much rather wait for someone else at the shortstop position.

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images

Francisco Lindor, New York Mets (Andrés Chávez)

NFBC ADP: 50.37
Draft rank: 8th

Lindor had a rough debut season with the Mets in 2021: he slashed .230/.322/.412 with 20 home runs, 10 stolen bases and a 103 wRC+ in 116 games. While he should be a bit better than that (his bat came alive in June after a brutal start), his ceiling seems to be capped at 25 home runs and 15 thefts now. He was, up until 2019, a comfortably above-average hitter, but he has finished with wRC+ marks of 104 and 103 in the last two seasons. I would look elsewhere.

Javier Baez, Detroit Tigers (Garrett Atkins)

NFBC ADP: 62.37
Draft rank: 9th

Two reasons for the Baez bust case this season. 1) His already bad K-rate got even worse last season. It went from around 28% between 2017-2019, to 31.9% in 2020 and then 33.6% in 2021. 2) The park change to Detroit is a much bigger deal than it seems to have on his draft price. According to Statcast’s expected home runs by park, Baez would have just 24 home runs at Comerica, compared to 30 at Wrigley. His outlier batted ball data and plate discipline has always had bust potential written all over it. I’m not going to be the one left holding the bag.

Corey Seager, Texas Rangers (Heath Capps)

NFBC ADP: 88.53
Draft rank: 13th

Let’s do a brief exercise with Steamer projections and three shortstops I view similarly, except one has a longer (or healthier) track record than the other two...

Three Shortstops

63.11 0.290 19 85 84 10
88.53 0.290 25 85 82 3
107.89 0.278 28 84 89 1

One of those ADPs is not like the other. In order, those three are Wander Franco (63.11), Corey Seager (88.53), and Carlos Correa (107.89). In Wander, you’re drafting him at his ceiling and expecting the generational, Hall of Fame type of talent to continue. Certainly possible, but it’s not my style. He also doesn’t really offer you power and speed. The 10 steals is also a ceiling number. Again, possible. Just not something I want to do around pick 60, no thanks.

As for Seager...what does he offer you that Correa doesn’t? More of an injury history? Both will be members of different teams this year. Neither will run much. Seager does boast a career .297 batting average, but Correa’s .277 career mark is robust enough. In Seager’s area, I’m either taking the flexibility that 2B/SS Jorge Polanco affords, or I’m waiting on the underrated Correa, who reads like a safe bet to be a four-category contributor.

What say you all? Where are you comfortable paying up? Who are you avoiding in 2022?