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2019 Fantasy Baseball: AL Shortstop Profiles and Projections

Welcome! Come on in. Take your coat off. You’ve just entered the 2019 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. We put the machine in motion on New Year’s Day and we’ll be right with you up until Opening Day and beyond. Alarge part of our rollout has been our Fantasy Baseball Player Profiles. We like to think of these as that fantasy baseball mag everyone likes to flip through at the newsstand, but never buys, because they are outdated by draft day. Good news for you friends. Our player profiles will be updated with every bit of news. So kick back and get to know this year’s player pool in our AL Shortstop Profiles and Projections for 2019.

If you’re like us you can’t wait until spring to get the 2019 fantasy baseball season started? Well, you don’t have to. Leagues are already forming at, so head on over and start or join a league today.

2019 AL Shortstop Profiles

Willy Adames, Tampa Bay Rays

Willy Adames 2019 Projections

When it comes to shortstop prospects, Adames doesn’t possess the superstar upside like Fernando Tatis Jr, Royce Lewis, or Bo Bichette. Rather, more of a solid all-around profile that gives him a solid floor of production to bank on. Adames has displayed an advanced plate approach and above-average contact skills throughout his minor league career which led to a solid .363 OBP. The power/speed profile is limited, but Adames was on a 19/10 pace with Tampa Bay last season and could approach the same type of numbers, along with a solid AVG/OBP, with a full season of at-bats in 2019 He makes for a solid late-round mixed league value pick and a borderline starting option in AL-Only leagues. – Eric Cross

Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox

Tim Anderson 2019 Projections

Anderson was one of just six players in all of baseball to hit 20+ homers and steal 25+ bases in 2018 (Lindor, Story, Betts, Marte, Jose Ramirez). While that definitely puts Anderson on the standard mixed league map, Anderson has major contact shortcomings that those other elite fantasy assets do not. He had a 14.1% swinging strike rate, and also had issues reaching on pitches outside of the zone at over 40%. He doesn’t offset the 24.6% strikeout rate with walks either, with a 5% BB% that led to a .281 OBP in 2018. Because of the low OBP, he scored just 77 runs even though he saw 606 plate appearances. He did increase his fly ball rate 5.5% in 2018, but 15-20 homers is about all we can expect given his below-average hard contact. The steals should again push 20+, but don’t get overzealous on Anderson given his deficiencies. – Nathan Dokken

Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers

Elvis Andrus 2019 Projections

Andrus followed up a breakout 2017 with a dud of a 2018. He missed a third of the season with a fractured elbow, and when he did return from the injury his play suffered. His .256 average was the lowest of his career, and his .174 ISO from 2017 dropped to .111. Moreover, he stole just five bags in 97 games. The one thing you’ve come to rely on from Andrus is his speed, but he went just 5-8 in stolen base attempts. Andrus is now on the wrong side of 30, but a return to 15+ steals should still be considered the likely scenario. His average should bounce back closer to his career .275 mark, as there was no drop off in contact ability or hard hit rate. The Rangers lineup won’t exactly be potent, but Andrus will hit atop or in the heart of it, so his R+RBI totals won’t suffer too much. Much of Andrus’s struggles can be chalked up to the elbow injury, making him a nice bounce-back candidate at the position. – Nathan Dokken

Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox

Xander Bogaerts 2019 Projections

After a down year power-wise, Bogaerts roared back with a career-high 23 home runs, 45 doubles, and 103 RBI in 2018 while raising his OPS 137 points in the process. His SB total was nearly cut in half, but who cares when he added 13 homers and 41 RBI to his production. A big reason for the added power production was a change in approach. Bogaerts remained more patient at the plate looking for pitches to drive and the result was 6.5% more hard contact, 5.1% more fly balls, and a 8.3% jump to his HR/FB rate. Hitting the ball hard in the air to left field at Fenway usually means plenty of doubles off the monster or homers into the monster seats. Way to take advantage of your home park Xander. Bogaerts will once again hit in the middle of a loaded Boston lineup and should be counted on as a near top-5 SS option in mixed leagues and and high as the #2 SS off the board in AL-Only leagues. After Francisco Lindor, Bogaerts is right in that 2nd tier of AL SS. – Eric Cross

Carlos Correa, Houston Astros

Carlos Correa 2019 Projections

Correa was chugging right along with a .268 average, 13 home runs, 46 runs, and 49 RBI over the first half. Unfortunately he then suffered a back injury, and missed about a month and a half. When he came back, he clearly was not right. His .232 wOBA over 37 second half games will tell you that right away. He also underwent surgery to fix a deviated septum this offseason, but that’s only so he can better smell that sweet, sweet pine tar scent. If his back is, well, back to normal, Correa should return to his hard-hitting ways in 2019. At just 24 years old, his best seasons are still ahead of him. His price is discounted due to his 2018 numbers, making him potentially a huge bargain in 2019 drafts. – Nathan Dokken

J.P. Crawford, Seattle Mariners

J.P. Crawford 2019 Projections

If anyone is counting on Crawford as their SS in AL-Only leagues in 2019, I’m sorry. If you’ve followed my prospect/dynasty work over the last couple of seasons, you’ll know that I’m not high on Crawford.  He does two things well; draw walks and play defense. Neither of those are overly valuable in fantasy leagues. The walks would be if he made enough contact to actually have a good OBP, but as of now, projecting anything more that the projection above will likely leave you disappointed at season’s end. Add in very minimal power/speed and there’s just not a lot to like here. Crawford is far off the mixed league radar and a MI/UTIL option at best right now in AL-Only formats. He’s also now in a more pitcher-friendly home ball park following his trade to Seattle from Philadelphia. – Eric Cross

Aledmys Diaz, Houston Astros

Aledmys Diaz 2019 Projections

Diaz does a lot of good things offensively and that continued in 2018 after he got more at-bats than expected due to a “surprising” injury to Troy Tulowitzki. Given full-time at-bats Diaz would likely approach 25 HRs with a mid-.260’s average. He doesn’t walk much (5.1 BB%) but he also makes a lot of contact (13.7 K%). If Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve all stay healthy Diaz will hardly see the field in 2019. Correa dealt with back issues last season and Altuve is recovering from offseason knee surgery, so there are probably a few extra at-bats early in the season. Otherwise Diaz is limited to a middle infield position in AL-Only formats and a waiver wire pickup if injury strikes in mixed leagues. – Doug Anderson

Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees

Didi Gregorius 2019 Projections

In the midst of the best season of his career, Gregorius tore cartilage in his wrist which ended his season in mid-September and required off-season surgery that will keep likely keep him out until around the All-Star break. Gregorius has proven to be a solid source of average and 20-30 homers over a full season, but it’s always hard to tell how a hitter will come back from an injury like this. There’s also the chance the Yankees bring in Manny Machado (They’ve said they aren’t, but I don’t believe them for a second) to play short. The offensive production over the last few seasons makes Gregorius a strong stash candidate in AL-Only leagues, but with so much uncertainly, I’m leaving him on the wire in mixed leagues.   – Eric Cross

Lourdes Gurriel, Toronto Blue Jays

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. 2019 Projections

During one of my many trips to Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, NH last season, I got to see Gurriel play a few times and was thoroughly impressed. The plate approach stinks and likely always will, but Gurriel is a strong bodied shortstop capable of hitting for both average and power. With literally no competition, Gurriel will enter 2019 as the Blue Jays starting shortstop and makes for a solid late-round mixed league selection. – Eric Cross

Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians

Francisco Lindor 2019 Projections

Lindor somehow managed to take his incredible 2017 campaign and improve upon it in every way. He tied for the league lead with 129 runs, finished 14th with 25 steals, and 6th with 38 home runs. He has been top two in the league in plate appearances each of the past two seasons, making his runs scored floor very high. He’s shown the innate ability to hit for power without selling out for it, utilizing all fields to also hit for average. His stolen base attempts skyrocketed from 18 to 35 in 2018, giving us optimism that another 20+ steals could be in store. His efficiency dropped, but steals are a “want-to” stat, so as long as he’s making a conscious effort to be a menace on the bases, we’ll continue to be rewarded in fantasy. At just 25 years old, Lindor could even have another level that we haven’t seen yet. That makes for a comfortable early first round pick with a high floor and high ceiling. – Nathan Dokken

Jordy Mercer, Detroit Tigers

Jordy Mercer 2019 Projections

Mercer would fit right in with the middle infield bats of the 1970’s. Unfortunately we expect starting shortstops to be at least a modest threat these days. Mercer will be lucky to hit 10 home runs and he has no speed to speak of. He is very consistent with that .250-ish batting average though if that kind of thing excites you. I suppose Mercer has a little value in 12-team AL-Only leagues, but it’s only because the alternative is probably an empty slot. – Doug Anderson

Adalberto Mondesi, Kansas City Royals

Adalberto Mondesi 2019 Projections

What we have here is very likely the most divisive player heading into 2019. Mondesi had a ridiculous second half with the Royals. He hit .286/.318/.517 over 54 games with 11 home runs and a tantalizing 27 stolen bases. 14 of those steals came in September on 17 attempts. While there’s no doubt he has some of the best speed in baseball, that sort of pace can’t be expected to continue. We’re just a year removed from Trea Turner stealing 22 bases in a month, and many were shocked when he didn’t steal 60 bags. Mondesi can be among the elites, but temper expectations. His HR/FB was also an elevated 19.7%, though he did show a hard contact surge. His biggest issues lie in contact; his 67.4% (11th worst in MLB, min. 250 PA) simply won’t do, and the 3.8% BB% combines for extreme OBP risk. He’ll need a very high BABIP to float a palatable average, so while the upside is a 20/40 player, the downside is a Mendoza line hitter who loses playing time. – Nathan Dokken

Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins

Jorge Polanco 2019 Projections

What could have been a breakout 2018 season was instead cut in half by a PED suspension. He was able to put up a near 15/15 pace with a .288 average over the second half, frequently batting third in the Twins order. Neither his approach nor hard contact rate are eye-popping. Instead, he provides just enough of everything to be relevant as a middle infield option late in mixed league drafts. He’ll likely get pushed closer to the top of the order in 2019, skewing his R+RBI more run-heavy. He was also caught stealing at an alarming rate, just 7-14, so perhaps he’s closer to 10 stolen bases than 20 over a full season. That will depend on how much leash first-time manager Rocco Baldelli wants to give him on the bases. Polanco’s line drive approach will lead to a nice batting average with enough category juice to give him a nice floor. – Nathan Dokken

Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics

Marcus Semien 2019 Projections

Semien was one of just 10 players in baseball to eclipse 700 plate appearances in 2018. He hit first or second in most games and scored 89 runs (tied for 30th in MLB) thanks to a league-average .318 OBP. He made an impactful jump in contact rate, raising it 4.2% to 81.1%. He cut 3.4% from his strikeout rate as a result and posted a solid .255 average. It’s always a surprise that he doesn’t steal more considering his high success rates, but he’s good for 10-15 steals per season. His 27 home run 2016 seems like the career outlier, so we should more reasonably expect a homer total somewhere in the mid-teens. His lack of batting average is what really keeps him in the useful-but-not-elite tier of shortstops. He’s a reliable middle infield option in mixed leagues. – Nathan Dokken

Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles Angels

Andrelton Simmons 2019 Projections

Simmons has one of the most unique combinations of strikeout and walk rates in baseball. He walked at a below-average 5.8% clip in 2018, but only struck out 7.3% of his plate appearances. That’s a lot of balls in play, and those balls produced a .292 average on a .300 BABIP. He became more pull-heavy than ever before at 51%, which yielded more hard contact at 36%. His line drive approach limits his power ceiling though, and he isn’t a burner on the bases, limiting his stolen base potential as well. His elite defensive chops will keep him on the field no matter what sort of slump he falls into, but for fantasy purposes, he’s not a high-end option. You’ll get a little bit of everything, but nothing that pushes him into the top 12 at shortstop. – Nathan Dokken

Troy Tulowitzki, New York Yankees

Troy Tulowitzki 2019 Projections

With Didi Gregorius set to miss around half the season, the Yankees signed Troy Tulowitzki to fill in at shortstop. Hopefully they have another backup plan as Tulowitzki is still as fragile as they come and missed the entire 2018 season with bone spurs in both heels. We could somewhat tollerate the missed time when he was putting up strong offensive numbers, but that hasn’t been the case in several seasons making him a risky bet even for AL-Only leagues. – Eric Cross

Enjoying these 2019 AL Third Base Profiles? For more great rankings, strategy, and analysis check out the 2019 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. We’ll be adding more content from now right up until Opening Day!

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