2019 Fantasy Baseball: Shortstop Sleepers
There’s no shortage of fantasy baseball shortstop sleepers in 2019. In fact, there’s a lot to offer from the shortstop position this season. Remember that time when it was Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez or Jose Reyes and that’s it? The position today is filled with studs and you should want one of them.
Francisco Lindor is a strong pick early in your draft should you be lucky enough to get one. Trea Turner, Alex Bregman, Javier Baez, Manny Machado and Trevor Story are nice consolation prizes. When a player battle through injuries it usually means he provides a bit of value the following season and that’s what we have with Carlos Correa and Corey Seager. Both offer terrific value this season as both are primed for bounce-back seasons.
There’s a ton of speed throughout the shortstop position with the likes of Adalberto Mondesi, Jean Segura, Jose Peraza, and Tim Anderson. This is also the case in the later parts of your draft with Jurickson Profar, Elvis Andrus and Amed Rosario. Although, Anderson can’t hit and Rosario is starting to lose some of his value as his price gets more expensive by the day.
Check out more of my fantasy baseball sleepers:
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2019 Fantasy Baseball Shortstop Sleepers
Andrelton Simmons – Los Angeles Angeles
Fantrax ADP: 208/SS17
There’s nothing sexy about this pick and the only reason it’s at the top is because Andrelton Simmons has the highest ADP on Fantrax. It’s just a plain and safe suggestion which will likely come with some value on draft day. When it’s all said and done, Simmons will probably be drafted outside the top 20 shortstops. He’s been glossed over in drafts for the last two seasons, despite finishing as a top-12 SS both years. Simmons hit .278 with 14 home runs and 19 stolen bases in 2017. He followed up that season by hitting 11 HR with 10 SB and a .292 average in 2018. There was a slight decrease in power and speed, but an increase in average and on-base percentage. An injury last season likely resulted in fewer steals.
I’m not saying to leave your draft with Simmons as he’s unlikely to produce top 10 numbers at the shortstop position again. It’s a very loaded position, but he’s a starting middle infielder. You can expect another 10/10 season with a .275 plus average which isn’t earth-shattering, but those numbers won’t hurt you. He can help stabilize the end of your draft by providing some balance to your team, which is a bonus if you play in deep points league. Simmons’ 87.8 contact percentage since the start of 2017 ranks third (eighth-highest since 2016). He doesn’t walk much, but he also doesn’t strike out.
Paul DeJong – St. Louis Cardinals
Fantrax ADP: 216/SS18
If you’re looking for cheap power near the end of your draft at the middle infield spot, take a peek at Paul DeJong. The Cardinals’ shortstop has 44 home runs in 933 career plate appearances. DeJong regressed from 25 as a rookie to 19 homers last season, but a wrist injury kept him sidelined for seven weeks. His 43 percent fly ball rate since the start of 2017 is the 25th-highest mark among those with 900 PAs.
There are a few downsides to DeJong’s game as his minor league strikeout rate has carried over to the Majors (26.5%). It is something he corrected in his second season, though, as his strikes came down and his walks went up. He’s probably somewhere between a .285 hitter (rookie season average) and a .241 hitter (sophomore season average). The 25-year-old has also struggled against lefties (.237) over his short career, but he should have a clear path to about 600 plate appearances. DeJong may even hit near the top of what should be a great lineup in St. Louis. I’m not going to get crazy here with RBI, but he led all shortstops with 49 RBI in the second half of the season. 160 combined RBI and runs are in play.
Garrett Hampson – Colorado Rockies
Fantrax ADP: 241
The Colorado Rockies chose not to bring back DJ LeMahieu, which means it’s Garrett Hampson time. It also means he’ll gain second base eligibility this season. Hampson moved up the ranks pretty quickly last season as he went from Double-A to Triple-A and then finished up 2018 with 48 plate appearances with the Rockies. Hampson showed great patience with a .275 average and 14.6 walk rate. He struck out 25 percent of the time, but he had solid rates throughout the minors. Hampson also showed great speed in his two seasons in the minors: 123 stolen bases.
The 24-year-old hit at least .301 across every minor league level. In 2018, he hit 10 home runs and stole 36 bases across two levels. The kid can hit and he can flat out run. The lineup in Colorado is still one of the better ones in the game and I don’t need to remind you Coors Field is a fantasy haven for hitters. Now, patience will be key for Hampson and spring training will be huge for him. The Rockies have a history of signing veteran players which sometimes blocks the path for some of their prospects.
Jorge Polanco – Minnesota Twins
Fantrax ADP: 219/SS19
Jorge Polanco is basically free in drafts and he has 15/15 potential. Polanco has shown great discipline throughout the minors and he has a .272 career average in the Majors. The 25-year-old had an 85.3 percent contact rate last season, which was the 34th highest rate among those with 300 PAs. His 26.1 percent line drive rate ranked 28th.
The Twins’ leadoff man should see almost double the amount of playing time in 2019 as long as he doesn’t get mixed in with PED use again (suspended for 80 games last season). Minnesota has some heavy swingers who will be hitting behind Polanco, so 75 plus runs are on the table. The missed time last season is the reason for the price discount on draft day. He’s locked in to an everyday role with Minnesota.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – Toronto Blue Jays
Fantrax ADP: 241/2B18
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. seems to end up on a lot of my teams that are a bit deeper and have a middle infield spot. He’s listed as a 2B in our Fantrax ADP, but he has SS eligibility and that’s where he should play all season, assuming Devon Travis can stay healthy. Gurriel was impressive across three levels last season as he hit .322 in AA, .293 in AAA and .281 over his first 263 Major League plate appearances.
Gurriel may need to learn to take a walk or two, but he combined for 17 home runs across all three levels, with 11 coming with the Blue Jays. The 25-year-old should hit near the top of the lineup and he’ll likely get 600 PAs in his first full season. Steamer projects for a .266 average and 20 home runs. The average is probably fair, but 25 bombs are very possible and so are 10 stolen bases.
Enjoy these shortstop sleepers? For more great fantasy baseball 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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