Last week we started strong with the positions that usually carry the most power hitters: First Base and Third Base. This week is all about middle infielders.[the_ad id=”384″]
We’ve finally made it to everyone’s favorite fantasy position. Elite shortstops are absolute gold in fantasy baseball. That statement carries even more weight in dynasty and keeper league formats. If you own a top shortstop you usually want to cling to them like your life depended on it. If you don’t happen to be lucky enough to own a stud shortstop, chances are you’re going to make it your life’s work to acquire one.
The second baseman rankings that were posted yesterday can be found here.
Below the rankings are analysis on select players. Enjoy!
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#1 Carlos Correa – On ESPN’s recent updated keeper rankings, Correa was ranked third overall only behind Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. I couldn’t agree more with ESPN. Wait, did I just agree with ESPN? Weird. Anyways, Correa is turning into an absolute fantasy monster that will make your mouth water. I know he’s not stealing bases this year, but he’s shown that he’s capable of stealing up to 20 bases if he wants to start running more.
Carlos Correa's 2-run HR that he launched to center field in the 1st inning. #HoustonAstros #Astros #Correa #MLB #Allstar pic.twitter.com/arxJpDCw2R
— Houston Sports Focus (@HouSportsFocus) July 7, 2017
Yes, some steals would be nice, but there’s nothing to complain about when the rest of his stats are straight out of a video game. He’s on pace for 36 home runs, 117 RBI, 112 runs, and a .325 average. You know what’s beautiful about Correa, too? At 22-years old, this is just the beginning. Strap on your seat belt and enjoy the ride.
Note: While I was finishing this article, Correa decided to go and tear his thumb. He’ll be out for the next six to eight weeks while he recovers. Injuries really suck this year.
#2 Trea Turner – What Turner has done in his short career is nothing short of remarkable. In just over one full season (168 career games), Turner has 21 home runs, 73 RBI, 111 runs scored, and a jaw dropping 70 steals. In addition to filling up the stat sheet, Turner has a plus hit tool that has translated into a .306 career batting average. A fastball to the wrist puts a damper on this season, but Turner is a bona fide top-three dynasty shortstop option moving forward.
#3 Corey Seager – If Correa is Coke then Corey Seager is Diet Coke. Actually, does anyone drink Diet Coke anymore, or is Coke Zero the preferred low calorie option? I digress. Seager has a lot of the same strengths as Correa, he’s just not quite as good at them. Seager has plus raw power and the ability to produce an average over .300, but has never been a big speed guy at any stage of his professional career. Just like with Correa, the best is yet to come as Seager is still only 23-years-old.
#4 Francisco Lindor – The follow-up campaign to Lindor’s sensational rookie season is going a bit rougher than expected. His power has risen but it’s come at the expense of his speed and average. The balanced fantasy threat he was last season is much more valuable than what he’s been this year. I’m banking the 2016 Lindor peaks his head out soon.
#5 Xander Bogaerts – There’s no denying Bogaerts is a superb hitter, but what holds him back in fantasy is his limited power and speed contributions. His power totals have fluctuated quite a bit the last three seasons. In 2015 he only hit seven home runs, then 21 last year, and back down to six so far this season. At least his speed contributions have had an uptick this year. It seems that Bogaerts is settling in as a .300 15/20 player. He’s very valuable in dynasty formats, just not at an elite level.
#6 Jean Segura – Doesn’t Segura seem like an elderly man after the first five on this list? He’s only 27, which shows how much of a youth movement is going on at the shortstop position. Segura is currently third in the majors with a .348 average to go along with six home runs and 10 steals in just 267 at-bats. Hitting atop the loaded Mariners lineup will help him score runs in bunches too. Just a good all-around talent.
#7 Brendan Rodgers – Yeah, this could be considered an aggressive ranking, but Rodgers is a special offensive talent. He can hit for both power and average and will soon get to put those strengths on full display at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Colorado might have to either move Rodgers to second base full-time or trade away Trevor Story to make room.
The @Broddddd3…. The Hartford Hero pic.twitter.com/vRBc3j5gMj
— Hartford Yard Goats (@GoYardGoats) July 16, 2017
#8 Trevor Story – If it wasn’t for his power potential, Story would be much further down this list. There aren’t many shortstops with 40-plus home run power. In fact, there are only four guys (Correa, Seager, Rodgers, Story) on this list with that potential. That power is going to be valuable from the shortstop position. Let’s just hope his average isn’t a black hole long-term.
#9 Gleyber Torres – Injuries have been happening at the most inopportune times this year. With the Yankees getting nothing out of Chase Headley at third base, Torres was getting work in at third base in Triple-A to come up and replace Headley in New York. However, an elbow injury and subsequent Tommy John surgery ended Torres season. The injury doesn’t suppress his long-term value, it just delays his arrival until next season. Torres should flourish at Yankee Stadium as a .280 30/10 type of player.
#10 Chris Owings – One of the best fantasy seasons from a shortstop this season is happening without much fanfare out in Arizona. He’s never going to dominate any one category, but Owings has quietly become a solid across the board producer.
#11 Elvis Andrus – Before this season, Andrus had 35 career home runs in eight seasons with a career high of eight last year. Through his first 357 at-bats this season he already has 11. The added power is certainly encouraging but I’m not expecting him to morph into a 20 homer player. He’s definitely serviceable as a starting dynasty shortstop.
#12 Addison Russell – Everyone wanted some Russell stock in dynasty leagues a few years ago. Now no one seems to want any part of him. His plus hit tool is disappearing quicker than David Price in the playoffs and his power has stalled. It’s hard to think a player with this much potential has forgotten how to hit. This seems like a great time to buy low on Russell in dynasty formats.
#13 Amed Rosario – The Mets can call up Rosario any day now. After being a mostly defensive minded shortstop early in his minor league career, Rosario has become one of the most polished offensive players in the minors. He’ll never be a big power guy, but plenty of .300 15/25 type seasons should be expected.
#14 Zack Cozart – For a detailed write-up on Cozart, check out Greg Jewett’s article.
#16 Kevin Maitan – Ranking Maitan this high is a risk for sure, especially since he’s all of 17-years-old with less than 50 minor league at-bats to his name. But no shortstop in the minors has a higher fantasy ceiling than Maitan. Not even Torres or Rosario. MLB compared his game to a young Miguel Cabrera or Chipper Jones, which simply cannot be ignored. He’s got a plus-hit tool and developing raw power. It’s going to be a while, but the potential here is massive.
#17 Dansby Swanson – A term I like to use is “a better real-life player than fantasy player.” As much as I don’t want to apply that phrase to Swanson, he’s getting close to it. This seems like a case of the Braves rushing Swanson to the majors. He has a plus-hit tool, so I’m expecting the .220 average to come around, but he’ll have to start providing more power and speed to become a starting dynasty option.
#20 Franklin Barreto – During his brief major league stint last month, Barreto showed exactly what type of player he can be. He’s got some pop but is also prone to swing and miss at a more than desirable clip. With the average likely to remain low, proceed with caution.
#21 Royce Lewis – It might have been a little surprising that Minnesota took Lewis first in last month’s amateur draft, but the offensive upside is apparent. Lewis possesses a plus hit tool and budding power that should help him become a .300, 20-plus home run shortstop in time.
#22 Aledmys Diaz – He wasn’t lighting the world on fire before his demotion but Diaz was at least an adequate hitter, which makes his demotion slightly puzzling. In 273 at-bats, he was hitting .260 with seven home runs and four steals. Don’t write him off quite yet.
#23 Troy Tulowitzki – Oh how the mighty have fallen. In his prime, “Tulo” was basically the Rob Gronkowski of fantasy baseball. When he was on the field, which was rare, he was the best fantasy shortstop around. Now he’s just a shortstop that is past his prime with a deteriorating skill set.
#24 Paul DeJong – Let me see that DeJong, Jong, Jong. Man, I haven’t heard Sisqo in forever. DeJong is a player I’ve been pushing for a bit now. He’s a free swinger so the average will probably drop into the .270 range, but he has solid power and could run away with the shortstop position in St. Louis.
#25 Ryan Mountcastle – Aside from having an awesome last name, Mountcastle is a strong offensive prospect that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. As a 20-year-old this season at high class-A, he is hitting .317 with 15 home runs, eight stolen bases, and a whopping 35 doubles. His 6’3 frame is still filling out so some of those doubles are going to start flying over the fence. He’s certainly one to keep an eye on.
#28 Andrelton Simmons – I’m a big believer in track record. Now sometimes a player can blossom offensively later in their career, like Jose Bautista, but it’s uncommon. Simmons has arguably been the best defensive shortstop in the majors over his six-year career. However, he’s always been lacking offensively. His hard contact rate is up 8.9% over last season, so I’m a believer in his stats to a point, but he’s not a recommended option.
#29 Willy Adames – There’s not much to like about Adames in the fantasy world. All of his offensive tools are average, at best. His ceiling is a back-end top-15 fantasy shortstop. Nothing to get excited about here.
#30 Jorge Mateo – Once a top-25 prospect, now just a speed guy in a crowded Yankees farm system. A trade to a different team would be a boon to his fantasy value.
#40 J.P. Crawford – I hate to continuously rag on Crawford because I’m sure he’s a good guy, but in the world of fantasy baseball, he’s about as useful as a water mirage in the desert. He doesn’t steal bases or hit for much power, and his average has gone south in a hurry this year. There’s nothing to like here. Move on.
Got a question about a player not covered here? Feel free to follow me and ask on twitter @EricCross04. Thank-you as always for reading. Check back next week when we rank outfielders and catchers.