My last stop in the infield for these dynasty positional rankings is at the always-loaded shortstop position. This position is home to three in my overall top-10, five in the top-20, 10 in the top-50, and five top-10 prospects. Loaded might not even be a strong enough word to use here. Jam-packed? No, not strong enough either. This position has quickly turned into the sexiest for fantasy purposes along with being the deepest in the infield. That goes for Major League talent and prospect talent as well. Honestly, I could ramble on and on, but you came here for some dynasty shortstop rankings so let’s get right to it.
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Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Shortstop Rankings
|1||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SD||22||NL|
|14||Bobby Witt Jr.||KC||20||AL|
Sitting at #1 overall as a top-5 overall dynasty player is Fernando Tatís Jr. As a top-5 player at the ripe old age of 22, Tatís is a player you never trade unless you’re blown away, and then some, by a trade offer. This is a five-category monster that has a baseball savant page filled with red balls.
Tatis wasted little time getting back into the swing of things in 2021, mashing this grand slam that Chris Welsh of In This League and Prospect One got a great video of.
Tatis Jr GRANDSLAM @tatis_jr @InThisLeaguePod pic.twitter.com/Dw6wlDoRmv
— The Welsh (@IsItTheWelsh) March 2, 2021
It doesn’t matter if you’re rebuilding and the rest of your team is downright atrocious outside of Tatís. You don’t trade him in dynasty unless the offer literally makes you have to find a new pair of pants. Watching him play the game is a pleasure and he’s going to be a fantasy stud for a long time. Trea Turner is a fantasy stud as well, but there’s a decent gap between the two overall. That’s no slight to Turner who is inside my top-10 overall, but Tatís puts up better production already and is around six years younger.
Checking in just behind these two is Bo Bichette. The 22-year-old shortstop with the 80-grade hair is the next Mookie Betts in fantasy as far as I’m concerned. But not early-career Mookie that was stealing a ton of bases. More like the present-day Mookie. Bichette has all the offensive upside in the world with the potential to hit .300 with 25-30 homers annually and 15-20 steals. He’ll need to be more efficient on the bases for that to happen though.
If Corey Seager added any speed, even 8-10 SB a season, he’d be a borderline first-round fantasy asset. The 2020 World Series MVP has combined for 34 homers, 128 RBI, and 120 runs over the last two seasons (176 games) and posted a robust .307/.358/.585 slash line as well. All of that was backed up by a 95th percentile or better showing in exit velocity, hard-hit rate, barrel rate, xBA, xSLG, and xwOBA. Seager is a four-category stud with .300/100+/30+/100+ potential for the foreseeable future.
Right after Seager is the uber-prospect, Wander Franco. While I already have Franco 7th here and inside my top-25 overall, you’ll likely have to use a pick earlier than where I have him ranked if you want him in a dynasty startup due to the immense hype and buzz surrounding him right now. I’ve even seen him go as high as 12th in a draft I was in not too long ago. While there’s plenty of risk in drafting him that high, I understand why people do. Franco has batting title upside with the raw power to approach 30 homers if he starts driving the ball in the air more consistently. Add in the potential for 15-plus steals and you have an annual first-round fantasy selection in the making.
Your No. 1 overall prospect, Wander Franco, in action. 😱 pic.twitter.com/Kqd5OvmE0o
— MLB (@MLB) March 3, 2021
Can we just discuss how criminally underrated Xander Bogaerts is for a second? Seriously, all the guy does is mash year in and year out. For his career spanning 970 games, Bogey has slashed .289/.351/.454 and has hit over .300 in each of the last two seasons. Since the beginning of the 2019 season, Bogaerts ranks 3rd among qualified shortstops in AVG (.307), 3rd in home runs (44), 3rd in runs scored (146), 1st in RBI (145), 3rd in BB% (10.5%), 2nd in OBP (.379), 3rd in SLG (.542), 2nd in wOBA (.384), 2nd in wRC+ (138), and 3rd in ISO (.235). Do I really need to go on?
Another underrated shortstop for fantasy a bit further down my rankings is Dansby Swanson. Who doesn’t love potential .270/100/25/75/10 production? Swanson has consistently improved year after year and is slated to hit near the top of a dynamic Atlanta lineup. He’s not flashy, but is a great value trade target in dynasty leagues.
Even though he plays for my rival Yankees, Gleyber Torres is someone I’ve been targeting all winter in dynasty leagues. Both in startup drafts and via trade as well. His value has really cratered after a disastrous 2020 season to the point where it’s very reasonable for the first time since he debuted, in my opinion. Even with the putrid surface stats, Torres improved his walk rate and strikeout rate while his O-Swing rate improved from 35.1% to 25.6% and his SwStr% from 13.2% to 10.6%. The raw power is still there and Torres should hit somewhere in the middle of a loaded Yankees lineup. The time is now to buy-low in dynasty leagues.
Alright, fine, I’ll mention Adalberto Mondesi. I’ll begrudgingly admit that he does have the upside to carry a fantasy team for a few weeks, as he did last September, but the profile is just too volatile for my liking. Sure, having him singlehandedly keeps you competitive in steals, but putting all my speed eggs in one basket just isn’t my style.
Not only does this position have Wander Franco, my #2 overall dynasty prospect, but three of the next five prospects after him in my rankings reside at shortstop as well. Those, of course, being Marco Luciano, CJ Abrams, and Bobby Witt Jr. And if you wanna extend this a little further, Noevli Marte is only a few spots behind them in my overall prospect rankings. Both Witt and Abram’s values have risen significantly this spring with their strong showings. Witt hit .289 with a trio of homers in 14 games before being optioned to minor league camp and Abrams is currently hitting .262 with two homers and three steals in 19 games. Luciano, on the other hand, has looked very much overmatched.
Been waiting for a good view of Bobby Witt Jr.'s home run today. @Royals provided it, and good lord is it is glorious: 484 feet.
Oh, and he's only 20 years old. pic.twitter.com/wUIwIGku7t
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 8, 2021
Two shortstops that I’m avoiding right now are Carlos Correa and Javier Baez. The latter might seem like a great value this season and in dynasty leagues, but his plate approach is too volatile for my liking. It’s getting worse too as Baez posted a 3.0% walk rate and 31.9% strikeout rate in 2020. That walk rate currently is a career-worst mark and the strikeout rate hasn’t been that high since his rookie year. I’m not saying he still can’t be good, but the inconsistency makes him maddening to roster.
With Correa, I’m flat out done waiting for that full 150+ game season. We’ve gone a full Presidential term since that last happened in 2016. Correa did play in 58 of 60 games last season (of course, do it in the shortened season), but the production fell off to the tune of a .264/.326/.383 slash line.
Willi Castro, DET: After profiling mostly as a hit/speed prospect in the minors, Willi Castro’s power has ticked up over the last couple of years. I’m not saying there’s star potential here, but 15+/15 with a good AVG is definitely possible.
Andres Gimenez, CLE: Now out of New York with a starting gig in Cleveland, the arrow next to Andres Gimenez’s name is pointing up. Above-average contact skills and plus speed are Gimenez’s calling cards for fantasy and there’s enough pop to add double-digit home runs to his .275/20 SB profile.
Dansby Swanson, ATL: Mentioned above.
Jonathan Villar, NYM: The speed still provides value, but is Villar going to play enough to make an impact? That’s the real question here. And unfortunately, it doesn’t look too promising in a crowded Mets lineup. Villar isn’t as valuable in real-life base, so he’s not guaranteed a starting role, especially on a contending team. This makes him difficult to roster in dynasty leagues right now.
Royce Lewis, MIN: The former #1 overall prospect has had a rough couple of years and will miss all of 2021 after ACL surgery. With the 2019 struggles and missing the upcoming season, his stock is deflating now that the “#1 pick” gleam is wearing off.
Amed Rosario, CLE: Although the speed is still here, the offensive profile took a major step back in 2020. There’s no way to sugarcoat it either. Rosario finished in the bottom 25% of the league in exit velocity, hard-hit rate, barrel rate, xBA, xSLG, and xwOBA. And what good is a 93rd percentile sprint speed if your OBP is horrendous and you don’t want to run once you do get on base? Now in Cleveland, it looks like Rosario will settle into a backup/utility role for 2021.
There are plenty of other shortstop prospects I could ramble on about here, but I’ll save that for my upcoming shortstop prospect rankings in a few weeks. Stay tuned!
Media Credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire, Baseball Savant, MLB, Jeff Passas, Royals, Chris Welsh
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