Written by: Ray Butler
The shortstop position in the MLB is weird. I have nine players ranked in the top 55 of my 2017 ranks, but only 11 players in the top 150. In general, the position isn’t quite as thin as it was a short time ago, but it’s also not a position in which you want to be below-average. Here’s how LORG stacks up at shortstop for the upcoming season:
#1. Gregg Morris- Shortstops: Manny Machado and Addison Russell
With four positions left to rank, the shortstop position is really when Gregg is going to begin separating himself from most owners in this league. Gregg leads the way here because of Machado (and he’s no doubt an absolute freak), but there’s a lot of hype surrounding Addison Russell heading into the 2017 season as well. For the sake of the rest of LORG, maybe Machado will lose shortstop eligibility this season (he probably won’t).
#2. Frank Selesky- Shortstops: Corey Seager and Jose Peraza
Seagoat lands Frank in second on this list. The Dodgers’ prized shortstop lived up to the hype last season, accumulating 26 HRs and over 100 runs scored while tallying a .365 on base percentage. There are some people within the fantasy industry who think Seager’s back injury that was sustained last week is a genuine issue, but as long as he gets healthy before the beginning of the regular season, he should once-again post elite numbers. Jose Peraza should also contribute in some of LORG’s offensive categories for Frank, though this will likely be his final season with SS eligibility.
#3. Ray Butler- Shortstops: Trea Turner and Jonathan Villar
Another spot with solid depth mostly because of Trea Turner’s return to his native position, Ray takes home the bronze medal at the shortstop position. Jonathan Villar will start the year as the Brewers’ second baseman, and he’ll likely lose SS eligibility heading into next season unless Orlando Arcia flames out. Turner and Villar bring top-shelf speed to the table, and both should hit double-digit home runs in 2017.
#4. John Morrison- Shortstops: Carlos Correa and Tim Anderson
Carlos Correa hit 20 HR, had an OBP of .361 and stole double-digit bases in his (mostly) age 21 season in 2016. Read those stats, then consider he’s been labeled in the industry as a solid “bounce back” candidate in 2017. Yeah, Correa is a monster. Don’t sleep on Tim Anderson, though. I suspect that 2017 will be the year that Anderson firmly plants himself in the conversation as a top 8-10 shorstop.
#5. Zach Gerhart- Shortstops: Francisco Lindor and J.P. Crawford
Francisco Lindor is about as solid as it gets at any position, much less shortstop. The Indians’ shortstop will seemingly be a lock to hit more than 10 home runs, steal more than 10 bases, strike out fewer than 100 times, and amass an OBP of ~.350 each season until at least 2025. Rock solid. Also, will this finally be the year we see J.P. Crawford in the big leagues? He had somewhat of a disappointing 2016 campaign but still has the ceiling of a top 10 shortstop.
#6. Matt Smith- Shortstops: Xander Bogaerts, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Isan Diaz
The present and the future for Matt at the shortstop position is as bright as it gets. Xander Bogaerts hits in one of the best lineups in baseball and will continue to rank among the elite shortstops in the game, especially if he continues to hit 20+ HR like he did last season. While there’s some questions as to where exactly he fits defensively, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has the makeup of a future superstar. He’ll maximize his fantasy potential if he can stick somewhere in the middle infield. Isan Diaz burst onto the scene in the minor leagues last season, and 2017 will hopefully be a year in which he can prove that he’s here to stay.
#7. McKinnon Ray- Shortstops: Trevor Story, Eduardo Nunez and Amed Rosario
It’s Story Time! The superstar of 2016’s Spring Training carried the production over to the regular season, where he hit 27 home runs in less than 400 at-bats before being sidelined with an injury. Story will always strike out a ton, but his power should continue to make him a reliable fantasy contributor. But even if the Rockies’ newcomer was simply a flash in the pan, McKinnon should have another reliable shortstop in the near future in Amed Rosario. Rosario has been fantastic at every level he’s played at in the minor leagues, and Asdrubal Cabrera certainly won’t block him once he’s ready for The Show. I’m thinking Rosario will be the Mets Opening Day shortstop in 2018. Eduardo Nunez will see most of his playing time at third base in San Francisco, buthe should continue to contribute in a slightly-above-average fashion as a role player.
#8. Van Moore- Shortstops: Jean Segura, Gleyber Torres, Brendan Rodgers and Kevin Maitan
Van has a crew of shortstops, and the future ceiling he has at the position is other-worldly. But for now, Jean Segura is the only MLB active player on the roster. Shifting to the pitcher friendly confines of Safeco Field after enjoying his high-altitude season in Arizona, 2017 projections seem to think that Segura will come crashing back to Earth in 2017. Only time will tell, but Segura should bat in the top half of a high-powered Mariner lineup. Let’s hope he gets on base enough to benefit. Torres, Rodgers, and Maitan (who may eventually transition to 3B) all have the potential to be absolute terrors in the fantasy world, but it could be sometime in 2018 (at the very least) before any of the three make their big league debut. Maitan may not be an MLB player until 2020. It’s okay, though, because Van’s goal is to create a force that will be unbeatable three years from now.
#9. Caleb Stumpf- Shortstops: Aledmys Diaz and Dansby Swanson
The industry is all over the place on what sort of numbers Diaz will produce in 2017. If the Cardinals’ shortstop produces numbers similar to his 2016 season, Caleb should be very solid at this position. If Diaz falls off and mimics the player he was prior to Spring Training last season, Caleb will have to lean more heavily on Dansby Swanson. That would be fine, though, as Swanson should be a solid, consistent contributor in the fantasy world and a stalwart for a Braves organization that is back on the rise.
#10 Adam Stumpf- Shortstops: Brad Miller, Orlando Arcia and Jurickson Profar
The brothers rank back-to-back at the shortstop position. As I scan through Adam’s roster, I realize that there’s a pretty good chance that he currently only has one player who will be SS-eligible this time next season. Miller is transitioning to second base for the Rays (where he belongs), and Profar will likely see most of his time in the outfield for the Rangers this season. That means that Adam really needs Orlando Arcia (.273 OBP in 200+ at bats in 2016) to come through and prove reliability at the position this season. Arcia will be given every chance to succeed and should bat in a low-stress spot in the Brewers’ order to begin the 2017 season.
#11. Bobby Morrison- Shortstops: Troy Tulowitzki and Jedd Gyorko
It doesn’t seem right that Troy Tulowitzki is over the hill and in the twilight of his career, but here we are. He’s no longer a superstar, but he’s still a top 175 fantasy player and he really has a good chance to put together a solid season for a Blue Jays lineup that will need him at his best. Maybe he has one more bullet left in the clip. Jedd Gyorko is a player I’ve had to list and write about wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much in these rankings, and thank God he doesn’t have outfield or pitcher eligibility (yet).
#12. Ben Roach- Shortstops: Elvis Andrus, Javier Baez, and Franklin Barreto
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Elvis Andrus. He’s never going to hit a ton of home runs, but he’s going to get on base, he’s not going to strike out much, and he’s going to steal plenty of bases. He is what he is, but he’ll never be the reason Ben loses a matchup. Javy Baez has the ability to improve Ben’s rank in this list drastically before next season; he’ll need to maintain SS eligibility, but there’s gigantic potential there. Franklin Barreto’s path to the MLB may be at second base, but he should be solid fantasy option relatively soon.
On Deck: LORG 2017 Outfield Rankings
Link to LORG 2017 Catcher Rankings: https://sidelinesandheadlines.com/2017/03/01/lorg-2017-catcher-rankings/?frame-nonce=6f3eacd168
Link to LORG 2017 First Base Rankings: https://sidelinesandheadlines.com/2017/03/03/lorg-2017-first-baseman-ranks/
Link to LORG 2017 Second Base Rankings: https://sidelinesandheadlines.com/2017/03/05/lorg-2017-second-base-rankings/
Link to LORG 2017 Third Base Rankings: https://sidelinesandheadlines.com/2017/03/09/lorg-2017-third-base-rankings/