Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2018: Shortstop
A traditionally light position, shortstop now features a few legitimate hitters for fantasy, but it is still a thin spot. Who should you draft?
Frequently a problem position for fantasy players, 2018 sees a handful of honest to goodness stars at the shortstop position. Last year 10 shortstops hit 20 or more homers, 18 stole double-digit bases, and 12 hit .280 or more. The question for owners this year is picking out the players that can produce in multiple categories, and those are still tricky to find.
Which shortstops should you be drafting this season?
Note: These rankings are for standard roto leagues, with eligibility based on 20 games played at the position in 2017
1. Trea Turner, Washington Nationals
Turner was a monster last year until a fractured wrist put him out of commission for eight weeks, and even then he still swiped 46 bases. Turner has good power, terrific contact skills, and the speed to steal bases almost at will. He will score runs all day in a strong lineup, and while his position hurts his RBI totals, with everything else he offers, who really cares?
He still has a lot of upside, and if he finds a power stroke in 2018, then Turner could be more valuable than anyone in fantasy.
2. Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
A torn ligament in his left thumb limited Correa to 109 games last season, but he was stellar nevertheless. He had career highs in batting average, on base, and slugging, as well as pummeling a career-high 24 homers in his limited plate appearances.
He is unlikely to provide double-digit steals this year, but he will provide quality in every other category. Correa is an MVP candidate with the bat in his hands, and will be for your fantasy team as well.
3. Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
Lindor saw a huge jump in power last year, it seems relatively sustainable given the changes in launch angle he made, but penciling him in for 30+ this year would be over-confident. One problem with that addition of power is that it took a big bite out of his batting average, knocking him down a step from the likes of Turner and Correa.
The Indians are a good team and should provide Lindor with plenty of counting stat opportunities, and his health has been good in the Majors, but that doesn’t last forever at shortstop so you can’t be assured of 700+ plate appearances either. Still, if you find Turner and Correa too rich a price to pay, then Lindor offers strong and pretty reliable production across the board.
4. Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers
Seager is one of the best young hitters in baseball, that he plays a premium position like shortstop is just an added bonus as far as fantasy players are concerned.
An average of 24 homers and a .302 BA over the last two seasons should be more than enough for anyone to invest in him, of course there is a nagging worry about the elbow pains that troubled Seager last year and is still giving him a few issues in Spring Training. He is an MVP candidate when fully healthy, and provides good production everywhere except steals, but if you end up taking Seager this year, it might be best to keep a careful eye on the waiver wire for a potential replacement should that elbow flare up again.
5. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
Bregman is a third baseman by trade, but gained his eligibility at shortstop thanks to Carlos Correa’s injury last year.
You’re better off using Bregman at short, given the depth at third base, but if you already drafted one of the higher ranked shortstops you shouldn’t ignore Bregman entirely. A good lineup around him means plenty of opportunity for counting stats, and he should be a lock for a 10-10 year, with an outside shot at 20-20 if he puts it all together. He has a safe floor, but the addition of shortstop eligibility may end up inflating his price a little too much for some. Still, if your league covets Correa and Altuve there is a chance they will overlook the talents of Bregman.
6. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers
Andrus has been remarkably consistent, especially when it comes to being a 20-25 steal player, but in 2017 he had his first double-digit home run season as well as another strong year of batting average.
He has regression written all over him in 2018, especially power-wise, but those steals provide a reasonable floor. His BABIP has been higher than normal the past two seasons, which has helped fuel the average, it is hard to see that staying above .290, especially if he continues to strike out as often as he did last year, but he may have established a new norm for himself.
There will be skeptics about Andrus, as there should be, but if you are buying him for his steals, he is a safe bet.
7. Jean Segura, Seattle Mariners
Segura is risky. He has had electric years and disappointing ones. Peak stats of 44 steals, 20 homers, and a .319 average wet the appetite, but floors of five HR, 20 steals, and .246 average should worry anyone.
You never know what you’ll get from Segura, but the lack of competition at the position makes him a fairly comfortable top ten shortstop. If you are willing to wait on the position and take a risk, then Segura is a nice play, especially if the top SS’s are flying off the board early and often.
8. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
Bogaerts had a disappointing 2017. His power disappeared and his average took a tumble once again. He is in danger of slipping off the radar offensively, but the team name and double-digit homers and steals do give him some value.
The risk with Bogaerts is that his average, down nearly 50-points from 2015, slips again and he becomes a liability there without really producing well enough with the counting stats. The Boston lineup should give him plenty of runs, but I am not overly bullish about his chances of repeating his 2016 season of 21 homers, 13 steals, and a .294 average.
9. Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees
Gregorius’ power has shot up in the last two years, but he has become an exclusively pull-hitter to do so. It will be tough to work through the Yankees lineup in 2018, but pitchers know not to offer up juicy inside pitches to him now, and that may well end up hampering both his power and average.
Still, Gregorius remains an attractive starting option at shortstop, and those convinced that the Yankees will mash every pitcher they see could well benefit from improved counting stats for him, just know he won’t contribute much in the way of steals.
10. Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies
In 2016 Story exploded on the scene as a mashing shortstop who would swipe a few bases and bat for a solid average. In 2017 he continued those first two, but his average tanked amid too many pop-ups and far, far too many strikeouts.
Consistency is the weakness with Story, and he will be maddening to own once again, but if you find yourself needing power later in the draft, he is a good bet. If Story can return his average to the .270 mark he is likely to be extremely good value, but that is a big if.
Coming soon: Manny Machado
The Orioles’ man is moving back to shortstop this year. Provided all goes well in spring it will only take him 20 games to become eligible. 20 games at replacement level + Machado’s talented bat puts him just behind Carlos Correa for me. If you are willing to pay the price for him up front and stash him at third for a few weeks then go right ahead.