When it comes to the Top 25 rankings, I often penalize players who are on the disabled list because those players can’t help your fantasy team. But there is always an exception to the rule. The exception is Wander Franco.

Franco left Friday night’s game against Detroit with right hamstring tightness and was placed on the 10-day IL Saturday. According to manager Kevin Cash, Franco can be out two to three weeks, though he hopes it could be a quicker recovery. The injury couldn’t come at a worst time for fantasy owners as the playoffs have started or about to start, depending on the number of teams that make the playoffs in your league.

Despite the injury, I moved Franco into the top 10 in my rankings as he now sits at No. 9. He would be higher, but my rankings also take into account what players have done the entire season, and Franco has not been with the Rays the entire season. If he had been, he would be in the Tier 1 group.

Before suffering his injury, the 20-year-old Franco ripped a pitch up the middle at 107.5 mph to reach base and extend his on-base streak to 39 games. Franco is now four games shy of tying the record for for the longest on-base streak by a player 20-years-old or younger. In 62 games this season, Franco is slashing .285-.347-463 with 49 runs scored, seven homers, 36 RBI and 2 steals. In his last 25 games, his slash line is .347-.407-.571 with 27 runs scored, three home runs and 16 RBI.

Those stats are why Franco has climbed the rankings despite him now being injured. It’s plainly obvious he is one of the best hitting shortstops in baseball and by next year he will likely reside in Tier 1 all season. Now let’s see who else has climbed in the rankings or taken a tumble.

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When you think of the top shortstops in baseball, you automatically think of Fernando Tatis Jr. first, then probably Bo Bichette, Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and Corey Seager – when he is healthy. Perhaps we need to add two names to that list.

Perhaps it is time everyone considers Jorge Polanco and Dansby Swanson as two of baseball’s top-hitting shortstops.

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Last week featured the second basemen who are good additions to make right now in your drive toward the fantasy postseason. This week it is the shortstops’ turn. There are a number of players available on the waiver wire who will make great additions down the stretch on your fantasy team.

You can never have too much depth at the position. Owners of Francisco Lindor know all too well about injuries. Javier Baez is now in that same situation with back spasms. Or you can have two outstanding shortstops who are now falling “short” of expectations.

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The trade deadline is history, and what a trade deadline it was as one All-Star after another All-Star changed teams.

Two of the big names on the move were shortstops – Javier Baez and Trea Turner. Baez is now a member of the New York Mets while Turner moved west and is now with the Dodgers. How do the two trades affect fantasy owners?

Statistically, I think the move will benefit both players. Baez was already playing well over the last month. But now that he is in a race for a division title, look for him to continue his hot streak and become even more productive. This is a player who has shown in the past that he can rise to the occasion.

As for Turner, he is now in a lineup that will be loaded with players who get on base or can drive him in. When he returns from the COVID list, he will likely slot into the top of the lineup and score a ton of runs while also using his speed to steal bases to get into scoring position. But the bottom of the Los Angeles lineup gets on so much that Turner won’t suffer a drop in RBI.

Positionally, both players are going to add to their versatility, especially for next season. That will help dynasty owners. With Francisco Lindor on the shelf for possibly another month, Baez will slot in a shortstop before moving to second when Lindor gets back.

But if that return is near the end of August and closes in on the start of fantasy league playoffs, Baez may not get a lot of starts at second to help fantasy owners who could use him at second base. Turner, however, will be starting at second base as soon as he returns as Corey Seager has returned from the IL. So within a week or two, Turner will have that second position to be able to play.

Have the trades of Baez and Turner changed where they are ranked among the shortstops? Let’s find out.

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The All-Star break is thankfully over, allowing us to get back to watching baseball games every night. Watching the All-Star game no longer is the exciting matchup it used to be, especially with so many players opting out now. The Home Run Derby was great entertainment, but it isn’t a baseball game.

Thankfully the games are back this weekend, which means we get to watch Fernando Tatis Jr. do his thing with a smile and a lot of flash. We get to watch two outstanding players up the middle for the Toronto Blue Jays in Marcus Semien and Bo Bichette. It’s not a bad problem to have when you have two of the best three players at a position group, though that won’t be the case next season when Semien is only going to be classified as a second baseman.

With the second half of the season officially here, let’s see who is ranked where in the Top 25 Fantasy Shortstops.

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Around Major League Baseball, there are a host of outstanding players at every position. But the deepest position is unquestionably shortstop. Need some convincing? Eleven of the top 50 players in the Razzball Player Rater rankings or shortstops.

And these are not shortstops in the mold of Ozzie Smith or Omar Vizquel. These shortstops are in the mold of Cal Ripken Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, both the steroid and non-steroid versions. Fernando Tatis Jr. is must-watch television when he steps to the plate. Xander Bogaerts, Marcus Semien, Bo Bichette, and Carlos Correa are also must-watch television every time they are hitting.

I’m not giving anything away when I tell you they are my Tier 1 shortstops right now. As a group, they average 54 runs scored, 17 home runs, 48 RBI, and eight steals while slashing .294-.366-.553. Of the top 50 home run hitters in baseball, eight of them are shortstops. And shortstops account for nine of the top 50 RBI leaders this season. What does this have to do with fantasy rankings? Well, if you don’t have Tatis Jr. or one of the other Tier 1 shortstops, the position is so deep you can make a trade for a player from Tier 2 or 3 and still greatly improve your team.

Without wasting more of your valuable time, let’s see what the ranking order is for the Tier 1 group and the rest of the rankings for shortstops.

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Fantasy rankings are always an interesting exercise. How much do you weigh a slump at the plate? Should an injury penalize a player? The answer to that is the oh-so-great “it depends.”

Is the slump over the past week or two? If yes, then the player may drop down in the rankings a bit but he won’t disappear, especially if he is a proven veteran. If it is a month-long slump, then that player is obviously not one of the top 25 players at that time. I don’t think anyone could realistically rank Francisco Lindor as a Top 25 shortstop during the first month of the season.

Now that we are two-plus months into the season, I look at players on three levels when I consider trading for them or adding them from the waiver wire. The obvious level is what are his overall statistics. I then look at what they have done in the last 14 days and 30 days.

If I’m going to add a player to one of my dynasty teams, I want production, not just this year but for the next year or two. Thus, I’ll go even deeper into the weeds and look at their exit velocities, hard-hit percentage, and strikeout percentage and compare them to past seasons. If a player’s counting stats look nice but his overall numbers are trending down, I’m going to think twice before trading assets for him or picking up a free agent and thus have to drop one of my current players.

As for injuries, if a player is out for 10 days, I’m not going to drop him out of the rankings unless he was already near the bottom of the rankings. But if a player is out for a considerable amount of time, then that will affect where he is ranked. That is why Corey Seager is not ranked right now. In real life, he is still a top 25 shortstop. No MLB would drop Seager from their roster because he is hurt. But in fantasy baseball, Seager is not helping anyone. He has not produced for weeks and it will be weeks before he hits the field – so he is not a top 25 fantasy shortstop right now.

But there are plenty of players who are not injured and who are not slumping at the plate. Which players have moved up the rankings or entered the Top 25? Let’s find out.

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When ranking players every two weeks, you have to treat those rankings a lot like the stock market. Players are going to have hot streaks, and if you are lucky enough, you get them into the lineup and ride the wave. Of course, just like the stock market, players also suffer slumps and can devastate your lineup if they are a key part of your team.

But a good fantasy owner knows, or is lucky enough, to catch the players when his stock is going up and have enough depth to overcome a player whose stock is falling. Some players see their value drop because of injury or illness, such as Fernando Tatis Jr. A true clue chip stock, owners were obviously not going to get rid of him when his value fell. They just waited for Tatis to get healthy and watch his value rise. Right now, it is through the roof.

Players who are not Tatis are tougher to judge. Joey Wendle has taken fantasy owners on a rollercoaster ride this season. A great hot streak to start the season before turning ice cold only to turn it around at the plate. Did you catch the Wild Wendle Ride at the right time, or did you ride it too long, got off and now are wondering whether to get back on?

Let’s find out with this week’s rankings of the Top 25 Fantasy Shortstops.

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With April in the rear view mirror and June fast approaching, we are starting to see a lot less wild movement in the Top 25 Fantasy Shortstop rankings.

Two weeks ago, five new players entered the rankings – Alex Bregman, Brandon Crawford, Paul DeJong, Freddy Galvis and Kike Hernandez. While all five players produced well to move into the rankings, they were help by the continued freefall of Francisco Lindor and the cold bats of Eugenio Suarez and Donovan Solano and injuries to Jean Segura and Ketel Marte.

Now in Week 7, the top shortstops have, for the most part, moved to the top of the rankings while the middle tier players are settling into their spot in the rankings. Of course, not all the stars are performing as expected and players you probably thought were never going to valuable in fantasy baseball are doing their best to get off the free agent wire.

If you are wondering about Lindor and where he is ranked, don’t waste your time. He is still missing in action this season, hitting .195 with two home runs and seven RBI. I guess if there is a bright spot, both of his home runs and five of his seven RBI have come over the last two weeks. If you can buy low on him, you might as well do it because he has to turn it around at some point, right?

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Last year is officially behind us!

Months after the Dodgers defeated the Rays in the World Series to cap the most unique season Major League Baseball has ever seen, followed by countless offseason moves and meaningless exhibition games, the baseball season has thankfully begun.

Of course, it is impossible to completely put the past behind us. For the Mets and Nationals, they must think that they are still stuck in 2020 as their season-opening series was wiped out due to the COVID virus affecting a host of Washington players. But for everyone else, every hit, home run and strikeout now count. That means we are all checking how our fantasy teams five or six time a not to see how our players are doing on the field.

Gone are the endless updates of our preseason rankings as we prepared for drafts. Now the fun part starts – tracking the players and their performance as the season unfolds. Will the top players perform as expected, or will one of them pull a Christian Yelich or Jose Altuve on us and stink it up all season. With only a handful of games in the books, the Top 25 Shortstop Rankings are basically the same as they were a month ago, but there has been some player movement.

So without further adieu, lets get to the rankings.

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With your NCAA tournament bracket now busted due to the rash of upsets this weekend, you can turn your attention back to baseball. In fact, why was your attention even turned away from baseball? With less than two weeks until the start of the regular season, spring training starts to take on a little bit of importance. OK, who am I kidding? We don’t need spring training to know who the top shortstops are, especially in 12-team mixed leagues.

However, there are plenty of 16-, 18- and 20-team leagues and thus a much larger player pool you need to dip into. Additionally, many deep leagues still require a middle infielder in addition to needing a starting shortstop. Depth is critical in deep leagues, and finding that gem late in the draft can be the difference between winning and losing a league.

With players locked into battles for a starting job, the spring training stats we overlook could help determine if Nico Hoerner earns the starting job with the Chicago Cubs or starts the season in the minor leagues. Or maybe a player you are tracking as a sleeper is having a horrible spring and doesn’t deserve to be on your watch list right now.
However, there are plenty of 16-, 18- and 20-team leagues. The player pool you need to dip into is greatly expanded when you have that many teams. Additionally, many deep leagues like these still require a middle infielder in addition to needing a starting shortstop. Depth is critical in deep leagues, and finding that gem late in the draft can be the difference between winning and losing a league. 

With players locked into battles for a starting job, the spring training stats we overlook could help determine if Nico Hoerner earns the starting job with the Chicago Cubs or starts the season in the minor leagues. Or maybe a player you are tracking as a sleeper is having a horrible spring and doesn’t deserve to be on your watch list right now.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

March is here, and that means one thing: filling out a bracket or two for March Madness. Oh, wait, wrong sport.

In the world that really matters, it is fantasy baseball drafting season. For many, that means after hours and months of going over every player and compiling your own rankings and checking them twice, it is time to match wits against others and quickly learn that the perfect mock draft you created for yourself needs to be thrown out of the window after the second round.

When it comes to fantasy baseball, there are seeming a gazillion types of leagues you can join, from the stats that are going to be used, whether it a head-to-head or points league to the number of teams in the league. Also, is the league a redraft league or are you starting a new dynasty league. That is an important factor, because if it is a dynasty league, how you build your team is very different from a redraft league – or at least it should be.

We all want to win right away, but in dynasty leagues the goal is to win not just this season, but for multiple seasons. If you draft a team that is reliant on older players, you may do well this year, even next. But you don’t want to win just now. You want to win every year. So with the goal of building a team that wins today, tomorrow and three years from now, below is my list of Top 25 Shortstops for dynasty leagues.

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