Good day, Razzballers,
The MLB season is less than two weeks upon us, drafters are in midseason form, and the 18-team auction keeper league I’ve been involved with for the past ten years comprised of mostly Met fans is set to draft Sunday!
Now that the top 25 shortstops and second basemen have been ranked for the preseason, I figured I’d do a deep league dive and highlight a few shortstops that could potentially make a difference later in the year. If you’re in an 8-12 team league, this post may not be for you, this one’s for the 15-team + leagues with deep rosters.
These players currently are definitely not the blue-chip, elite shortstops the casual fan is aware of, rather, these players are deep league waiver-wire shortstops, players that are currently cheap in deep redraft or keeper leagues. These players will someday in the near future (hopefully by latest midseason) blossom into productive assets for our fantasy teams and provide us with much needed relief during the dog days of the baseball season.
As we know with prospects, player production is one thing but it is up to the major league organization to decide when/if the player will get the call up to the major league club. I’ve highlighted three shortstops I believe will make an impact in 2022.
- Bryson Stott – Philadelphia Phillies – Age – 24 years – Bryson Scott had a breakout 2021 season between three minor league levels, his stat line below comes courtesy of his MiLB page:
A few factors come into play regarding Bryson Scott’s potential playing time with the Phillies in 2022:
While quotes from managers can usually be taken with a grain of salt this time of year, Phillies manager Joe Girardi was quoted as saying “We’re going to take a look at him (Bryson Scott),” “He had obviously an unbelievable year last year, and he continued it in the Fall League… it’s going to be an evaluation.” Scott followed up his strong minor league year with a strong Arizona Fall League season. Players with strong AFL seasons in years past have typically translated to productive MLB seasons/careers (Ex: Ronald Acuna, Kris Bryant, Gleyber Torres).
While it’s not known if the Phillies made a legitimate run at shortstops Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, or Trevor Story, the Phillies signed outfielder Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber instead of addressing their middle infield, seemingly showing faith in incumbents Didi Gregorius, Jean Segura, and Bryson Stott. Phillies President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski was reportedly not allowed to take payroll above $230 million.
As of now, Bryson Scott has the opportunity to win the shortstop job over Didi Gregorius. If Scott doesn’t end up as the Phillies Opening Day shortstop, look for Scott to make an impact at midseason with his all-around skill set. Scott would ideally hit for a high average, score a ton of runs, steal some bases, and slot into the #2 slot in the lineup above Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos, and Kyle Schwarber. Barring injury, Scott is the player on this list that has the opportunity to make his major league debut earlier than the other two players listed below this year.
Gabriel Arias came over to Cleveland in the Mike Clevinger trade in 2020. While Arias is having a good spring training, the expectation is that he begins the year in AAA and comes up around midseason (The Guardians also currently have 14 players on their 40 man roster that haven’t made their debut. Note: this number may change by the time this article is published). Per Baseball Reference, Arias had 45 extra-base hits and a .284/.348/.454 triple slash line with an .802 OPS last season. His power has been steadily increasing the past three years but the major knock on him right now is the overly aggressive approach. If he can trim his strikeout rate (his 22.4% strikeout rate was a career-best last year), look for Arias to come up around midseason. I expect him to play solid defense, spray the ball all over the park and be an all-around contributor (excluding OBP).
Oswald Peraza put himself on the map after his 2021 season. Per Baseball Reference, he batted .297 with a .356 OBP, 18 homers, and 38 stolen bases in 2021. However, the stats which impressed me the most about him comes from Prospect Digest:
This tells me Peraza has made great strides in his game (from previously slapping the ball around with no power), he has developed elite plate discipline, especially for such a young player, and is worthy of an imminent MLB debut. While it is debatable that the Yankees overvalue their prospects, it is telling that they were not willing to include Peraza in potential trade packages for a big bat and immediate upgrade such as Matt Olson. There doesn’t seem to be an opportunity for Peraza to win a job with the Yankees out of spring training as Josh Donaldson, Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, Gleyber Torres, and DJ LeMahieu are in the mix. However, I remain skeptical that players such as Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and the newly-acquired Josh Donaldson stay healthy all year.
Thanks for reading!