Please see our player page for Javier Baez to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

Ramon Laureano is running angry about his 2020 season. After an .853 OPS over his first two seasons with the Athletics with 20 total SBs, Laureano saw his OPS plummet to .704 and accumulated only 2 SBs in 2020. He’s already more than halfway to his season-high 13 SBs. 

Is this for real? Yes, to an extent. He’s projected for 131 SBs if he plays 150 games this season. Thems Rickey numbers! The (current) Athletics organization is notorious for not stealing bases, but Laureano has the speed and while he doesn’t have an elite walk-rate — his 81% contract rate paired with his legs can help him get on base at a decent rate. The only thing that could stop Laureano is an injury. In his young career, he does seem to be slightly injury prone — already dealing with a jammed wrist early this season. 

Below you will find the stolen base leaders so far this season. For each of the players included, I’ve highlighted their sprint speeds and their xwOBA. xwOBA is an indicator of a batter’s skill based on the quality of contact (incorporating exit velocity and launch angle,) the number of times they made contact while excluding the fielding result. There are 22 players who have stolen 2 bases, but I’ve chosen to highlight 7 of the interesting players that popped out to me. 

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“Just Dong Just Dong Just Dong Just Dong Just Dong…oh, and Just Dong. Then, when you get tired, and wanna go home, Just Dong some more.” That was the guy who hired Quasimodo to ring the bell at Notre Dame. It was also the Red Sox yesterday. Leading the Red Sox yesterday in the Just Dong parade of Just Dongers was none other than, you guessed it, Just Dong Martinez (4-for-6, 4 runs, 4 RBIs), who hit his 3rd, 4th and 5th homers, as he hits .472. Hey, Preseason Grey who hated J.D. Martinez, you suck. Always seem to get myself in trouble when I try to time the end of guys’ productiveness, rather than just going with guys until they’re no longer liable. Whit Merrifield and Nelson Cruz come to mind, too. So, I trust Just Dong now, right? Well, no, not entirely, but I also can’t point to any reason not to trust him, so process of elimination tells me, he’s a younger version of Nelson Cruz. Call him Nelson Dongz. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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I’m still not convinced Yermin Mercedes isn’t a LARP. Or a Transformer. His name really is Yermin Mercedes? Just out here with a name that sounds like a German saying German Mercedes? And he doesn’t wear a Mercedes emblem around his neck like Flavor Flav? Is this real life or a simulation? The White Sox lost Eloy and just randomly found a guy who can do exactly the same? Right, right, okay, so the story I heard about one fantasy baseballer hearing the news of Eloy’s injury while on the Mercedes-Benz factory tour and crying onto a C-Class, and that transforming into Yermin, was a lie? I don’t hear lies, I hear truths! So, Yermin Mercedes went 2-for-4 and hit another home run (2nd) yesterday, and has basically done what we would’ve hoped for from Andrew Vaughn in our wildest dreams. But can it continue? Ah, excellent leading question! Yes, Yermin can hit .550. No! Of course not! He does have a solid hit tool (can hit .280) and good power (20-ish homers). The moment he slumps and Vaughn hits (it’ll happen — hopefully for my teams) Yermin will be on the outside, while Vaughn moves in. There is a chance Mercedes could hit 25 homers/.280, which is essentially Trey Mancini-type projections, so he’s worth rostering for now. tl;dr: Mercedes goes vroom, vroom, make room. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Fernando Tatis Jr. went down in a heap after a swing, and I fell off my couch, rolled three feet and laid there for twenty minutes until Ted, my dog, placed his butt on my face, the sign we mutually agreed on for “he needs to be walked.” Outside, we spotted two pigeons teaching a third how to fly again with broken wings. I stood by that hopeful scene signing Mr. Mister, “Take these broken wings…and learn to fly again, learn to live so free,” and I was briefly uplifted. Then, the branch they were perched on fell, and deposited all three in front of traffic. Feathers blew up in my face, triggering my allergies and I told Ted, “Let’s go home and sob under some blankets.” It’s impossible to know fully, until the Padres say one way or the other, but you’d have to think that Tatis only injures himself on a swing if he was playing hurt already. As of this writing, the Padres are saying a partial dislocation, which would mean weeks vs. months, and would be relatively good news. Also, if you can even think about next steps, I grabbed Jurickson Profar, and Jake Cronenworth and Ha-Seong Kim should see an increase in playing time. I await further news while securely under these blankets. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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Howdy do, folks.

The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI) is well underway, and all of us writer folk are eagerly drafting and impatiently waiting between picks. Spring Training games are in full force. The weather’s getting a little warmer (at least around here). It’s just a great time of year.

But with all that, there’s of course a flip side. The flip side being that human beings are fragile things, and when games start, you can just bet your little button nose that injuries will start a-pilin’ up.

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I feel like I say this every year around this time — but I LOVE keeper leagues. Especially all the crazy rules and context to them. “If you drafted him in the 13th round, he becomes a 10th round keeper next year, then a 4th round keeper the year after that, then a 1st the year after that. And if you keep him in the 1st you can’t keep anyone else with a 1st.” or “If you bought him for $5 his inflation becomes $18 in 2022. Then in 2023 he’ll be $31.43” or “You can’t keep anyone in the first 5 rounds, because one year Smitty somehow kept Miggy, A-Rod, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols and Roy Halladay and broke the league.” And let me tell you — I love ALL of it. Your league’s crazy rules are what make it unique and interesting. Navigating this craziness is part of the fun. So these are just my rankings for your standard, vanilla 5×5 roto league. But my favorite part of this article — is always in the comments helping you guys breaking down your crazy keeper rules and making the best choices. So get down there and tell me your league’s crazy keeper system and how I can help you make your best decision! 

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When doing bi-monthly rankings, I asked myself while freezing in the dark with no electricity because I live in a state that can’t handle the cold, “Jakkers, how do I do bi-monthly rankings when there are no games going on, not even fake games? Heck, spring training just started!” Now, because I was right there in the room when I asked this question, I immediately responded to this outstanding query. I told myself, “Well, let’s take a closer look at some of the players ranked two weeks ago.” I have to say, that is a brilliant answer. How do I know it’s brilliant? Because I asked it and I answered it, and I am brilliant. OK, in my world I am brilliant. Those around me probably have some other adjectives they’d likely use to describe me. Brilliant may not be one of them.

However, before we delve more into a few players, let me get my bias out in the open. Shocking, I know, but my rankings have a bias. I run two dynasty fantasy leagues. The leagues in which I participate but don’t run are, for the most part, dynasty leagues. Because of my preference for dynasty leagues, I prefer younger players with upside over players who have plateaued or are on the downside of their careers. Did this bias affect the rankings first posted two weeks ago? Yes. I ranked Willi Castro higher than Chris Taylor or Marcus Semien. I rank Bo Bichette fifth because he is only 23 as of Opening Day and has huge amounts of upside and he has three years on Corey Seager.

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