Now that we’ve recapped the top 20 catcherstop 20 1st basemen and top 20 2nd basemen, we’re starting to see clarity on depth of positions, and shortstops are shallower than 2nd basemen, which is surprising again. I say ‘again’ because it was the same last year. My guess is shortstops will get more robust next year, but they need to metaphorically eat. So, here’s the final ranking from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason. Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2023 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

1. Mookie Betts – Already went over him at the top 20 2nd basemen for 2023 fantasy baseball.

2. Bobby Witt Jr. – Well, my ranking wasn’t that far off, but, let’s be honest, I booted Bobby. An unforced error doing a Bobbly Witt Jr. like a big ol’ nerd who is actually very dumb. Not one of those smart nerds that everyone secretly likes, but a dumb nerd that everyone secretly hates. The worst kind of nerd! Seriously, there were a few Ls this year, but me saying to avoid Bobby Witt Jr. was likely my 2nd worst L. My Acuña L will never be topped (bottomed?), sadly.  As I mentioned on the last podcast when BDon and I did our 2024 fantasy baseball top 25, last year is last year. I refuse to compound errors by holding onto any dumb shizz. Move on, movers! And I now love BWJ. He cut his Ks, upped his walks and has the speed for 70 steals. He *only* went 30/49, and that feels like a benchmark. He’s fantastic, and Last Year Grey was a dummy. Preseason Rank #3, 2023 Projections: 91/24/77/.257/24 in 586 ABs, Final Numbers: 97/30/96/.276/49 in 641 ABs

3. Francisco Lindor – I’m enjoying seeing the fruits of limited pickoffs and pitch clock come to, uh, fruition in the players’ stats. Without any science, it seems clear in an very anecdotal way that every player received a 15-steal boost. Lindor was a 15-steal guy, and now steals 30. If I’m being real with you, I love this for fantasy. It’s fun. Give me more 30/30 guys. It’s so much better than 2022 when there was, like, three good players. The Eric Davis’s of the world are back, baby! LFG! Preseason Rank #6, 2023 Projections: 101/27/104/.261/17 in 592 ABs, Final Numbers: 108/31/98/.254/31 in 602 ABs

4. Corey Seager – Truly incredible how good Seager is because he has no steals, missed parts of the season and still finished fourth here, in front of a bunch of guys who give speed and power. I see you, Seager. Preseason Rank #10, 2023 Projections: 87/30/91/.268/2 in 587 ABs, Final Numbers: 88/33/96/.327/2 in 477 ABs

5. Trea Turner – Me ranking Treat Urner first overall this past year looked worst before the Phillies fans’ heart grew three sizes bigger, like the Grinch before them, and cheered Treat. Something that is super random that has no real basis on anything, but Treat wasn’t caught once this past year.  He now has 57 steals in 60 attempts in the last two years. (More if you count the postseason, but we don’t.) Preseason Rank #1, 2023 Projections: 107/22/101/.293/30 in 606 ABs, Final Numbers: 102/26/76/.266/30 in 639 ABs

6. Nico Hoerner – Already went over him at the top 20 2nd basemen for 2023 fantasy baseball.

7. Fernando Tatis Jr. – Kinda bummed to see Fun The Jewels lose his shortstop eligibility but, as the Pilgrims said when they saw someone painted their name on the boat as Mayflour, we shall preserve. His Hard Contact% and HR/FB% were way down, but that just means a 30/30 guy vs. the 40/30 guy he was before the suspension.  By the by, pretty remarkable how many at-bats some people got last year. Jewels had 575 in a year where he missed three weeks of April. Preseason Rank #4, 2023 Projections: 88/34/81/.286/19 in 461 ABs, Final Numbers: 91/25/78/.257/29 in 575 ABs

8. CJ Abrams – Just like my ranking was close to Bobby Witt Jr.’s final spot but I took the L, my ranking is nowhere close for Abrams, but I’m taking the W. I wrote a sleeper post for Abrams, and couldn’t have been more vocal about drafting him. Preseason Rank #24, 2023 Projections: 77/6/61/.274/31 in 573 ABs, Final Numbers: 83/18/64/.245/47 in 563 ABs

9. Gunnar Henderson – In a league where people (idiot managers) are increasingly utilizing The Kevin Cash School of Managerial Annoynaces by platooning guys and just benching them when they get cold, it’s nice to see a team stick with Gunnar through thick and thin vs. lefties, but there is a case to be made Gunnar should not face lefties (3 HRs, .209 in 148 ABs). Preseason Rank #9, 2023 Projections: 68/25/81/.269/12 in 537 ABs, Final Numbers: 100/28/82/.255/10 in 622 ABs

10. Ha-Seong Kim – Already went over him at the top 20 2nd basemen for 2023 fantasy baseball.

11. Bryson Stott – Already went over him at the top 20 2nd basemen for 2023 fantasy baseball.

12. Xander Bogaerts – Currently thinking about the guy who was in 1st place, talking that shizz to his opponents, when he had Bogaerts and Brent Rooker in April (Bogaerts in April: 6 HRs, .308). Much like Rooker, Bogaerts came on again in September (4 HRs, .417). Long live the Jockstuffers. Preseason Rank #17, 2023 Projections: 87/17/82/.292/7 in 549 ABs, Final Numbers: 83/19/58/.285/19 in 596 ABs

13. Bo Bichette – I will say this with utmost seriousness, it takes a real commitment to the bit to only steal five bags in eight attempts in today’s game. Boba has the 337th best sprint speed in the majors. Or “best” “sprint” “speed.” I could’ve just put quotes around the whole thing, but felt more appropriate to put them around all three separately, because it’s neither best, nor a sprint nor speedy. Boba runs like he’s stuck in quicksand. Preseason Rank #2, 2023 Projections: 107/25/86/.287/17 in 603 ABs, Final Numbers: 69/20/73/.306/5 in 571 ABs

14. Wander Franco – Still reeling that Wander apparently threw away his entire career. It doesn’t feel real. Hoping we get closure on it one way or the other soon, but this feels like it’s going to drag on for months. Preseason Rank #16, 2023 Projections: 84/22/77/.291/14 in 580 ABs, Final Numbers: 65/17/58/.281/30 in 442 ABs

15. Dansby Swanson – Without doing any research to see if there’s hinting of this, because I’m far too lazy for a recap, Swanson stealing nine fewer bags this year vs. last makes me think he was playing injured. His numbers are whispering to me “bounce back.” Preseason Rank #7, 2023 Projections: 78/27/84/.262/14 in 591 ABs, Final Numbers: 81/22/80/.244/9 in 565 ABs

16. J.P. Crawford – His end-of-the-year stats in a vacuum don’t scream breakout, but, if you look at his previous seasons, Just Peachy upped his Hard Contact%, HR/FB%, LA, FB% and looks like a late-career (late-ish at 28?) breakout. Like Christian Walker on a smaller scale, I don’t foresee an automatic fall back to earth. Preseason Rank #52, 2023 Projections: 54/8/44/.253/5 in 564 ABs, Final Numbers: 94/19/65/.266/2 in 534 ABs

17. Ezequiel Tovar – With only 11 steals, I’d say Tovar didn’t know when to run vs. not being able to run, but you have to figure in the Bud Black equation too, and wonder if Tovar was just given terrible information or sent at the wrong times. When you can blame Bud Black, you absolutely have to. Sadly, as figured in the preseason, Tovar might just not have great fantasy traits (meh speed and bleh power). Preseason Rank #32, 2023 Projections: 51/11/41/.264/14 in 402 ABs, Final Numbers: 79/15/73/.253/11 in 581 ABs

18. Thairo Estrada – Wrote a sleeper for Thairo, and he’d look even better here if he didn’t miss time for injuries, and prolly would’ve surpassed my projections by a healthy margin — I Can’t Believe Thairo Wasn’t Better. Wait, that’s margarine.  Preseason Rank #22, 2023 Projections: 87/16/63/.262/23 in 574 ABs, Final Numbers: 63/14/49/.271/23 in 495 ABs

19. Matt McLain – The only unranked player. That’s kinda wild. Not saying it as a horn tootin’ for one’s own self (odd sentence phrasing), but I’m saying it more to point out how no one came out of nowhere for the shortstops. That is legit crazy. Might be why the position ended up being somewhat shallow. Next year should see an influx of shortstop talents, but we’ll save that for another day. If wondering why, as a McLain might say, why harder. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 65/16/50/.290/14 in 365 ABs

20. Elly De La Cruz – Been slow to adjust for the new CBA, but I think it’s fair now to assume if a prospect looks good in Double-A last year, he will be in the majors sooner than you think. So, I know E! was exploited later in the year by off-speed pitches, but can we just talk about how a guy was up for roughly three months and stole 35 bags. He’s going 25/70 next year. I am now typin wit my drooooool. Sorry, back to fingers now. Preseason Rank #50, 2023 Projections: 15/4/16/.234/7 in 132 ABs, Final Numbers: 67/13/44/.235/35 in 388 ABs