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.
The ages listed are what they will be on Opening Day. And while I rank the players, the tiers are really more important. If you don’t care about steals, then Adalberto Mondesi is not as important in your rankings compared to another owner who loves steals. The person ranked fifth can easily be swapped for the man ranked seventh.
|1||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SD||22|
When starting a dynasty team from scratch, I go in with a bias – I look for top top under the age of 25, then go to the age 26-29 players to slide ahead of my under-25 players and then look to anyone over 30. If two players I rank are basically tied but one is 23 and the other is 27, I’ll go with the younger player. With that out of the way, age doesn’t factor at all when it comes to the top shortstop. Fernando Tatis is the obvious top choice – the dude can do it all. If I’m starting a dynasty team and I can nab Tatis, I’d snatch him up and be smiling the rest of the day.
Then comes a harder choice – Bo Bichette or Gleyber Torres. Bichette appears to have come out of the womb hitting. Since breaking in with the Blue Jays, all he has done is hit for average and power and get on base. I know it is only a 75 game sample size, but I have a man-crush on Bichette and his flowing hair and I’m sold on him anchoring a lineup. Gleyber Torres hurt a lot of owners last year who drafted him high, but I discount last season. In back-back-to-back seasons Torres was outstanding at the plate and at the age of 24, there is no way he doesn’t bounce back.
The rest of the players in the top 10 can each offer a little of everything, from speed to power to hitting for average and getting on base. If Tatis, Bichette and Torres are gone, I’d be more than happy to snag Trea Turner. You name a hitting category and Turner is going to help you in it, and if you have a team of players who score well across the board, more often than not. Adalberto Mondesi makes it into this group largely for one reason – steals. Whether your league uses straight steals or steals minus caught stealing, Mondesi will be a huge boost while adding some pop at the plate.
Tim Anderson can easily be higher on this list. Somehow he doesn’t get talked about as one of the top shortstops, always just missing the cut. But he’s similar to Trea Turner in that he can do a little of everything. At only 27 years old, he is entering his prime and can easily top his career highs over the next three years. Trevor Story worries me in a dynasty league because the chances of him playing half of his games in Coors Field could come to an end at any time. If you aren’t concerned about that, you should be because his career home-road splits are striking. Take him away from Coors and he has been nothing but a pedestrian hitting shortstop.
This tier of players all have talent and can provide a lot of help toward winning your league title. However, many of them come with questions marks. Leading the charge of the question mark players are is Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson. Correa couldn’t stay on the field from 2017-2019 and last year he just couldn’t hit until the playoffs. Still, he’s only 26 and if he doesn’t re-sign with the Astros this season, teams will be lining up at the door because of what he can do. Dansby Swanson finally hit his stride last year, but is his 2020 season a springboard to future success or a 60-game hot streak. I’m betting it is a springboard and could have put in in the first tier except for that tiny seed of doubt that I could be wrong.
The two players I really like in this group are Willi Castro and Andres Gimenez. I could be drinking the Kool-Aid of the 2020 season for both players, especially Castro. His 2020 season featured a BABIP of .448 and a 4.3 home run percentage. But he showed power in the minors and perhaps figured out his launch angle. Andres Gimenez booted Ahmed Rosario out of the shortstop spot last season with the Mets. If you are in a 12- to 16-team league, taking Gimenez in the later rounds could be a steal as he will likely reach 10-13 homers and close to 20 steals.
Chris Taylor and Marcus Semien here for two reasons. First is their age as both are 30. Second is the fact they may not qualify for shortstop after this season. Even if they do for next year, two or three years down the line they may not, and I look at least three years down the road when drafting for dynasty leagues. That is why Ahmed Rosario is still on this list. It was only two years ago that he hit 15 homers, drove in 79 and stole 10 bases. He will likely keep his shortstop designation into the future, especially if he is traded – which is a distinct possibility with Indians.
Willy Adames has a tenuous place on this list. Since breaking in with the Rays, he has improved his slugging each season. But the big question mark is how long will he be the shortstop for Tampa Bay as Wander Franco will soon be manning the position. Does Adames slide to second and Brandon Lowe plays all over the field depending on the time of day? Does Adames get sent to the bench or get traded? He has talent, but without knowing his role in three years, it is hard to rank him in Tier 2.