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.
But what if players are the same age or within a year of each other? Well, then it is time to get all nerdy. First, you can look at different projections as a starting point. Then, you can look at a player’s past. Is there a one-season outlier that has affected a player’s 162-game average? Are his stats trending up or down? What categories does the league or leagues you play in use? There are a million things that go into rankings. But that is why you are here. Do you want to be awake at 1:30 in the morning looking at rows and rows of numbers? No! You want me to do that work for you and provide you a list of players. So I have.
Thus, without further adieu, let’s revisit the preseason rankings of the top 25 shortstops.
Tier 1: The Dudes You Want
|1||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SD||22|
In looking at this list, I may actually move Bo Bichette ahead of Francisco Lindor as the season nears, and certainly won’t be surprised if Bichette outperforms Lindor this year. Lindor gets the higher ranking based on past history, but at four years younger, I’d take Bichette over Lindor in a Dynasty draft. I’m not moving Fernando Tatis out of the top spot. However, with trade rumors surround Trevor Story, is he deserving of the second spot? To answer that, let’s look at this home-road splits. Story, like many Rockies, has huge splits. He has hit 62 percent of his 134 career home runs at Coors Field. At home his slash line is .311-.372-.488. What’s his road slash line? How about .267-.329-.419. That is a pretty drastic swing.
Let’s look at Trea Turner. His splits show he is a more consistent hitter. At home he is a .300 hitter with an OBP of .366 and a .486 slugging percentage. On the road, his line is .291-.340-.474. I like that consistency, especially in weekly head-to-head leagues. What if Story and Turner played their entire career on the road. The average season for Turner would be 112 runs scored, 22 homers, 73 RBI and 49 steals. Story would be 84-27-77-26. Add in their slash line stats and Turner looks a little better. So if you rank Turner ahead of Story, it isn’t crazy, especially if Story gets traded. But as of now, he plays for Colorado. Thus, at the end of the year, his power numbers will be better than Turner’s and that sneaks him into the second spot at this time.
Tier 2: Ready to Move Up
I still like the current placement of these players. Corey Seager can be ranked in the top five. If you are in a re-draft league where age makes no difference then Seager could be a top four shortstop. Then there’s Xander Bogaerts. Should he start the season ranked ahead of Adalberto Mondesi, especially if you are not concerned about steals? Bogaerts has sported a .500-plus slugging percentage for three straight seasons. Meanwhile, his 162-game average for his career is 97 runs scored, 20 homers, 89 RBI and 10 steals. Compare that to Mondesi’s 83-17-72-59 162-game average. For the next season or two, Bogaerts can easily bring in more bang for the buck. But Mondesi alone can win you steals, and that is important and why I would still rank him ahead of Bogaerts.
Tier 3: The Volatile Group
I discussed Carlos Correa and Javier Baez in the initial rankings post, so we don’t don’t need to go into them. So let’s look a little more at Tommy Edman. He could be ranked in the fourth tier, but I like the fact that he can play second, short and third and both corner outfield spots. But being versatile doesn’t mean anything in fantasy baseball if you can’t hit.
Considering Edman is entering his third season, he doesn’t have a past to really gauge what he may do in the future. Last year did not live up to his 2019 debut, but over 162 games Edman averages 97 runs scored, 18 homers and 68 RBI with 19 steals. Do those averages play out in real life? In fantasy there are no absolutes – just hunches. My hunch tells me Edman is deserving of his ranking.
Tier 4: The Old and the Young
Of all the players in this group, Marcus Semien is the one who is most affected by my bias against the “old” players. At 30-years-old, Semien’s best days are behind him. And the biggest question is, what are his best days. Is he the player who finished third in MVP voting in 2019 when he had a slash line of .285-.369-.522? Looking at his prime years, no, he is not.
His previous career highs in average, OBP and slugging were .257-.325-.435, and those all came between 2015-2017. Is Semien the player who hit a career low .223 and posted a .374 slugging percentage, which was the second lowest of his career? I don’t think so. Hitting in a deep Blue Jays lineup, Semien will likely match is 162-game average of 22 homers and 72 RBI with a slash line of .254-.322-.425. Solid production and a reason to think he could jump into the top 15 as the season progresses. Once he gains eligibility at second base, his value will go up. And to save you time, what I just said applies to Didi Gregorius (minus the ability to play second base) – older shortstop who will give you solid production. Great for a redraft league, but if I’m thinking years down the line, give me the 25-year-old Edman.