As you stroll up and down the grocery store aisles, you come to THAT row. You know that row – the one with the candy in the heart shaped box. Year heart starts racing and your palms get a little sweaty. Heck, you may even get that a tingle run through your body.
You know what that box of candy in a heart shaped box means and you cannot stand the excitement. A picture of the love of your life pops into your mind, and you smile at that image – there on a glorious field of green grass and manicured dirt are pitchers and catchers working out after reporting to spring training.
Then that picture turns into a list of top spring training visits you’ve had, then a list of top songs you listened to on your drive to Florida with a group of your best friends. Soon, you are discussing the top 10 girlfriends of Derek Jeter (Minka Kelly! Jessica Biel! Vanessa Minnillo and Jordana Brewster! Now married to Hannah Davis – that is just not fair!) Derek Jeter – a true Hall of Famer on and off the field!
Speaking of shortstops and baseball, no ranking would be complete without a ranking of the top players at each position. And that is why you are here. Everyone has their own belief of who is the best at each position and how they would rank players. But you just want to make sure that you are not crazy for ranking Adalberto Mondesi ahead of Xander Bogaerts (you’re not) or for ranking Willi Castro ahead of Corey Seager (you are).
How you rank players depends on many things, and hopefully not because they have cute eyes or because you know a friend who is the cousin of the trainer of David Fletcher who says he is going to have a career year this season. My rankings are based all on science and a hefty amount of gut. I’ll be updating these rankings biweekly for the duration of the season.
If there is a tipping point between one player and another, I’m going to go with the younger player more often than not. Give me the upside, especially in a dynasty league. And you if are not playing in a dynasty league, you should!
Tier 1 – The best of the best
*Note: Age as of Opening Day
|1||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SD||22|
This is pretty straight forward. You can quibble with the exact order of those players, except for Tatis. If you have the chance to take Tatis and you pass on him, you should be shamed out of your league and never call yourself a fantasy baseball player. Now, you may be wondering how Bo Bichette gets into the top five. First, he has great hair. Second, the name just makes him sound like a ball player. But Bichette also has more talent than daddy Dante ever had. No one cares about defense, so throw that tool out of the toolbox. What about the other tools, like average and on-base percentage? Bichette has that with a career .307 average and a .347 OBP. Looking for power? He’s got that as well with a .549 slugging percentage. How about some steals to round out your fantasy lineup? Well, would you be happy with 20-plus steals a season, because that is what he will give you.
Tier 2 – Knocking on the door
Adlaberto Mondesi at number seven? Yes. If you are surprised, you may not have really dug into what he delivers. His ability to swipe 50 bags alone and help you win steals every week is reason enough to have him as a top 10 shortstop. Over a 162-game average, he delivers 17 homers and 72 RBI. Combine that with his steals, and that makes him worthy of his rank.
Gleyber Torres could be listed a lot lower due to the season he had in 2020, if you can call that a season. Torres will shoot up this list if he is the player who showed up in 2019. At the age of 24, I’m not ready to write him off.
Tier 3 – Just who are these guys?
Carlos Correa is entering his seventh season with the Astros. He has all the tools to be a top 5 shortstop, but he has never quite had a complete season. Oh, how he teased everyone in his first full season, slugging 20 homers, driving in 96 and ending with a slash line of .274-.361-.451. But he has not topped 110 games played since and last year his power numbers nosedived to the tune of a .383 slugging percentage. At only 26-years-old and in his walk year, I’m betting he is closer to 2016 than 2020. I also believe Javier Baez rebounds from his 2020 nightmare, but I want Dansby Swanson to prove what we saw last year was the player that made him the top pick in the 2015 draft.
Tier 4 – The final 10
As you can see from this, there are aging players mixed with some up-and-comers. Taylor gets bonus points for being able to play all over the field, but at 30-years old, his best days are behind him. The same with Marcus Semien and Didi Gregorius. But Semien could fly up the charts now that he is hitting in a loaded Toronto Blue Jays lineup. RBI chances will not be rare for him this season. Willy Adames could be out of a job in Tampa Bay thanks to Wander Franco knocking on the door.
The one player to really watch in this group is Andres Gimenez. Now in Cleveland, he pushed Ahmed Rosario to the bench with the Mets last year and found his footing in September/October by posting an .818 OPS, showing why he was once a top 100 prospect and top 5 prospect with the New York.
Now let’s get back to talking about the top 10 girlfriends of Derek Jeter!