Well, it didn’t take long for injuries and poor play to blow up my preseason rankings.
Fernando Tatis is back in the lineup now for the Padres, but he gave every fantasy owner a heart attack when a vicious swing nearly ripped his shoulder off his body. Meanwhile, Adalberto Mondesi has yet to even get his season started while Tim Anderson was sidelined with a hamstring issue. While injuries are a nuisance, nothing frustrates a fantasy owner more than poor performance.
It seems shortstops such has Trevor Story, Gleyber Torres and Dansby Swanson have decided to enter the witness protection program instead of hit a baseball with any consistency. Story’s slow start has seen him fall 16 spots in my rankings while Torres and Swanson are nowhere to be seen in the rankings right now. Speaking of rankings, let’s get on with the show and see who ranks where – and why.
BICHETTE MAKES HIS MOVE
When I did my final rankings ahead of the season, ignoring my man-crush on Bo Bichette, I moved him from fifth to ninth. I did this because with most drafts over and not thinking three to five years down the line for dynasty league, I was hedging my bets due his lack of a full season of career games. That was simply stupid. Never bet against Bo Bichette. The Blue Jays shortstop has stormed out of the gates, scoring 12 runs, hitting four homers and driving in 10 runs to rank first among shortstops in those categories. He also has a slash line of .302-.345-.604.
After debating back and forth about ranking players who only qualify at shortstop in Yahoo leagues, I decided to add them. These rankings reflect the current season and thus players who currently still qualify as shortstop in Yahoo. So Manny Machado and Jazz Chisholm jump from not being ranked to third and fourth. Machado being ranked so high is not surprising. While his slash line through Friday is pedestrian, he scored 11 times, hit three home runs, drive in eight and added four stolen bases.
Chisholm was ranked 21st in the second baseman rankings last week, and after a great week, he is now ranked fourth among shortstops and could stay in the To 10 all season. Through the first two weeks of the season he has socked three home runs to go with six RBI and three steals. He also has a nice slash line of .294-.405-.706. He looked overmatched in his brief time at second base last year for the Marlins, but he is showing why he was a top prospect.
WENDLE, SEGURA CRASH TOP 10
Also crashing the Top 10 thanks to Yahoo counting them as shortstops are Joey Wendle and Jean Segura. Wendle has already driven in eight this season while scoring eight runs and has a slash line of .326-.341-.488. Meanwhile, Segura is off to a good start for the Phillies with a .333-.353-.438 slash line and driving in five runs to go with six runs scored. Both Wendle and Segura will eventually fall out of the Top 10, but in deep leagues they are definitely worth having on your roster thanks to the fact they can play multiple positions.
I wasn’t sold on Jake Cronenworth entering the season for a couple of reasons. He was an old rookie last year, so I wasn’t sure his numbers were real. Playing time was also a concern. But with the injury to Fernando Tatis, playing time has not been an issue. Cronenworth doesn’t have a home run and has only three RBI, but he has scored nine runs and has a slash line of .339-.412-.458. Cronenworth has likely secured a spot at second base even with the return of Tatis to the lineup. But like Wendle and Segura, he will likely slide down the rankings a bit once the top shortstops get hot or return from injuries.
SLOW START HURTS TURNER
The player who stands out in this group is not Garrett Hampson, but Trea Turner. A Top 5 shortstop not matter whose rankings you looked at, Turner is off to a rough start. The fact the Nationals were dealing with COVID issues to start the season is probably a factor as Turner is still only hitting .252 with a 21.3% strikeout percentage, which is 3% higher than his career average.
Everyone has been waiting for Garrett Hampson to produce on the field, and right now he is a mixed bag when it comes to his play at the plate. If you look at his slash line (.229-.304-.333) he wouldn’t be ranked. However, he ranks fourth among shortstop is runs scored (10) and his four steals, which is why anyone actually owns Hampson, ranks first among shortstops. Throw in seven RBI and he winds up as a needed add right now in deep leagues.
INJURIES – AND WHAT’S THE STORY WITH STORY?
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The start of the season has not been kind to a host of players who were all ranked among the top 15 shortstops at the start of the season. Injuries have hampered the starts of Fernando Tatis, Aldaberto Mondesi and Tim Anderson while poor play has led to the fall of Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez and Dansby Swanson. Before you get all upset, no, I don’t think some of the players ranked in the top 15 are better than Tatis, Mondesi, Anderson, Lindor, Baez or Swanson. But thanks to injuries or poor play, they have not produced and don’t deserve to be in the Top 15.
It is easy to understand Tatis, Mondesi and Anderson being outside the Top 10 right now as injuries have derailed the start of the season for them. An injury derailed a great start for Ketel Marte. Before being sidelined with a hamstring strain, Marte was off to a torrid start, slashing .462-.500-.846 with two home runs and five RBI. Marte’s return is still up in the air, but his hot start was worth noting for this week’s rankings.
Trevor Story can’t point to an injury to explain his slow start. Entering the season ranked second, he is barely hanging on to being ranked right now thanks to a .260 batting average and a .360 slugging percentage. Owners expecting power and speed from Story are not happy to see zero home runs through Friday’s games. Injuries also can’t explain Francisco Lindor’s horrid start of zero home runs and one RBI. Maybe he’s trying to prove he is worthy of that nice new contract he signed before the season, but right now no one is happy with his slash line of .222-.389-.259.
While a host of players are struggling, Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a player who is new to the rankings but could remain there the rest of the season. Able to play multiple positions, Kiner-Falefa is locked in at shortstop this season and has rewarded the Rangers by hitting two homers and driving in seven runs while adding two steals and nine runs scored.
J.P. Crawford dropped out of the rankings through no real fault of his own, hitting .271 to start the season and extending his hitting streak to eight games on Saturday. But he only has a .292 slugging percentage and three RBI with zero homers. I had high hopes for Gleyber Torres entering the season. Those hopes have been dashed. Maybe his inability to play shortstop is affecting his ability to hit. Something is, that’s for sure. After a horrid 2020 season, Torres has started just as badly, putting up a slash line of .227-.346-.273. He has yet to hit a homer and has only one RBI.
What do Dansby Swanson, Paul DeJong, Jorge Polanco, Willy Adames and Andres Gimenez all have in common? All of them were hitting below .200 entering Saturday’s games with an on-base percentage of .281 or below and a slugging percentage under .391. Meanwhile, a player I was expecting more from but who is also off to a slow start is Willi Castro. The Tigers shortstop is at least hitting above .200 with a .226 mark. But he has not gone yard yet and has only three RBI.