Three of the top 10 hitters ranked by SIscore came from shortstop last season. Trea Turner (5.09) led the way after hitting .335 with 46 runs, 12 home runs, 41 RBIs and 12 steals in 233 at-bats. Fernando Tatis (4.71 – .277 / 50/17/45/11) finished second in the final batters standings in 2020, followed by Trevor Story (3.75 – .289 / 41/11/28/15). Corey Seager’s lack of steals (.307 with 38 runs, 15 homers, 41 RBIs and one stolen base) pushed his 20th to SIscore (2.10).
In 2019, eight players hit 30 home runs or more at shortstop. The best player was Trevor Story (.294 with 111 runs, 35 home runs, 85 RBIs and 23 steals) for SIscore (7.75). Alex Bregman (.296 with 122 runs, 41 home runs, 112 RBIs and five steals) ranked second at shortstop and third at third base.
Seven players scored more than 100 runs and two players delivered more than 100 RBIs.
In 2018, four shortstops had 100 or more runs, and five players drove in more than 100 runs. Five hitters had more than 30 home runs.
Here’s a grid showing the final 2019 stats for the top 12 players at each position and their SIscore ranked value (I didn’t use the 2020 stats due to a small sample size):
In 2019, the top 12 shortstop hit .293 with 91 runs, 23 home runs, 75 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 550 at-bats. The shortstop position ranked fifth in overall hitting value.
For comparison, here are the projections (3/15) for the top 12 shortstop in Sports Illustrated ranked by SIscore:
Statistics highlighted by the yellow line show the average projections (.284 with 96 runs, 28 home runs, 86 RBIs, and 28 steals in 582 at-bats) for the top 12 shortstops in 2021.
Here’s a look at the top 12 shortstop for 2021 NFBC ADP (March 8 – March 15):
At the end of the second round of 15-team drafts in the high-risk market, seven shortstops could be selected. The position has positive chances over the top 75 draft picks.
Fernando Tatis Jr. signed a massive contract with the Padres in 2021, and will be one of the top three picks in many fantasy leagues. Your focus improved last year, which may lead to your fifth tool becoming an asset. With a full season of at-bats, 40 home runs and 40 steals are close at hand. I prefer him over Ronald Acuña in drafts because of the stolen base advantage from a central infield position.
If Trea Turner decided to run further and bring her stolen base total closer to 60, she would become the most valuable fantasy hitter. Building a team is much easier with a higher speed player. Turner can very well hit third in the batting order, setting up the most RBIs of his career. He’s got a lot of power, with the base swing hitting above .300.
Fantasy owners should have no complaints about Trevor Story’s landing in the backend of the first round. He lost his support in the lineup, which will hurt his ability to score runs. Story has been one of the top 10 fantasy hitters by SIscore for the past three years. He has a trend toward a 30/30 player with three consecutive seasons helping his batting average.
Francisco Lindor brings a balanced skill set while offering more value on home runs than stolen bases. Even with a favorable approach, his batting average ceiling seems lower than that of top shortstops. He looks like an in-and-out pick in the second of the fantasy draws, and the Mets have talent behind him in batting order.
The bet to come to shortstop for the second consecutive season is Bo Bichette. The Blue Jays improved their starting lineup, which will be a big win for Bichette if he plays all year. His batting average is projected to a shocking asset while possessing a minimum of a 20/20 skill set. I trust his value on home runs more than his stolen base floor.
The love / hate fantasy player in the second round is Adalberto Mondesi. His high strikeout rate invites average batting risk, but most don’t see him hitting close to .380 when Mondesi puts the ball in play. He is a difference maker in robberies as long as he has a middle-aged flat in power nearby. If your focus improves, Mondesi becomes more valuable.
My big SI hitter of 2020 was Corey Seager. You will find him in the third round in the high risk market of 15 teams. Seager reviews the four category stud cube as he plays in the highest-scoring lineup in the National League.
Gleyber Torres was a failure last year. Still, he looks poised to return with a vengeance in 2021. Torres should be the go-to shortstop for a fantasy owner who missed top picks in the first four rounds of the draft. The Yankees have an explosive lineup and he will be in the middle of all the action. Despite his failure last year, his focus improved, targeting a .290 / 100/30/100/10 one-season chance.
The top shortstop group has a depth of 13-15 players this year.
Marcus Semien has a wide range of opinions on their value as fantasy owners navigating through the second stage of their team building. He should hit near the top of Toronto’s batting order while earning a hit on offensive players around him in batting order. The Blue Jays will play a few games in a batter’s park, which will be a win for their production.
To be or not to be is the question of Carlos Correa. He enters his seventh season with the Astros with his eyes on free agency. His bats were explosive during his first four months in the majors in his early 20s in 2015, but Correa hasn’t played in more than 110 games in any of his previous four years. At 26, he doesn’t have a year with more than 25 home runs or 100 RBIs. Despite his shortcomings, Correa has a positive impact. I hope he has the best season of his career while he’s off on draft day.
At the beginning of the draft season, Andres Gimenez was drafted as if he had already won Cleveland’s starting shortstop spot. In March, her feelings were confirmed when Amed Rosario was pushed into a utility / garden role. Giménez offers many stolen base advantages, but he needs to improve as a base runner. His power is on the wane as he hopes to hit lower in the batting order. I see it too expensive at your current ADP (139).
Tommy Edman offers a mid-level combination of power and speed. The Cardinals will hit him at the top of their lineup, creating plenty of opportunities to score runs. Your batting average should be positive as you expect more speed than power.
Jonathan Villar has a rolling swing, which restricts his homerun outing. He doesn’t have a clear path to a starting job without injury. Its best value comes in stolen bases, inviting a deep league buy-and-hold situation.
The last power out at shortstop came from Paul DeJong. His MLB resume suggests average batting risk, but I see a hitter with a chance to hit closer to .270 with stealth speed on his resume. The Cardinals may allow him to clean the bat at times this season.
Ha-Seong Kim played well in Korea, but I hope he struggles early in his major league career. He wants to hit the ball for home runs, which will have pitchers work him on the outside half of the plate until he shows he can make strong contact. The Padres shouldn’t give him a full-time job early in the season.
ADP Test Series
Receivers | First base | Second base | Third base | Short circuits | Gardeners | Initial pitchers | Relief jugs
SI FANTASY BASEBALL FANTASY
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.