Most seasons, shortstop is one of fantasy baseball's thinnest positions, but a quick look at our 2017 rankings reveals a pretty stacked group, complete with mid- and late-round sleepers and category specialists. Of course, even with that said, SS might still be one of fantasy's thinnest positions on your cheat cheat, but based on our projections, there are still enough options to get you through a season -- or at least your draft.
But even though shortstop appears deeper than in past seasons, that doesn't mean it's an easy position to draft. Just a glance at our rankings could haveyou thinking Player X is "way too high" and Player Y is "way too low". Carlos Correa over Trea Turner? Jonathan Villar and Trevor Story over Corey Seager? Troy Tulowitzki at No. 16 (sorry, but he's 32, keeps getting hurt, and doesn't take nearly as many walks)? Javier Baez at No. 9?
So many question marks in that last paragraph (literally). There's no doubt our rankings skew toward stolen base guys, but the nice thing about SS is there are few "pure" SB guys, meaning most of the players who take a lot of bags also have at least some pop.
Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy: Shortstop
You can make a strong case that our top seven shortstops should be gone by the third round. Corey Seager is the only one who "can't" steal bases (Machado stole zero last year after stealing 20 in '15, so who knows what to expect from him), and all can hit above .280, with several looking like .300-plus hitters. At least 15 homers is easily in play for everyone (30 HRs is in play for over half the top seven), and while Turner and Villar might not make it to 20, they make up for that with 40-plus SB potential.
You know it's a stacked group when Francisco Lindor, a 23-year-old, .300-20 HR-20 SB threat, is at No. 8. It's entirely possible that Lindor is the best "real-life" player on this list because of his incredible defense, but he lacks the overall fantasy upside that the seven players in front of him possess. Tough crowd, huh?
If you don't get one of the top seven or eight studs early, that's OK. If he plays everyday (which we're projecting he will), Javier Baez has similar upside to Lindoraside from the batting average. Jean Segura has similar upside to Villar, though with a few less steals. Eduardo Nunez also fits that bill, though it's fair to be worried that he's a one-year wonder.Heck even Tim Anderson has similar upside to Villar, Segura, and Nunez, but Anderson's inability to take walks makes him far riskier. Either way, these are all players who quietly could go 10-30 in a "down/mediocreyear" and 20-40 in a good one. Even Orlando Arciacould be in that discussion if things really go well for him.
If you don't care about SBs (maybe because you already took Starling Marte or Dee Gordon or Billy Hamilton), sluggers like Tulowitzki, Brad Miller and Jedd Gyorko (assuming he has an everyday job, which we're not counting on...yet) are solid options, but they could be batting average killers. Marcus Semien and Addison Russell will cost you more because they at least steal a few bases, but both will likely hit between 20-30 homers. The middle-to-late rounds will be flush with power-hitting shortstops, which could affect how you draft earlier in regards to going for five-tool OFs vs. power-hitting corner infielders/outfielders.
2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Shortstop
Note: These rankings were compiled as if every player isonlyeligible at SS.
|3||Trea Turner*^||Nationals||2B, OF|
|4||Jonathan Villar*||Brewers||2B, 3B|
|7||Xander Bogaerts||Red Sox||--|
|9||Javier Baez*||Cubs||2B, 3B|
|15||Jose Peraza*||Reds||2B, OF|
|16||Troy Tulowitzki||Blue Jays||--|
|17||Brad Miller*^||Rays||1B, 2B|
|18||Tim Anderson||White Sox||--|
|22||Jedd Gyorko*||Cardinals||1B, 2B, 3B|
|24||Jurickson Profar*||Rangers||1B, 2B, 3B, OF|
|33||Jorge Polanco*||Twins||2B, 3B|
12 Marcus Semien A's --
*Eligible at another position
^Won't be eligible at SS on draft day but expected to play SS during season