Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 Shortstops for 2017
Who are the top 10 shortstops for 2017 in fantasy baseball?
Over the next few weeks here at Call to the Pen, we are going to get you ready for your 2017 fantasy baseball draft. In this space, I’ve done some prospect diving, talking about prospects to target and then prospects to stash with a late pick who may help you down the road during the season.
Now it’s time to get to the positional ranks. I’m going to give you top 10 rankings at all positions and then top 25 for outfielders and starting pitchers because there’s just so many of them.
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The shortstop position has evolved over the past couple of years. Some of the best young players in the game are at the position along with top prospects like Dansby Swanson and Amed Rosario either arriving or close to making it to the show.
There are guys with power, speed or both. Gone are the days where teams just wanted a good glove at the spot, now you need the bat to help your team on offense as well. This generation is going to be exciting to watch for years and years to come at the position.
So who are the top 10 players at the position for 2017 fantasy baseball? For that, we have to start off with a player who had a renaissance offensive season last year.
10. Elvis Andrus– Texas Rangers
2016 stats: 147 games .302/.362/.439 eight homers 75 RBI 24 steals
2017 steamer: 138 games .277/.337/.382 six homers 61 RBI 21 steals
Andrus was a catalyst on the teams from the earlier part of the decade that went deep into the playoffs and almost won a World Series. Andrus’ offense really took a tumble after 2012, posting three straight seasons of a WRC+ of 78, 80 and 70 (100 is league average). The Rangers gave him an eight year $120 million extension in 2015 and he finally got back into the swing of things offensively in 2016.
He brought his average over .300 for the first time in his career and posted a career best 112 WRC+. He increased his walk rate, while producing his third straight season of over 30 doubles and has stolen over 20 bases every year of his career.
Andrus did have a BABIP of .333, a career high. Does this mean regression is coming, or has he turned the corner entering his age 28 season offensively?
It’s certainly a roll of dice if you pick Elvis, but one which could pay off for you in 2017.
9. Aledmys Diaz– St. Louis Cardinals
2016 stats: 111 games .300/.369/.510 17 homers 65 RBI
2017 steamer: 129 games .283/.342/.454 16 homers 65 RBI
Diaz came on the scene when Jhonny Peralta started off the season hurt and came out with a bang. Diaz was probably the least talked about rookie shortstop in the NL and produced some pretty good numbers in his first season.
He won’t turn 27 until August, but if his first season is any indication, he can give your squad some pop at shortstop and for not a high a price tag in the draft as some of the other players on this list might.
Obviously there is risk involved. Can he avoid a sophomore jinx? The Cardinals have a lot of infield depth, how will Mike Matheny rotate guys like Kolten Wang, Peralta and Jedd Gyorko along with Diaz, Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams in the infield.
I’d look for Diaz to get the bulk of the playing time at short and produce better numbers than Steamer suggests.
8. Addison Russell– Chicago Cubs
2016 stats- 151 games .238/.321/.417 21 homers 95 RBI
2017 steamer- 139 games .247/.321/418 18 homers 68 RBI
It makes it easier for a club to trade Gleyber Torres and Starlin Castro away when you get a kid like Addison Russell in a trade and can plug him at short and already have Javier Baez as well. Russell just turned 23 in January and already has shown he a ton of power potential.
Russell increased his walk rate and decreased his walk rate in 2016 (even though his K rate is still over 20%). His WRC+ was still below 100, but that is a part of his average and OBP being low.
I would expect better numbers than Steamer projects. His plate discipline got better, plus the lineup he is in should help those other numbers go up. I think the homers are within range, but i think the RBI lie somewhere in the middle. When you draft Russell, you’re going for power, because he won’t offer much in the way of steals (just nine combined over his first two seasons).
Nonetheless, Russell will be in the lineup day in and day out and that also counts for something in fantasy.
7. Trevor Story– Colorado Rockies
2016 stats: 97 games .272/.341/.567 27 homers 72 RBI
2017 steamer: 133 games .261/.328/.478 24 homers 78 RBI
Story was the story across major league baseball during April looking like Roy Hobbs with 10 homers during the month. He had his rookie year cut short with a thumb injury and will have to prove himself again this year, that he too can do what he did again.
Like any Rockie, there are some questions in terms of home and road splits since Coors Field is the best place to hit. Story hit .313 at home and just .235 on the road. His home OPS was 1.086 vs .747 away from Coors.
Steamer projects Story’s numbers to basically be what he did his rookie year and that is a nice piece to have as your shortstop. Even if he’s going to have those dramatic splits between home and road, he’s still going to be a big run producer and that’s all you can ask for.
6. Jean Segura– Shortstop
2016 stats: 153 games .319/.368/.499 20 homers 64 RBI 33 steals
2017 steamer: 143 games .273/.316/.395 13 homers 62 RBI 24 steals
Segura was one of the lone bright-spots in a dim Diamondback season. The Brewers traded him to Arizona after two dismal seasons which included being hit in the head twice and the loss of his infant son.
After tweaking his stance, Segura looked like the player of his rookie season from 2013, posting career highs in all offensive categories except for stolen bases. He brought his walk rate up and increased his BABIP to .353.
Segura is now in Seattle thanks to a Thanksgiving eve trade and will go back to shortstop this season. Seattle isn’t as good a hitting environment as Arizona, so the homers may not be as high this year, but he could produce more doubles and triples.
I think the truth for Segura lies somewhere in between his steamer projection and his stats from last season. Even if that’s the case, plus multiple position eligibility, makes Segura a nice choice for your squad.
5. Xander Bogaerts– Boston Red Sox
2016 stats:157 games .294/.356/.446 21 homers 85 RBI
2017 steamer: 145 games .296/.354/.448 17 homers 78 RBI
The 24 year old who once upon a time was blocked for Stephen Drew emerged last season into one of the top offensive threats at the shortstop position and will be the best player in a talented infield for the Netherlands in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
Bogaerts set career highs in homers, RBI, steals, OBP and slugging. His strikeout rate increased with his added power, but his walk rate nearly doubled in 2016 and he scored 115 runs.
Bogaerts plays in a ballpark that suits him, as he increased his pull percentage by 11 points. With the Green Monster in left, playing wall ball isn’t a bad idea. He’s got plenty of talent around him. He’s going to be a guy who hits close to 20 homers, 30 doubles and score a ton of runs with nearly a .300 average.
4. Francisco Lindor– Cleveland Indians
2016 stats: 158 games .301/.358/.435 15 homers 79 RBI 19 steals
2017 steamer: 147 games .290/.350/.430 15 homers 76 RBI 16 steals
If you hadn’t heard of Lindor, you certainly did during the 2016 postseason as Lindor hit .310 with an .820 OPS during the playoff run that fell just a bit short in the World Series. Lindor has been excellent since coming up in 2015. Lindor’s power clicked in the big leagues to go along with his other skills, making him one of the best in the game at 23.
Lindor increased his walk rate and decreased his K rate in his first full season in the majors after coming up for 99 games during the 2015 campaign. His slugging and OBP decreased, but it was more of a sample size.
Lindor is going to hit like Xander Bogaerts, except with slightly less home run power and with more steals. He is going to be one of the faces of the game moving forward, and an excellent choice at short if you cant get one of the top three.
3. Corey Seager– Los Angeles Dodgers
2016 stats- 157 games .308/.365/.512 26 homers 72 RBI
2017 steamer- 146 games .285/.342/.475 23 homers 79 RBI
When Seager came up during the 2015 season, he had to play third and hit third for a team that made the playoffs. In 2016, Seager moved back to shortstop and win the NL Rookie of the Year Award unanimously and finish as a finalist for NL MVP. Not bad.
Seager at 22 looks more comfortable than other guys who are 32. He’s not going to provide you steals, but Seager can hit and hit for power and drive in runs for a team that should be pretty good in 2017. He ripped 40 doubles and scored over 100 runs last season and there ‘s no reason to think that those numbers can’t be replicated in 2017.
Seager is going to go within the first couple of rounds of your drafts and with good reason. I think his numbers are going to be right with what he did last year, maybe even better.
2. Trea Turner– Washington Nationals
2016 stats- 73 games .342/.370/.567 13 homers 40 RBI 33 steals
2017 steamer- 145 games .301/.347/.459 15 homers 68 RBI 40 steals
Turner was a huge part of the Nationals offense last year. They moved him to center in the minors for a little bit then brought him up and unleashed him. All he did was steal over 30 bases in 73 games and hit .342. Turner’s speed and power plus his multiple position eligibility makes him a huge fantasy asset for 2017.
He’s moving back to his natural position of shortstop which may make him more comfortable. One thing he has to work on is eye. He only walked a little over 4% last year and struck out 18% of the time and struck out 11 times in 24 plate appearances against the Dodgers in the NLDS.
I think he’ll be in between his Steamer projection and what he did last year. If he does that, he’ll be well worth the high selection of him in re-draft leagues this year.
1. Carlos Correa– Houston Astros
2016 stats: 153 games .274/.361/.451 20 homers 96 RBI
2017 steamer: 145 games .278/.358/.469 22 homers 87 RBI
Correa is just 22 years old and is going into his second full season in the majors. He may be the best shortstop in the game today, and for me he’s the number one shortstop that you can get in fantasy baseball for 2017.
Correa had his walk and K rate increase during the 2016 season, but also had 20 homers for the second straight season and had over 30 doubles. He increased his pull rate which helps in the ballpark that he plays in. He can also give you double digit steals as well.
He should one of the top players in the game and is going to cost you a premium pick to get, but one that you should be happy with when it’s all said and done.
So there you have it. The top 10 shortstops in fantasy baseball for 2017. Anyone too high or too low? Leave a comment and let your voice be heard.