Welcome to this series of analyzing our site’s points league rankings, compiled by myself and Kyle Bishop. We’re good people, you should get to know us. Today we're taking a look at our tiered shortstop rankings for points leagues.
Points leagues abide by different rules, with walks and strikeouts usually being of notable importance compared to typical 5x5 leagues. It’s not as simple as that of course, but we’ll go off of ESPN’s default model. For hitters, it's one point per Total Base, Run Scored, Stolen Base, Walk and RBI, with a point deducted per strikeout. We’ve covered catchers, as well as first and second base, so let’s head around the diamond to the shortstops.
Editor's note: Be sure to also check out our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It's already loaded up with tons of great rankings articles and draft analysis. Aside from our tiered staff rankings for every position, we also go deep on MLB prospect rankings, impact rookies for 2017, and dynasty/keeper rankings as well. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.
2017 Fantasy Baseball Points Rankings: Shortstop (February)
Shortstop Points Rankings Analysis: The Tiers
The first class of shortstop going into 2017 really is an embarrassment of riches, and none of them are above the age of 24! What a time to be alive. None of these guys are going to disappoint anybody, though I personally have Francisco Lindor over Xander Bogaerts and Trevor Story (compared to Kyle) due to his upward-trending plate discipline metrics. He already upped his walk rate from 6.2% to 8.3% and cut his K-rate from 15.8% to 12.9%. It could improve in 2017 alongside some increased pop as he fills out into his frame. I’m excited.
If you don’t get any of the upper guys, Tier Two offers more than enough comfort. Jonathan Villar blew up in ’16, though most are expecting the power totals to regress. Even if that does, he’s posted BABIPs of .360 or higher in three of his last four seasons and has crazy speed on baseball’s most aggressive team. The ~25% strikeout rate stinks, but he isn’t afraid to draw a walk either (11.6% BB rate). Milwaukee is unlikely to change their approach, so Villar should be a good buy here.
Most of the other names have been beaten around quite a bit. Whether it’s Jean Segura and Aledmys Diaz both facing regression, the hype train of Jose Peraza or the excitement around Addison Russell, we’ve chatted most up. What about Dansby Swanson, how might he fit in? His .302 average had an unsustainable .383 BABIP behind it, so expect more of a .275 mark with a potential 12/12 season. If he does indeed bat second in between Ender Inciarte and Freddie Freeman/Matt Kemp then 90 runs becomes a real possibility, with roughly 65 RBIs likely. His 9.7% swinging-strike rate means he has room to quickly improve that K rate if he improves his zone control, so his spot here is warranted.
Maybe you’re really waiting through things because you know how deep this shortstop class is. Well, hats off to you, because now you can land yourself a cheap yet steady option. For what it’s worth, I won’t be an Elvis Andrus believer going into ’17. I know last season was marked by career highs, but his batted-ball profile really doesn’t back a significant change. Just don’t get too caught up in it.
Players such as Brad Miller, Brandon Crawford and Asdrubal Cabrera should provide steady lines, while risk-takers can opt for Javier Baez or Didi Gregorius. Eduardo Nunez will see the power regress, especially in AT&T Park, but should still be able to steal 25-30 bags even if he’s stuck batting sixth. Tim Anderson should flirt with a 15/20 season, but could bat .270 with horrible plate discipline so just be aware of that. His walk rates throughout the Minors mirrored last season’s 3% clip, with a strikeout rate likely to sit around 26-28%.
We kick off here with Minnesota’s Jorge Polanco, who is currently the front-runner for the starting shortstop gig. He doesn’t boast elite skills anywhere, but has grown into a little power with non-zero speed and decent contact. He’s the poor man’s Dansby Swanson here, especially if he also bats second in this lineup.
He may not hold the job down all season, but Freddy Galvis and his power breakout from last season has some merit to it thanks to an adjustment in his swing. He also went 17-for-23 on swipe attempts – not too shabby. For those speculating on second-half players, he could be a nice late snag but the obvious threat here is top prospect J.P. Crawford. Feel free to draft them both in deeper leagues and maximize efficiency if you have the bench space.
I know we said this was a deep class, but it’s not infinite! Hopefully you don’t need to dig this deep, but if you do then you’ll likely want to just bank on injuries (or a trade) opening the door for Jurickson Profar. If not, you can take a flier on the pop of Danny Espinosa, Stephen Drew or J.J. Hardy, but you know it’ll come with plenty of negative days. Jose Iglesias and Andrelton Simmons may be more consistent, but you’ll rarely ever see a day that makes you happy to own them.