2017 Keeper Values: Shortstop Rankings - Tier Two

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What's up RotoBallers. Welcome back to my series on keeper leagues. Today I'll be taking a look at shortstop keeper values for fantasy baseball (tier two)  for those of you deciding what players to keep for your teams.

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft round in order to keep a player into the up-coming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as: the extent to which a good or service (player) is perceived by its customer (fantasy owner) to meet his/her needs or wants.

For these specific rankings, 12 team, 5x5 scoring, 23 man roster, Rotisserie league settings were used. If you play in a custom league with non-standard configurations, are thinking of keeping a player not on this list, or want to compare players on your team, follow me on Twitter @RowdyRotoJB or contact me via the RotoBaller Chat Rooms.

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.

 

How My Keeper Valuation Formula Works

The Keeper Values are derived from my 15 step Keeper Valuation Formula. The product is a quanitative depiction of a players ability to meet/exceed fantasy owners needs based on the cost they payed for the player in the previous season (2016 ADP). The higher the score, the higher the return the fantasy owner will receive from the player, keeping him at his associated cost. Approaching Keeper selections with this "value" based attitude, will greatly increase the effectiveness of a fantasy owner's draft in a Keeper League.

TIER SCORE EXPLANATION
1 >75 Finders Keepers! These are the Elite Keeper Values. MUST BE KEPT.
2 50-75 Great Keeper values. Unless you have a full load of Tier 1 players, these guys need to be kept.
3 25-49 You are gaining value with these players, but not as much as your opponents are, potentially. Consider if your options are limited.
4 0-24 Break even point. Minimal value. Only consider if you have a large quantity of Keeper selections.
5 -99-0 Keeping these players will hurt your overall draft, as you are not adding any value. Dont waste a Keeper selection here.
6 <-100 The associated costs make it impossible to return any value, these
players will ruin your draft. Stay far away.

 

2017 Top Shortstop Keeper Values: #5-8

8. Jose Peraza, CIN (23rd Round ADP) Keeper Valuation Formula Score: 54.26

On his way to becoming the modern day Rickey Henderson, Peraza found himself on a new team in Cincinnati for the third time in six seasons. He was called up to the big leagues in May last season, but did not find consistent playing time until Zack Cozart was diagnosed with tendonitis in his surgically repaired knee in September. In just over 250 PA for the year, Peraza finished with a .324/.352/.411 slash with 21 SB. It was pretty much what fantasy owners and the Reds expected out of him, and its pretty much what he's done since 2011 in the minors. Throughout the six years of minor league time, Peraza owned a .299 BA and accrued 220 SB. He is an excellent contact hitter, 87.1 Contact percent is up in Mookie Betts territory, with very Goldilocks-esque pop. I say this because he isn't putting the ball over the fence, but he certainly is not dinking the ball around the infield either. It is just right. His 59.2 medium hit percentage was second highest in the league among players with 250 PA.

With Brandon Phillips dealt to Atlanta recently, the door is wide open for Peraza to take the reigns at second base for the Reds in 2017. It comes at a great time, just after he tore it up at the plate down the stretch last season. After the All-Star break, he hit .355 and every one of his 13 XBH for the season, totaling an impressive .857 OPS and 127 wRC+. People may think his .361 BABIP is crazy and unsustainable, and it may be, slightly. But when a speedster like Peraza, hits 27.5% line drives (top 10 in the league with min. 250 PA), and almost half his hits are up the middle (40.3 percent to be exact, see spray chart), high BABIPs happen. It will continue to happen throughout his career.

Peraza won't blow you away with his fantasy numbers this year, but I do believe he will hit well enough to hold off Dilson Herrera, and make enough plate appearances to be a top 10 SB leader with a BA hovering around .300.

 

7. Dansby Swanson, ATL (23rd Round ADP) Keeper Valuation Formula Score: 56.37

The number one overall pick in the 2015 draft by the Diamondbacks was a part of what currently appears to be one of the worst trades of all time last season. He joined Aaron Blair and Ender Inciarte moving to the ATL in exchange for Shelby Miller. But that is a different story for another day. Swanson's first season as a Bravo was quite a productive one. After hitting nine home runs and stealing 13 bases in Double A, Dansby was called up to the league on August 17. In just 38 games with the big league club, he tallied three home runs with a .302/.361/.442 slash, adding three stolen bases.

The 23.4 K percent Swanson saw last year is slightly too high, and will certainly come down as he gains more experience in 2017. The same goes with his batting average however, as it came with an unrealistic .383 BABIP (hit .261 in his half a season at Double A). His batted ball statistics closely resemble Jose Peraza's, hitting the same 1.50 GB/FB ratio, a high amount up the middle (37.8 percent), with a healthy amount of line drives. The difference is Swanson hits the ball much harder, hitting an above-average 34.7 hard hit percentage in his short MLB stint. The 23-year-old won't be great at anything in fantasy, but he will be pretty good at everything. The best thing going for him right now is the news that he could be batting second in the lineup for the Braves in front of Freddie Freeman, Matt Kemp and Brandon Phillips. That should lead to a sneaky high volume of runs scored. And along with at least 10/10 potential, there's plenty of value to be had here. Just how valuable is Swanson to the Braves, though? See for yourself:

 

6. Aledmys Diaz, STL (23rd Round ADP) Keeper Valuation Formula Score: 68.91

Signed by the Cardinals out of Cuba in 2014, Diaz burst onto the fantasy baseball scene in 2016 after thumb surgery knocked out Jhonny Peralta prior to the season began. Diaz finished his remarkable rookie season with 71 R, 17 HR, 65 RBI and slashed .300/.369/.510 while earning his first All-Star appearance. All of that, and the guy was out a month with a broken right hand. His BABIP was only .312 for the season, which means he was out there earning that shiny BA. It was aided by an advanced plate discipline and pitch recognition. According to Pitchf/x, Diaz posted great total runs value against fastballs (3.4), curveballs (7.2. seventh best in the league), sliders (5.3) and changeups (1.6). But with a career .275 BA in the minors and an uninspiring 15.6 line drive percent, it certainly does not seem like .300 will be the norm.

It is genuinely a shame Diaz suffered the hand injury. Who knows what kind of season he could have had? He certainly would have ranked higher than fifth in Rookie of the Year voting, that's for daggum sure. Before the injury, Diaz had hit .312 with 23 doubles and 14 HR. It was great he was able to return, but for his last 15 games of 2016 he went 11-51 and of course missed out on an entire months worth of production. With the hand healed, 2017 presents loads of offensive potential for Diaz as he is also slated to hit in the two hole, behind Dexter Fowler and in front of Matt Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty, for a Cardinals offense that is poised to bounce back strong.

Stepping away from fantasy baseball for a second, we have to take a second to relive my favorite moment from the 2016 season. If you are a true baseball fan, and were also devastated by the loss of Jose Fernandez, you too were a huge Aledmys Diaz fan on this night:

 

5. Francisco Lindor, CLE (Sixth Round ADP) Keeper Valuation Formula Score: 70.69

With just 99 major league games under his belt, Lindor had already become a trusted fantasy name prior to the 2016 season. In his first full season, the former first round pick repaid that trust by accruing 99 R, 15 HR, 78 RBI, 19 SB, and a .301/.358/.435 line. This was after posting a 14/21 season in 2015 between AAA and MLB, and a 14/30 season in 2014 across three levels of Minor League ball. If you hadn't noticed, Lindor is exactly as advertised. His .348 BABIP from 2015 dropped down to a more reasonable .324 last season, but he was able to keep that batting average up over .300 by increasing his line drive percentage and cutting his infield flyball rate in half. He also showed improvement with his plate discipline by increasing his walks and decreasing his strikeouts to reach a respectable 0.65 BB/K ratio.

Neither the power nor the speed will ever blow fantasy owners away from Lindor. He's not much of a hard hitter, hitting a below-average 27.5 hard hit percentage last season, so the 15 HR should be viewed as an optimistic projection from year to year. He surprisingly doesn't have blazing speed, which is deceiving because when you watch him play, it sure looks like he's quick. His 5.5 speed value was tied with Rougned Odor and teammate Jose Ramirez. But what Lindor does have is smart speed, as he converted 19 of 24 stolen base attempts. The best thing Lindor has going for him doesn't really help fantasy owners out. He has become an elite defender at shortstop, ranking third behind Brandon Crawford and Andrelton Simmons in defensive runs saved at the position.

Despite what may have come off as negativity in that last paragraph, Lindor will continue to provide elite fantasy production at the shortstop position in 2017. He is a switch hitter, which is great for matchups, and he will hit atop the rowdy lineup in Cleveland who recently acquired Edwin Encarnacion and may return a healthy Michael Brantley. Another 15/20 season, an average in the neighborhood of .300 and elite runs scored is good enough for RotoBaller to have him ranked at 29th overall heading into this fantasy season. The somewhat lack in potential offensive growth is what separates Lindor from the other young shortstops such as Xander Bogaerts and Corey Seager in keeper values, but Lindor still only misses out on a tier one score by less than five points.

 

Keeper Value Articles: 

Catcher Rankings: Tier 1

Catcher Rankings: Tier 2

Catcher Rankings: Tier 3

First Base Rankings: Tier 1

First Base Rankings: Tier 2

First Base Rankings: Tiers 3-4

Second Base Rankings: Tier 1

Second Base Rankings: Tier 2

Second Base Rankings: Tier 3

Third Base Rankings: Tier 1

Third Base Rankings: Tier 2

Third Base Rankings: Tier 3