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At the risk of beating a dead horse, I dislike the term "sleeper." Maybe you share my qualms with terminology, maybe not; we can all agree that what we're after in our fantasy drafts is value.

Obviously, finding the most valuable players leads to winning leagues, but there are few better feelings than snagging the next great bargain right from under the noses of your rivals.

As we draw closer to the start of the season, I'm offering my thoughts on potential 2018 fantasy baseball draft bargains at every position. We're finishing up the infield today with a look at shortstop.

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Your One Shortstop Shop

Orlando Arcia, Milwaukee Brewers

Hitting near the bottom of the Brewers’ lineup suppressed his run production, but Arcia quietly hit .277 with 15 HR and 14 SB as a 22-year-old. The additions of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain probably preclude a bump to the top of the batting order, but Arcia remains a name to remember in the back half of your draft, especially if your league also employs an MI slot. Given that Arcia ran a 27 SB/600 PA pace in the minors and the Brewer’s willingness to be aggressive on the bases, there’s untapped stolen base potential here.

Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics

Semien probably won’t hit any better than .250, but he’s a sneaky 20/20 candidate. The A’s shortstop hit 27 home runs in 2016, and last season he banked 10 homers and 12 steals despite missing nearly half the season with a broken wrist. Semien is also expected to bat leadoff for Oakland this year, which puts him in position to score plenty of runs. Early ADP has him outside the top 20 shortstops, so there’s a lot of profit potential here. And really, touting Semien is an annual spring tradition for me at this point, so no one should be surprised to see him listed here.

Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs

Can you believe this guy only just turned 24 and is entering his fourth MLB season? We shouldn’t forget that, even if his bat hasn’t lived up to expectations so far. He’s at least made incremental improvements in contact rate and quality every season, so optimism about his long-term outlook isn’t misplaced. It’s not crazy to think 2018 is the year the light goes on, and you finally don’t have to pay an expectant price to find out.

Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks

Marte hasn’t shown much at the MLB level, but he spent most of 2017 working on his swing at Triple-A. That work appears to have borne some results, namely an increase in launch angle and batted ball quality. He’s never going to be a big power hitter, but he’s fast enough to take advantage of Chase Field’s deep alleys for lots of extra base hits. He also has good bat-to-ball ability and took some strides in plate discipline last year. Marte should find plenty of at-bats playing both shortstop and second base, and there’s some sneaky breakout potential here if his gains from last season can stick.

 

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