2018 Shortstops - Early Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings

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It's time to examine the glamour position of the infield, shortstop. Once considered strictly a defensive position, there are now a host of options that can fit into your fantasy lineup and deliver. 2017 saw 10 different shortstops score over 400 in points leagues. Speed was key component, as five qualified SS stole over 20 bases, while a total of 10 went over 15 SB.

Before we get on with it, you might want to also check out our rankings and analysis for catcher, first basesecond base, and third base. All mixed league rankings are done by RotoBaller writers Kyle Bishop, Jeff Kahntroff, and myself.

Keep on the lookout for outfielders and pitchers soon. In the meantime, you can see all of our preliminary 2018 fantasy baseball rankings for mixed leagues. Bookmark that page and come back for updates throughout the coming months.

Editor's Note: Stay on top of our MLB off-season news and fantasy analysis. Read our daily fantasy columns about MLB prospects, dynasty outlooks, player outlooks and much more. Let's Go!

 

2018 Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings: Shortstop (January)

Ranking Tier Player Position Kyle Pierre Jeff
1 1 Trea Turner SS 3 14 5
2 1 Carlos Correa SS 14 8 14
3 1 Francisco Lindor SS 22 27 22
4 1 Corey Seager SS 27 23 25
5 2 Alex Bregman 3B/SS 60 44 32
6 2 Xander Bogaerts SS 52 75 78
7 2 Elvis Andrus SS 75 66 70
8 2 Jean Segura SS 83 85 109
9 3 Didi Gregorius SS 133 93 116
10 3 Chris Taylor 2B/SS/OF 96 175 106
11 3 Javier Baez 2B/SS 122 166 133
12 3 Trevor Story SS 157 109 167
13 3 Eduardo Nunez SS/3B/2B/OF 171 148 123
14 4 Tim Beckham SS #N/A 149 147
15 4 Ozzie Albies 2B/SS 181 #N/A 146
16 4 Marwin Gonzalez 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF 142 221 129
17 4 Marcus Semien SS 196 150 163
18 4 Tim Anderson SS 201 216 126
19 4 Andrelton Simmons SS 247 194 158
20 4 Paul DeJong 2B/SS 203 197 #N/A
21 5 Zack Cozart SS 151 250 218
22 5 Orlando Arcia SS 245 235 144
23 5 Addison Russell SS 191 207 284
24 5 Jose Peraza 2B/SS 282 177 #N/A
25 5 Chris Owings 2B/SS/OF 220 267 211
26 6 Dansby Swanson SS 290 220 #N/A
27 6 Jorge Polanco SS 312 255 198
28 6 Jose Reyes 2B/SS/3B 281 #N/A 253
29 6 Troy Tulowitzki SS #N/A 271 #N/A
30 6 Asdrubal Cabrera SS/2B/3B 298 #N/A 244
31 6 J.P. Crawford SS 302 242 #N/A
32 6 Brandon Crawford SS 308 #N/A 243
33 6 Amed Rosario SS 304 290 245
34 6 Gleyber Torres SS #N/A 297 288

 
 
Tier 1

The first thing that might stand out is my own ranking of Trea Turner. First of all, I do think he's worth a late-first round pick if you like to prioritize speed, but I likely won't consider him the best overall player available when it's my time to pick. I would take an outfielder like Mookie Betts or Charlie Blackmon first because they bring a higher ceiling across the board. Some might argue positional scarcity, but as you'll see in the remainder of this article, that shouldn't really be a consideration at SS any longer. Turner's 46 steals jump out, but I also look at the fact that his .789 OPS was 53 points behind Francisco Lindor, 65 points behind Corey Seager and 152 points behind Carlos Correa. Correa has a clear advantage in the power category as well, hitting 24 HR in 422 at-bats, while Turner hit 11 HR in 412 at-bats. At a first-round price, I'd prefer an top positional performer across all categories rather than an elite performer in one category.

Lindor's power surge will be looked at with skepticism by many, as his ISO jumped almost 100 points in a season. His HR/FB rate only rose to 14%, so if he keeps his fly ball rate high, it's possible he reaches 25 or more again. His average didn't suffer terribly, finishing at .273, so don't think he's transforming into a slugger and draft with confidence.

Tier 2

The second tier includes some young, budding stars that may take the next step forward this season. Alex Bregman may wind up being overvalued because of his tremendous World Series. His first full season in the majors looks fairly good on paper, but it was a slow grind to get those numbers to a satisfactory level, as he started off very slowly. He likely shouldn't be drafted much higher than last year, but he probably will be. Xander Bogaerts can't seem to decide what kind of hitter he wants to be, as his GB/FB ratio has fluctuated wildly over the last four years (0.92, 2.05, 1.30, 1.60). The reassuring thing is that he's scored 293 runs over the last three years and should still hit for a high average and score plenty of runs, regardless of his home run totals.

Jean Segura is a high-end option, but is he a top-30 overall player? Kyle certainly believes so, despite his HR total dropping nine and his SB total dropping by 11 last year. He had a rough second half, but is only 27 years old and presents one of the better power/speed combos in the AL at this position. I'm just not willing to take him that high in hopes of a complete rebound because Seattle isn't the same hitting environment as Arizona.

Tier 3

There's one big market player that I believe could get even better, and that's Didi Gregorius. Like Lindor, he showed barely any power in the minors and now has gone yard 20+ times in consecutive seasons. The good news is that power came without any sacrifice to his average (.287), despite a low BABIP of .287 to match. He won't give you any speed, but if he hits anywhere near the top half of the Yankees lineup, he's a surefire top 10 SS that shouldn't lose value in the coming year.

Chris Taylor, on the other hand, draws a lot more skepticism from me. Taylor's season took everyone by surprise, as he wasn't even picked up in most leagues until he turned red hot in July. A repeat is certainly possible, as he's in a great position to drive in runs, just like Gregorius. Sample size is a concern, however, and I'm afraid that recency bias might inflate his value far above what it should be.

Tier 4

If you believe that Tim Beckham's career in Baltimore will continue as it started, then he should be up near the second tier. In just 50 games for the Orioles, he went .306/10/36 and ramped his OPS up to .871, compared to .721 in 87 games with the Rays. A hot August shouldn't convince you to overpay for Beckham's services, but I have an easier time believing in his coming-of-age story than Taylor because Beckham is a former #1 overall pick and seems to only have needed a change of scenery to start producing. As the 14th-ranked shortstop on our list, you probably won't have to make him a starter in order to find out if he's for real.

Andrelton Simmons could hit .202 with no homers on the season and still take the field for 162 games, because he's just that good defensively. Luckily for the Angels, he had a career-best year at the plate in 2017 and set personal highs with 77 R, 69 RBI, 19 SB and a .421 SLG. While his .278 average and 14 homers aren't going to win you a rotisserie league single-handedly (and defensive greatness sadly goes unaccounted for), he is a bargain in points leagues, as he finished fourth in points among all shortstops last year.

When choosing between second-year players, I am far higher on Paul DeJong than Ozzie Albies, as indicated by the fact I don't have Albies in my top 300. To put it bluntly, I'm worried that Albies will be Jose Peraza 2.0, but with less speed. He didn't show bad plate discipline in his time with the Braves, but he's gotten into the troubling trend of lifting the ball more over the last couple of seasons and may not be using his speed to his advantage. I don't see nearly as high a ceiling with Albies as I do with DeJong and his power.

Tier 5

Does Zack Cozart belong this low? Clearly, I'm the most down on him, but only because I believe there will be an adjustment period to a new team and a new league. Cozart had six mostly mediocre (some terrible) seasons in Cincinnati, but broke out with 24 HR last year, accompanied by a .297 average and a promising 12.2% BB% to match. His new lineup will be better, but his ballpark won't. I don't need to go into much more detail, as you can read all about his transition to the Angels here, or see what Rick Lucks' final verdict is on Cozart this season. I see him as an avoid on draft day and potential buy-low candidate midway through the season.

The aforementioned Peraza stung me across several leagues last year, as I bought into the small sample size toward the end of 2016. Once bitten, twice shy? Hardly. I'm a sucker for a potentially elite tool, and I believe Peraza can steal upwards of 30 bases with a .290 average if he stays a little more patient at the plate and get his line drive percentage closer to the 27% mark he put up in '16. He had an excellent 93% contact rate on pitches in the zone and 72% contact outside the zone, but needs to improve his quality of contact by reducing his 13.2% IFFB rate. I won't pay dearly for him like last season (I think $20 was a bit much...) but I won't give up on him either.

Tier 6

As you fill out the back end of your roster, you can safely ignore former Met Jose Reyes and trade bait Asdrubal Cabrera. They had their moments, but are not in anyone's future plans as much more than a utility player or injury replacement. Amed Rosario is the present in New York and will finally get a chance to show that his bat can match his glove outside of the hitter-friendly confines of Las Vegas. At this point, you're also better off shooting for upside with young players like Dansby Swanson and J.P. Crawford. They may not possess the greatest ceiling in any individual categories, but they are sure to rack up at-bats and score some runs in young, improving offenses. Gleyber Torres is another speculative pick that could pay off if Todd Frazier is no longer in pinstripes. His ADP could shoot up quite a bit, so if you have a very early draft, make him a value pick while you can.

 

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