RotoBallers, happy draft season! We are inching closer to Opening Day, and thankfully that means it’s time to analyze everything under the sun as soon we will soon be in the midst of our fantasy drafts. This article is going to take a look at a few shortstops to determine if their ADP is too high, too low, or about right.
Keep in mind ADP data at this point is EARLY and will continue to evolve and change as the days go by. Without further ado, here’s an initial look at some undervalued and overvalued shortstops, to try and help identify draft targets and avoids based on ADP.
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Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto Blue Jays (Avg Pick: 128)
Troy Tulowitzki’s play continued to decline in 2016, but he still finished the season with solid power numbers (24 homers, .189 ISO) in another injury-plagued year. Regardless of your feelings on Tulo, if he is sitting there with the 128th pick, you should be taking him no questions asked if you don’t already own a shortstop. And even if you do already own one, at least consider it. He’s still hitting the ball hard (34.2%), he’s still hitting line drives (19.2%), and he’s hitting fly balls at the highest rate of his career (40.3%). He’s currently the 11th shortstop off the board, and the third shortstop after a massive ADP cliff from Jean Segura (55) to Aledmys Diaz (120). This is a risk easily worth taking.
Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (Avg Pick: 145)
Although Javier Baez currently projects to the Cubs everyday second basemen, he should retain shortstop eligibility in your league. Even if he doesn’t, he should regain that eligibility at some point early on. In only 450 plate appearances in 2016, Baez hit .273/.314/.423 with 14 home runs, 50 runs scored, 59 RBI and 12 stolen bases. Of course, plate appearances be the big question here. While he should easily eclipse those numbers hitting at Wrigley Field with incredible lineup protection, Ben Zobrist and and Kyle Schwarber will be taking plate appearances that would otherwise belong to him. Currently drafted around 145th overall, Baez is likely still being underlooked at his current ADP - especially considering the next shortstop off the board is Elvis Andrus only four selections later. If he can find a way to maintain consistent playing time, it could be an even bigger steal of a draft pick.
Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs (Avg. Pick: 158)
While Addison Russell didn’t have the huge breakout many were projecting for him last year, he was still pretty darn good as he hit 21 home runs with 67 runs scored and 95 RBI while mostly batting seventh in the lineup. We saw big improvements in plate discipline here in 2016; there’s no reason to believe the 23-year-old won’t continue to ascend. Projected to hit mostly sixth, Russell should see even more opportunities which should lead to even more production. Given his talent, the ceiling is higher on Russell at this draft price than most other shortstops. With Jose Peraza being drafted only four spots prior, and Brad Miller going 11 spots later, Russell is likely a better investment than those surrounding him in ADP.
Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves (Avg. Pick: 234)
Top prospect Dansby Swanson burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2016, hitting .302/.361/.442 with three homers, 20 runs scored, 17 RBI and three stolen bases. Given the success we saw him have last year, what’s in store for the soon-to-be 23-year old in 2017? Certainly enough to warrant being drafted higher than his current ADP of 234. Despite him being projected as the 11th ranked shortstop here at RotoBaller, Swanson’s ADP has him going 18th among shortstops – 14 picks behind Brandon Crawford and nine picks before Tim Anderson. Given Swanson’s massive upside, do you really want to take Crawford or Anderson around the same draft pick if you can potentially draft a top-ten shortstop? Didn’t think so. If Swanson is there at this selection, take him without thinking twice – and you should also consider "reaching" a little, and using a higher pick on him.
Jonathan Villar, Milwaukee Brewers (Avg Pick: 29)
Jonathan Villar will likely be one of, if not the most, debated shortstops this spring. After three seasons of subpar but limited action at the Major League level, Villar broke out in a big way for Milwaukee in 2016. He ended up with a .285/.369/.457 slash line to go along with 19 home runs, 92 runs scored, 63 RBI and an incredible 62 stolen bases. The speed is no surprise as he’s always been a great runner in the minors, but the power was unexpected. Villar’s fly ball ratio didn’t increase by much, but his hard hit rate did (24.7% in 2015 vs. 35.1% in 2016). Given that unexpected increase, it may be tough to expect that kind of power again. But the speed is real if that’s what you’re looking for. He’s currently going seven spots behind Corey Seager and 12 in front of Xander Bogaerts. At that price, you may be better off waiting and landing Bogaerts or Francisco Lindor a little later.
Jean Segura, Seattle Mariners (Avg Pick: 55)
Jean Segura didn’t just have a bounce-back year in his first season as a Diamondback, he had a career year. Unfortunately, that first season in Arizona turned out to be his last as he was dealt to the Seattle Mariners and the cavernous Safeco Field. Even with some of the other stud hitters in the Mariners lineup, it is going to be difficult for Segura to repeat his 20-homer performance with his new club. He posted a career-best 13.5% home run to fly ball rate, but at Safeco a lot of those balls will turn into outs rather than round-trippers. Drafting Segura 55th overall will likely end up being a big reach when you can wait and snag Troy Tulowitzki roughly 73 picks later, or Javier Baez 90 picks later.
Fair Valued Shortstops
Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians (Avg Pick: 43)
Now entering his third season (second full season), Francisco Lindor has clearly established himself as one of the premier young shortstops. In 2016, Lindor hit 15 home runs with 99 runs scored, 78 RBI, 19 stolen bases, and a .301/.358/.435 slash line. After showing little-to-no power throughout his minor league career, his 12 home runs in 2015 were thought to be an anomaly. However, after once again demonstrating a nice power stroke last season, it would seem as though those concerns have been put to rest. Perhaps most telling for Lindor’s continued ascension was his increased walk rate (8.3%), contact rate (83.6%), and hard hit ball rate (27.5%, not elite by any means but still a steady improvement) combined with his decreased strikeout rate (12.9%) and swinging strike rate (7.7%). Currently the sixth shortstop off the board, just behind Xander Bogaerts and ahead of Trevor Story, there’s every reason to believe he could finish in the top four. His ADP is fair, although taking him over Jonathan Villar and possibly even Bogaerts could end up being a good decision.
Aledmys Diaz, St. Louis Cardinals (Avg Pick: 120)
One of the reasons we’re highlighting Aledmys Diaz here is to illustrate the ADP cliff at the shortstop position thus far. At pick 120, Diaz is the next shortstop up after Segura (55). That’s a gap of 65 picks. Given the expected regression from Segura in 2017, this gap should not be that large. Diaz has had only one Major League season, and outperformed expectations based on his Minor League numbers, so it’s difficult to project the second year shortstop’s numbers in 2017. He did put up an 8.9% walk rate (sixth among all shortstops with at least 460 plate appearances) with a 7.4% swinging strike rate (also sixth), and plate discipline skills don’t really disappear overnight even if they were unexpected. Given his second-half cool down, he’s not likely to repeat his overall 2016 numbers. But his ADP remains fair nonetheless. He’s certainly going to produce more bang for his back at his draft price than Segura will at his.
More Undervalued & Overvalued Picks
Check out RotoBaller's entire 2017 fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!