Now that the first day of spring has passed, we are now entering the prime season for fantasy baseball drafts.
Before you enter your draft room this year, it would behoove you to check out our ADP analysis pieces here at RotoBaller. This will ensure that you have a good working knowledge of how players are being viewed, when to grab your targeted guys, and when to let your league mates jump on a guy going too early. In the end, you will look like a genius.
There is not much going on in 2017 fantasy drafts that I absolutely hate in regards to shortstop ADP. I can make the argument that Francisco Lindor is going too early, but once that shortstop run starts, I know from experience the feeling of desperation to get one of the studs. Plus, he presents such a safe floor of all around production. Other than that, not much is happening that I disagree with. But there is a lot of production at the position that is going much too late in drafts, so keep scrolling and be enlightened.Editor's note: Get 50% off any MLB Premium Pass. Draft guide, cheat sheets, 200 days of DFS access, and over 20 premium tools. Dominate your leagues all year long! Sign Up Now!
Addison Russell, CHC
2017 ADP: 123, SS9
Two full seasons in the MLB and Addison Russell is still going to hurt your teams BA while only providing decent power numbers (21 HR, 95 RBI). His 2016 performance ranked him as the 17th shortstop in standard roto leagues. He's not even the best hitting shortstop-eligible guy on his team, as Javier Baez flashed more fantasy potential in 450 PA, especially with the added value of SB. The power seems to be maturing nicely, but no ones expecting him to hit over 25 HR. His 2016 BABIP of .277 (career BABIP is .299) does lead me to believe the BA will rise, but we're optimistically looking at .250.
Bottom line: you've waited this long to draft a shortstop, might as well build up your rotation/bullpen and wait a bit longer for a safer guy here. I prefer a couple of the guys listed below, and would also rather have Aledmys Diaz for similar stats with a better BA, Jose Peraza for the SB, or Javier Baez for a little bit of everything. Don't hurt your BA until you absolutely have to, or if you're getting elite numbers in alternate categories from the same hitter.
Dansby Swanson, ATL
2017 ADP: 170, SS17
Drafting Swanson before the plethora of veterans falling behind him is a classic rookie-hype move, one in which I would certainly recommend in a dynasty/keeper format. But in standard leagues, let's pump the brakes a bit. Swanson has all of 145 PA at the MLB level, in which he hit three HR with a .302 BA, adding three SB. The BA came with a ridiculous .383 BABIP, and came after hitting .261 in 371 PA at Double A. The common realistic projections I seem to see for Swanson are 13 HR, nine SB, with a BA around (usually below) .260. This sounds a lot like another shortstop who was hyped up in Atlanta, but ended up being much better in real life than in fantasy. Y'all remember Andrelton Simmons? Obviously Simmons wasn't a number one overall pick like Swanson, but both are highly touted for their defensive prowess.
Considering his draft position, Swanson is being drafted as a MIF, which I don't have too much quarrel about. If he does hit his projections, he would rank around the 15-17th among fantasy shortstops. But the fact that he is being drafted in the 15th round means those MIF drafters are passing on proven bats like Logan Forsythe, Neil Walker, and even his teammate Brandon Phillips. That's also passing on less-proven guys that I feel have more realistic upside in 2017 like Devon Travis, Hernan Perez, and Marcus Semien.
Trevor Story, COL
2017 ADP: 35, SS7
I've been talking up Trevor Story all offseason (50 HR candidates, Bold Predictions, Tier One SS Keepers). I have grown tired of praising his power, but just in case you've missed it: 27 HR in 415 PA, second best ISO and Hard% in the league, and top five flyball percentage. This is the player they had in mind when Coors Field was created. I have and will continue to draft Story before Francisco Lindor, Jonathan Villar, and Xander Bogaerts. They are all great fantasy shortstop options, but none have 40/20 potential like my boy. Villar has the rare speed value but I am going to take the Coors Field inhabitant when I have the choice. The run scoring stats will be there, as he was well on his way to 90 R and 90 RBI after scoring 67 and 72 in his 415 PA. Once Ian Desmond and David Dahl are healthy, Colorado will have one of the highest scoring offenses in the league. Story will be in the thick of it, hitting bombs and stealing bases (and my heart).
Here at RotoBaller, we rank Story 23rd overall. That is ahead of both Lindor and Villar. He is currently being drafted behind all of the stud shortstops, and sliding into the late third round/early fourth round. This is too late for the upcoming production. I love the value so much that I have drafted him, as my MIF, two rounds after picking Carlos Correa in TWO drafts already. If you can get him this late, congratulations. But if you miss out on a historic season because you wanted Francisco Lindor's safe floor, at least I warned you.
Eduardo Nunez, SF
2017 ADP: 130, SS10
Nuni caught everyone by surprise right out the gate in 2016, exploding for 12 HR and a .836 OPS heading into the mid summer classic. The second half was less-than-stellar, but he still finished with a cool .288 BA, 16 HR, 40 SB, and also found himself on a championship contender out in San Francisco. Don't let the second half woes fool you into thinking AT&T Park sapped his fantasy value away. In just 21 games in the bay, he hit .307 with two HR.
The 16 HR seem just somewhat of an overachievement for Nunez, even though he owned a HR/FB% that was less than one point higher than 2015. However, the speed is real and I think the spacious AT&T Park will play to his strengths very well as he owns a top 25 contact percentage. Speed is valuable this season, and even though CBS and NFBC leagues are getting it right, Yahoo and ESPN users are still taking Nunez after Addison Russell. Don't do it.
Marcus Semien, OAK
2017 ADP: 248, SS22
Even on a much less potent offense, Semien finished 2016 ranked higher than Addison Russell among fantasy shortstops. He hit six more HR, stole five more bases, and hit the same putrid BA. He is still only 26 years old, so why is there more than a 100 pick difference in their ADPs? Both experienced a jump from a 9% HR/FB rate to 14%, and both suffered from significant BABIP decreases. For what it's worth, Steamer, Zips, and CAIRO all project Semien to again beat out Russell in both HR and SB while hitting roughly the same BA. If it's the RBI you are worried about, the Athletics added Rajai Davis to the top of their lineup, now get a full season out of stud Ryon Healy, and will also roll out OBP-machine Matt Joyce against RHP to give Khris Davis and Semien plenty of run-plating opportunities.
In every draft that I do not grab two shortstops in the first four rounds (it looks better than it sounds...kind of), I end up with Marcus Semien as my MIF and I love the value. Obviously you shouldn't take Semien in Addison Russell territory, but passing on the Cubbie and getting Semien nine to 10 rounds later allows for a much more rounded-out roster.
Jorge Polanco, MIN
2017 ADP: 382, SS32
Here's a hot take for you. Jorge Polanco will finish the 2017 season ranked ahead of Dansby Swanson in standard fantasy leagues. Yet, for some reason the 23-year-old seems to be forgotten on draft day. Between Triple A and 69 games with the big league crew in 2016, Polanco hit 13 HR and stole nine bases. He doesn't have the skillset to eek out many more long balls than that, but he did total 20 SB in 2015. His line drive percentage was the highest among all shortstops last year, and he showed good plate discipline for a player of his age. Polanco should be the Twins everyday shortstop, and could easily beat out Byron Buxton for the second spot in the lineup. Surrounded by Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer, Miguel Sano, and Max Kepler, Polanco will be a serious sleeper for runs in 2017.
Thanks to the line drives and good plate discipline, Polanco will have a higher BA than Dansby Swanson. He has the chance to score just as many runs, and produce roughly the same HR/SB. The only difference? You can get Polanco 17 rounds later.