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Nick Mariano's 2023 Fantasy Baseball Shortstop Rankings

bo bichette fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers shortstops MLB injury news dfs picks

March Madness isn't complete without ample fantasy baseball draft prep. My fantasy baseball rankings series finishes off the infield today with a dive into the six at shortstop. And in case you missed any, you can see the rest of the positional rankings articles here:

This is a deep position with all sorts of versatility that can fit into nearly every build. Some of you play with middle-infield slots, or maybe just an overall infielder, on top of the usual "SS" position. We've got you covered no matter the format! My basement is still flooded so I can't be as thorough as usual but I assure you that both full-sleep and no-sleep Nick stand behind the ranks.

Per Yahoo eligibility rules, we saw 27 shortstops have 10 or more steals in 2022 while 30 of them had double-digit home runs. You're almost surely getting some speed with your power. If not, then the pop better be scrumptious or come with a fantastic batting average! Let's jump into the tiered table and analysis below.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Shortstop Fantasy Baseball Rankings - Roto Leagues

Rank Tier Name Team Position
1 1 Trea Turner PHI SS
2 1 Bo Bichette TOR SS
3 1 Bobby Witt Jr. KC 3B/SS
4 2 Fernando Tatis Jr. SD SS/OF
5 2 Marcus Semien TEX 2B/SS
6 2 Francisco Lindor NYM SS
7 3 Corey Seager TEX SS
8 3 Oneil Cruz PIT SS
9 3 Tim Anderson CWS SS
10 3 Tommy Edman STL 2B/SS
11 3 Wander Franco TB SS
12 3 Dansby Swanson CHC SS
13 3 Andres Gimenez CLE 2B/SS
14 3 Xander Bogaerts SD SS
15 3 Willy Adames MIL SS
16 3 Jeremy Pena HOU SS
17 3 Amed Rosario CLE SS/OF
18 4 Carlos Correa MIN SS
19 4 Gunnar Henderson BAL 3B/SS
20 4 Nico Hoerner CHC SS
21 4 Thairo Estrada SF 2B/SS/OF
22 5 Jake Cronenworth SD 1B/2B/SS
23 5 Javier Baez DET SS
24 5 Ezequiel Tovar COL SS
25 5 Bryson Stott PHI 2B/SS
26 5 Adalberto Mondesi BOS SS
27 6 CJ Abrams WSH 2B/SS
28 6 Luis Rengifo LAA 2B/3B/SS
29 6 Jon Berti MIA 2B/3B/SS/OF
30 6 Ha-Seong Kim SD 3B/SS
31 6 Elvis Andrus CWS SS
32 6 Brendan Donovan STL 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF
33 6 Oswald Peraza NYY SS
34 7 Luis Urias MIL 2B/3B/SS
36 7 Luis Garcia (2B) WSH 2B/SS
37 7 Christopher Morel CHC 2B/3B/SS/OF
38 7 Jorge Mateo BAL SS
39 7 Nick Gordon MIN 2B/OF
40 7 Kike Hernandez BOS 2B/SS/OF
35 7 Rodolfo Castro PIT 2B/3B/SS
41 7 Anthony Volpe NYY SS
42 7 Brice Turang MIL SS
43 7 Miguel Rojas LAD 1B/SS
44 7 J.P. Crawford SEA SS
45 8 Joey Wendle MIA 2B/3B/SS
46 8 Brandon Crawford SF SS
47 8 Isiah Kiner-Falefa NYY SS
48 8 Kyle Farmer MIN 3B/SS
49 8 Royce Lewis MIN SS
50 8 Elly De La Cruz CIN 3B/SS
51 8 Santiago Espinal TOR 2B/3B/SS
52 8 Christian Arroyo BOS 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF
53 8 Dylan Moore SEA 2B/SS/OF
54 8 Maikel Garcia KC SS
55 8 Nicky Lopez KC 2B/3B/SS
56 8 Kevin Newman CIN 2B/SS
57 8 Jose Barrero CIN SS
59 8 Alan Trejo COL 2B/SS
60 8 Aledmys Diaz OAK 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF

Tier One - Shortstop Rankings

Trea Turner starts things off right by not only being a strong No. 1 at SS but a viable first-overall pick. The 29-year-old hops from the Dodgers to Phillies, which won’t cause a major disruption to Turner’s usual production. Both Dodger Stadium and Citizens Bank Park rank as top-six venues for right-handed hitters per Statcast Park Factors. The 2022 Phillies scored 100 fewer runs than the Dodgers but some of that is Trea’s own impact. He should vie for a third consecutive 100-run season with 20-25 home runs, upwards of 30 steals, and an average of around .300. The perfect foundation!

Bo Bichette steps into 2023 primed for liftoff. He’s notched 159 games played and 690 or more plate appearances in each of the last two seasons. Between those, he’s averaging roughly 26 home runs and 20 steals with an average north of .290. Toronto’s lineup is another premier machine to buy into, and both Bichette and new skipper John Schneider are keen on running more. I won’t put my farm on offseason speak but the talent is there if the player/team is willing. Another five-category anchor for you!


Tier Two - Shortstop Rankings

Fernando Tatis Jr. can make or break your draft given the typical second-round ADP. You’re already absorbing the rest of his PED suspension (he’ll return on April 20) and then hoping his health holds up. When healthy, he’s one of the best players in the game. Especially our game, given the value of power and speed. But can you trust his body to hold up over an entire season without any PEDs to aid recovery (whether knowingly or unknowingly taken, they usually help)?

Lindor was a first-round player per Yahoo’s 5x5 rater, finishing 11th with 26 home runs, 16 steals, 205 R+RBI, and a .270 average. The 29-year-old played in a career-high 161 games last year, which played out with his best BABIP in six seasons (.301). That’s up from his worst career mark of .248, which sandbagged his ‘21.

But Statcast gave him an identical .254 xBA for both years. That’s baseball! Just as positive regression was expected going into ‘22, most think the average settles around .250. But that’ll play if we get ~40 HR+SB and the strong R+RBI that come from the heart of the Mets’ order.


Tier Three - Shortstop Rankings

If you aren’t in a position to snag one of the top four then here’s a wide group of studs to choose from. I’ve waxed poetic a few times about Corey Seager already, and everyone’s discussed the shift ban in regard to his BABIP. Look for brighter skies in Texas.

Pittsburgh’s Oneil Cruz brings a game-breaking ceiling with the stature of Aaron Judge. Frankly, his early batted-ball profile has similar characteristics to early Judge as well. You may recall Judge used to be a guy who struck out over 30% of the time with a zone-contact rate nibbling at 80%. Of course, he has tightened up his game and we’ve yet to see 100 MLB contests from Cruz.

However, Cruz is quicker and can threaten 25 steals over a full season. He had 21 swipes between 142 Triple-A and MLB games last year. Pittsburgh is out of incentives to keep him in the minors and 50 HR+SB is on the table, but you must be willing to work around an average that struggles to reach .250. If you’re relatively safe elsewhere then Cruz at ADP is a worthy first big risk-reward swing.

Other considerations include gambling on Tim Anderson and Wander Franco staying healthy, Dansby Swanson adjusting well to Wrigley Field, and Xander Bogaerts continuing his strong hitting sans the Monster.

Jeremy Pena and his snazzy new toe-top approach in the box led to great success in September and through the postseason. The 25-year-old won’t be a friend to OBP players but provides more upside than the season-long line illustrates. The foot adjustment yielded six home runs in September and another four in 13 postseason games. The cold weeks will be there with his aggression, but he falls often enough in drafts where I’ve gotten him after pick 125.


Tier Four - Shortstop Rankings

Carlos Correa supplies a plus average and above-average pop with the R+RBI that comes with a middle-of-the-order slot. My builds typically lean on some speed from my SS/MI slot so while I respect his skills and rank him as such, I don’t find myself drafting him often.

But I’ll get plenty of speed between Nico Hoerner and Thairo Estrada! I’ve talked up Estrada plenty in other pieces already so I’ll jump to Mr. Nico. Hoerner was primarily hitting fifth or sixth once his 2022 season got hot (he started in the nine-hole) but enters 2023 as the leadoff man. With good contact skills, speed to burn, modest power now present, and a good order behind him, I’m happy to solidify my speed, batting average, and runs scored with him.


Tier Five - Shortstop Rankings

Javier Baez enters his age-30 season coming off a horrible Detroit debut where he had a .671 OPS. Ever the free-swinger, Baez actually had his best strikeout rate since 2016 and best zone-contact rate since 2018. It just came with a career-high 48.7% O-Swing rate as well.

Aggression is fine if there’s an upswing, but his poor 12.3% HR/FB rate (career 19.5%) was undoubtedly weighed down by Comerica Park. He also stole only nine bases after doubling that mark the year before. Will Comerica’s new dimensions help enough? His opting out after 2023 feels inevitable. Some will lean into that thinking he’s out to prove himself to new suitors. I’d rather throw darts elsewhere.

My “elsewhere” is summed up by Ezequiel Tovar and Adalberto Mondesi. Obviously, I want the next-generation Coors shortstop. Follow in those Trevor Story footsteps! At 20 years old, Tovar crushed Double-A with a .318/.386/.545 slash that housed 13 home runs and 17 steals in 66 games. He played five games at Triple-A and got a quick nine-game cup of coffee in the bigs. He can offer a 15/20/.270 bat near pick 200. If his iffy plate discipline pushes him from everyday play then we’ll move along.

As for Mondesi, let’s just say I have no issue taking a shot at the wild speed ceiling he offers even on a 90% knee. The ACL rehab will need to prove sufficient and it’ll take a bit of time, but most projection systems call for 10 homers and 30-35 steals in 100 or fewer games. I think his batting average will surprise with the friendly Fenway confines. Avoid it if you want, I’ll understand.


Tier Six and Below - Shortstop Rankings

Are you Team Peraza or Team Volpe? Peraza got more work in 2022 and is slightly ahead of Volpe on the prospect progression meter, so I’ve been aggressively drafting him. He hasn’t lit the world on fire this spring but a .387 OBP with a home run and two steals won’t worsen his outlook. But when Volpe has a .415 OBP, two home runs, and four steals…the eyebrows do rise. Still, Peraza is on the 40-man and Volpe is not.

Either way, let us all hope the Yankees don’t stubbornly stick Isiah Kiner-Falefa out there too often. Peraza should get a genuine chance to sink or swim in the majors after a respectable .259/.329/.448 slash with 19 home runs and 33 swipes at Triple-A in ‘22. A spot in the strong Yankees order is worth well above the current 250-ish ADP. (That is rising as his chances at being the Opening Day SS grow.) And perhaps a midseason trade of Gleyber Torres comes and paves the way for a Peraza-Volpe double-play duo in the Bronx.

If I’ve taken the draft pretty conservatively then I’m shooting for late upside with Brice Turang and hoping he nudges his way into Milwaukee’s infield rotation. If I’ve been aggressive and need steady PAs then I’ll tab Miguel Rojas and enjoy his role whilst surrounded by potent Dodger bats.

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