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Mid-Round Shortstops - Targets and Avoids in 2020

Once you reach the middle-to-late rounds of drafts, it would be smart to consider drafting some upside fliers that can provide a great return on value. You can take a risk or two on a variety of different players, including a prospect, forgotten veterans, players returning from injuries, or even players with skills but have playing time concerns. It is essential to know the player pool so you can take a chance at a spot in the draft that you're comfortable without deviating from your overall strategy.

Today we are looking at some mid-round shortstops for you to consider. Do we think they are draft targets or players to avoid? Are their ADPs undervalued? Will they make significant fantasy contributions and be one of your later-round draft sleepers? Read on to see our take.

Our editors have hand-picked these specific MLB players for your draft prep enjoyment. Normally only available to Premium subscribers, the five outlooks below are meant to give you a taste of the in-depth analysis you receive with our industry-leading 2020 Draft Kit. Be sure to subscribe today and start reading all 400+ of our 2020 player outlooks, and many other premium articles and tools, available exclusively in our 2020 Draft Kit.

Featured Promo: Get your 2023 MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our preseason Draft Kit, #1 accuracy rankings, #1 ATC projections, Team Sync platform, Live Draft Assistant, 15 in-season lineup tools, customized rankings and much more! Sign Up Now!

 

Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox

Anderson started his 2019 season as good as anyone with eight homers, 13 stolen bases and a .320 BA through the first six weeks of the year. An ankle injury in mid-May limited the 26-year-old to four thefts the rest of the way, but his .357 BA post-injury helped crown him MLB's batting champion despite finishing with the worst walk rate in the AL (2.9%). Entering 2019 as a career .258 hitter, Anderson paired his lifetime-best 37.3% Hard Hit% with a balanced approach that seen him take more balls than ever to the opposite field (29.4%) at a line drive rate that also set a new personal high (28.4%).

A particularly inflated .399 BABIP and .294 xBA suggest regression will come in 2020, but the drop-off may not be as significant if he can maintain his high-contact approach at the dish. Providing Anderson can play more than 123 games in 2020, he will undoubtedly build on his 18 HR, 81 R, 56 RBI 2019 campaign, especially on a much improved White Sox lineup. The former first-round pick will likely insert himself into the top-third of the batting order where his counting stats will flourish ahead of the run-producing bats of Jose Abreu and Edwin Encarnacion.

--Riley Mrack - RotoBaller

 

Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers

Andrus quietly had one of the best years of his career in 2019. He recorded 31 stolen bases which was the first time he had topped 30 stolen bases since 2013. He also hit 12 home runs, making 2019 the first year of his career in which he recorded both double-digit home runs and over 30 stolen bases. Andrus hit .275 and scored 81 runs in 2019. Those are certainly two categories where you're hoping he'll help you in addition to stolen bases. However, his fantasy aid doesn't extend too much beyond that.

While his 12 home runs in 2019 is a vast improvement over his early career, which included his 2010 campaign where he failed to homer once over 148 games, he still offers very little in terms of power. His airborne exit velocity in 2019 was 90.7, a slight increase from 90 in 2018, but a decrease from his 91.8 mark in 2017, when he hit a career-best 20 home runs. Meanwhile, his barrel rate dropped from 4.2% in both 2017 and 2018 to 3.5% in 2019. Shortstop has become one of the most top-heavy positions in fantasy, arguably the most top-heavy, and Andrus takes a big hit because of it. He isn't a candidate to be a starting shortstop on rosters and is instead more of an option for infield or utility starting spots. He has an ADP around 125 right now, which is a little high for him. If he's still available around pick 140 or 150, he's worth jumping on.

--Andrew Ericksen - RotoBaller

 

Amed Rosario, New York Mets

Rosario is coming off an improved sophomore year, where he slashed .287/.323/.432 with 75 R, 15 HR, 72 RBI, and 19 SB.  Rosario had a strong second half, posting a .319/.351/.453 slash with 37 R, 6 HR, 30 RBI, and 9 SB.  He was able to generate harder contact this past season, increasing his Hard% from 32.1% to 39.1% as well as his Average Exit Velocity from 87.3 MPH to 89.2 MPH. This is a player with prospect pedigree, so it's intriguing to see these improvements in his second full season in the big leagues.

For Rosario to build on his 2019, we need to see him hit higher in the order to improve his counting stats - he had a combined 333 plate appearances hitting in the seventh slot or lower. Entering his age-24 season, the former top prospect has 20/20 upside with strong contact skills, making him a solid option in AVG leagues - his poor walk rate limits his upside in OBP formats. Rosario is currently being drafted at 133 ADP, behind veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus, a similar player with a solid combination of power and speed. While Rosario is the riskier choice, he definitely has a higher upside due to his prospect pedigree and strong second-half finish.

--Frank Ammirante - RotoBaller

 

Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers

Seager mostly returned to form in 2019 following an injury-shortened 2018 season where he was held to just 26 games. Unfortunately, in the time since Seager's 2016 Rookie of the Year season, the shortstop position has only gotten deeper and more top-heavy, lowering Seager from the top tier to being outside the top-12 at the position. Seager hit .272 with 19 home runs, 87 RBI and 82 runs over 134 games in 2019. His 44 doubles in 2019 tied Anthony Rendon for first in the National League. Seager's power metrics showed varying results last year. His hard-hit rate was a career-low 37.9%, a big drop from 2017's 43.8% clip. However, his launch angle of 14.1 in 2019 was a solid increase from 2017's 11.1 mark.

Seager is currently being drafted right around 150th overall, making him a 13th-round pick and someone who is likely to be starting at an infield or utility position for you rather than at shortstop. He's a fine value at that point as he should be able to help you across the board statistically without excelling in any one stat or hurting you in any one stat. He doesn't have high-end shortstop upside anymore, but he should be able to produce enough offense to be a mainstay in your lineup throughout the year.

--Andrew Ericksen - RotoBaller

 

Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins

Polanco is coming off a huge 2019 season. He had an overall stat line of .295-22-107-79-4. The 22 home runs were by far the highest home run total of his career. He may have benefitted from the live ball, but his Statcast metrics improved quite a bit. Polanco's barrel rate improved from 3% to 6.7% and his launch angle and hard-hit rate also improved to 17.9 degrees and 33%, respectively. Polanco lowered his ground-ball rate to 31.9% and raised his fly ball rate to 29%, aiding in the extra home runs.

Due to the increased power, Polanco also had a career-high .190 ISO. Even with the increased power, he also had a career-high .295 batting average and has now hit .282 or better in three of the last four seasons. Polanco increased his walk rate to 8.5% and lowered his strikeout rate to 16.5% as well. When looking ahead to the 2020 season, Polanco should be in store for another solid season. He is projected to once again hit second for the Twins. Batting second should allow for another 100+ run season, hitting in front of Nelson CruzEddie RosarioJosh Donaldson, and the rest of the stacked lineup. He is currently the 19th shortstop being drafted at pick 165. Polanco is a great option if you miss out on shortstop early or are looking for a middle infielder.

--Brian Entrekin - RotoBaller

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