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If you have not yet started fretting about your team's underperformance, good for you. But it'll likely sink in soon -- this sinking feeling that you're losing ground with no way to catch up. And the guys pulling you like quicksand, in a series panicked transactions, will be the first to go.

Fortunately, some of your lame ducks may actually warrant being dropped at this point. Your investment keeps you holding on -- you spent $15, or maybe a 6th-round draft pick, on them -- but sometimes you need to cut bait sooner than later and eat what will eventually be a sunk cost.

Neither of the overrated shortstops presented here should be considered completely lost causes. But they may be the kind of players you can flip for better pieces at different positions, leaving you the option to invest in one of the underrated shortstops as a replacement.


Overvalued Shortstops

Xander Bogaerts, BOS SS
91% owned, per Fleaflicker

It's nice to see Bogaerts running more frequently than he did last season, and half of his hits have gone for extra bases. In his early-season small sample, it also appears he has held on to his plate discipline gains, which should help buoy his triple-slash line like it did last year.

Bogaerts has no semblance of the batted ball skills he flashed during last year's breakout, though. Lauded for his ability to spray to all fields, Bogaerts is back to his pull-happy ways -- a trend that does not bode well for someone who (1) hits a lot of ground balls, (2) does not hit the ball especially hard, and (3) hits a lot of infield pop flies.

All are hallmarks of guys who, were it not for speed, hit for meager batting averages on balls in play (BABIPs). It was already outlandish to expect Bogaerts to repeat his .372 mark from 2015; it may be equally so to expect the .330-ish mark that the prominent projection systems expect from him. That makes him a .280 hitter at best with power and speed that barely cracks double digits. To the people holding out for a power spike: it's nowhere on the horizon, so you may be waiting a while.

Ian Desmond, WAS SS
76% owned

Aside from the fact that he is on pace for 12 RBI and a .000 isolated power (ISO), Desmond looks the same as he did last year in terms of plate discipline, which could charitably be described as "bad." (The 2013 version of Desmond is but a distant memory.) It's a slow start for him, but there's no reason to think he won't repeat what he did last year, save any concerns about him entering his 30s.

Unfortunately, his double-digit power and speed combination barely earned him a top-15 spot among shortstops last year. Copy-pasting his 2015 stats into his 2016 line would likely produce an equivalent result -- or worse, given baseball appears to be entering a new Golden Age of Shortstops.

His ownership is plummeting, and rightfully so. Ironically, this makes for a nice buy-low opportunity in deeper leagues where the potential for a 20-15-.250 season is actually not a bad thing. But in shallow formats, you may still be able to get a nice return on Desmond while finding a cheap, comparable alternative from the waiver wire to replace him.


Undervalued Shortstops

Eugenio Suarez, CIN SS/3B
61% owned

Marcus Semien, OAK SS
56% owned

Both have hit four home runs to date. Both are expected to hit 16 to 17 home runs, steal eight to 10 bases, and hit roughly .250 for the rest of the season. That's not bad for two shortstops, let alone hitters in general, drafted well outside the top-200 hitters, per NFBC ADP.

Clumping together is logical here because they profile so similarly, as evidenced by the aforementioned rest-of-season projections. And this is no fluke, either -- Suarez launched 13 home runs in a mere 398 plate appearances last season, and Semien's plus offensive value when not focusing on improving his defense is well-documented.

This author would have preferred Semien to start the year, given his propensity to run a little more often and a slightly (but not significantly) better walk rate (BB%). Now, this author prefers Suarez, who has basically halved his strikeout rate (K%), waning himself off his reliance on a lofty BABIP. He also has hit second in Cincinnati's order in every game; hitting in front of Joey Votto is a best-case scenario when entrenched in an otherwise anemic lineup.

Meanwhile, Semien continues to bat ninth because only Bob Melvin knows what's going on in Bob Melvin's mind. He earned a lone chance to bat second on Saturday and botched it by going hitless in five at-bats. Until Melvin acknowledges how much more valuable Semien to his lineup than other hitters, his value will be artificially suppressed by a sheer lack of volume. To attest: despite hitting four home runs, Semien has only six runs and RBI apiece.

In exchange for Desmond, we are talking a few stolen bases that we can't guarantee Desmond will even steal. In exchange for Bogaerts, we are talking more power and 30 points of batting average. The differences in production are small, is this author's point. If Suarez and Semien are still around in deeper leagues, they won't be for much longer, given they are arguably fringe top-10 shortstops from here on out.


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