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Shortstops Set to Bust in 2021

The MLB is stockpiled with talent at the shortstop position. Some drafts are seeing six shortstops selected in the first two rounds of 12-team leagues. Heck, 12 are being taken in the top 100 picks and 20 in the top 200 picks!

With so many rapidly going off the board, it's easy to feel the need to fill the roster spot. I am here to tell you; there is no reason to rush into selecting one. The position has a wide variety and abundance of batting profiles with safe floors and high ceilings.

While some risk in a player is reasonable, too much will make you a bust. Listed below are a few shortstops that have something in their profile that seems flawed. My advice, steer clear of them and grab a different player with a safer profile.

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Adalberto Mondesi, Kansas City Royals

ADP: 20.08, SS 5

One of the more risky profiles in baseball belongs to Adalberto Mondesi. Sure, there is a strong case to be made that he could lead the MLB in stolen bases — the unicorn of all roto categories. But, he is going to come with his fair share of issues.

One of which is his potential crater of a batting average. In a little over 1100 plate appearances, we see a middle infielder with a .251 batting average. While that is liveable, it is tough to see past the .284 OBP. The main component of Mondesi's on-base woes is his enormous strikeout rate. As you see from the graph below, he continues to be well above league average. Another bad sign that this isn't a quick fix, his swinging strike rate (SwStr%) has risen every year since 2016. It's effortless to imagine another lackluster batting average from Mondesi.


Let's touch on one more point since Mondesi's ADP is so high. The Royals showed little hesitation in 2020 to drop him down in the batting order due to lack of production. He may have started and ended the year as the two-hole hitter but spent a significant amount of time in the lineup's bottom half. If the plate appearances erode, so will the counting stats, and then the bust tag will certainly come out.


Marcus Semien, Toronto Blue Jays

ADP: 124.92, SS 13

Semien becomes one of the Toronto Blue Jay's shiny new toys this offseason. He flashed a massive breakout in 2019 where he put up a 33 HR and 10 SB season with a staggering 123 runs scored. When you step back and look at Semien's career as a whole, it resembles more of an outlier than the normal. In fact, 2019 is the only year in his career with a wRC+ over 100. For context, a 100 wRC+ would be considered league average.

While 2020 was an unprecedented season, Semien's Statcast slider below paints a grim picture. You see underlying skills like a sub-par barrel% and a hard hit% in the ninth percentile. These numbers are not far from his career metrics. Outside of 2019's outlier, Semien had never had a barrel% over league average. It is safe to say, Semien is more of a soft swinger.

Another area of concern in Semien's profile is his Sweet Spot% (SwSP%). SwSP% is anytime a batter produces a batted ball, even with a launch angle between eight and 32 degrees. It is mainly a metric used to signal a player's ability to make solid contact with the ball. As we already saw, Semien doesn't make strong contact, so he must rely on where he hits the ball. Unfortunately, Semien's SwSP% has cascaded all the way down to 32.9%, which is right at league average and has fallen for the last four seasons.


Jonathan Villar, New York Mets

ADP: 149.38, SS 16

The love for Jonathan Villar at this ADP is a headscratcher to me. We are looking at a one-trick pony that can only help you with stolen bases. Even that category may not be there this year.

One of the for sure things we know about Villar is that he likes to run on the basepaths. He has managed to put up double-digit stolen bases in nearly every season, including some gaudy numbers in there. However, the wheels are falling off year after year. Villar's sprint speed coming into 2021 will likely be below league average (27.0 ft/sec).

For chuckles, we can zoom in on Villar's hitting profile. The big area of concern is the lack of hard hits. Only two barrels in 134 batted ball events will not get the job done. Put the weak contact with a 26% strikeout rate, and the floor is way too low to draft this early.

Villar is being drafted like he has the everyday starting job, but he looks more like roster depth for the New York Mets. He might be able to swipe a base here or there, but it won't be consistent and will leave huge voids at other categories. This is a total avoid!

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