Shortstop Draft Values and Sleepers for 2017

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With spring training right around the corner, RotoBaller is here to help you prepare for your draft. Today, we'll examine some early shortstop draft values and potential sleepers for the 2017 fantasy baseball season.

The influx of transcendent young talent in recent years has transformed the shortstop position from a fantasy wasteland to fertile ground. The top seven SS-eligible players (Manny Machado, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Jonathan Villar, Xander Bogaerts, Francisco Lindor, and Trevor Story) are all being drafted in the top 30 overall, per NFBC ADP data.

If you miss out on one of the elite options, though, there is also remarkable depth at the position. Here are some of the best late-round targets.

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Shortstop Draft Values - 2017 Fantasy Baseball

Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox (ADP: 170)

Known more for his speed than his bat as a prospect, Anderson’s debut was surprisingly robust. He hit .283 with nine homers and 10 steals and scored 57 runs in just 99 games as a rookie. While his plate discipline left much to be desire (111 strikeouts against just 13 walks), the 23-year-old showed he had the chops to hack it in the majors. With the White Sox in rebuild mode, Anderson should be given plenty of leash in the event of early struggles. Tyler Saladino could usurp his starting role, but he’s probably going to be needed at second base when the inevitable Brett Lawrie injury strikes. Anderson should run more often in his sophomore season (he only attempted 12 swipes), which along with decent pop and passable AVG and R marks would make him a worthy fantasy asset.

Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves (ADP: 185)

Acquired in the Shelby Miller trade last season, the 2015 top overall pick jumped from High-A to the majors and immediately set about making that deal look even more like a complete fleecing for the Braves. Swanson hit .302/.361/.442 with three homers, three stolen bases, and 37 R+RBI in 38 games after being promoted to the big leagues. His .383 BABIP was a touch on the high side, but his speed and quality of contact did support an above-average mark. Even with some regression, Swanson should hit for a decent average and reach double digits in both HR and SB in his first full season.

Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics (ADP: 200)

Yep, still on the Semien bandwagon. The adjustments he made at the plate last season led to greater power at the expense of average. Given the power surge across the sport recently, that’s not ideal for fantasy purposes. However, the improvement in his contact quality was encouraging, and there may yet be more pop in his bat. Semien is only 26, after all, and he’s shown the ability to recognize and improve weaknesses in his game already (cf. his defensive evolution). Even if he just maintains his level of performance from a year ago – 27 HR and 10 SB with average run production – he’ll make for a fine MI option in mixed leagues.

Jedd Gyorko, St. Louis Cardinals (ADP: 229)

Gyorko’s first season in St. Louis couldn’t have gone much better. He took advantage of Kolten Wong’s early struggles and Jhonny Peralta’s injury, turning himself into a versatile and indispensable member of the Cardinals’ infield. Gyorko launched 30 home runs in just 438 plate appearances and will serve as the primary third baseman this year. For fantasy purposes, however, he retains eligibility at both middle infield positions as well. He’s not going to hit for a great average or steal you any bases, but you could do much worse than Gyorko as a flex infielder.

Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants (ADP: 244)

Despite a substantial drop in his HR total (from 21 to 12), Crawford deserves more attention than his current ADP would indicate. His contact quality and plate discipline have improved with regularity since he broke into the majors as a glove-only shortstop. Even last season, the loss of power was somewhat offset by a 20-point increase in batting average. Like every other player who calls AT&T Park home, Crawford’s production will be somewhat depressed, but he still manages to be a solid contributor across the board.