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Updated May Rankings and Tiers: Shortstop

The time for chalking things up to “just April shenanigans” has come and gone, and we here at RotoBaller felt that it was time for a rankings update with roughly 20 percent of the season in the books. Kyle Bishop and I felt that the world needed to know what we thought after a month-plus of baseball, with this being the result after much hair-pulling and wondering what alternate reality we had slipped into.

Shortstop has provided us with some nice early returns on some big investments in the early rounds, but also buyer's remorse for those who paid up for Trevor Story. While Jonathan Villar's average may be tanking, at least he's hitting homers and stealing bases. There's been quite a bit of moving and shaking here, so let's see what we've got to talk about. Remember, we’re not here to overreact, simply to reassess.

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2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Shortstops (May Updates)

Ranking Tier Player Position Kyle Nick Composite
1 1 Manny Machado SS/3B 8 15 11.5
2 1 Trea Turner SS/2B/OF 14 9 11.5
3 1 Corey Seager SS 17 19 18
4 1 Francisco Lindor SS 19 17 18
5 1 Carlos Correa SS 20 22 21
6 2 Trevor Story SS 34 29 31.5
7 2 Jonathan VIllar SS/3B 35 34 34.5
8 2 Xander Bogaerts SS 46 40 43
9 2 Addison Russell SS 84 82 83
10 3 Jean Segura 2B/SS 81 100 90.5
11 3 Aledmys Diaz SS 102 113 107.5
12 3 Chris Owings SS/OF 79 168 123.5
13 3 Brad Miller SS 216 117 166.5
14 3 Eduardo Nunez SS/3B 206 140 173
15 4 Didi Gregorius SS 234 157 195.5
16 4 Brandon Crawford SS 196 200 198
17 4 Dansby Swanson SS 171 226 198.5
18 4 Asdrubal Cabrera SS #N/A 204 204
19 4 Troy Tulowitzki SS 214 196 205
20 5 Elvis Andrus SS 230 189 209.5
21 5 Jose Peraza SS/OF 202 258 230
22 5 Tim Anderson SS 294 232 263
23 5 Zack Cozart SS 261 274 267.5
24 5 Jorge Polanco SS 285 304 294.5
25 6 Freddy Galvis SS #N/A 298 298
26 6 Jose Reyes SS/3B #N/A 303 303
27 6 Orlando Arcia SS #N/A 312 312
28 6 Javier Baez 2B/SS #N/A 315 315
29 6 Tyler Saladino 2B/SS #N/A 321 321
30 6 Matt Duffy SS/3B #N/A 326 326
31 7 Alcides Escobar SS #N/A 367 367
32 7 Jose Iglesias SS #N/A 414 414
33 7 Marcus Semien SS #N/A 415 415
34 7 Tim Beckham SS #N/A 438 438
35 7 Danny Espinosa SS #N/A 445 445
36 7 Andrelton Simmons SS #N/A 448 448
37 7 Adeiny Hechavarria SS #N/A 450 450
38 8 Stephen Drew SS #N/A 458 458
39 8 J.J. Hardy SS #N/A 459 459
40 8 Alexi Amarista SS #N/A 463 463
41 8 Jordy Mercer SS #N/A 468 468
42 8 Greg Garcia 2B/SS/3B #N/A 485 485
43 8 Jurickson Profar SS/3B #N/A 488 488


Shortstop Rankings Analysis: May

Xander Bogaerts falls out of Tier One here thanks to a powerless opening to 2017. The obvious and fair counterpoint is that he’s hitting .339 with five steals and is still on pace for roughly 90 runs and 55 RBI, but a step back to his 10-12 homer days is enough to bump him down in today’s shortstop landscape. It’d be one thing if he was just riding a flat-lined HR/FB rate despite strong batted-ball metrics, but his fly-ball rate has tumbled 14 percent to a career-low 20.9 clip while grounders are at an all-time high (58.2 percent). With an uncomfortably high 25.5 percent soft-contact rate to boot, he slips here.

Taking his spot in the top tier is Francisco Lindor, who has pretty much done the opposite of Bogaerts and traded in some of his average for a big power boost thus far. His nine homers are already three-fifths of the way toward his 15 long balls from 2016 thanks to an eight-percent jump in hard-hit rate and an insane 17-percent spike in fly-ball rate. While his April (.309, seven homers) was much better than his May thus far (.226, two homers), his .233 BABIP on the month should rise. If he ends the season with 20 homers, double-digit steals, nearly 100 runs and 70 RBI with an average around .290 then we’ll call this a win.

Dansby Swanson’s bat took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and has yet to be found. I have him as barely startable in 20-teamers right now, and even then I’d likely rather have him on the bench for some short-term band-aid. After triple slashing .302/.361/.442 last season, he’s put up a paltry .184/.262/.248 line in 2017 with a 2.5 percent jump in swinging-strike rate, a five-percent drop in zone-contact rate and a hard-hit rate that has fallen six percent. We know he’s better than this, but that would be true of anyone getting paid to play the game. He’s extremely young and this is his first real slump, so it may take a while to shake off. The fantasy upside really isn’t there to slog it out with him if you can help it.

Didi Gregorius is back and you should be fairly excited, or at least intrigued. While he’s only gone yard once in his first 15 games of 2017, he’s hitting a crisp .297 and has 10 RBI from his usual sixth spot in the order. While the 27-year-old’s early batted-ball metrics aren’t promising when it comes to regaining his power stroke from ’16, he also didn’t show any signs of a real power surge then until June. You want fantasy assets in Yankee Stadium, just like in Coors Field, Chase Field and Miller Park. These are the four highest-ranked parks for run-scoring per ESPN’s Park Factors for a reason.

That whole Jose Peraza hype train thing hasn’t really panned out, as he’s fallen from No. 11 to No. 20 in this round of rankings -- though it’s worth noting the two of us were not the optimists on our preseason ranking board. The 23-year-old’s .243 average is the crux of his tumble, as he’s now just another cheap speed option that offers little else. He won’t tally any serious counting stats and isn’t hitting any homers, so he needs to produce a healthy average alongside the eight steals to really be a viable start. It’s hard to feel hopeful when you look at his 35.2% soft-contact rate -- way up from 19.4 percent in ’16 -- but at least it’s about five percent lower in May than it was in April. Still, he’s also hitting more flies in May, meaning he’s doing what Billy Hamilton did wrong for a while in not letting his legs work for him by hitting grounders. The speed is still there and his bat should come around, but this is more than just a fluky bad start.

Also, I love Chris Owings. I really do, but I just can’t get as excited about him as Kyle (top 80, damn that’s love) since I just can’t buy into the power holding up. This has been somewhat validated by May thus far, as he’s hit just one homer with three RBI (and stolen only one base) at the halfway point of the month. His .326 average is still sharp, though, and hopefully some pop returns before the humidor gets installed and makes things less fun in Arizona.


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