CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe
Strength of Schedule Report
<< Previous Article
Rubbing Mud: A Few Fac... (02/08)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: Th... (02/01)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: Ou... (02/16)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Prospect Debate: Alex ... (02/09)

February 9, 2016

Early ADP Analysis

Shortstop

by George Bissell

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Welcome to the latest installment of our new fantasy series focused primarily on analyzing early average draft position (ADP) trends. The goal of the series is to identify trends in the data over time to determine what we can learn to improve our draft-day strategy going forward. This week’s edition focuses squarely on the plethora of young shortstops poised to usher in a new era at the position.

A Brief Position Eligibility Primer
The standard we use for our pre-season content at BP to determine position eligibility is 20 games played. Some league providers set their eligibility threshold at just 10 games played, so make sure to check with your specific league settings if there is any question as to where a specific player may quality in your league. Hitters are ultimately ranked at the position deemed to be more valuable fantasy-wise. Fantasy owners should remain cognizant of hitters who qualify at multiple positions, but instead of rankings them at every position for which they are eligible at, we have chosen to rank them only at the position with more fantasy value.

Why Care About ADP?
Fantasy owners should be advised against reading too much into the early data, which can be subject to small sample outliers, since a majority of leagues haven’t drafted yet. However, it does give us a window to evaluate how the general public perceives specific player value and draft trends heading into 2016. Even if you’re competing in an auction, this data will give you a good idea of which studs a majority of fantasy owners are willing to shell out the extra dollar to purchase and which shortstops (there is one veteran that currently fits this mold) may slip through the cracks and make excellent value targets.

The early ADP data referenced for this entire series, housed at STATS.com, is from 2016 National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) leagues, which comprise 15 teams. Therefore, the average round data is reflective of that league size. It’s also worth pointing out that the data is also both relatively thin and updating in real time at the link above, so be sure to check back frequently for the latest updates. Without further delay, let’s dive into shortstop.

The Early Rounds
Correa is a legitimate fantasy superstar already, but is he worthy of a first-round selection in 2016? The passing of the torch from the old guard (Tulowitzki and Desmond) to Bogaerts, Seager and Lindor has already begun…

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

1

Carlos Correa

HOU

7

1st

Carlos Correa, Astros
“We just spent the 2012 baseball season marveling at an extreme performance from a player who, as late as August, could not legally drink,” wrote legendary fantasy analyst Ron Shandler, leading off the 2013 edition of his annual Baseball Forecaster. He finished the season as the no. 1-ranked fantasy commodity in all of baseball, posting the best Rotisserie line we’ve seen in 14 years.”

Shandler was obviously referencing Mike Trout, but the parallels between the New Jersey native’s debut and Correa’s a year ago are striking. Despite not making his major-league debut until June 8th, Correa finished as the second-best fantasy shortstop, according to Baseball Prospectus in-house expert Mike Gianella’s 2015 SGP-style rotisserie valuations. He hit .279/.345/.512 (.295 TAv) with 52 runs scored, 22 home runs, 68 RBI and 14 stolen bases in just 432 plate appearances.

To put Correa’s stratospheric offensive numbers at an offensively challenged position in context, only four other shortstops in the last decade have replicated his debut over a single season: Jimmy Rollins (the year he won the NL MVP in 2007), Hanley Ramirez (2007, 2008 and 2009), Troy Tulowitzki (2009) and Ian Desmond (2012). Since 1901, no rookie shortstop, age 21 or younger has ever been as good offensively in their debut season as Correa was in 2015.

There is simply no historical comparison for Trout. There wasn’t at the time he burst onto the scene as a rookie, and there isn’t now. Shandler, one of the most respected analysts in the fantasy industry, took a lot of flack for his “bold” stance on Trout, but he wasn’t wrong (at the time he wrote the piece) to project regression from a hitter who had just delivered a performance that ventured into uncharted waters, historically speaking. Which leads us to Correa’s meteoric rise.

What are the odds that Correa, less than five years later, is another historical outlier? We’ve been here before. To be clear, I’m not saying, “don’t draft Correa.” I’m saying remain cognizant of the risks of betting on an outlier in the first round.

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

2

Troy Tulowitzki

TOR

49

4th

3

Corey Seager

LAD

55

4th

4

Xander Bogaerts

BOS

60

4th

5

Francisco Lindor

CLE

64

5th

Troy Tulowitzki, Blue Jays
A borderline first-round selection (14th overall in ADP) a year ago, Tulowitzki has fallen to the fourth round in early 2016 drafts. Despite his struggles down the stretch (.239 with five home runs in his final 183 plate appearances) after being traded to Toronto, he still managed to hit .280/.337/.440 with 77 runs scored, 17 home runs, 70 RBI, and one steal over 534 plate appearances.

The primary concern moving forward is his plate discipline and the transition to the AL after spending nearly an entire decade in Colorado. After posting a contact rate above 80 percent for eight consecutive seasons, that number dipped to 77 percent last season as the veteran infielder fanned 114 times, his most in a single season dating back to 2007. Additionally, he posted the lowest walk rate (7 percent) of his entire major-league career. Even if he maintains a BABIP over .330 (which he has done for three straight years), the odds of him ever hitting .300 again are almost nonexistent unless he cuts back on the strikeouts.

It’s impossible to forget that Tulowitzki’s lengthy injury history, failing to record more than 600 plate appearances in four straight seasons, is more frightening than that Mountain Dew puppy-monkey-baby commercial. He’s too talented to discount the odds of a bounce-back to elite production, especially hitting near the top of a Blue Jays lineup that averaged over five runs per game last year. However, the eroding plate discipline, age (31 years old) and legitimate durability concerns only amplify the risk in 2016.

Corey Seager, Dodgers

2015 Lg.

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

TAv

AAA

464

13

.278

.332

.451

.285

MLB

113

4

.337

.425

.561

.356

Let’s not get swept away by 113 otherworldly plate appearances in September. As intoxicating as that fantasy may be, Seager’s Triple-A numbers over a much larger sample size (more than four times as many plate appearances to be exact) paint a more accurate picture of Seager going forward offensively. There’s a reason why Baseball Prospectus just ranked him the top-overall prospect in the game heading into 2016. No other shortstop in the game, aside from Correa, possesses Seager’s offensive ceiling.

It would be foolish to write off the possibility of him realizing that potential in 2016, but at just 22-years-old that’s a lot to put on a rookie in his full-season debut. It’s another thing altogether to invest a fourth-round draft pick on such an unproven commodity. Nobody doubts the prodigious talent, but paying for all of the upside on draft day seems like a mistake. Stripping out all of the noise and looking from purely raw numbers standpoint, here is a blind player comparison using PECOTA’s projections from the 2016 BP Annual (which every fantasy owner should go out and buy if they haven’t already).

PECOTA

PA

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Player A

565

63

21

76

2

.263

Player B

608

64

16

71

3

.263

Player A is Seager. That may seem like a conservative projection, especially from a power standpoint, but consider that PECOTA has almost no major-league track record to go on and still is projecting him for a line that only two shortstops age 22 or younger (Correa and Tulowitzki) have accomplished in the last decade.

Player B is 34-year-old veteran Jhonny Peralta, who is currently going nearly 200 picks (186 to be exact) later in ADP. The point of this exercise obviously isn’t to say that Peralta is going to outperform Seager, but merely to point out the huge risk associated with taking him that high, especially if he doesn’t deliver monster power numbers. Proceed with caution.

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
After a tumultuous full-season debut back in 2014, Bogaerts took a massive step forward last year, completely overhauling his batted-ball profile and approach at the plate. Most notably, he cut back significantly on strikeouts (increasing his contact rate from 74 percent the year prior, to 84 percent in 2015). Drastically improved plate discipline and trading in a slew of fly balls for a steady diet of grounders and line drives, resulted in a .320 average, the second-best mark on the junior circuit last year.

Year

GB%

LD%

FB%

CT%

BABIP

AVG

2014

38%

21%

41%

74%

.296

.240

2015

53%

21%

26%

84%

.372

.320

Despite only hitting seven home runs, the Red Sox phenom finished as the top shortstop in standard mixed leagues last season, which makes it even more curious to see Seager going ahead of him in 2016 drafts. The huge groundball spike caps undoubtedly his power upside, making even double-digit home runs a stretch going forward. That may not sound enticing, but even if you account for the possibility of his outlandish .372 BABIP from last season regressing toward league-average, Bogaerts should be a consistent threat to hit .300 every year going forward. He even added flashed a little speed in 2015, swiping 10 bases in 12 attempts. From virtually every perspective, Bogaerts made substantial progress in 2015. At just 23 years old, he’s already established himself as a superstar. It’s now a matter of whether he even has another level left to ascend to.

Francisco Lindor, Indians
Banking on one of the position's premier defensive wizards to replicate the 12 home runs he hit over just 438 plate appearances in his major-league debut last season seems like a stretch. Especially since he had never displayed that type of power in his minor-league career. Lindor had just 13 homers in 829 plate appearances since the start of 2014. Even if he takes a step back in the power department, he’s a lock for 20 stolen bases and his 81 percent contact rate suggests that he’s got a shot at coming close to repeating the .313 average he posted last year. While Lindor lacks the astronomical ceiling of Correa or Seager (or maybe even Bogaerts), he’s rapidly developed into one of the most intriguing young shortstops in the game to watch. The 2016 price tag (fifth round) is steep considering the lack of a lengthy track record, but given the drop off at the position after the elite tier, he might just be worth the investment.

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

6

Ian Desmond

Free Agent

116

8th

Ian Desmond, Free Agent
A top-30 overall selection a year ago, it remains to be seen whether Desmond’s declining ADP is a by-product of slipping offensive production, or the fact that he remains unsigned just days before pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Since Desmond was my “shortstop to avoid” selection for the BP fantasy staff post later this week, I won’t spoil all of the fun here. Check back later this week.

The Middle Rounds
Question Time: Why are fantasy owners writing off Russell? How far has Reyes fallen? What does Crawford have to do in order to garner some respect?

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

7

Addison Russell

CHC

140

10th

8

Jose Reyes

COL

143

10th

9

Elvis Andrus

TEX

149

10th

10

Jung-Ho Kang

PIT

173

12th

11

Brandon Crawford

SF

174

12th

12

Starlin Castro

NYY

197

14th

13

Jean Segura

ARI

198

14th

Addison Russell, Cubs
Despite being one of just four shortstops age 22 or younger in the last decade to hit 13 home runs in their rookie season, Russell isn’t garnering nearly as much attention as his highly touted peers. The prevailing narrative, which has clouded his immediate fantasy outlook, that he struggled as a rookie is entirely fair. He hit just .242 over 523 plate appearances, but comparing him to Correa and Seager, the most offensively gifted shortstops of their generation, isn’t fair. Honestly, everyone looks bad compared to Correa, who might not be human. Russell hit for plenty of power and showcased an ability well beyond his years to make adjustments at the plate as the season went on. He may not be generating very much excitement and hype, but with his status cemented as the Cubs everyday shortstop, hitting in a loaded lineup, all of the signs point to a huge step forward from the 22-year-old in 2016.

Brandon Crawford, Giants
The UCLA Bruin crushed 21 homers last season, more than double his previous career-high of 10 long balls back in 2014, while his batting average remained steady (hovering around .250). At 29 years old, he doesn’t have the ceiling of his much-heralded, younger colleagues at the position, but he offers fantasy owners reliable, consistent production at a thin position for a mid-round price tag. If you’re looking for the downside, there isn’t any. Crawford is as solid of an investment as there is at shortstop.

Jean Segura, D-backs
I heard a rumor that Mike Carey liked the trade for the D-backs when he took a look at the replay, so I’m feeling pretty confident this deal isn’t working out long-term. From a fantasy standpoint, Segura has stolen 89 bases over the past three seasons despite posting a sub-300 OBP. The upside isn’t there, but at least the speed makes him a tolerable option in the middle rounds.

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

14

Ketel Marte

SEA

228

16th

15

Jhonny Peralta

STL

241

17th

16

Marcus Semien

OAK

254

17th

17

Alexei Ramirez

SD

258

18th

Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals

Shaping up as the best value at the position relative to his projected performance (see PECOTA’s 2016 projection from earlier in the column) and his current ADP, which currently sits in the 17th round. The 34-year-old delivered a nearly carbon copy replica of his Cardinal debut last year, hitting .275/.334/.411 with 64 runs scored, 17 home runs, 71 RBI, and one steal in 640 plate appearances. With his ground ball rate starting to rise, the odds of 20 home runs coming back seems unlikely, but the floor is still incredibly high, especially considering where he is being selected in 2016.

The Late Rounds
It appears you’ve fallen in a #ShortstopHole

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

18

Trea Turner

WAS

271

19th

19

Brad Miller

TB

277

19th

20

Alcides Escobar

KC

278

19th

21

Eugenio Suarez

CIN

287

20th

22

Asdrubal Cabrera

NYM

296

20th

23

Jedd Gyorko

STL

315

21st

24

Erick Aybar

ATL

335

23rd

Trea Turner, Nationals
A sleeper for Rookie of the Year honors in the NL, Turner could swipe 30 bases if he’s able to wrest the starting shortstop job away from unheralded veterans Danny Espinosa and Stephen Drew. Well, who are we kidding, it’s happening, it just depends on how soon. Outside the top 250 selections, lottery tickets don’t get much better than this at a weak position outside the truly elite talents.

The Leftovers
These are not the droids you’re looking for…Move along…

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

25

Wilmer Flores

NYM

351

24th

26

Andrelton Simmons

LAA

353

24th

27

Trevor Story

COL

361

25th

28

Eduardo Escobar

MIN

365

25th

29

Didi Gregorius

NYY

368

25th

The Undrafted Crop
Just keep thinking about Correa…It will be alright…

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

30

Jose Iglesias

DET

387

Undrafted

31

Jed Lowrie

OAK

400

Undrafted

32

Zack Cozart

CIN

414

Undrafted

33

Adeiny Hechavarria

MIA

415

Undrafted

34

Tim Anderson

CWS

426

Undrafted

35

Jonathan Villar

MIL

428

Undrafted

36

Jose Ramirez

CLE

432

Undrafted

37

J.J. Hardy

BAL

436

Undrafted

38

J.P. Crawford

PHI

437

Undrafted

39

Orlando Arcia

MIL

438

Undrafted

40

Marwin Gonzalez

HOU

449

Undrafted

41

Freddy Galvis

PHI

471

Undrafted

42

Jimmy Rollins

LAD

494

Undrafted

43

Jordy Mercer

PIT

532

Undrafted

44

Nick Ahmed

ARI

538

Undrafted

Jimmy Rollins, Dodgers
There might not be a more appropriate symbol of how much things can change in a year than Rollins. Selected inside the top-150 overall (138th) a year ago, coming off a 17-homer, 28-steal campaign in his final season in Philadelphia, he’s since been effectively replaced by the no. 1 prospect in baseball and is now 37 years old. As Bob Dylan once wrote, “the times they are a changin’.”

Orlando Arcia, Brewers
It’s unrealistic to expect J.P. Crawford to reach the majors this season given that he has just 405 plate appearances above High-A, but with only Jonathan Villar standing in his way, there is always the possibility that Arcia could find himself in Milwaukee sooner rather than later in 2016. The 21-year-old hit .307 with eight home runs and 28 stolen bases in 552 plate appearances at Double-A last year and has the speed and on-base prowess necessary to make an immediate fantasy impact.

George Bissell is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see George's other articles. You can contact George by clicking here

Related Content:  Fantasy,  Shortstops

2 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Rubbing Mud: A Few Fac... (02/08)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: Th... (02/01)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: Ou... (02/16)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Prospect Debate: Alex ... (02/09)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: A Few of My Favorite Dyna...
BP En Espanol: Confesiones de un falso manag...
What You Need to Know: Best of the Best
Short Relief: Our Large Retired Sons
BP Toronto
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: Half-Truths and Collision Cours...
Baseball Prospectus News: Subscription Price...

MORE FROM FEBRUARY 9, 2016
Baseball Therapy: The Crack in the Defensive...
Rumor Roundup: The Next Two Cubans
Premium Article Prospect Debate: Alex Reyes vs. Tyler Glasno...
Fantasy Article Welcome to Splitsville: Shortstop
Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Elvis Andrus vs. Brandon C...
Fantasy Article The Adjuster: Shortstop
Fantasy Article Fantasy Tiered Rankings: Shortstops

MORE BY GEORGE BISSELL
2016-02-18 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 8...
2016-02-16 - Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: Outfielders
2016-02-16 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 8...
2016-02-09 - Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: Shortstop
2016-02-09 - Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 77: Mock Draf...
2016-02-05 - TINO (There Is No Offseason): Ep. 63: Flu-Li...
2016-02-02 - Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 76: Time Is F...
More...

MORE EARLY ADP ANALYSIS
2016-03-09 - Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: Relief Pitchers
2016-02-29 - Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: Starting Pitchers
2016-02-16 - Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: Outfielders
2016-02-09 - Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: Shortstop
2016-02-01 - Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: Third Base
2016-01-25 - Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: Second Base
2016-01-18 - Fantasy Article Early ADP Analysis: First Base
More...