Examining which players at this position see their values rise or fall in OBP and points formats.
So this time last year we looked at shortstops and it was, well, not pretty. But good news! Even though the six-spotters haven’t gotten there yet, they’re getting awfully close to getting there. The massive influx of young talent gives hope where there has been really very little of it for a long, long time, but it’s important to pump the breaks a little bit. Three-star guys like Francisco Lindor and Addison Russell barely cracked the top-200 and -300, respectively, in overall value last year despite showing flashes of brilliance, and they along with the likes of Correa and Seager will have to navigate their first full seasons on the back of winter scouting report re-writes. Still, it’s nice to finally get to say some positive things about the position—even if that applies more broadly to points formats than OBP leagues, as we’ll see.
In case you missed any of the previous articles in this series, you can find those here:
The 30,000-foot-high view of the six spot for fantasy purposes.
Baseball is arguably the most difficult of all major sports, and if not the most difficult, at least the most failure-laden sport. A batter who fails 70 percent of the time is an All-Star nowadays, while a starting pitcher who surrenders a baserunner per inning is a borderline ace. Hell, the notion of failure is so embedded in baseball that it’s expected that young players crash and burn before finding their footing in the majors.
Sign all the Latin America shortstops, figure out the positions later.
Every day until Opening Day, Baseball Prospectus authors will preview two teams—one from the AL, one from the NL—identifying strategies those teams employ to gain an advantage. Today: the shortstop factories of the Braves and Rangers.
As you've probably been reading in our sister fantasy positional articles this week, middle infield has borne the brunt of the offensive downturn. When playing Scoresheet, factors such as handedness, defensive prowess, and durability also are in play, the back end of the shortstop rankings in both leagues can best be described as "a pile of mush." We're happy to help you dig.
As always, these rankings are developed for a continuous 10-team keeper league playing under standard Scoresheet rules, with 13 keepers and up to two league crossovers. Also as always, your mileage may vary.
There's a nice balance of power and speed in the senior-circuit pool.
Despite the flurry of trade rumors bantered about this offseason involving some of the senior circuit’s top shortstops, that core of players has remained intact in the NL thus far, keeping this position chock full of solid fantasy options. While traditionally a position loaded with speed, the 2015 NL shortstop pool provides more power options, in contrast to their AL counterparts. There were nine shortstops who hit 12 home runs or more in 2014, and seven were from the NL, including the players with the top four HR totals: Ian Desmond (24), Troy Tulowitzki (21), Jhonny Peralta (21), and Jimmy Rollins (17). While the AL has more top-end speed plays, the NL shortstop pool also has its share of players who can certainly help their fantasy owners in the SB category. Overall, the NL shortstop position offers a nice blend of both power and speed—and some potential bounce-back candidates, offering NL-only owners multiple opportunities to grab a solid fantasy producer to anchor their middle infields.
Tulowitzki still remains the cream of the crop in terms of fantasy NL shortstops. Despite the fact he has averaged only 88 games per year the past three seasons, Tulo will likely emerge as the first shortstop taken based on his elite production when he does play. While only appearing in 91 games last season, he still was able to crank out $23 in fantasy earnings in standard NL-Only 5x5 formats, which would slot him as the second-ranked SS in the 2015 NL shortstop pool. This type of production in limited time is nothing new for Tulo, as he earned $26 in 2013 over 126 games and $31 in 2010 in just 122 games. He went for an average salary of $30 last year (derived from the prices in CBS, LABR, and Tout Wars as prepared by Mike Gianella ), and there is no reason to think he will go for less than that in 2015, despite the injury/trade concerns. He is certainly fun to own when he plays—not so much when he takes his annual trip to the DL—and in the end is worthy of that high price for the potential reward if he can manage 500 AB.
Which one of these future AL Central shortstops should you choose for the long haul?
If you’ve been following the fantasy team’s positional coverage, you’re well aware of what we do in this space. For those new to the series, however, the Tale of the Tape is a feature in which we pluck two closely rated players and place them in a head-to-head matchup to see which one is superior. We’ve done both big-league and prospect versions, but today we’re treating you to a minor-league clash between a couple prized shortstop prospects: Francisco Lindor and Tim Anderson.