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To read the previous editions in this series, follow the links below:

Welcome back to our five-star, positional ranking series. Today, we’ll look at shortstops.

Five-star players are the studs at their position. In general, they are the players who will be nabbed in the first couple of rounds of the draft, and will fetch mixed-league auction bids over $30. Four-star players are a cut below the studs at the position. They will also be early-round selections, and are projected to be worth more than $20 in most cases. Three-star players are the last tier in which players are projected to provide double-digit dollar value in auctions, and two-star players are projected to earn single digits in dollar value in auctions. One-star players are late-round sleepers and roster placeholders. The positional tiers aren't a regurgitation of last year's values but rather offer insight into what we expect will happen in 2017.

Positional eligibility for the series is determined by 20 games or more at a position in the majors, with priority determined using the following order: catcher, shortstop, second base, third base, outfield, first base, and designated hitter. Designated hitters were ranked with first basemen. Players who played fewer than 20 games at a position in the majors are ranked at the position they played most frequently. Players who did not play in the majors in 2016 are ranked at the position they played most in the minors. Since there are no players who are eligible at both catcher and shortstop, every player with shortstop eligibility is profiled in this space.

Dollar values come from last year's PFM using a 12-team, standard 5×5 scoring format, with 23-man rosters and the following positions: C (2) 1B (1) 2B (1) 3B (1) SS (1) CI (1) MI (1) OF (5) UT (1) P (9). The minimum bid for players is $1, and we allocate $180 of a $260 budget to hitters. The PFM is customizable, so if your league uses a different format you can adjust it to match your league settings and see how it impacts players' dollar values.

Five Star

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Manny Machado

BAL

$23.14

$27.05

696

105

37

96

0

.294

Xander Bogaerts

BOS

$24.34

$29.98

719

115

21

89

13

.295

Corey Seager

LAD

$18.34

$25.19

687

105

26

72

3

.308

Francisco Lindor

CLE

$20.01

$28.20

684

99

15

78

19

.301

Carlos Correa

HOU

$14.66

$23.33

660

76

20

96

13

.274

Jonathan Villar

MIL

$33.30

$41.53

679

92

19

63

62

.285

To get into an elite tier at any position, you must have at least some speed, and nearly every player in the five-star tier fit this bill in 2016. Villar’s speed speaks for itself, but the somewhat “sneaky” contributions of Lindor, Correa, and Bogaerts are what allow them to punch their tickets into the elite class. It is fair to wonder if Villar “belongs” in this tier after his out-of-nowhere breakout campaign, but considering his age (25) and the fact that 2016 represented his first legitimate opportunity at playing time, it isn’t a stretch to suggest Villar can earn another $25-30 in mixed.

Machado and Seager didn’t run in 2016, but are in this tier because they are both capable of 35 home run, .300 batting average seasons, although in Seager’s case this is more of a long-term proposition. Seager’s raw numbers look somewhat soft relative to some in this tier, but consider that he was a 22-year-old rookie who held his own his second time through the league. Machado is more of a risk not to run going forward, but he fits the rare model of a player like Miguel Cabrera, who can pop up into the $30s as a four-category monster even without the steals. Machado doesn’t turn 25 until July. Correa was only disappointing if you were expecting him to keep pace with his blistering 2015. He is 22 years old. The odds are good that the best is yet to come.

Five-Star Value Pick: Francisco Lindor
Lindor is the lowest drafted shortstop in this tier, albeit barely, so he is the value pick by default. Villar may have the best chance to be a five-category guy, but there is enough security in Lindor’s batting average to say that he is the safest bet among the five-star shortstops to contribute across the board. A 15 home run, 25 steal season with a .300 AVG along with all the runs and RBI he’ll get batting third in Cleveland’s strong lineup could provide nice value in the third round of a 12 team mixed league.

Four Star

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Jean Segura

SEA

$28.06

$36.84

694

102

20

64

33

.319

Trevor Story

COL

$7.52

$18.17

415

67

27

72

8

.272

The four-star tier has two shortstops who barely missed the five-star tier and, based on 2016 stats alone, could make a case for residing there. Story’s ADP is barely below Lindor’s so Story’s ranking is an acknowledgement that we don’t quite believe that Story belongs in the elite tier. His raw power and the allure of Coors Field make it tempting to project 40-45 home runs, but it is very likely that pitchers work more carefully with Story in his sophomore season.

Four-Star Value Pick: Jean Segura
In 2016, Segura outperformed everyone in the top two tiers except for Villar, yet many do not trust his chances at a repeat. But Segura’s power improvement came primarily to a mechanical change he made to his swing during the 2015-2016 offseason, which allowed Segura to generate more loft and a higher batted ball angle than he had in the past. Segura has always been a top shelf talent in terms of both ability and potential. It is more likely that he maintains most of his gains in 2017 than it is that he slips all the way back to his 2014-2015 levels.

Three Star

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Addison Russell

CHC

$6.76

$17.01

598

67

21

95

5

.238

Eduardo Nunez

SF

$19.95

$30.20

595

73

16

67

40

.288

Asdrubal Cabrera

NYM

$5.60

$16.96

568

65

23

62

5

.280

Dansby Swanson

ATL

($16.92)

$0.64

145

20

3

17

3

.302

Elvis Andrus

TEX

$12.57

$23.82

568

76

8

69

24

.302

Brad Miller

TB

$10.88

$18.27

601

73

30

81

6

.243

Troy Tulowitzki

TOR

$2.88

$12.72

544

54

24

79

1

.254

Marcus Semien

OAK

$8.42

$18.33

621

72

27

75

10

.238

Brandon Crawford

SF

$6.54

$16.99

623

67

12

84

7

.275

Javier Baez

CHC

$1.38

$14.02

450

50

14

59

12

.273

Tim Anderson

CHW

($2.06)

$9.83

431

57

9

30

10

.283

There was a time when you could close your eyes and find a speedster quite easily at shortstop, but those days are gone, at least for the time being. Nunez is an easy four-star shortstop if you believe his 2016 was legitimate but a significant drop in his second half numbers combined with Nunez’s age make it fair to wonder if he was a one-year wonder. However, even if Nunez “only” steals an empty 25-30 bases, he will have value in every format among this group of players.

With nearly half of the three-star tier sporting 20+ home run power, it makes breaking past this tier impossible without at least some value in batting average. It is difficult to stomach looking at Tulowitzki in this tier, but he hasn’t run in years and has been a league average hitter the last two seasons. He has been relatively healthy, but it turns out that 130 games of Tulo outside of Coors isn’t particularly exciting. Russell’s talent and youth are tantalizing, but the low batting average and inconsistency limit his ceiling, and in redraft leagues you don’t want to be too aggressive. Swanson is a dynamic, exciting talent, but a lot of what you are drafting is a solid batting average to go with a full season worth of at bats.

Three-Star Value Pick: Asdrubal Cabrera
A late season injury hid the progress Cabrera made working with Kevin Long on tweaking A-Cab’s swing. Cabrera made an adjustment similar to the one that Daniel Murphy made late in 2015 prior to Murph’s postseason breakout. Cabrera hit 11 home runs in his last 56 games with a .240 ISO and a .309 batting average. It would be silly to predict that Cabrera is going to be Daniel Murphy 2.0, but Murph’s 2015 late season gains were dismissed by fantasy managers and Cabrera’s ADP suggests that the same thing is happening to Cabrera.

Two Star

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Aledmys Diaz

STL

$4.97

$15.57

460

71

17

65

4

.300

Alcides Escobar

KC

$2.49

$15.47

682

57

7

55

17

.261

Orlando Arcia

MIL

($16.16)

$1.44

216

21

4

17

8

.219

Didi Gregorius

NYY

$7.16

$17.12

597

68

20

70

7

.276

Chris Owings

ARI

$3.04

$15.19

466

52

5

49

21

.277

Jedd Gyorko

STL

$1.00

$13.00

438

58

30

59

0

.243

Jose Peraza

CIN

($5.89)

$8.83

256

25

3

25

21

.324

If you’re looking for youth and upside, Arcia and Peraza fit the bill, although thanks to his fast start and mid-season injury it is easy to forget that Diaz has not played a full major league season either. Peraza’s stats leap off the page, thanks to 21 steals in half a season. The big question with Peraza is whether he will get a shot to start for the Reds or not. Arcia is much more of a speculative pick based on last year’s stats, although based on projected playing time he has a much better chance of pushing into a higher tier than Peraza does.

Everyone in this tier either has some sort of deficiency or hasn’t proven himself over the course of a full season. Gregorius had a solid year using fantasy-oriented numbers, but the batted ball data portends poorly for future success, even though Yankee Stadium obviously helps. Diaz is being ranked much higher than this by NFBC drafters, but his strong 2016 was fueled largely by a hot April, and the lack of a minor-league track record suggests that caution is wise. The Cardinals logjam with Gyorko, Jhonny Peralta and Kolten Wong could also cut into Diaz’s playing time, particularly if Diaz struggles again defensively. Gyorko’s 2016 numbers are yet another useful reminder of how the value of power has diminished significantly in standard of shallow fantasy leagues. In 2016, Gyorko was a replacement level middle infielder in 12-team mixed.

Two-Star Value Pick: Alcides Escobar
He is the furthest thing in the world from exciting, and his real life offensive numbers are in fact Bad (among qualifiers, only Adeiny Hechavarria and Alexei Ramirez had a poorer TAv) but in deeper mixed leagues and AL-only Escobar’s 15-20 steals and the fact that he plays nearly every day have value. Those AL-only and 12-team mixed league earnings up above are no lie. Escobar is a positive earner in nearly any format, yet he gets drafted in 15-team leagues like a fringe reserve pick. You can’t win with a team of players like Escobar, but you do need a player or two like him on your roster who exceed their draft value.

One Star

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Jorge Polanco

MIN

($13.11)

$1.43

270

24

4

27

4

.282

Zack Cozart

CIN

($0.06)

$11.88

508

67

16

50

4

.252

Freddy Galvis

PHI

$6.30

$18.56

624

61

20

67

17

.241

Ketel Marte

ARI

($4.80)

$8.19

466

55

1

33

11

.259

Galvis is the player in this tier who jumps off the page. He’d probably rank higher if it wasn’t for the fact that top Phillies’ prospect J.P. Crawford is waiting in the wings. Despite the bad batting average, Galvis’ power/speed combination seems legitimate, and while he isn’t a world beater, he does give the Phillies a nice problem to have up the middle. Polanco is going to be one of those incredibly boring AL-only contributors if he doesn’t completely fall off of the map like every Twins shortstop does after a respectable season. Marte’s defense is what will keep him on the field if he sticks in the majors, but even in a steals hungry fantasy context he is going to have to do much more with the bat to make him a palatable fantasy option in mixed.

One-Star Value Pick: Zack Cozart
What you see is what you get with Cozart, but a 20 home run hitter with a .250-.260 batting average is quite useful. The cozy dimensions of the Great American Ball Park will keep that power at respectable levels, and Cozart has less playing time risk than anyone in this tier. Cozart could put up similar power numbers to players like Brandon Crawford and Tulowitzki yet is being drafted in the reserve phase in most 15-team mixed leagues.