Today, we continue our series of looking ahead to the 2016 baseball season from a Fantasy Baseball perspective. With that in mind, here are the 2016 Fantasy Shortstop Rankings.
1) Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
Correa made his debut last season and proved that he was worth the hype. He hit .279 with 22 HR and 14 SB in only 99 games. Since this will be his first full season, he should put up even better power/speed numbers this year while at least holding steady in batting average (he had a .296 BABIP last year).
2) Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Toronto Blue Jays
The good news is that Tulowitzki played in 128 games last year. The bad news is that he did not perform up to typical levels for him as he had a 100 wRC+ last year and hit 17 HR. Last year, his HR/FB rate came in at 12.2% which was his lowest total since 2008. Despite the injury risk and results from last year, it will take more than one subpar season to drop him down the rankings based on past performance.
3) Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox
While Bogaerts is still a step behind the players ranked above him, there’s still a decent gap between him and the players ranked right below him. While he’s not going to hit .320 (.370 BABIP last season), he should hit somewhere north of .275 while providing 10-15 HR power and possibly double digit SB.
4) Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
Seager got called up late last season and demonstrated that he is ready for the majors. He hit .337 with four HR and a 175 wRC+. He also had a .387 BABIP but an average in the .270-280 range and 20 HR power is realistic over a full season.
5) Jose Reyes, SS, Colorado Rockies
This ranking is based on what he’s capable of over a full season (.280-.290 batting average, low double digit HR and 20+ SB). However, if Major League Baseball decides to give him a lengthy suspension based on the allegations against him, this ranking is going to be significantly lower. While he has the talent to be draft able, I won’t blame you for skipping him for a lower ranked shortstop (he’s not going anywhere near my teams for this reason).
6) Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
Last year, it was no surprise that Lindor was strong defensively. However, it was a surprise that he was productive at the plate. He should provide double digit power and speed totals but he’s not going to hit .313 again (.348 BABIP) and is likely to hit somewhere in the .260-.280 range.
7) Ian Desmond, SS, Free Agent
Yes, Desmond had a disappointing 2015 but there is still some value. He should hit closer to .250 (instead of the .233 he hit last season) as his BABIP was 15 points below his career total. Even though he wasn’t a great hitter overall last year (.233 AVG, 87 wRC+) he still hit 19 HR and stole 13 bases and should produce similar power/speed totals in 2016.
8) Brandon Crawford, SS, San Francisco Giants
Crawford continued his trend of improving his performance at the plate (he’s impro0ved his wRC+ every year he’s been active). This could be the year that trend ends. While his power totals should remain decent, his power outburst last year was aided by a 16.2% HR/FB ratio (7% was his previous career high).
9) Jhonny Peralta, SS, St. Louis Cardinals
While Peralta is not the flashiest name at his position, he did hit .275 last year and has hit double digit HR every season since 2005. There is little indication in his numbers that these trends change this season.
10) Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas Rangers
Overall, Andrus is a very weak hitter and if not for his defense he would unlikely be in the starting lineup. However, from a fantasy perspective he is one of the more consistent sources of stolen bases and he can be counted on to hit somewhere near .270. It also helps that in terms of injuries, he is low risk as he’s played at least 145 games every year since 2009.
11) Alcides Escobar, SS, Kansas City Royals
Escobar is a slightly worse version of Andrus in that he has also been a below average hitter in his career overall (but worse than Andrus), he has been less consistent year to year when it comes to batting average and while he has always been a good source for stolen bases, he did steal less bases than Andrus last season.
12) Marcus Semien, SS, Oakland Athletics
Semien had his first full season last year. While he started strong in April & May, he provided no value in June/July before rebounding towards the end of the season. He ended up hitting .257 with 15 HR & 11 SB. If he can avoid an extended cold streak, he could see an overall improvement this season.
13) Erick Aybar, SS, Atlanta Braves
Aybar was traded to the Braves during the off-season. He will likely give you a solid batting average and steal some bases. While he did score 74 runs last year, his ability to contribute in this area could be hampered by being on a Braves team that is not expected to score many runs.
14) Ketel Marte, SS, Seattle Mariners
Marte made his debut last season and hit .283 with two HR and eight SB in 57 games. His BABIP was a bit high (.341) and he will likely hit in the .260-.270 range, is capable of stealing around 20 bases but will not provide much power.
15) Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, New York Mets
He’s not going to give you a great batting average but his power totals have at least been steady over the last few seasons. Over the last four seasons his HR total has been in the 14-16 range.
16) Didi Gregorius, SS, New York Yankees
While Gregorius was a substantial defensive upgrade for the Yankees (Derek Jeter was very over-rated in this area), he provides marginal at best value from the fantasy perspective. He will likely hit in the .250-.260 range and hit somewhere around 10 HR.
17) Jean Segura, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
After a solid first full season for the Brewers, Segura has underachieved massively at the plate as his wRC+ has been below 70 the last two seasons. While he has been a strong source of stolen bases, there is also the requirement of having to be on base to do this (his OBP has been below .290 the last two seasons).
18) Trea Turner, SS, Washington Nationals
Turner made his debut with the Nationals last season. While he only hit .225 in 27 games, he did hit well above .300 in the minors. Best case scenario is that Turner provides a solid batting average and a stolen base total in the 15-20 range. However, there is not much to indicate that he will put up strong power numbers.
19) Jimmy Rollins, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
Rollins had a terrible first season with the Dodgers, hitting .224 with a 80 wRC+. One thing that held him back last season was a .246 BABIP. One thing holding him back this season is how much playing time he will get this season with the emergence of Corey Seager. If he does manage to get playing time, he will at least provide some power and speed (during his disaster of a season last year, he hit 13 HR and stole 12 bases).
20) Andrelton Simmons, SS, Los Angeles Angels
Simmons has always been amazing defensively but there’s no defensive metrics in Fantasy Baseball. He may hit .260 without providing much else.