MARKET PULSE: Shortstops of 2018

NOTE: Our preseason Market Pulse column is an exercise in identifying the gaps between the valuation of the "popular" market (as reflected in Average Draft Position, or "ADP") and that of BaseballHQ.com. If a player is not listed here, it's likely that he qualifies at a scarcer position, or he's not in the ADP top 500-600 (it's a bit fluid). Remember that this is an exercise in relative valuation, not absolute.

Each hitter is being considered at his scarcest qualified position (in order: C/DH, SS, 2B, 3B, 1B, OF), as it is the scarcest eligible position that typically drives fantasy value. The rankings are a risk- and position-adjusted estimate using current BaseballHQ.com projections. It is a purely quantitative ranking, with no specific consideration of "upside" (aside from reliability scores). The dollar values are position adjusted, but do not incorporate risk. Average auction values are approximate. These are not the "official" BaseballHQ.com straight-draft rankings, but they should be close.

Note that this article assumes a standard 15-team, mixed, 5x5 league, though the recommendations here will generally apply in most formats. Note also that a positive number in the "Diff" column indicates a player that BaseballHQ.com ranks lower than the "market," and a negative number indicates we have the player ranked higher, based on ADP. The list is split into tiers, based on the BaseballHQ.com rankings.

(NFBC ADP Report) | Unofficial Rankings

Previous Columns: C/DH

The shortstop position features good players and some good values throughout the draft. It's a very deep position, and in particular, a great place to find stolen bases. While outfielders are projected for twice as many steals as shortstops (among the top 500 players), there are three times as many outfielders. So player-for-player, the shortstops are the speediest positional group.

There's no reason to reach for a shorstop; these rankings incorporate positional scarcity, and as you can see below, there are options throughout. Yes, everyone wants a "good" shortstop, but if you're willing to forego the top names, there are some good values here. The only thing to note as far as pockets of value is the nearly two-round drop between the 11th-ranked (Tim Anderson) and 12trh-ranked (Didi Gregorius) players on this list (based on BaseballHQ.com rankings).

                                        HQ                      --  HQ Projections --
Player                  TM POS REL ADP Rank Diff HQ$ AAV Diff |  AB AVG HR RBI  R  SB
=====================  === === === === ==== ==== === === ==== | === === == === === ==
Turner, Trea           WAS   6 CBD   5   17   12  34  31    3 | 567 287 16  62  98 51
Correa, Carlos         HOU   6 BBC  15   25   10  28  27    1 | 578 296 27 107  92  6
Lindor, Francisco      CLE   6 AAA  21   27    6  25  26   -1 | 594 283 22  77  97 19
Bregman, Alex          HOU  56 ADA  35   30   -5  25  25    0 | 557 286 25  83  93 14
Seager, Corey           LA   6 AAB  40   50   10  20  20    0 | 560 297 24  75  85  4
Andrus, Elvis          TEX   6 AAC  56   36  -20  23  23    0 | 604 289 13  75  88 25

Segura, Jean           SEA   6 BAF  81   71  -10  18  17    1 | 580 289 11  51  83 27
Bogaerts, Xander       BOS   6 AAA  89   49  -40  20  20    0 | 593 295 14  69  94 14
Baez, Javier           CHC  46 ACB 105   67  -38  17  17    0 | 515 274 20  80  73 14
Gregorius, Didi        NYY   6 BAB 113  118    5  12  12    0 | 582 270 21  80  74  4
Story, Trevor          COL   6 CBD 114  135   21  12  10    2 | 498 251 29  78  70  9
Gonzalez, Marwin       HOUo634 ABF 115  161   46   9   9    0 | 443 281 17  65  58  8

DeJong, Paul           STL  64 ADD 151  127  -24  11  11    0 | 515 263 31  73  62  2
Simmons, Andrelton     LAA   6 AAB 182  152  -30   9   9    0 | 603 274 10  64  73 13
Arcia, Orlando         MIL   6 ABD 190  141  -49  10  10    0 | 573 268 16  59  64 18
Anderson, Tim          CHW   6 ABA 191   94  -97  13  14   -1 | 630 262 17  53  81 23
Peraza, Jose           CIN  46 ACB 199  223   24   6   6    0 | 487 272  5  37  56 28
Polanco, Jorge         MIN   6 ABB 201  155  -46   9   9    0 | 537 264 15  71  60 15
Rosario, Amed          NYM   6 AFD 224   83 -141  15  15    0 | 613 273 13  64  82 21

Semien, Marcus         OAK   6 CBA 229  197  -32   8   7    1 | 560 248 17  63  77 14
Owings, Christopher    ARI 6o4 FBB 232  190  -42  10   7    3 | 521 274 15  61  54 19
Cozart, Zack           LAA   6 DCD 233  142  -91  14  10    4 | 559 270 25  69  87  5
Russell, Addison       CHC   6 BBA 251  229  -22   6   5    1 | 502 248 20  80  69  4
Beckham, Tim           BAL   6 CDB 274  341   67   1   1    0 | 478 253 17  54  60  6
Solarte, Yangervis     TOR 465 CBB 277  257  -20   5   4    1 | 446 270 19  66  54  2
Reyes, Jose            NYM 654 BCA 305  557  252  -5  -3   -2 | 281 259  8  30  43 13
Cabrera, Asdrubal      NYM 654 BBB 307  251  -56   5   4    1 | 468 273 16  56  61  4
Crawford, Brandon       SF   6 AAB 328  193 -135   7   7    0 | 562 260 16  83  66  4
Galvis, Freddy          SD   6 AAA 357  325  -32   1   2   -1 | 546 251 11  53  60 14
Marte, Ketel           ARI   6 ACD 372  355  -17   0   1   -1 | 474 266  8  37  60 13
Tulowitzki, Troy       TOR   6 FCB 378  662  284  -9  -5   -4 | 379 251 11  50  37  0
Swanson, Dansby        ATL   6 ADC 383  390    7  -1   0   -1 | 516 245  8  58  70  7
Difo, Wilmer           WAS  64 ADA 433  699  266  -7  -6   -1 | 318 254  5  23  43 14
Pinder, Chad           OAK o96 BCB 436  807  371 -10  -7   -3 | 322 236 14  37  38  3
Camargo, Johan         ATL  56 ADD 437  796  359  -9  -7   -2 | 387 262  6  41  44  1
Barreto, Franklin      OAK   6 ADA 462  639  177  -6  -5   -1 | 452 241 10  39  50 12
Diaz, Aledmys          TOR   6 BCF 474  753  279  -9  -6   -3 | 290 254 11  35  36  5
Duffy, Matt            TAM   6 FDD 483  541   58  -6  -3   -3 | 350 266  3  46  43  8
Mercer, Jordy          PIT   6 ABB 501  442  -59  -2  -1   -1 | 563 252 13  62  59  1
Iglesias, Jose         DET   6 DBB 515  492  -23  -4  -2   -2 | 485 265  5  46  57  6
Hechavarria, Adeiny    TAM   6 CBC 521  500  -21  -4  -2   -2 | 488 261  7  43  51 10

There’s more where this came from. Click here to purchase a Draft Prep subscription plan, which gives you complete access to BaseballHQ.com's insights through April 30, 2018.


You can't go wrong choosing between Trea Turner (SS, WAS) or Carlos Correa (SS, HOU) as your primary shortstop, though we wouldn't reach for either one given the likes of Alex Bregman (3B/SS, HOU) and Corey Seager (SS, LA) available in the third round. The main difference between Turner and Correa in the BaseballHQ.com ranking comes down to Turner's 2017 injury and its effect on his reliability. While it was an impact injury and not necessarily something chronic, it's still a slight knock against him and in the early rounds, that matters. Plus, Correa is more of a power threat, and you can still find some speed-only guys in the late rounds to fill in there.

Xander Bogaerts (SS, BOS) is coming off a disappointing 2017, but you should see it as a buying opportunity. The hesitance to draft him is understandable as it's difficult to get a sense of exactly which hitter to expect. Over the past four years, he's hit as few as 7 and as many as 21 home runs, and his BA has ranged from .240 to .320 despite what appear to be relatively stable skills. He played with a sore wrist for most of the second half of 2017, so there's reason to hope for a rebound, and he put up the best speed numbers of his career, so there may be a little bit of SB upside. Plus, there are some indications that new Red Sox manager Alex Cora will run more than his predecessor (though that could be noise, as well). There's more upside than downside here.

Javier Baez (2B/SS, CHC) has a couple of knocks against him—his 2017 hr/f looks like an outlier, and he's hit 30 points above his xBA for two straight years—but his power and speed are both above average, making him an appealing choice. His positional flexibility is a benefit, as well, both in fantasy terms and in terms of finding real-life playing time. He did see an uptick in batting eye in 2017; if he can consolidate his skills, there's some upside here, too. You could do much worse with your primary shortstop.

Orlando Arcia (SS, MIL) didn't set the world on fire in his first full season in the majors in 2017, but he certainly did enough as a 22-year old to show he has major-league talent. His 13% hr/f is at odds with his weak raw power (70 PX), but it wasn't necessarily park generated (7 of 15 HR were on the road). His rSpd jumped in the second half, so perhaps he figured some things out there. Despite the power caution, his strong contact rate (80%) and speed give him some good SB upside, not to mention his manager's propensity to flash green lights. If lost five homers and picked up 10 steals over his 2017 production, his value would take a big jump. It's more of a hope than a certainty, but it's not an unreasonable one.

Most of what we just said about Arcia could have been said about Tim Anderson (SS, CHW) at the start of the 2017 season, but the hoped-for gains didn't pan out. However, most of his struggles were in the first half, and he showed excellent speed skills all season (including a 90% SB%). He does have issues: his marginal contact (72% in 2017) and near-zero walk rate limits his on-base, and his xPX shows some power downside. There are a lot of questions here, and more than a little downside, but he still has 25+ SB skills. You could drop him four rounds from the BaseballHQ.com rankings and still be reasonable assured of getting him.

Amed Rosario (SS, NYM) fits the same profile as many of the young shortstops on this list: free swinger, below-average power, and good speed. His 2017 debut was a good one, despite the obvious holes in his game. He projects as a 10/20-type hitter, with the potential for 30 SB if he can improve his on-base skills. It's hard to understand, then, why fantasy GMs are taking him almost 10 rounds later than his projection. Yes, there's the potential that he's in AAA by May, but that doesn't usually hold GMs back. Don't let him get past you in the 12th round.

Zack Cozart (SS, LAA) isn't anyone's idea of the ideal starting shortstop, but aside from his age, there's reason to expect his 2018 to be pretty close to his 2017. We can expect some age-related decline and maybe a loss of some BA and HR with the move from Cincinnati to L.A., but the ballpark effects aren't that great for right-handed batters in either park. Offsetting those effects will be an increase in playing time—Jose Peraza ate up some PT in Cincinnati, while Cozart is projected to be the everyday 3B in L.A. His DCD reliability is awful, so he's a risk, but still a value in the 14th round or so.

Speaking of age-related declines, Jose Reyes (2B/3B/SS, NYM) did not obey the aging curve in 2017. He's not projected to be a regular in 2018, so you can cut his 2017 in half when thinking about this season. However, the Mets aren't known for reliability, and he has multiple paths to additional playing time. So what do we make of his 2018 value, then? We could split the baby and figure the upside and downside cancel out, but we're going to take the under on 400 AB. That leaves him, at best, a late-round middle-infield grab. He's draftable, but barely so.

Brandon Crawford (SS, SF) invokes a line from The Firm: "It's not sexy, but it has teeth!" Okay, so maybe Crawford's teeth aren't terribly sharp, but he's a guy you can rely on for 15-ish HR, a decent BA, and the RBI and Runs that accompany a full-time job. He's set up to be the everyday shortstop after fighting off potential challenges to PT in the past few years, and he's still theoretically in the peak-ish years of his age curve. [Note: cliche warning] He won't win your league for you, but he's a valuable piece to add in the later rounds. Any time after the 17th round would be just fine.

Maybe, just maybe, this is the year that Troy Tulowitzki (SS, TOR) puts together a 500-AB season and returns to glory. Yeah, maybe. But the Blue Jays didn't bring in Aledmys Diaz (SS, TOR) and Yangervis Solarte (2B/3B/SS) because they were satisfied with their middle infield options. His upside is limited, too. Even if he gets to 500 AB, what do you have? Brandon Crawford. When a player is projected as the 31st-best shortstop and his absolute upside is the 14th round, it's time to look elsewhere, even as a reserve pick.


Click here to subscribe

  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.