MARKET PULSE: SS, 2021

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). 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 BaseballHQ 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 positions are based on 10 games played in 2020 (or 20 games played in 2019 for those players who did not play in 2020). ADP is based on NFBC Draft Champions, past four weeks. We may extend the number of weeks to get a minimum number of drafts.

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

Previous columns: C/DH

(NFBC ADP Report) | Unofficial Rankings 

There are a lot of great shortstop options at the top of the draft. In theory, every team in a 15-team mixed league could have their SS1 by the end of the 10th round. However, there are a few pitfalls to navigate and more than one fantasy GM making questionable choices. There are few true gems, unless you want to roll the dice with someone like Wander Franco (SS, TAM), but there is value to be had as the draft winds down.

                                      HQ                      --  HQ Projections --
Player                TM POS REL ADP Rank Diff HQ$ AAV Diff |  AB AVG HR RBI  R  SB
===================  === === === === ==== ==== === === ==== | === === == === === == 
Tatís Jr., Fernando   SD   6 ABD   2    1    1  42  52  -10 | 589 282 42 105 113 28
Turner, Trea         WAS   6 CAD   6    9   -3  38  41   -3 | 594 303 23  77  98 39
Story, Trevor        COL   6 BAA  11   14   -3  32  35   -3 | 591 280 30  87  99 27
Lindor, Francisco    NYM   6 AAB  16   59  -43  18  31  -13 | 593 267 25  66  89 18
Mondesi, Adalberto    KC   6 CCB  19   40  -21  24  30   -6 | 519 257 12  65  75 51
Bichette, Bo         TOR   6 CCB  23   27   -4  27  28   -1 | 575 291 27  80  86 22
Bogaerts, Xander     BOS   6 AAC  33   16   17  29  24    5 | 552 299 30  99  93 11
Seager, Corey         LA   6 FCD  36   87  -51  21  23   -2 | 530 288 27  94  91  2
Anderson, Tim        CHW   6 BBD  39   31    8  25  23    2 | 589 298 23  63 100 17

Báez, Javier         CHC   6 AAD  67   80  -13  16  17   -1 | 586 259 25  82  84 12
Torres, Gleyber      NYY   6 BBC  68   96  -28  15  17   -2 | 488 273 28  80  77  6
Swanson, Dansby      ATL   6 BAB 101   86   15  16  13    3 | 588 255 24  80  95 12
Edman, Tommy         STL 56o ABD 124  180  -56   8  11   -3 | 512 266 12  54  74 16
Correa, Carlos       HOU   6 FCF 132  144  -12  14  11    3 | 552 267 26  93  75  2

Semien, Marcus       TOR   6 BAF 144  107   37  14  10    4 | 578 255 24  71  90 11
Villar, Jonathan     FAA  46 AAD 149  552 -403  -5   9  -14 | 341 251  9  34  44 15
Kim, Ha-Seong         SD   6 AAB 153  175  -22   8   9   -1 | 463 272 10  66  70 14
Giménez, Andres      CLE 456 ADB 163  111   52  13   9    4 | 515 265 10  55  83 26
Cronenworth, Jake     SD 346 ABD 166  412 -246  -1   8   -9 | 369 271  9  40  56 10
Gregorius, Didi      PHI   6 DBD 172  154   18  13   8    5 | 544 258 23  91  82  6
Polanco, Jorge       MIN   6 BBD 206  189   17   8   6    2 | 567 270 14  67  77  7
DeJong, Paul         STL   6 BBA 209  271  -62   4   6   -2 | 496 241 20  74  71  5
Fletcher, David      LAA  46 AAB 222  217    5   6   6    0 | 567 284  6  48  78  8

Taylor, Chris         LA 46o BBB 229  273  -44   4   5   -1 | 429 259 17  62  65  8
Castro, Willi        DET   6 ABF 244  165   79   9   5    4 | 545 265 13  71  76 10
Rosario, Amed        CLE   6 ABC 280   99  181  14   3   11 | 521 278 14  63  78 17
Kiner-Falefa, Isiah  TEX  56 BCB 289  434 -145  -2   3   -5 | 476 254  6  40  55 16
Franco, Wander       TAM   6 AFF 293  961 -668 -13   3  -16 | 189 292  7  21  24  3
Wendle, Joe          TAM 456 DCF 302  445 -143  -3   3   -6 | 386 262  6  37  51 15
Adames, Willy        TAM   6 ABB 311  262   49   4   2    2 | 526 251 20  58  75  6
Rojas, Miguel        MIA   6 CBD 356  197  159   8   1    7 | 536 281  9  62  66 12
Ahmed, Nick          ARI   6 CAA 361  226  135   6   1    5 | 565 251 15  76  74  8
Crawford, J.P.       SEA   6 CCA 368  375   -7   0   1   -1 | 458 251  8  52  62 12
Goodrum, Niko        DET  46 BBB 373  293   80   3   0    3 | 524 232 17  61  65 18
Iglesias, Jose       LAA   6 BBF 395  251  144   5   0    5 | 558 282  9  69  63  3
Hoerner, Nico        CHC  46 AFF 399  433  -34  -2   0   -2 | 435 250  7  49  65 10
Simmons, Andrelton   FAA   6 CBB 417  229  188   6  -1    7 | 512 281  9  52  67 11
Andrus, Elvis        TEX   6 CCC 424  658 -234  -8  -1   -7 | 319 256  7  31  40 10
Arcia, Orlando       MIL   6 ABB 448  374   74   0  -1    1 | 506 255 14  55  55  9
Newman, Kevin        PIT  46 ACF 468  352  116   1  -2    3 | 575 263  7  51  64 12
Downs, Jeter         BOS   6 AFF 472 1134 -662 -21  -2  -19 |  93 266  2   9  10  3
Valaika, Pat         BAL 346 ADD 492  767 -275  -9  -2   -7 | 322 256 11  36  39  2
Tejeda, Anderson     TEX   6 AFF 495 1090 -595 -18  -2  -16 | 132 259  5  16  13  5
Crawford, Brandon     SF   6 AAB 496  339  157   1  -2    3 | 528 244 16  69  67  4

Francisco Lindor's (SS, CLE NYM) ADP currently sits just outside of the first round, based on the past 39 applicable drafts. What drafters don't seem to be pricing in is the very significant change in his home ballpark. Normally, such a change wouldn't be a big deal, but he's moving from a home park that leans hitter friendly to one of the best pitcher's parks in the game.

Stat  Old Park  New Park  Change
====  ========  ========  ======
 HR     +11%       -8%     -19%
 BA      +8%       -9%     -17%
  R      +5%      -10%     -15%
Note: HR and BA are a 75/25 composite of LH/RH park effects, since
Lindor is a switch-hitter

So let's say you expected .280-32-115-90 based on his 2018-2019 (we're ignoring 2020 as much as possible). Just the park effects alone change that to .255-28-105-85. Then there's stolen bases. His SBO% declined in 2020, though that matched his team's decline, so it doesn't necessarily reflect a change in his abilities. However, the Mets ran even less than his old team, both in 2019 and 2020. Was it a COVID thing? Unlikely, as the overall SBO% for MLB changed very little from 2019 to 2020. Lindor's speed has been league-average for the past few years, so he's not the kind of guy you change your strategy for. There's a real chance his SB totals drop.

He hasn't been trending down in ADP, either, since the trade—he's gone from #16 to #15 overall. His 4th-round projection seems too low, but in the late 1st/early 2nd round, there are better choices.


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Those grabbing Corey Seager (SS, LA) in the third round are likely banking on his big 2020 season, which translates to 42 HR and 116 RBI in a "normal" season (plus that .307 BA). However, as we will argue repeatedly this off-season, 2020 is not very bankable. His projection is very close to Rafael Devers (3B, BOS), who is going seven picks later (by ADP) with the drag on Seager's value being his FCB reliability, the result of missing almost all of 2018 for Tommy John surgery. The three-round penalty does seem a bit harsh in this case, but the risk still needs to be taken into account. We would much prefer Devers in this spot even with the slight boost for Seager's position.

Jonathan Villar (SS, FA) is unsigned as of this writing, and his prospects don't look outstanding. His defense isn't great, he has subpar contact skills, his power is well below average, and his speed overall is probably just above average at this point. His only real fantasy value is in steals, and that rests mostly on his SBO%, which has averaged about 32% over the past four seasons. Given his skills declines, this may be the first non-COVID year where he's under 20 SB, at which point he has very little value. Taking him anywhere near the 10th round (his ADP) is highly unadvisable.

Consider, if you will, the curious case of Jake Cronenworth (1B/2B/SS, SD). He's being taken in the 11th round, on average, ahead of guys like Didi Gregorius (SS, PHI) and Paul DeJong (SS, STL), who have better projections and a starting job. And that's based on what? Five glorious weeks in 2020 where he played out of his mind, only to fall back to Earth (and fall hard) once pitchers started game planning against him. His minor-league track record says that he has a decent hit tool, not much power, and moderate speed. We're not going to let a few weeks in the weirdest season in MLB history override what we've seen in 1,000+ PA at Double-A and Triple-A. He's a guy you take in the endgame and hope to get 10th-round value from, not a guy you tab in the heart of your draft.

Compare Amed Rosario's (SS, CLE) projected skills to former and current teammate Andres Giménez (SS, CLE), who's currently tabbed for the starting job:

Clevelander  ct%  PX  FB%  Spd  SB%
===========  ===  ==  ===  ===  ===
​Rosario      79%  77  29%  148  71%
Giménez      77%  72  34%  145  71%

Not much difference there, is there? Now, Giménez is certainly the better defender, but is there a scenario where Rosario is the starter by mid-May? Sure. Even if not, he should get regular time in a utility role. We suspect fantasy drafters are punishing him for his lousy 2020, but we don't give much weight to—oh, you know the refrain by now. We're not suggesting that you take Rosario in or near the 7th round, but he looks like a solid value in the 15th or later.

Now, let's compare Rosario and Isiah Kiner-Falefa (3B/SS, TEX), who are going nine spots apart. The latter makes better contact, but not by a whole lot, and his power is virtually non-existent. Both have good speed, but realistically, there are few scenarios where Kiner-Falefa ends up being the better pick. Few players are successful with a 50-ish PX unless they have at least one elite skill elsewhere, which he does not. His upside is limited, and that's mainly what you're hoping for when you're calling out his name at the draft table.

Miguel Rojas (SS, MIA) and Nick Ahmed (SS, ARI), and Andrelton Simmons (SS, MIN) are boring picks, but they provide decent production at a scarce position. They're unlikely to crater your BA, and they can provide a bit of speed (Rojas and Simmons) or pop (Ahmed) to boot. We're not saying that either should be Plan A, or even Plan B, but they will give you value at their current ADP, which is in the reserve rounds.


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