Early, Mid, and Late Round Values: Shortstop
Early, Mid round, and Late round picks, by Position: Shortstop
For this series of articles, I’ve been covering players that I like based on their values relative to where they’re being drafted. For the ADP being referenced, I am using NFBC data, from March 11th on, to alleviate some of the news received after the lockout, like some of the injuries (Tatis, Wheeler, and Flaherty to name a few) or trades that have transpired. I’ll also be splitting this up into two sections, players for points leagues, and players for roto or category leagues. I’ll be taking three of each. One player in the top 100, one player after pick 100, and one player past pick 200. This gives you multiple options, one of which can be a primary target, one to be a mid-range guy who’s a nice fallback, and one who you can take past round 15 as the backups backup plan.
The state of shortstop is not where it was as recently as three weeks ago. At that time three shortstops were being drafted in the top five to six picks of drafts. Well, Fernando Tatis is out for the first three months of the season, and now things are very different. You’ve got the two first-round studs at the top with Turner and Bichette, after that there are some consistent contributors, as well as some upside picks going before pick 100. With all of that, this position is deeper than ever, it’s littered with upside, and at pretty much any point in the draft, you should be able to get viable starters.
For shortstops in roto, there should be plenty of whatever category you need available at any point in the draft. There are players like Gavin Lux, Jonathan Villar, Nicky Lopez, Andres Gimenez, and JP Crawford available late that should be able to produce a significant amount of steals available after pick 245. There are also players like Brandon Crawford, Oneil Cruz, and Paul DeJong available past pick 200 that can hit for a significant amount of power. No matter where you are in the draft, there should be a decent contributor in a category available at shortstop, making it probably the deepest position in most drafts this year.
Points league contributors are a little different. A lot of the players I just mentioned wouldn’t exactly be great for the format. If your league is a points league, I wouldn’t wait to draft a shortstop. The last one I’d feel comfortable with as my starter heading out of the draft is Willy Adames after him, it gets dicey fast for points leagues. There may be a couple of players who are still valuable but to feel safe, I wouldn’t let the need slip further than Adames.
Early Round Roto, Corey Seager, TEX, ADP 79.19, SS 13
Seager signed for 10 years and $325 million to the Rangers this offseason, and while that’s a massive payday, there’s a reason why he’s getting paid that much. He’s one of the best contact hitters in baseball and has added some home run pop over the last few years. There is cause for concern, he hits a lot of grounders represented by a 45.9% groundball rate last year. However, the quality of contact and the plate discipline are so good I wouldn’t worry about that too much. His expected stats were very solid last year, and while Seager won’t contribute in steals, the other four categories should provide an excellent floor. No projection system has him topping 30 home runs for the first time in his career, but I think this is the year it happens. My projection for him is a .300 batting average, 30 home runs, with 180 combined runs and runs batted in. It may be wishful thinking, but I love the upside here. Take a look below at Seagers statcast page and spray chart.\
Early Round Points, Carlos Correa, MIN, ADP 98.46, SS 15
The fact that Correa is the 15th shortstop off the board, and still going within the top 100 picks shows how deep the position is. Correa has never really seemed to live up to the hype of being a former number one overall pick. It seems like every season he doesn’t quite accumulate the stats you want due to him being injured so often. Maybe a change of scenery is exactly what he needs. He’s coming off career highs in home runs, runs scored, a tie in batting average, and only four off his career-high in runs batted in. His expected stats were phenomenal too, backing up the career-best season for the young shortstop. Still only 27 years of age, I expect this season to be the best we’ve seen for Correa, hopefully building off of a strong 2021 campaign that saw him get a nice payday from Minnesota. Here's Correa taking a cutter low and inside and yanking it to left for a home run two days ago. It's an impressive display of quick hands and raw power.
Mid Round Roto, Jake Cronenworth, SDP, ADP 124.66, SS 18
Cronenworth is eligible at three positions, and I love him at his cost at any of those three positions. He’s going to provide excellent counting stats in what should be a strong lineup. There is a chance he ends up being the everyday shortstop for the Padres while Tatis recovers from his wrist injury, and I believe he will take advantage of that, ultimately shifting over to second base after Tatis comes back. Cronenworth has an excellent contact profile, he’s in the 90th percentile in strikeout rate, 97th percentile in whiff rate, and 77th percentile in chase rate. Those three things put together mean Cronenworth makes a ton of contact, thus he should be getting some hits providing a safe batting average floor. Last year he had some bad luck, his average was .266, yet his xBA, of which he was in the 87th percentile, was .282. I expect a bounce-back in that department, and I expect some more steals from Cronenworth as well when looking at his sprint speed, which he is in the 86th percentile. Here's a walk off home run from last September by Cronenworth, with the great Don Orsillo on the call!- YouTube
Mid Round Points, Willy Adames, MIL, ADP 127.94, SS 17
Adames had an awesome season last year, before his injury he was a league winner for a lot of guys, including myself! In the second half of the season, in 51 games, he hit for a .280 batting average, 11 home runs, and 62 combined runs and runs batted in. Extrapolated to 162 games, that’d be good for 35 home runs, and 196 combined runs and runs batted in. That’s not the expectation, but if he produces somewhere near to what he did in the second half, you’re talking about a borderline top 30 player in the overall rankings. Adames has all the upside to be one of the best values this year, and I trust anyone who gets to play half their games in Milwaukee’s hitter-friendly stadium. Here's Adames taking out another home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to tie up the ball game in August of last year.
Late Round Roto, Jeremy Pena, HOU, ADP 493.99, SS 43
Yeah, we’re going deep here. Pena is looking like he’s going to open the season as the starting shortstop for Houston. While he may be batting last, there’s a lot of upside here. He has a very good minor league track record in terms of batting average, and he’s also shown some steals potential in the minors as well. While he’s not someone I’m trusting as a starter on my team right off the bat, he’s someone I could see developing into a top 200 player pretty easily. He’s got decent grades all across the board, 45 raw power, 55 speed, and a 40 hit tool. Pena is someone who should develop into the everyday shortstop and should provide a positive return on his ADP of nearly 500 right now. Take a look below at the consistency Pena produced in the minors.
Late Round Points, Brandon Crawford, SFG, 209.60, SS 25
Not going as deep here, but we’re going with very steady and solid production. Crawford is boring, but he’s coming off by far the best season of his career. While it’s not the best strategy to trust a 34-year-old breakout, he’s always been a solid player, he just elevated that last season. I wouldn’t expect him to hit for a .298 average again, but a .250 average, with 20-24 home runs, and 160 combined runs and runs batted in seems likely. Most projection systems have him around those stats, just a little lower in the counting stats. I think he’ll outperform that, being in a good lineup, with great coaching, and a team that is seemingly getting the most out of every player that they can. Here's Crawford coming up huge with a home run in the playoffs last season.
Follow along for the rest of my values articles by position! Find me on Twitter @RotoTeddyG