Three of the top 10 hitters ranked by SIscore came from shortstop last season. Trea Turner (5.09) led the way after hitting .335 with 46 runs, 12 home runs, 41 RBI, and 12 steals over 233 at-bats. Fernando Tatis (4.71 – .277/50/17/45/11) finished second in the final hitter rankings in 2020, followed by Trevor Story (3.75 – .289/41/11/28/15). The lack of steals by Corey Seager (.307 with 38 runs, 15 home runs, 41 RBI, and one stolen base) pushed his 20th to SIscore (2.10).
In 2019, eight players hit 30 home runs or more at shortstop. The best player was Trevor Story (.294 with 111 runs, 35 home runs, 85 RBI, and 23 steals) by SIscore (7.75). Alex Bregman (.296 with 122 runs, 41 home runs, 112 RBI, and five steals) ranked 2nd at short and 3rd at third base.
Seven players scored over 100 runs, and two players delivered over 100 RBI.
In 2018, four shortstops had 100 runs or more, and five players drove in over 100 runs. Five batters had over 30 home runs.
Here’s a grid showing the final stats for 2019 for the top 12 players at each position and their value ranked by SIscore (I didn’t use 2020 stats due to a small sample size):
In 2019, the average of the top 12 shortstops hit .293 with 91 runs, 23 home runs, 75 RBI, and 20 stolen bases over 550 at-bats. The shortstop position ranked fifth in overall hitter value.
For comparison, here are the projections (3/15) for the top 12 shortstops at Sports Illustrated ranked by SIscore:
The stats highlighted by the yellow line show the average projections (.284 with 96 runs, 28 home runs, 86 RBI, and 28 steals over 582 at-bats) for the top 12 shortstops in 2021.
Shortstops Nos. 1 to 12
Here’s a look at the top 12 shortstops by 2021 NFBC ADP (From March 8th through March 15th):
By the end of the second round of 15-team drafts in the high-stakes market, seven shortstops could be drafted. The position has upside opportunities over the first 75 draft picks.
Fernando Tatis Jr. signed a massive contract with the Padres in 2021, and he’ll be a top-three pick in many fantasy leagues. His approach improved last year, which may lead to his fifth tool becoming an asset. With a full season of at-bats, 40 home runs and 40 steals are well within reach. I prefer him over Ronald Acuna in drafts due to the edge in stolen bases from a middle infield position.
If Trea Turner decided to run more and push his stolen base total closer to 60, he would become the most valuable fantasy hitter. A team build is so much easier with a plus-speed player. Turner may very well hit third in the batting order, setting up the most RBI of his career. He has plenty of power, with the foundation swing to hit over .300.
Fantasy owners should have no complaints about landing Trevor Story at the backend of the first round. He lost his support in the lineup, which will hurt his ability to score runs. Story has been a top 10 fantasy hitter by SIscore over the last three years. He’s trending toward a 30/30 player with three straight seasons of help in batting average.
Francisco Lindor brings a balanced skill set while offering more value in home runs than stolen bases. Even with a favorable approach, his ceiling in batting average seems lower than the top-tier shortstops. He looks like a get-in-and-get-out pick in the second of fantasy drafts, and the Mets have talent behind him in the batting order.
The bet on the come at shortstop for the second straight season is Bo Bichette. The Blue Jays improved their starting lineup, which will be a big win for Bichette if he plays the entire year. His batting average projects to an impactful asset while owning a minimum of a 20/20 skill set. I trust his value in home runs more than his floor in stolen bases.
The love/hate fantasy player in the second round is Adalberto Mondesi. His high strikeout rate invites batting average risk, but most don’t see that he hits close to .380 when Mondesi puts the ball in play. He is a difference-maker in steals while having close a mid-teen floor in power. If his approach improves, Mondesi becomes more valuable.
My 2020 SI breakout hitter was Corey Seager. He’ll be found in the third round in 15-team high-stakes market. Seager checks the four-category stud bucket while playing in the highest-scoring lineup in the National League.
Gleyber Torres was a bust last year. Even so, he looks ready to come back with a vengeance in 2021. Torres should be the go-to shortstop for a fantasy owner who missed the top options over the first four rounds in drafts. The Yankees have an explosive power lineup, and he will be in the middle of all the action. Despite his failure last year, his approach did improve, pointing to a chance at a .290/100/30/100/10 season.
Shortstops Nos. 13 to 24
The top shortstop pool runs about 13 to 15 players deep this year.
Marcus Semien has a wide range of opinions on his value as a fantasy owners surf through the second stage of their team building. He should hit near the top of Toronto’s batting order while gaining a bump in offensive players around him in the batting order. The Blue Jays will play some games in a hitter’s park, which will be a win for his production.
To be or not to be is the question with Carlos Correa. He enters his seventh season with the Astros with his eyes set on free agency. His bats looked explosive over his first four months in the majors at age 20 in 2015, but Correa hasn’t played in more than 110 games in any of his previous four years. At age 26, he doesn’t have a year with over 25 home runs or 100 RBI. Despite his shortfalls, Correa does have impact upside. I expect him to have the best season of his career while being free on draft day.
In the early draft season, Andres Gimenez was drafted as though he already won Cleveland's starting shortstop job. In March, their feelings were confirmed with Amed Rosario being pushed into a utility/outfield role. Gimenez offers plenty of stolen base upside, but he needs to improve as a base runner. His power is trailing while expecting to hit lower in the batting order. I view him as overpriced on his current ADP (139).
Tommy Edman offers a mid-level combination of power and speed. The Cardinals will hit him at the top of their lineup, creating plenty of chances to score runs. His batting average should be positive while expecting more speed than power.
Jonathan Villar has a ground ball swing, which restricts his output in home runs. He doesn’t have a clear path to a starting job without an injury. His best value comes in stolen bases, inviting a buy-and-hold situation in deep leagues.
The last out for power at shortstop comes from Paul DeJong. His major league resume suggests batting average risk, but I see a batter with a chance to hit closer to .270 with some sneaky speed on his resume. The Cardinals may let him bat clean up at times this season.
Ha-Seong Kim played well in Korea, but I expect him to struggle early in his major league career. He wants to pull the ball for home runs, which will lead to pitchers working him on the outer half of the plate until he proves he can make hard contact. The Padres shouldn’t give him a full-time job earlier in the season.