Paul Sporer’s 2023 Shortstop Rankings by Paul Sporer January 12, 2023 Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports 2023 Shortstop Ranks RK NAME TEAM LG POS 1 Trea Turner PHI NL SS 2 Bo Bichette TOR AL SS 3 Fernando Tatis Jr. SD NL SS/OF 4 Bobby Witt Jr. KC AL 3B/SS 5 Francisco Lindor NYM NL SS 6 Corey Seager TEX AL SS 7 Wander Franco TB AL SS 8 Tommy Edman STL NL 2B/SS 9 Willy Adames MIL NL SS 10 Amed Rosario CLE AL SS 11 Tim Anderson CHW AL SS 12 Dansby Swanson CHC NL SS 13 Oneil Cruz PIT NL SS 14 Carlos Correa MIN AL SS 15 Xander Bogaerts SDP NL SS 16 Nico Hoerner CHC NL SS 17 Jeremy Peña HOU AL SS 18 Javier Báez DET AL SS 19 Adalberto Mondesi KC AL SS 20 Ha-Seong Kim 김하성 SD NL 3B/SS 21 CJ Abrams WAS NL SS 22 Luis Urías MIL NL 2B/3B/SS 23 Jorge Mateo BAL AL SS 24 Bryson Stott PHI NL 2B/SS 25 Joey Wendle MIA NL 2B/3B/SS 26 Thairo Estrada SF NL 2B/SS 27 Luis Garcia WAS NL 2B/SS 28 Elvis Andrus FA SS 29 Brice Turang MIL NL SS 30 Anthony Volpe NYY AL SS 31 Oswald Peraza NYY AL SS 32 J.P. Crawford SEA AL SS 33 Ezequiel Tovar COL NL SS 34 Kevin Newman PIT NL SS 35 Kyle Farmer MIN AL SS 36 Brandon Crawford SF NL SS 37 Royce Lewis MIN AL SS 38 Nicky Lopez KC AL 2B/3B/SS 39 Nick Allen OAK AL 2B/SS 40 Miguel Rojas LAD NL SS 41 Mauricio Dubón HOU AL SS/OF 42 José Iglesias COL NL SS 43 Diego Castillo ARI NL 2B/SS/OF 44 David Fletcher LAA AL 2B/SS 45 Nick Ahmed ARI NL SS 46 Isiah Kiner-Falefa NYY AL SS 47 Edmundo Sosa PHI NL 2B/SS 48 Elly De La Cruz CIN NL SS 49 Dylan Moore SEA AL SS/OF 50 Jordan Westburg BAL AL SS 20 gm qualification; 5×5 Roto; Blue indicates new tier Notes on some select SS: Trea Turner heads back to the NL East on the heels of his first 100+ R/RBI season – his 3rd of 100+ runs, 1st reaching 100+ RBIs (previous high of 77). There has been some concern around his spike in Chase rate (36% O-Swing; career 29% coming into ’22) and it might have played a role in his power drop as his .169 ISO was well below the .213 he had from 2019-21. It is worth monitoring. I’m more inclined to fade him to allow a transition year after inking the huge deal with Philadelphia as opposed to major concerns about the Chase spike. Bo Bichette had just two months north of .743 OPS, but one of them was the incredible 1.105 in September with 7 HR which helped him secure the #4 spot at the position despite a 12-SB dip down to 13 with just a 62% success rate. The rule changes could fuel a bounce back into the 20s and if he regains the elite efficiency from 2021 (96%) or something close to it, he might chase down Turner for the top spot, especially if he can lead the American League in hits for a 3rd straight season. On a per plate appearance basis, Fernando Tatis Jr. is tops. It’s the fact that I tabbed him for 530 PA that pushes him down to 3rd. He has just been so absurd across his 1175 MLB PA that it’s hard to find any flaw beyond the missed time – 21 games for sure due to suspension and the ever-present shoulder risk. If the remainder of the suspension is all he misses, he has a realistic shot at being the top overall player. A dynamic power-speed profile from Bobby Witt Jr. made him a Top 5 SS last year even with a modest 99 wRC+ and ugly .294 OBP in his rookie season. He doesn’t even need to make a huge leap to challenge for the SS crown and if he does have substantial development, there is #1 overall upside here. After a modest debut season in New York, Francisco Lindor reestablished himself as a stud. He wasn’t quite back to the 34 HR/21 SB average of his Cleveland peak (2017-19), but he reached 100 RBIs for the first time ever (107) and feels very fairly priced as the 5th SS off the board at pick 31. Corey Seager had just a .242 BABIP last year, nearly 100 points off his .336 career mark heading into 2022. That alone made him a strong AVG regression candidate after hitting .245 last year. Then the shift rule changes came and made him an even better candidate to return to the .300s! If he can do that and keep the 30-HR power, there is career year upside here. I want to get more excited about Wander Franco, but his best fantasy assets are AVG and R which are more out of a player’s direct control than HR and SB making him more volatile than I want from my starting SS. I won’t have him off the board this year after the price dip into the 90s, but spots where I get him will likely include a premium SS already in tow, thus moving him to my MI and making me less reliant on a breakout from him. We don’t know how the new rules will impact steals (bigger bases, pitch clock, throw over limit), but if it does foster some substantial spikes, I wonder if Tommy Edman could push up to 40, something we’ve seen just six instances of since 2019. Only two of those came with 90+ runs, something Edman has done each of the last two seasons. Willy Adames had a career worst .278 BABIP that tanked his AVG to just .238 and while some of it could’ve been bad luck, the 6-point spike in FB rate up to 46% also played a role as flyballs are less conducive to base hits. It also resulted in a career-high 31 HRs, too, so it wasn’t all bad. Amed Rosario now has three straight double-double season (excluding 2020, of course) and four straight with at least 13 SBs. He has hit over .280 in the last three, too, making him a consistently good fantasy option who has regularly been priced below his value. His modest OBPs (career .308) have kept him from the huge SB output season, but he definitely has the speed for a 30+ season if he can spike a .325+ mark. The bulk of Tim Anderson’s upside is just staying healthy. Even the 547 PA I projected him for would be his 2nd-highest since 2018 and if he could get back to the 600+ we saw in 2017-18, he has top 5 SS potential for sure. Conversely, Dansby Swanson’s volume has been a key driver in his success the last two years (322 games played, 1 behind Semien for the MLB lead). He still has a 20 HR/10 SB pace per 500 PA so it’s not like he would fall apart if his volume fell off, though I did shave his R/RBI totals a good bit as he moves from the Braves to the Cubs. My Oneil Cruz slotting will probably get questions because the early market and Steamer both have him as the #7 shortstop. Don’t mistake my #13 SS for hating him, but rather that I’m more cautious on the AVG. I have him for a .234 which essentially repeats last year’s .233, but if I matched Steamer’s .249 he jumps to #8 on my sheet. My 26 HR projection is right in line while my 22 SB beat the 18 of Steamer so it all comes down to the AVG and I’m just not ready to give him credit for a spike given the heavy swing-and-miss in his game (35% K, 14% SwStr). Xander Bogaerts has been a long time favorite of mine, but the park switch is devastating. He moves from the 3rd best park for righties to the 27th and for someone who relied heavily on that favorable park (.312 AVG .872 OPS at home; .271 AVG, .758 road OPS), he will likely take a severe hit. Unless he somehow beats the expectation of his new home park, his AVG will look to similar to 2017 when he was at just .273 in 635 PA. He went 15-for-16 on the bases to help soften the blow of the 21-point dip that year and maybe the new rules will push back into double-digit SBs for the first time since that season (7 per 600 PA since). At least the market is preparing for the dip as his ADP is down nearly 60 points from 34 to 91. There was a lot to like from Jeremy Peña’s rookie season, but his concerning plate approach (24% K, 4% BB) yielded a terrible .289 OBP and could be exposed further in sophomore campaign if he doesn’t tighten up. I worried that his excellent playoff run (1.005 OPS, 4 HR in 61 PA) would make him a Top 100 pick, but so far it hasn’t (ADP 114 in the winter). That said, he is the kind of guy who could start to surge as draft season kicks up a gear in late-February/early-March. The confidence the Astros have in him (#2 hitter down the stretch and playoffs) is encouraging, but will he hold that spot with Michael Brantley returning and Kyle Tucker probably deserving it over both of them? Coming into 2022, Javier Báez had the 6th highest Oppo HR rate (min. 35 HRs) from 2020-21 at 26%, but it dropped to just 18% his first year in Detroit. It was actually 3rd highest from 2019 (min. 60 HR), but the Rabbit Ball specifically spiked opposite field HRs (leaguewide rate 2018: 12%, 2019: 16%, since 2020: 13%) so I felt it clouded the sample. While the Comerica Park changes announced on January 11th will definitely impact lefties more, Báez could add a few homers. He will have to improve against righties (.618 OPS in 2022) to really surge back up the board, though. Adalberto Mondesi still slotted 18th with just an 88-game projection. That’s what happens when you average 30 SBs per 300 PA. Of course, he has just 109 combined games since 2020 so he is no lock to reach even that total. Positional depth pushes Luis Urías from 14th at 2B to 22nd at SS! I’m not entirely sure why Joey Wendle got left off the 2B rankings. It was definitely accidental, but the sheet I use automates the positional eligibility stuff, so it really doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe he got lopped off when I was making the chart which is done on a different site. At any rate, he slots behind Thairo Estrada at 2B, too, so keep that in mind and he will be properly placed in my 2B update. I parked Elvis Andrus pretty low with 12 HR/14 SB projection as he remains a free agent, but I’ll reassess once he lands. The recent Trevor Story injury could make Boston a good fit which as I mentioned in the Bogaerts piece would be a remarkable fit for a righty. Stay tuned. Playing time will no doubt determine just how valuable Brice Turang, Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, and Ezequiel Tovar are this year. For now, I have them projected at 113, 84, 106, and 106 games, respectively. You might think I have J.P. Crawford penciled in as a part-timer with this ranking, but I gave him another 600 PA. His modest output (projected for 8 HR/7 SB/.252 AVG) just doesn’t do much on the fantasy landscape and he will almost certainly remain in the lower third of the lineup where his R/RBI totals will be unspectacular.