Shortstop Facts For The 2022 Season

The shortstop position used to be shallow years ago but has now become a position with a good amount of depth. In fact, the two players being drafted as the top two picks are shortstops (Turner/Tatis). The shortstop position packs a punch in terms of speed making them popular early picks.

A Story To Tell Your Friends

Once upon a time, there was a hitter who played in the mountains. That hitter for two straight seasons produced at least 35 home runs and 23 stolen bases in each season all while hitting for at least a .291 average.

He was celebrated by the fantasy baseball community but after a shortened season and then a disappointing 2021 season that hitter seemingly moved down fantasy managers rankings. See this hitters team essentially quit on this hitter so he decided to quit on them as well.

Trevor Story had an outlier season if I have ever seen one. He had near career lows in ISO, wRC+, SLG, and wOBA. As a 29-year-old Story should be hitting his prime and playing the best baseball he ever has but that didn’t happen.

Honestly, it seemed like he quit on the team. He wasn’t traded as expected, he knew they weren’t going to resign him, and the team wasn’t competitive. I’m not condoning Story if that is the case but if I were to guess it could be what happened in 2021.

Story should bounce back nicely and although he is leaving the best hitter park in baseball he has the floor of being a 20/20 player with 35/20 potential at the shortstop position. If you like to fill in your infield slots early in drafts as I do, he is a great target.

BABIP King

Tim Anderson is one fast man. His career BABIP is .353 which is just flat-out insane. Since 2019 his BABIP average is a shocking .385. This is why we look at career average and not league average for BABIP because every player is different.

In 2021 Anderson hit for .309 with 17 home runs and 18 stolen bases. He also hits at the top of one of the best lineups in the league where he accumulated 94 runs. Anderson simply does everything and is able to do so with simple aggression.

The league average swing percentage was 47.2% last season, Anderson’s swing percentage was 57.8%. What’s most shocking is his in-zone swing percentage. The League average was 68.9% and his rate sat at 81.9% good for the fourth highest in the league. When you swing a ton you have to make contact and Anderson does at an average rate, this is where his speed helps him.

Anderson is another fantastic option for fantasy in terms of the infield. He brings you everything you want from the position, a little bit of everything without sacrificing anything.

The Crawford Resurgence

Brandon Crawford had quite the resurgence with the San Francisco Giants. Overall he hit for .298 while hitting 24 home runs, 169 Runs+RBI, and 11 stolen bases. Crawford waiting until his age 35 season to have a career-high in steals. Fascinating.

The crazy thing is that it seems legit. He had the fourth-highest EV/FB at the position. He ranked third in OPS at the position. And finally, he ranked third in wRC+ at the position. The only two players who were consistently ahead of him in those categories were Fernando Tatis Jr. and Trea Turner.

Crawford flat out made solid contact all around, so what do we make of this? I think The BAT projections have it right – .266 average, 21 home runs, 140 Runs+RBI, and six stolen bases. I think we see some regression but not too much where he becomes invaluable.

Those San Francisco Giants know what they are doing.

Escaping Tropicana

If you ever looked at Willy Adames splits you saw that he always played better away from the Tampa Bay Rays stadium. Towards the end of May Adames was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Milwaukee Brewers.

In his time with the Brewers he saw 413 plate appearances where he hit .285 with 20 home runs, 61 runs, 58 RBI, and four stolen bases. If you put those numbers to say 500 plate appearances he would land at roughly 25 home runs, 74 runs, 70 RBI, and five stolen bases.

In that time frame, he also hit for a 135 wRC+, .236 ISO, and .377 wOBA. Projections put him at around 600 plate appearances with roughly the numbers I put above. Adames is going as the 18th shortstop off the board and seems like a fairly good bargain. He can help you in every category and now that he has a full year out of the Trop perhaps we can start to see his full potential.

Injury Risks

Corey Seager

Seager’s career has been riddled with injuries. Last season he missed 76 days with a hand injury, he missed 29 days in 2019 with a hamstring injury, and he missed 154 days in 2018 with an elbow injury.

Seager is good when he is on the field, no doubt about it. The problem isn’t just his injury risk but his fantasy profile as well. Seager brings average and some power when you really want speed at shortstop. The risk just doesn’t seem worth the reward.

Didi Gregorius

Didi is officially on the wrong side of 30 and has missed significant time in three of the last five seasons. He hasn’t seen more than 408 plate appearances in the last two regular seasons and in 2021 he had a career-low batting average, wRC+, and offensive WAR.





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Kevbot034
1 year ago

Tim Anderson’s speed is odd, because he’s only a little above average by Statcast, actually. But his baserunning value and BABIP tell the story of a true burner. Guess he just hustles out everything in play and has a great mind about when to take extra bags. He’s fun to watch and fun to own in fantasy.

MRDXolmember
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevbot034

I watch him a lot and I don’t think it’s just his speed at all, although it helps. One thing about Statcast is that it measures ultimate top speed, not what speeds players hit regularly, nor their acceleration— I think especially by the latter TA would grade very well.

He’s also got a serious if rather old-school hit tool. I think with better models of BABIP we’ll come to understand that it very much is a skill, and actually baseball might to an extent come back to the old-school hitting that focused on batting average—an analogue might be the midrange jumper in basketball. Patience and power are preached in part because they’re easier to evaluate & understand: don’t swing at balls, try to hit balls hard & in the air. We don’t yet understand BABIP quite as well.