Tiered Shortstop Rankings: July

An even-thinner-than-normal shortstop position got some reinforcements in June with Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor getting the call. If you’re not convinced that shortstop is as shallow as ever, consider the following, which shows that a steadily declining position has seen a big decline this season.

SS

Tier One

Hanley Ramirez
Troy Tulowitzki
Carlos Correa

Ramirez and Tulo rank third and fourth among qualified shortstops in wRC+, so they’re still the top options at the position even though the Steamer and ZiPS projections upon which these rankings are based are a little more optimistic than the author. But the champ(s) keep(s) the belt unless beaten decisively. We’ll get to the top shortstops according to wRC+ shortly, but their supremacy this season is far from decisive.

The star of this tier is obviously Correa. I wrote up Correa’s fantasy value when he got the call, and to say I undershot it is a bit of an understatement. I had him pegged to hit .260, he’s hitting .287. I had him hitting seven home runs in 350 PA, he already has five in just 97 PA. I had him finishing with about 70 R+RBI, he’s on pace to top 100 R+RBI. I’m an Astros fan and a total homer. I tweaked his Steamer/ZiPS projections a month ago to be more optimistic about the kid. And I still wasn’t close to having the right read on him.

All that said, Correa is due to slow down a bit, mainly in the power department. He’s carrying a home run per fly ball rate of 20 percent, which is unlikely to continue. But he clearly has raw power, and a HR/FB safely north of the 10.8 percent league average should be expected. The most encouraging thing about his power is that about a third of his batted balls have been fly balls after about a quarter of his batted balls in the minors were fly balls. If he can keep elevating at that level, he’ll keep hitting them out fairly regularly.

Tier Two

Jhonny Peralta
Xander Bogaerts
Brandon Crawford

Let me be very clear, I’m not a Crawford believer despite the fact that he and Peralta lead all qualified shortstops in wRC+. I understand that he may have made changes to his swing to give him more pop, but I’m dubious unless the numbers show me a reason for an improvement. You could make the argument that his plate discipline numbers show that he’s selling out for more power. His swing percentage is up and his contact rate is down, something that could be an indication of a guy trying to trade some contact for some power. But if Crawford is consciously trying to hit for more power, it’s odd that his fly ball rate is down about 10 percent from last year and, conversely, his ground ball rate is up about 10 percent.

Fewer fly balls can help a batter’s batting average, but when accompanied by an increase in a hitter’s swinging strike rate, you’d think the average would come out as a wash at best. That’s what Crawford has done this year and yet his batting average is 25 points higher than his career average and what it was last year. The projection systems have his average being around his career average from here on out, and I see no reason to disagree with them. If he hits .246 with 5-6 homers from here on out, his ranking here will look quite foolish. But I couldn’t bring myself to rank any of the guys in the next tier over a guy with a 131 wRC+.

Tier Three

Jose Reyes
Ian Desmond
Marcus Semien
Elvis Andrus
Starlin Castro
Alcides Escobar
Wilmer Flores
Brad Miller
Alexei Ramirez
Erick Aybar
Yunel Escobar

I’ve written thousands upon thousands of words on fantasy baseball, and I don’t know how to differentiate that group. When you run their rest-of-season projections through the z-score method, their projected fantasy values are effectively indistinguishable. Reyes and Desmond top the list simply for upside’s sake. Desmond has been brutally bad, and I don’t trust Reyes to play 50 more games, much less 80 or so. But the other options are all very low-ceiling players. And really, there’s no point in ranking these guys. All this group is really good for is potentially helping you in the specific categories where they’re above average and you need help.

Tier Four

Jimmy Rollins
Asdrubal Cabrera
J.J. Hardy
Andrelton Simmons
Jung-Ho Kang
Jean Segura
Chris Owings
Jose Iglesias
Francisco Lindor

Tier four is just the deep league version of tier three. The difference between all of these players in negligible, and their only real utility is to help owners in the categories where the players don’t provide negative value.

Tier Five

Jed Lowrie
Eugenio Suarez
Freddy Galvis
Adeiny Hechavarria
Didi Gregorius
Stephen Drew
Jordy Mercer
Nick Ahmed

We hoped you liked reading Tiered Shortstop Rankings: July by Brett Talley!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




You can find more of Brett's work on TheFantasyFix.com or follow him on Twitter @TheRealTAL.

newest oldest most voted
e
Guest
e

where would justin turner fit?

Mike
Guest
Mike

Turner is a stud, and fangraphs continues to ignore that. Top 5 in SLG and wOBA in the MAJORS. Stud, will be a top pick next year cause he’s not slowing down.

Mario Mendoza
Member
Member
Mario Mendoza
Mario Mendoza
Member
Member
Mario Mendoza

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/justin-turner-marlon-byrd-and-an-education-in-hitting/

That’s a feature article 2 months in a row, with a Rotographs nod the month before (http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/an-ode-to-the-lightly-owned-super-utility-player/) and Dave saying in the preseason the Dodgers should trade Guerrero for garbage and keep Turner instead.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Shhhhh, Mario. Like too many commenters on here, Mike has made up his mind that Fangraphs has an agenda and he’s not going to let mere facts interfere with the narrative in his head. (This is not unlike people who don’t want to look at the numbers when it comes to performance, because “they watch the games”)

Manny Ramirez
Guest
Manny Ramirez

A “top pick” that can’t hit lefties? Ok bro. He’s slashing .146/.271/.171 against lefties this year. He’s on the good side of a platoon, but let’s not get crazy here.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Actually, I should have been more specific. The midseason ranks ignored him, and the tiered rankings have ignored him. If you look back at comments of those articles, which are easy enough to find on the right of your page, I mentioned him multiple times and authors honestly said that they weren’t buying it, despite the obvious skills visible in the peripherals.

Not trolling, Ive read those same articles you pointed out, and I noticed him largely because of one of those articles. But their colleagues ignored him for the most part, that is not for dispute. Just look at the rankings yourself.

While ppl fawn over Correa, no one likes the unsexy, late 20s, non prospect, former utility man, ginger who’s been playing out of his mind. THATS what I complain about, ignoring the stats because the player himself isn’t sexy. At the position that he’s playing, he was ignored by too many. This site should be about the facts more than others, and it amazes me how often the authors here ignore whats looking them right in the face with guys that may not have the pedigree (like Turner). Its a legit complaint, not trolling

pbmax
Guest
pbmax

Turner’s not the first, he won’t be the last. Enjoy knowing that he’s a lot better than he gets credit for. On the flipside, you can trade guys with name values for much more than you would ever get for turner(ie. Kinsler)