Early Shortstop ADP
Thin. Meager. Emaciated.Slight. However you want to word it, the meaning is all the same and it is what best describes the shortstop position for fantasy baseball purposes. If you don’t land yourself a top five shortstop, then there’s really no rush to make it happen. The talent level just isn’t there. Sure, there are a small handful of guys who can contribute well in a category or two, but because of their shortcomings in the other areas, the demand for them isn’t great enough where you need to bump anyone up on your draft board.
One caveat though – if you are playing in a deep league, say a mixed league of 20 teams or an AL or NL-only league of 15 or more and your roster requires a middle infielder as well as a shortstop (and second baseman), then you need to pay attention as the player pool continues to thin out. Even though the contribution from some of the weaker starting shortstops may be minimal, you still want to make sure you have as close to an everyday player as you can find. Or, at least a part-timer who has a specialty, whether it’s power or speed. Getting stuck with a guy who maybe sees action once or twice a week with a small handful of pinch-hitting appearances is about as close to worthless as you can get and you basically have a hole in your lineup.
So with that, let’s take a look at some of the early shortstop ADP numbers and let’s see exactly where and when your best course of action needs to take place.
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Just to touch back on the “thin” aspect of the position for a second, it’s even more evident when you’re looking at the top five or six guys. Their ADP suggests that you need to act immediately to grab one, and while position scarcity is a notion that tends to be exaggerated, you have to account for those panicky owners who feel they must have one of these guys immediately. But as you do, look at some of the risks you are taking. Hanley Ramirez had a bounce-back season last year, but is he a lock to continue that trend? Both Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes are huge injury risks and those who have drafted them in the past can attest to how tough it is to recover from when one of your top three picks is lost for half of the season. Jean Segura was an awesome find for many last year, but one season does not a track record make.
You see where I’m going with this. Crazy thin and it simply might not be in your best interest to rush out and grab one of these guys. Yes, if they have a huge season, there’s a distinct advantage. But if they don’t, then really, where does that leave you? You might just be better off waiting on J.J. Hardy rather than running out to grab Ian Desmond.
Now here are a few names whose ADP you might want to keep tabs on for the next several weeks…
Andrelton Simmons, ATL – So far off people’s fantasy radar last season that I remember grabbing Simmons somewhere around the 20th round in many drafts. Now look at him. Seventeen home runs and all sorts of accolades later and suddenly he’s almost a top 10 shortstop. Last season’s .248 average was a stinker, but we can blame a ton of that on his horrifying .247 BABIP. But the power is for real. There’s been a little talk of him working on his basestealing during the offseason, so if we start to see that this spring, you can bet that his ADP is going to start to climb.
Xander Bogaerts, BOS – Here’s one of the trendiest of the trendy these days. The questions regarding drafting Bogaerts are abundant already here in the offseason and the more people talk about this guy, the higher his ADP will climb. The increase may not even be based on talent as much as it will be based on name recognition and lofty expectations. His minor league numbers dictate a high average and decent 15-20 home run power, but that’s not always the case when you step into the batter’s box in the big leagues. Strikeouts have been an issue for him throughout his time as a pro, so if he starts buying into his own hype, then he could start pressing at the plate early on.
Jonathan Villar, HOU – If speed is your desire, then look no further than Villar who should be walking into the season with the starting job in-hand, right? Last year he swiped 18 bases over just 241 plate appearances and if you look at his minor league totals each year we see multiple seasons of 20 or more steals at a variety of stops along the way. But be careful as he is still an inexperienced player and if that success rate (just 69.2-percent in 2013) doesn’t head north in a hurry, his green light may just get a bit dimmer. Fantasy owners who may panic during a draft for fear of not landing a shortstop or that they need a stolen base guy may take him a bit sooner than they should, but for now, his ADP seems about right.
Zack Cozart, CIN – He’s like the Rodney Dangerfield of the shortstop position as his ADP remains as low, if not lower than it’s been over the last two seasons. He’s got a low batting average, a weak OBP, and power in the 12-15 home run range, but that’s actually middle of the road for the position, is it not? Yet no one wants to draft him. Remember, he’s been in place for the Reds for two seasons and the team has traded away Didi Gregorius and moved Billy Hamilton to the outfield. If this guy is so bad, then why do the Reds keep sticking with him? Watch his ADP hover right around that 285 range and possibly even get lower. I’d be more than happy to have him in the later rounds if it means bulking up everywhere else without concern.
Chris Owings, ARI – The interesting thing here is that his ADP (354.26) is actually higher than Arizona incumbent shortstop, Didi Gregorius’ (452.06), by a significant margin, and neither of them has been given the job. The two will compete this spring and there’s a very strong chance that Owings ends up a utility guy rather than a starter. Both of their ADP’s should be tracked this spring as you don’t want to assume anything by these early returns.