2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Shortstops

The Astros' Carlos Correa is like the Mike Trout of shortstops. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Here at SportzEdge.com, we love fantasy baseball.

Your boy started playing it back in 2000, when I was talking trash to my eighth-grade friends and declining trade requests for Preston Wilson. Ah, the good old days.

We can’t wait for the season to get here, but when it does, we know you’ve got to be prepared. That’s why we’re ranking the best players in the major leagues at each position. First, we ranked the pitchers and the first basemen. Now, it’s on to the shortstops:

1. Carlos Correa, Houston Astros. (.279 BA, 22 HR, 68 RBI, .345 OBP, 14 SB)

The 20-year-old phenom certainly didn’t look like a rookie last year. Instead of going through growing pains, Correa flourished immediately, playing at times like a league MVP and one of the best players in baseball. He carried that success over to the postseason, where he almost single-handedly buried the Royals in the ALDS, before making a costly error. This guy is the real deal, and we don’t think he’ll have any kind of sophomore slump. Correa could become the Mike Trout of shortstops–he’s got that kind of potential.

2. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox (.320 BA, 7 HR, 81 RBI, .355 OBP, 10 SB)

Bogaerts broke out in his second full season, hitting .320 (fifth best in MLB) with 81 RBI. He could have easily been an All-Star, and was the most consistent Red Sox player all season. Xander may develop more power as he gets more big-league experience (he’s only 23), and we’re betting that he’s going to continue the progress he made last year. Maybe he won’t hit .320, but expect his offensive numbers to be among the league’s best at the position.

3. Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto Blue Jays (.280 BA, 17 HR, 70 RBI, .337 OBP, 1 SB)

He’s always an injury risk, and he almost broke down at the wrong time for Toronto last season, recovering just in time for the postseason. When healthy, Tulo ranks with Correa as the two best offensive shortstops in baseball. But the 30-year-old hasn’t played 150 games since 2009, and he may be on his way towards a decline. We’d still draft him–but keep an eye on him early.

4. Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians (.313, 12 HR, 51 RBI, .353 OBP, 12 SB)

The ‘other’ A.L. rookie shortstop almost did enough to wrestle the Rookie of the Year award away from Carlos Correa, but fell just short. He caught fire in the second half of the season, hitting .345 with a .930 OPS. He also slugged 12 homers, more than anyone saw coming (though he could be in line for a dropoff this year). Lindor stole just 12 bases in 99 games last season, but has 30-steal potential. He’s a good bet to keep improving, as he’s only 22 years old.

5. Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers (.337 BA, 4 HR, 17 RBI, .425 OBP, 2 SB)

Seager was one of the highest-ranked prospects in baseball coming into last year, and he didn’t disappoint once he got to the majors, hitting a searing-hot .337 with four homers and 17 RBI in his first 98 at-bats. Sure, 98 at-bats is a small sample size, as the Dodgers know well (ahem..Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson), but all signs point to this kid becoming a breakout star. Considering that this is a somewhat weak shortstop crop, Seager is worth the risk early in the draft, though you should cover yourself with an established veteran later on in your draft if you do pull the trigger on him.

The Dodgers' Corey Seager could be one of the breakout stars in baseball this year. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
The Dodgers’ Corey Seager could be one of the breakout stars in baseball this year. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

6. Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs (.242 BA, 13 HR, 54 RBI, .307 OBP, 4 SB)

Russell played well in his rookie year, flashing the potential that made him a prized Cubs prospect once the team stole him from Oakland in that disastrous Jeff Samardzija trade. He didn’t hit for average as some had hoped, but he showed flashes of brilliance, as well as pretty good power for a 22-year-old shortstop (he also qualifies at 2B). He looks like he’s primed for a breakout season soon, but is this the year? That’s the question you’ll have to ask yourself on draft day.

7. Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants (.256 BA, 21 HR, 84 RBI, .321 OBP, 6 SB)

Crawford is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, having won the N.L. Gold Glove last year. But his offense was a big surprise last season as well, as he slugged 21 homers and drove in 84 RBI on an uninsipiring Giants team. With this being an even year and all (the Giants apparently only try during even years), his production could improve. Keep an eye on him early, too.

8. Jung Ho Kang, Pittsburgh Pirates (.287, 15 HR, 58 RBI, .355 OBP, 5 SB)

The Pirates’ fan favorite saw a very promising season derailed after he was run into at second base by Chris Coghlan of the Cubs in September. He suffered a knee injury and was done for the season. The 28-year-old had been one of the pleasant surprises in baseball, and his injury demoralized the Pirates. It’s possible that he suffers a setback year, but we wouldn’t bet against him.

9. Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals (.275 BA, 17 HR, 71 RBI, .334 OBP, 1 SB)

Peralta has (predictably) played well in St. Louis, and he’s as steady an option as they come, consistently putting up solid numbers. Even though he’s already been in the league for 13 years, he’s only 33–which is kind of amazing and probably true. You know what you’re getting with Peralta, and while he won’t be the most productive shortstop you can find, he’s a decent starting option if there’s talent around him in your fantasy lineup.

10. Starlin Castro, New York Yankees (.265 BA, 11 HR, 69 RBI, .296 OBP, 5 SB)

Castro finally found his comfort zone towards the end of the year with the Cubs, when Joe Maddon moved him to second base but kept him in the startling lineup. The Yankees showed confidence in the 25-year-old by acquiring him for Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan, plus a minor leaguer. He’s got all the talent in the world, and proved it in Chicago, when he racked up 207 hits in 158 games in 2011. We think the even friendlier confines (for hitters) of Yankee Stadium will benefit him, too. Castro is a nice sleeper pick at short, though he also qualifies as a second baseman.

11. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers (.258 BA, 7 HR, 62 RBI, .309 OBP, 25 SB)

His batting average wasn’t where it usually is last year, as he’s a career .270 hitter. But Andrus still drove in 62 runs and stole 25 bases, which makes him a viable option at shortstop. He seems to play better when he’s on better teams, and the Rangers will enter the season with playoff hopes this year, which wasn’t the case at the beginning of last season. Could be in for a bounce-back year.

12. Ian Desmond, Free Agent (.233 BA, 19 HR, 62 RBI, .290 OBP, 13 SB)

So, Ian Desmond doesn’t even have a team yet, but that has more to do with the fact that signing him would cause his new employer to lose its first-round draft pick than it does with his on-field production. There’s concern that he may not find a team until May or June, after the draft-pick deadline expires. But there are concerns about his on-field production, too. He hit a career-low .233 last year with just 62 RBI. He’s only 30 though, so you’d expect production to level off wherever he lands.

13. Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals (.257, 3 HR, 47 RBI, .293 OBP, 17 SB)

The numbers aren’t eye-popping, but you could see Escobar’s production buoyed by the confidence-boost of winning ALCS MVP and capturing a World Series title. He certainly looks like a player with the potential to hit .300 and steal 30 bases, and if he does that, he’ll be a steal himself late in the draft.

14. Jose Reyes, Colorado Rockies (.274 BA, 7 HR, 53 RBI, .310 OBP, 24 SB)

The 32-year-old may be on the downside of an excellent major league career, but he can still give you plenty of steals, a good batting average, and decent RBI numbers. We’re not sure how long he’ll be in Colorado, but that ballpark figures to play right into his strengths, with a spacious outfield and the boost of the rocky mountain air. Could be a good starter and value-pick in later rounds.

UPDATE: Reyes is now on paid leave, pending completion of his domestic violence case. It’s obviously trivial in comparison, but that hurts his value.

15. Jean Segura, Arizona Diamondbacks (.257 BA, 6 HR, 50 RBI, .281 OBP, 25 SB)

The stats last year were very disappointing, but there are two reasons to justify taking Segura: number one, he stole 25 bases. So if you need steals, he could be a one-category player for you. Secondly, he was one of the top shortstop prospects in baseball before flaming out in Milwaukee. He’s on a new team, in a new culture, and maybe Arizona can unlock the 25-year-old’s potential.

16. Ketel Marte, Seattle Mariners (.283 BA, 2 HR, 17 RBI, .351 OBP, 8 SB)

The 22-year-old came up last July and immediately started hitting. If he can put up those kinds of numbers all season long, he’s going to be a good starting shortstop option. He also stole eight bags in just 57 games, which is nice.

17. Asdrubal Cabrera, New York Mets (.265 BA, 15 HR, 58 RBI, .315 OBP, 6 SB)

He’s not a great option as a starter in a normal league, especially because Wilmer Flores could see more playing time at the position, and we’re not sure how Cabrera fits into the Mets’ crowded infield, with Neil Walker at second. But, he’s a good hitter with pop who could produce when he gets playing time.

18. Alexei Ramirez, San Diego Padres (.249 BA, 10 HR, 62 RBI, .285 OBP, 17 SB)

Ramirez was bad last year–there’s really no other way to put it. But maybe he’ll bounce back in San Diego (though that doesn’t happen often with hitters). He’s a career .273 hitter, so there’s reason for optimism.

19. Freddy Galvis, Philadelphia Phillies (.263 BA, 7 HR, 50 RBI, .302 OBP, 10 SB)

Keep an eye on Galvis, who flashed potential in stretches with the Phillies last year and has some breakout potential. He’s speedy and a good contact hitter, so both his batting average and steals numbers could jump this year.

20. Asdrubal Cabrera, New York Mets (.265 BA, 15 HR, 58 RBI, .315 OBP, 6 SB)

He’s not a great option as a starter in a normal league, especially because Wilmer Flores could see more playing time at the position, and we’re not sure how Cabrera fits into the Mets’ crowded infield, with Neil Walker at second. But, he’s a good hitter with pop who could produce when he gets playing time.

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