The cliff notes version of the fantasy baseball shortstop rankings for 2020 is this: If you're drafting in the bottom half of your 12- and 14-team mixed leagues drafts, grab a shortstop.
I like Francisco Lindor the most, but will happily take any of my top four shortstops in the bottom half of the first round. All four can boost your average. Three out of four can easily post a 20/20 season. The one who won't steal at least 20 bases, makes up for that because he can easily hit 40 HRs. All play for strong offenses and should have plenty of opportunities to both score runs and pile up the RBIs.
If you have seen my other rankings, you know I like Danny Santana again this year. Part of Santana's value lies in him being eligible at pretty much ever position on the diamond, except catcher. But the man hit .283 last year with 28 home runs and 21 stolen bases! Yes, regression in some form is coming. A .353 BABIP after years of having a BABIP below .300 ensures that. But what if he hits only .270 with 20 homers and 15 steals? How many other players with that kind of counting stats do you think you're going to find at his current ADP? In case you didn't know, his current ADP is the 13th round!
But I remember when those numbers were better than the fifth-best option at the position. Yet that seems like eons ago. Once again, shortstop is loaded. However, before we get to even the 25th-best SS on the board, the talent drops off. Or at least the amount of experience or likely ABs do. Like at second base, I'm going to try and get by backup SS within my top 20 options at the position. You really don't want to have to ever start Paul DeJong and his .232 average from last year at MI do you?
- Obviously the outfield is the best place for cheap speed, but shortstop is not a bad place for cheap speed either. You can grab Adalberto Mondesi and his 43 swipes last year in the fifth round. Or you can wait until the double-digit rounds and grab Tim Anderson, who has averaged more than 20 steals over the last two seasons.
- Or you can grab Kevin Newman, who is entering his second full season and stole 16 bases in less than 500 ABs last year. However, if your league penalizes for caught stealing, be aware that he was caught eight times. But I think he can hit .300 and club double-digit home runs again. I love him outside my top 30 SS and with an ADP around the 18th round.
- Those in keeper and dynasty leagues should pay close attention to some of the later options at shortstop. Dylan Moore, for example, currently qualifies at shortstop and has salivating long-term upside due to his speed. Or even more enticing might be Luis Urias, who is less than two years removed from top-30 prospect status. He's now a Brewer, which means home games at Miller Park, a much more favorable venue for hitters compared to San Diego's Petco Park. Urias offers tons of power upside at SS as well. He crushed the ball at AAA but needs to prove he can hit at the major league level. His advanced peripheral stats show promise of that as his hard-hit percentage jumped from 30.8 percent to 36.5 while his soft hit rate dropped by 12.4 percent. He also could remain a bargain on draft day as he fractured a hamate bone in his left wrist during the winter so he's a little behind the rest of his teammates in spring training and may not be ready to go by Opening Day.
- 2020 Sleeper at SS Not Included Here I Like As Of This Last Week of February: Hanser Alberto
I was tempted to post Alberto as a sleeper in one of the other positional previews as he qualifies at multiple positions. But my favorite stat about this underrated Oriole is this: He batted .238 in 323 plate appearances against right-handed pitching and STILL was in the running for the batting title last year! That's because he hit .398 against lefties in 227 plate appearances, which put him at .305 overall, as he finished eighth in the American League. He could end up batting leadoff for Baltimore this season, especially against lefties. That's good news because his 93.6 percent Z-contact rate (the percentage of pitches on which contact was made on pitches inside the zone) will do wonders for him in Camden Yards. Throw in the fact that the AL East is chock-full of left-handed starters, Alberto could be a huge bargain again on draft day.
Check out my top SS below for yourself. Let me know your thoughts!
— Rankings by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.