My fantasy baseball team is clinging to a playoff berth for dear life, and with the trade deadline long gone there’s nothing I can do but stream. It’s a helpless feeling, so to cope with my fantasy anxiety I’m going to do tiered rankings of every position before the end of August.
First up is shortstop. The order I’ve listed the players within each tier mean something, but not that much. Tiers are Seinfeld supporting cast themed.
The day Machado became SS eligible was glorious. He is the unquestioned #1 fantasy SS right now, and would be a defensible #1 overall pick in next year’s draft. Choosing between Bogaerts and Correa is an exercise in futility. Despite already being insanely awesome, both promise even more as they approach their peaks. Correa, tantalizing power. Bogaerts, untapped speed and average. I would take Correa long-term, but somehow I feel like both haven’t come close to their ceilings yet.
Frank and Estelle
Defence doesn’t count in fantasy, or else Frankie Lindor would be eating calzones with Georgie boy. He’s still young, and his 13.2 K% is impressive, but his hit tool isn’t yet on the level of Bogaerts or Correa. As for Seager, it’s only a matter of time before he mashes his way into the first tier.
Forget about the season-ending injury. The strikeout rate’s going to have to go down and the contact rate’s going to have to come up before Story can be considered a truly elite shortstop. After a rocky start in Toronto, Tulo has turned it back on, posting a 137 wRC+ since the break while slashing .308/.354/.538. Villar’s .407 BABIP suggests that maybe he won’t hit around .300 next season, but the double-digit power and 50+ steals combo is fantasy gold.
I never thought the day would come when Aledmys Diaz would cease to shock us, but that’s what’s happened. The Cuban owns the third-best wRC+ among shortstops this season (136) and his plate discipline is outstanding. Fifth on that wRC+ leaderboard would be Brad Miller, perhaps an even bigger surprise. Say it with me: Brad Miller is going to hit 30 homers this year. Brandon Crawford is a poor man’s Lindor, and is a sneaky value pick in the draft year after year.
Gregorious is having a surprisingly great season for the Yankees, but that 3.2 BB% is a red flag I can’t ignore. Russell has steadily improved every month this season, and his .823 OPS so far in August is a preview of his true potential. Jean Segura and Jose Ramirez are guys who I wouldn’t draft for a real life team but can help out in fantasy.
This tier really demonstrates the unprecedented shortstop depth in the league right now. We’ve already gone through seventeen names and there are still four more who I would be comfortable starting in a 12 or 14 team league. Semien and Cozart are both baby steps away from the next tier up, and all Baez needs is more playing time against righties and a better contact rate.
This tier is full of one dimensional contributors (Escobar, Marte), streaky power plays (Flores, Espinosa), and whatever’s left of J.J. Hardy.