Fantasy Baseball

2020 Fantasy Baseball Shortstop Preview


Welcome to the 2020 Fantasy Baseball Shortstop Preview. If you haven’t already, go check out the catcher, first base, and second base previews.

Shortstop is such a deep position this year, which is such a far cry from even two seasons ago. This is, in part, thanks to a youth movement that has taken over the position.

Just as a reference, at the time of writing this, out of all of the infield eligible positions, shortstop has the most players ranked inside my top 100 overall rankings, with 16 total.

To me, this means you can wait a little on shortstop and load up on positions like first base where they are very top-heavy. Of course, it would be great to have Francisco Lindor, Trea Turner or Trevor Story, but I’m fine getting Xander Bogaerts or Marcus Semien depending on how I’ve built my team before taking them and what I need.

There are even players outside of the top-100 that I would be OK having as my starter. Jorge Polanco, Paul DeJong, Eduardo Escobar, just to name a few.

2020 Fantasy Baseball Shortstop Preview

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Can youngsters Fernando Tatis Jr. and Bo Bichette live up to the hype?

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The short answer is yes.

Let’s start with Tatis. In 84 games, he was a superstar hitting .317, 22 home runs, 61 runs, 53 RBI and 16 steals. Currently projected for around 30 home runs and 23 steals this season according to Steamer, Depth Charts and ATC.

Those are great numbers and worthy of the top 15-20 ADP he has on sites right now. Just don’t get crazy and draft him in the first round where I’ve seen him go a few times.

Bichette is another player who has massive hype entering the season and he deserves it. In 46 games last year he hit .311, 11 home runs, 32 runs, 21 RBI and added four steals.

His projections are a bit all over the place but the average projects him to hit 22 home runs, steal 23 bags, hit 72 RBI and score 90 times. Very solid numbers and makes him worth his ADP right now for sure.

He is raw still too, having only 456 plate appearances over AA (he actually jumped from A+ to AAA last year). Considering he was just 21 last year when he played in the majors, the sky is the limit with him. He may just not hit it this season.

Can Javier Baez return to MVP form?

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Unfortunately, I think Baez’s best days are behind us. Don’t get me wrong though I still think he is a stud and deserves to be drafted in the first 3-4 rounds.

After his 2018 season, many analysts, including some here, said watch out for some regression. I know, the R-word, but there were big reasons why.

In 2018, his SLG and ISO jumped up dramatically over previous years. Another stat that went up was his HR/FB ratio if that wasn’t obvious.

Although they did drop in 2019, they did not drop dramatically. Where Baez got hurt was his strikeout rate, which climbed back up to almost 28%. He is known as an aggressive hitter so pitchers are going to throw him a few more pitches out of the zone, knowing he’ll chase until he corrects it.

Again he will be a fine asset to your team, hitting 30+ home runs, close to 100 R and RBI and hopefully keep running as that dipped in 2019. Just don’t expect 2018 again.

Will the real Marcus Semien please stand up?

Marcus Semien showed flashes of massive power in 2016 when he hit 27 home runs, but followed that up in 2017 with 10 (85 games) and 15 in 2018.

However in 2019, he exploded for 33 home runs, and a whopping 123 runs scored. He brought his average up to .285, the highest in his career by 30 points.

So who is the real Marcus Semien? I think we get something closer to the 2016 player than 2019. His SLG was all the way up to .522 last season, which was almost 100 points higher than 2016 and 150 more than other seasons.

The average dips back down .260 at best and he hits closer to 25 home runs than 33. It is still a good offense in Oakland so the other counting stats will still be there.

Players on the Rise

Gavin Lux, Los Angeles Dodgers

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Well, things just got more and more interesting in LA. They just loaded up even more if that was possible by trading for Mookie Betts, oh and David Price. Check out the trade details and fantasy impact in our Transaction Tracker.

Moving onto Lux. The No 2 Prospect according to No, I did not talk about Wander Franco, the No. 1 Prospect, because he is unlikely to get called up this year.

Lux got a taste of MLB action last year playing in 23 games. He played OK, nothing spectacular, hitting .240 with two home runs, 12 runs and nine RBI. The strikeout-rate of 29.3% is something to be concerning at first glance, but he was nowhere near that in the minors so I don’t expect that to continue.

I would not draft Lux as my starting shortstop, but as somebody to take a flyer on late I would. I could easily see him pushing for 20 home runs and 70 runs/RBI this season. He could also chip in double-digit steals. He is an elite talent so the ceiling is very high for him.

Kevin Newman, Pittsburgh Pirates

Once a first-round pick, Newman (you have no idea how bad I want to put a Seinfeld gif here) got his chance in 2019 and proved he was capable of producing at the major league level.

His season was consistent in both halves, although his second half was more valuable.

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first half60/223625336.327
second half68/2706363110.293

If you project out the second half into a full season he would hit 15 home runs, 86 runs, 73 RBI and steal 24 bases. Now, of course, you can’t do that, but the potential is there for him to be that good, if not better. Remember he is only 26 years old.

Players on the Decline

Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees

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Torres was a monster last year finishing with a .280 average, 38 home runs, 91 RBI and 96 runs. There is no speed, but you don’t need it if you’re getting elite production like that in four other categories.

Now, why is he on the decline? I just don’t think he can repeat these numbers. I believe his home runs dip to closer to 30, which is still good, but it is just good, not difference-making if the ball stays juiced.

This is thanks to his SLG and ISO dropping back down a bit. Last season they were a crazy good .535 and .258. These lower home run totals will likely lead to less RBI too.

He is still going to be plenty useful at shortstop and I’ll take him at the right price, but people are paying for last year’s numbers (current ADP of 29). Just like the guy below you need him to reproduce those numbers or better to make that price worth it. No thanks.

Jonathan Villar, Baltimore Orioles

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I was tempted to put Villar in my player to avoid, but in reality, if he slipped a few rounds to me, I’d probably take him. The problem is he won’t.

Currently, his ADP on NFBC sits around 38 overall. At that price, he better steal 40 bags and hit 20 home runs again. And therein lies the problem, you’re paying for the ceiling with Villar.

Do we not forget the last time he had a good season? Let me remind you if you don’t recall. In 2016, he finished with 19 home runs and 62 steals. He then followed that up with an 11/23 campaign, batting .241 by the way.

He was a bit more respectable in 2018, many thanks to being traded to the Orioles, to finish with 14 and 35 steals.

Villar is no longer with the Orioles, he is now with the Miami Marlins. Where the Orioles lineup was not much better, the ballpark as we all know is much better for a hitter. This is a negative for Villar.

Another negative is the Marlins were bottom five as a team in stolen base attempts last season. Maybe the increases a bit with Villar, but in Don Mattingly‘s tenure in Miami, they have been at the bottom of the league in steal attempts every season. This was even when they had Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich on the squad.

Is 15/30 possible? Sure. Is it valuable? Yes. Is it worth a 3rd round pick when he could bottom out and give you 10/20? No.

Players to Avoid

Carlos Correa, Houston Astros

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Correa was once one of the top shortstops in baseball and well-deserving of that honor. However, three straight injury-riddled seasons and down-play has caused his stock to fall.

Yes, some would say at his current ADP if he can stay healthy is a bargain. Those people are probably right. However, I’m not sure I want to take the risk at this point that he will stay healthy.

Also due to his injuries, he is not running anymore, with a combined six stolen bases over the last three seasons. This limits his ceiling as well as lowers his floor too. You’re paying for a name at this point with Correa, not reliable production.

You also can’t ignore the fact that the Astros just got caught stealing signs. So you have to wonder how much of his production was due to that.

Players on the Horizon

Carter Kieboom, Washington Nationals

Kieboom is the No. 20 Prospect according to and like Lux saw some time in the majors last year. The difference is he is not likely to start the season in Washington.

His short stint in the majors last year did not go as well, hitting .128 and striking out at a 37.2% clip. However, a look at his minor league numbers tells me he is going to improve on that quite a bit.

At this point in his career, if he were to get a full season under his belt I would say he could hit 20+ home runs with 10-15 steals. He is still polishing his game a bit so its not time to go crazy for him.

Now when he is called up, I’m sure he will be worth an add since some of you will have plenty of players to drop, but I’m not going to go crazy, this year at least.

Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs

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Hoerner is another top prospect, No. 47 on the list, who got his first taste of major league action in 2019.

In 20 games he did well hitting .282, three home runs, 17 RBI and 13 runs.

He also does not project to start the season in the majors so it is tough to project a final line for him, but given his short-stint in 2019, he should be productive as soon as he gets his chance again. I would not draft him but as soon as there is a rumor of is call up happening, make the move for him in your league.

Check out the rest of our 2020 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

About Joe Bond

Not just another "Average Joe" when it comes to Fantasy Sports, he is the fantasy brain trust behind the website. Joe is included in the FantasyPros Consensus Rankings for Football, Baseball and Basketball and finished well each year. This includes a top-3 in-season ranking for Football in 2020 and top-5 in 2019. You can find him on Twitter, @F6P_Joe, where he is waiting by the keyboard for your question.

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