TOP 12 SHORTSTOPS 2018
Updated: 1/9/2018 By: Max Freeze
My SS rankings probably look very different than many others you’ve seen. It’s actually much deeper than it’s been in years past. That being said, the top tier is only four deep from Turner through Bregman. These guys have either elite speed, elite power or a good combination of both with high average. The second tier goes from Seager to Semien. This tier is basically your 3-category player. I’ll explain why Seager isn’t in the top tier in the section below. The next tier is basically Bogaerts to Paul DeJong who is ranked around 20th at the position. That’s why this position is so deep, I could see any of the 12-20+ finish the season around the top 10 at the end of the season. Did I mention that Didi Gregorious and Addison Russell don’t rank inside my top 20? No, I didn’t? oh well, you know I don’t like Didi, but he’s still serviceable as a MI, so again proving the depth here. Obviously many SS eligible players have one or two other positions, so that’s why I have the positions listed as well. Ok, let’s get to the top 12.
|12||Xander Bogaerts||Red Sox||SS|
Corey Seager is a great baseball player the 2016 ROY and MVP candidate made some improvements in plate discipline but did not improve on his power numbers in 2017. He’s got the body and the ability to hit the ball hard enough to hit 35+ home runs but his low 30% FB rate and ability to spray the ball over the field is not going to get it done. He’s a very good hitter and should hit near .300 but 25 HR with limited RBI (due to hitting #2 in the order) along with no speed limits his upside.
Clearly I believe in Trevor Story‘s rebound in 2018. While 2017 was a disappointment, he was only 24 years old and his second half paints an optimistic picture. Here are some 2nd half numbers: 49.4% Hard Hit rate (31% 1st half), 19.1% HR/FB (13.8% 1st half) and he decreased his IFFB% from 15% to 4.4% really boosting his BABIP & batting average. Also (I may be cherry picking here) but since 8/11/17 his contact % went up 7%, SwStr% went down 2% and his K% dropped 5%. There’s obviously still risk with a guy who strikes out 30% of the time but 35+ HR over a full season is possible and 30 HR is likely, especially in Coors.
The rest of the list is a combination of power and speed. Nunez’s rank will depend on where he signs and playing time. I’ve compared his numbers to Starling Marte’s on twitter and they are surprisingly close. I think Chris Taylor and Marcus Semien are similar players hitting a the top of their respective lineups and both appear to be under valued in 2018. Semien more so than Taylor but the Dodgers have a better lineup and should provide more counting stats. Yes, I do believe in his change in approach but do think there will be some BABIP regression. Just outside the top 12 I have Tim Beckham and Zack Cozart. I’ll dig into them when I do the complete list of SS rankings, stay tuned.