Here we go! My shortstop rankings for 2020 are now complete! I’ll hopefully have all of my positional ranks along with my top 300 complete after the second week of February, just in time for prime draft season. As always, I write a blurb or mini-deep dive on each player (at least those ranked inside the top 30) below the rankings table. The rankings are based on 5×5 Rotisserie scoring. If you want to check out my other ranks, click here.
Shortstop Rankings for 2020 - FreezeStats
|4||Fernando Tatis Jr.||Padres|
|8||Xander Bogaerts||Red Sox|
|12||Bo Bichette||Blue Jays|
|15||Tim Anderson||White Sox|
|34||Jose Peraza||Red Sox|
|40||Leury Garcia||White Sox|
There isn’t much to say about Francisco Lindor other than he great. He’s averaged 33 home runs and 21 steals over his previous three seasons and is only 26 years old! Weird, ATC Projections has him pegged for 33 HR and 22 SB (not weird but spot-on). He brings five-category production with an insanely high floor that I’m looking for in the middle of the first round. Trevor Story is essentially Lindor with a higher ceiling but more volatility due to his elevated strikeout rate. Story’s two-year average of 35 HR, 25 SB with a .290+ average is actually slightly higher production than Lindor but I think there’s a little more batting average downside and his steals may start slipping. Even still, 35 homers with 20 steals and a .280 batting is a top-10 player for me.
Dreams of a season where Trea Turner hits 25 bombs while stealing 50 bases remain a realistic projection. The problem is he’s never done it. He’s still just 26 and posted a career-high 6.8% barrel rate while also hitting the ball harder than ever before. On top of that, he had a broken index finger that knocked him out for over a month. Maybe he won’t reach 50+ steals but the power is blossoming and that makes him worth a top-12 pick. How repeatable is a .400 BABIP? Not very, so why the lofty rank for Fernando Tatis Jr? He’s a stud and will only be 22 years old. His speed and batted ball profile portend to an elevated BABIP and his power clearly plays at the Major League level. I’ll take this risk/reward pick in the second round.
No, Alex Bregman was not dropped because of the Astros cheating scandal but it certainly doesn’t help. Bregman is a professional hitter at home and on the road. I just don’t expect his power to continue at its current rate. I dropped him below Tatis because I think we just saw Bergman’s ceiling in 2019 where Tatis has could go 30-30 as early as next season. I don’t understand why everyone is down in Javy Baez? He dealt with a nagging heel injury throughout the majority of the second half and still hit 29 home runs and stole 11 bases. I sent a Tweet out earlier this month listing all the players who have hit at least .280 with 60 homers and 25 steals since the start of 2018. Baez is basically the only player on the list who isn’t a first-round pick. If he’s healthy, he’s a virtual lock for 30-35 HRs and 15 SB. That’s top-25 for me, not 40th overall.
Adalberto Mondesi has game-changing speed which is the most scarce commodity in baseball. He’s recovering from shoulder surgery, so there’s certainly risk here. By all accounts, he should be ready by Opening Day but I’d expect him to miss the first couple of weeks. That being said, he could easily reach 40 steals and 15 home runs this year. When Xander Bogaerts was being drafted around 50 overall last year, I was all in. He delivered and was a top-30 player in 2019. He’s hitting in the middle of a stacked lineup so 200+ R+RBI are once again in order. He stopped running last year, so he feels a lot like Bregman with a little bit lower floor and ceiling. Covered Gleyber Torres in my 2B rankings
I’ll be taking the discount on Manny Machado this year. His power remained virtually unchanged last year but his batting average plummeted. I attribute some of his decline to the park but also changing teams and leagues. He should be more comfortable in 2020 and still in his prime at age-28. I’d project him for .275-35-100 with 8-10 steals. I covered Jonathan Villar in my 2B rankings. On one hand, I have Bo Bichette as a borderline starter in a 12-team league, but on the other, he’s a top 75 player. He showed impressive skills upon his call up at age-21 but his speed never really surfaced. Projection systems still seem to believe he has the speed to steal 18-20 bases. I’ll take the under, but only slightly. He should be able to hit 20 homers which is why I have him over, Carlos Correa.
How deep is shortstop? I don’t even have Carlos Correa as a starting SS in a 12-team league! His ranking is simple. He still provides elite metrics in terms of quality of contact but he’s had only one season over 600 plate appearance. In fact, he’s had exactly one season with over 481 PA. I could see myself taking a risk on him if he slips beyond pick 100 but otherwise, I’m out. I’ve been a fan of Marcus Semien for several years now. One of my first sleeper posts two years ago was about him. Of course, he didn’t fully break out until the following year so I guess I was a year early. I think his rise to stardom is real but wouldn’t project him for a full repeat. He managed an incredible 740 PA in 2019. I’d bet against him surpassing 700 for a second straight season. I’ll take 10%-12% off the for Semien in 2020.
2019’s unlikely batting champion Tim Anderson is an intriguing player. He provides power, speed, and has some of the best bat flips on the game. He suffered through ankle and back injuries in the second half which tempered his stolen base totals. Most projection systems peg him for a 20-20 player but my eHR metric shows he was lucky to reach 18 HR last year. I might have him closer to 15 HR and 25 SB with significant regression in batting average because of his .399 BABIP. Still a valuable option. What’s the difference between Tim Anderson and Amed Rosario? Turns, out not much! In fact, Anderson is the second closest when comparing their batted ball profiles on Baseball Savant. Rosario is two years younger and has a better walk: strikeout ratio. Rosario took a big step forward in 2019 cutting his strikeout rate while hitting the ball with more authority. My only concern and this is the reason he’s behind Anderson in my rankings, is his proposed spot in the batting order. Without a good walk rate, he may be destined for the bottom third of the lineup given a poor OBP. Hopefully, he overcomes this and fully breaks out in 2020.
Covered Gavin Luz in my 2B Rankings. Elvis Andrus stole 31 bases in 2019 which ranked fifth in all of baseball. Base stealers are going at a premium on draft day but Andrus can be had after pick 130. Why? He’s 31 and the 20-homer power he displayed in 2017 seems to be the exception rather than the rule. He’s dropped 10 pounds this offseason looking to hold off old age as long as possible. I could definitely see him hitting .280 with 12-15 homers and 25 steals. Corey Seager has really fallen on hard times. He’s only 25 but his ceiling seems to be capped. While he improved his launch angle, his barrel rate and hard hit% actually dropped as a result. If there’s one silver lining, it’s his .230 second-half ISO. He pulled the ball more frequently which help increase his hard contact. I’m not fully buying in but he’s finally cheap enough to roll the dice.
Didi Gregorius goes from Yankee Stadium to Citizens Bank Park. Both parks play favorably to right field which is the only place Didi can hit the ball out. His aggressive, high contact approach should play just fine in Philly and the lineup around him is very good. The batting average won’t be great but I think he eclipses 20 home runs with a very good RBI total. Jorge Polanco and Corey Seager are almost back-to-back in NFBC drafts right now. As much as I love Polanco’s improvements with the bat, he’s not running anymore with just four steals in 2019. Some of the decreases can be attributed to the Twins’ philosophy because they have mashers for days and prefer to score runs via the long ball. But, I also think he was a beneficiary of the ball. I’ll take the under on 20 home runs for 2020 and with a projection of just five steals, I’ll look elsewhere.
Dansby Swanson is going after pick 250 in NFBC drafts. He’s my pick to click for 2020 from the shortstop position. I’ve been vocal about my love for Dansby this year and think his skills could continue to grow in 2020. I hope the Braves give him a shot to hit second or fifth and if that happens, I’m booking him for 25 homer and 15 steals. Note: the Braves signed Marcell Ozuna who will likely hit cleanup which strengthens the Braves lineup as a whole but hurts Swanson’s chances of hitting at a premium spot in the lineup. I’m concerned that Jean Segura‘s speed is diminishing. He’ll only be 30 years old to start 2020 but only managed 10 steals (12 attempts) last year. The last time he stole 20 bags in 2018 his success rate was under 67%. Not good. His batting average is safe given his high contact rate but he hasn’t surpassed 12 homers since 2016. He looks a lot more like Adam Eaton than Amed Rosario.
Paul DeJong‘s power metrics took a nose-dive yet he managed to hit 30 home runs for the first time in his career. *Cough* juiced ball *cough*. I still like him as a potential 30-homer bat but his batting average will likely sit below .250. He’s not a zero in steals though, so if he chips in with six to eight bags, he’s worth a top-225 pick. Willy Adames is a pretty good bet to break out in 2020. He’s still just 24 years old with 900 Major League plate appearances to his name. He improved in just about every aspect in his batted ball profile and cut his strikeout rate from 2018. He’s a good defender at a premium position, so he’s going to play every day for the Rays. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes inside the top-20 at the position. For me, there’s a huge dropoff between Adames and the next player, Kevin Newman. Like a 40 spot gap.
I’ll touch on a few players ranked between 30 and 50. If you’re looking for speed late, I’d try to grab Jon Berti, Jose Peraza, Jorge Mateo, or Myles Straw. Obviously, they all have playing time question marks, but you could do worse after pick 300. You can even find some batting average late as well if you haven’t filled your MI slot. I’d look in the direction of Andeltron Simmons, David Fletcher, Jose Iglesias, or Miguel Rojas for a solid BA floor. I don’t expect Wander Franco to be called up this year but there’s always a chance. If he forces the Rays’ hand and gives us one to two months, I think he has the chance to be a difference-maker. That’s why he makes the cut.