We are just two weeks away from Opening Day, as April 7th will mark the beginning of not only the MLB season, but also the return of fantasy baseball!
To get you ready for your upcoming drafts, we have been ranking the top 10 players at each position for fantasy and today we complete the infield. So far, we have already ranked the top catchers, first basemen, second basemen and third basemen. Now we close with the most important position in the infield, shortstop.
Below are Just Baseball’s fantasy baseball shortstop rankings. Our rankings are based on 5×5 category leagues, which means hitters are valued on batting average, home run, runs, runs batted in and stolen bases.
|13||Fernando Tatis Jr.||6|
|16||Bobby Witt Jr.||92|
1. Trea Turner – Los Angeles Dodgers – ADP: 1
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .328 / 28 HR / 107 R / 77 RBI / 32 SB / 646 PA
The number one ranked fantasy player needs no introduction. Trea Turner is the definition of a complete ballplayer, making him one of the few five-category destroyers out there. He’s stolen more than 32 bases in five-straight full seasons and has hit .304 over that span.
Prior to last season, Turner had not crossed the 20-home run threshold, but that all changed in 2021 as he hit 28 home runs behind a career-high hard-hit rate. The power is real, especially on the back of a 2020 season where he was on a 32-home run pace if it were over a full season.
He moved around the Dodgers lineup hitting leadoff and then second and third at the end of the season. If he continues to hit in the two or three-hole, a jump in RBI production can be expected, so don’t view his 77 RBI from last year as a sign of things to come.
2. Bo Bichette – Toronto Blue Jays – ADP: 5
2021 Fantasy Slashline – .298 / 29 HR / 121 R / 102 RBI / 25 SB
Bo Bichette is basically Trea Turner-lite, churning out similar power and stolen base numbers to the No. 1 ranked fantasy player, and even has more RBI potential than Turner. He’s worthy of a selection anywhere after the first pick. To get a feeling for the company he’s amongst, here are the only players since 2010 to post an average above .290 with more than 25 home runs and stolen bases:
- Trea Turner
- Mookie Betts
- Christian Yelich
- Mike Trout
- Carlos Gonzalez
- Ryan Braun
- Jacoby Ellsbury
He’s a contact machine who boasted the highest hard hit rate and max exit velocities of his career last season and entering his age-24 season, is only continuing to get better.
3. Marcus Semien – Texas Rangers – ADP: 36
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .265 / 45 HR / 115 R / 102 RBI / 15 SB / 724 PA
Marcus Semien was nothing short of disappointing in 2020, but bet on himself by signing a one-year deal with the Blue Jays for 2021. That may go down as the best decision of Semien’s life. The Blue Jays second baseman showed that his 33 home runs in 2019 was not a fluke by hitting 45 home runs last year. He capitalized on a third place MVP finish and signed a seven-year, $175 million contract with the Rangers.
Do we think Semien can repeat this season?
Probably not, but it doesn’t mean he can’t be a valuable fantasy contributor nonetheless. His expected slugging percentage, which is calculated using batted ball data, shows an almost 100 point discrepancy between his actual slugging percentage of .538 last season.
With that said, 45 home runs is very much out of the picture, but expect 30 home runs with RBI and run upside hitting next to Corey Seager. He’s also stolen more than 10 bases in six-straight seasons making him a contributor across the board.
4. Tim Anderson – Chicago White Sox – ADP: 33
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .309 / 17 HR / 94 R / 68 RBI / 18 SB / 551 PA
Tim Anderson is nothing short of a fantasy beast. His .322 average since 2019 leads all of baseball and he’s quietly sprinkled in nearly 20 stolen bases and home runs in 2019 and 2021. Hitting leadoff in a stacked White Sox lineup puts him in line for 100 runs, making him a true four category producer.
The only knock on Anderson is that he’s missed 89 games combined over the last three seasons, but there aren’t any lingering issues that make us believe that will be a concern this season. If he plays nearly every game, he could have his first 20/20 season since 2018.
5. Trevor Story – Boston Red Sox – ADP: 39
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .251 / 24 HR / 88 R / 75 RBI / 20 SB / 595 PA
Following the news of Trevor Story signing with the Red Sox, I broke down what it means for Story’s future outlook as well as how the Red Sox are positioned with Story going forward. Long story short, Story could not have gone to a better place than Boston for his fantasy value. Fenway Park is the second-rated ballpark by park factor behind Coors Field and over the last three years, Fenway Park has allowed a higher batting average on balls in play than Coors Field.
It will still be very difficult for Story to put up the .292 average he did from 2018-2020, but Story should have no problem reaching close to 30 home runs with plenty of doubles off of the Green Monster. He will also get a huge lineup boost in Boston, slotting into the two-hole in the Red Sox lineup behind Kiké Hernandez and before Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. Story has the chance to deliver value above his current draft position. Take advantage before his price starts to rise.
6. Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox – ADP: 45
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .295 / 23 HR / 90 R / 79 RBI / 5 SB / 603 PA
Xander Bogaerts pumps out productive seasons like clockwork, and has hit .299 with more than 23 home runs in every season since 2018. A career year in 2019 saw him put up 33 home runs with 117 RBI, but his RBI production took a hit last season as he managed only 79 RBI.
He’s likely to see better run and RBI production in 2022 and is a great average boost to any team, but without much speed on the base paths, you’re better off targeting Trevor Story at his value than Bogaerts.
7. Francisco Lindor – New York Mets – ADP: 50
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .230 / 20 HR / 73 R / 63 RBI / 10 SB / 524 PA
It’s easy to forget that Lindor hit more than 32 home runs in three-straight seasons from 2017 to 2019 because he was not his usual self in his first season in New York, but the peripherals look very encouraging for 2022.
Looking under the hood, Lindor’s batted ball profile and approach have not changed much at all since 2017 and he even posted the highest hard-hit rate of his career last season. Sometimes it’s as easy as chalking up his struggles to bad luck. His xwOBA has lingered around its career norm of .345 the last two seasons, but his wOBA was well-below that at .317, so it’s fair to assume that Lindor can get back on the right track with some better batted-ball luck.
The Mets lineup should be much better than it was last year with the additions of Mark Canha and Starling Marte. Expect Lindor to bounce back and produce numbers similar to his Cleveland days.
8. Wander Franco – Tampa Bay Rays – ADP: 56
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .288 / 7 HR / 53 R / 39 RBI / 2 SB / 308 PA
If you take the first 15 games of Franco’s career out of his slash line last year, he hit .315 with 45 runs in 69 games hitting in the two and three-hole of the Rays lineup. From a bat-to-ball standpoint, Franco is one of the best pure hitters in baseball.
The only hitter since 2010 who have a batting average above .300, a strikeout rate below 15% and an Isolated Power above .170 are Robinson Cano and Adrian Beltre, so that gives you an idea of the type of hitter Wander Franco already is. The upside he possesses is nearly endless and this time next year we may be drafting Franco near the first round. At his current price, he’s a no-brainer to buy.
9. Corey Seager – Texas Rangers – ADP: 79
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .306 / 16 HR / 54 R / 57 RBI / 1 SB / 409 PA
When he’s on the field, he’s one of the best shortstops in the game and that is why he was deserving of a 10-year, $325 million contract. That’s the problem though, in seven seasons in the bigs, he’s played more than 150 games just once and more than 130 games just three times. There is a major risk that he’ll be absent for nearly 20% of the season.
When he’s on the field though, he’s incredible. If you put his 2020 and 2021 seasons together, he played 147 games, compiling 31 home runs and a .306 average over that span. That gives an idea of what he’s capable over a full season, but be wary because he hasn’t shown that he can stay healthy since 2017.
10. Carlos Correa – Houston Astros – ADP: 99
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .279 / 26 HR / 104 R / 92 RBI / 0 SB / 640 PA
Speaking of health concerns, Correa surpassed 600 plate appearances in 2021 for the first time since 2016. He now joins a Twins lineup that is fairly stacked and presents plenty of run and RBI upside. Much like Seager, Correa’s value hinders his health, so if he’s healthy he’ll likely outproduce his current ADP, but that’s a big if.