The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty League Shortstops, #1-20
It’s been a slow off-season. Like, a really slow off-season. With the hot stove frigid, fantasy baseball players haven’t had many ways to quench their thirst, unless they’ve thrown themselves head-first into football, basketball, or hockey. January and February can be some of the darkest months of the year (figuratively and literally), but fear not, restless readers. The Dynasty Guru is here to the rescue.
While you were celebrating the holidays and ushering in the New Year, our brave group of writers has been ranking, debating, re-ranking, re-debating, and re-re-ranking over 600 players for dynasty leagues. The fruits of our efforts will be filling January, February, and even some of March with the deepest, most thoroughly and painstakingly selected dynasty baseball rankings on the internet. We have top-50s, top-125s, top-200s, top-500s (of course!), and even ultra-deep prospect rankings.
The Dynasty Guru’s hard-working staff has spent countless hours crafting these rankings, and we hope you enjoy and continue to support our efforts.
So I hope you enjoy the package that the TDG team has put together here. And if you do, I hope that you will make a donation to show appreciation for the content you’ve seen here at the Dynasty Guru and share our content far and wide. You can do that through the field below. All donations are truly appreciated.
Donate To TDG
Without further ado, it’s time to continue our 2018 consensus rankings by looking at the league’s top-50 shortstop in dynasty leagues, kicking it off with a new name at the top spot.
1) Carlos Correa, Houston Astros (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 2)
Manny Machado left the position for a year, so Correa gets our number 1 ranking. All the reasons we love Carlos Correa: 23, power to all fields, one of the deadliest line drive hitters in all of baseball, 20.8% HR/FB, .210 career ISO. And now for all the reasons we don’t love Carlos Correa: 29.1% FB and the ridiculous on-field World Series proposal. [Ed note – the views of Jim Melichar regarding love, romance and proposals are not necessarily those of The Dynasty Guru or his editors]
The improvement he made to his exit velocity on flyballs in 2016 carried forward in 2017. That makes him a threat to be a 40HR candidate if he ever decides to put the ball in the air more – akin to Lindor in 2017. Correa produced 8 home runs to each field (LF/CF/RF) in 2017, showing he doesn’t need to pull the ball to go deep. You can expect an easy 30+ HRs from Correa with a triple-slash line in the neighborhood of .285/.360/.520. His walk and strikeout rates seem to be holding steady and are in line with his minor league numbers as well. Last year was the first year we saw Correa dip below double digits in stolen bases (2) and it makes you wonder if those days are gone or if Correa was just protecting his injured thumb in 2017. (Jim Melichar)
2) Trea Turner, Washington Nationals (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 1st at 2B)
Trea Turner had a bit of bad luck in 2017, limiting him to just 98 games. However, we now have a full 162-game average for the young speedster: .304/.348/.491 with 20 HR, 109 R and 66 RBI with 66 SBs. This is very comparable to Jose Altuve with a lower walk rate and batting average – but not by much. Fun fact: between Turner and Altuve the shortstop has the higher average exit velocity to all fields on air balls. Remember he’s just 24 years old and 6-foot-1, watch out!
Turner’s OBP is firmly tied to his BABIP (due to his low walk rate of ~6%), but he should run batting averages anywhere between .290 and .330 due to his speed and line-drive-heavy batted ball mix. Much like Correa, his 20 homer profile is solidly backed by his average exit velocity on flyballs. I wouldn’t assume a shift in batted ball mix from ~50% groundballs because of his speed, but there may be years he flirts with 30 home runs just due to natural variation and HR/FB spikes. Turner is a mortal lock for 50+ SBs over a full season and there is a case to be made for him to be the #1 dynasty asset at this position. (Jim Melichar)
3) Francisco Lindor, Cleveland (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 5)
Lindor is coming off back-to-back seasons with an 8.3% walk rate, 12.9% strikeout rate and 99 runs scored. Talk about consistency! Despite that consistency in approach at the plate, there was one marked change in his game last year, can you spot it? You might have first called out the .275 BABIP (versus .324 in 2016), and you’d be half right. But that’s merely the symptom of the change.
Air balls! Oh yes, Lindor embraced the air ball! He had a 10% decrease in his GB% and a 14% increase in FB% which overall created a positive change in his wOBA. The tradeoff was 20 points of on-base percentage for 70 points of slugging percentage. This new batted ball mix makes Lindor the runner-up to Correa/Turner. Depending on the number of line drives he hits in a given year, you can expect a .270-.285 AVG with 30+ HR and 180-210 R+RBI all while chipping in double-digit steals. The main difference between Lindor and Correa is that Correa has exit velocity to all fields and Lindor is mainly a pull-for-power type. (Jim Melichar)
4) Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 3)
Corey Seager is an elite line drive hitter that also has increased his FB% for three straight seasons, making him among the favorites for a full-blown breakout. In order to achieve that, or to take a step up to be with Lindor, Seager needs to tame the strikeout rate (up 2% to 21% in 2017), or continue to put more balls in the air. There’s still better than a 50/50 chance that Seager can make strides similar to Freddie Freeman and pushes his wOBA over the .400 threshold if he continues to embrace his powerful swing and elevate just a little more.
As he stands now, Seager will provide 25 HR pop with a few steals thrown in for good measure. His RBI and R counting stats will go as the LA offense goes, but should stay in that 170-190 range depending on how often he hits in the middle of the lineup vs. 6th or 7th. His current line-drive-first approach makes him a .300 hitter you can count on running OBPs in the .360-.380 range. His ceiling, however, is .300/.400/.575 and 35 HR with a little bit more swing refinement. His batted ball profile is so eerily similar to Freddie Freeman that it’s easy to dream on that ceiling.
One last thing, although off-season elbow surgery was deemed unnecessary, it’s something to keep in the back of your mind for the 2018 season – it could come back to bother him. (Jim Melichar)
5) Alex Bregman, Houston Astros (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 8 at 3B)
Bregman sneaks into rankings at shortstop this year thanks to the six-week injury to Carlos Correa. Bregman is a different beast than the aforementioned shortstop options. He has pull-field power, but it’s not elite- just enough to get him to the 15HR mark consistently and push to the 20HR mark in good years. He does not possess consistent home run power to center or the opposite field, but he will find a few out there. This is in direct conflict with the previous 4 players we’ve covered who possess home run power to all fields. What Bregman does have is an advanced approach at the plate that allows him to control his strikeout numbers and put a high number of favorably well-struck balls in play. His minor league strikeout rates were ~10% so there is likely still room for growth from his 15.5% in 2017.
Bregman should continue to refine his approach and maximize his LD%. In this scenario, a common season for Bregman should be .290/.360/.480 over the next few seasons. While not the fastest runner he still has the ability to swipe double-digit bags for the foreseeable future as well. His lineup slot still determines much of his value with regard to counting stats, as he’s bounced around between 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 8th. Bregman is a 15/15 player with the potential to be 20/15 in some years, putting up above-average OBP and batting averages. (Jim Melichar)
6) Jean Segura, Seattle Mariners (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 12)
Segura is nicely locked into the 6-hole in our list. He has neither the age nor power upsides of Bregman, but there is still 30 SB potential here with a full season of plate appearances. But that’s the rub with a player headed toward 30, you start to question his health and speed. After the hand-lowering change to his setup in Arizona, Segura has returned to being a lock for a .300 average. His eye has improved at the plate as well, bringing his walk rate up to 5.8% and his OBP up to ~.350 with it.
Segura should see a little more balance to his R and RBI totals now that Dee Gordon will take over leadoff duties for the Mariners. A few years of .300/.350/.420, 10HR/90R/70RBI/25+SB is a safe bet. It should be noted his 20HR season in Arizona was a product of the park factors there and not an indication that he’s capable of that sort of output elsewhere. (Jim Melichar)
7) Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 4)
Welcome to Starlin Castro 2.0, but with a better surrounding cast than Castro had with the Cubs at the start of the decade. With Bogaerts we’re looking at a nice player, if not elite, who has the ability to run up his counting stats in Runs and RBI due to hitting behind Betts, Benintendi and in front of Devers and Jackie Bradley, Jr. Bogaerts can find his way into 15-20 HRs due to his pull-field exit velocity and favorable home park. Xander has hit 31 of his last 38 home runs to LF. Where he’s got Castro beat is in the walk department, upping his baseline to over 8% the past two seasons. That provides him with more stability in his OBP.
An annual line of .290/.350/.430 with 90R and 100RBI with 10+ SBs should be the expectation. He’s an efficient base-stealer, only getting caught on a single attempt in 2017 and swiping bases at an 80% rate for his career. With his lineup slot locked into the Red Sox lineup and that lineup looking stacked for the foreseeable future, this is a safer version of Alex Bregman with more limited upside. (Jim Melichar)
8) Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 22)
That’s what a career year will do for you, run your ranking up 14 places even as a 29-year-old on a dynasty list. Andrus was the #1 SS on the player rater last year thanks to his always steady steal totals combined with a home run spike. The main change to Andrus’ batted ball profile is he’s been able to hit the ball with more velocity the opposite way on balls in the air. He’s had a three-year improvement going from 88.1 to 91.7 to 92.3 miles per hour on the most favorable line drive and hard-hit fly balls to the opposite field. However, this is not where the additional home runs came from in 2017; therefore you can expect full regression back to the 8-10 HR level.
Andrus’ main asset is his speed and his stolen bases, but please keep in mind that he has only a career 74% success rate for stealing bases. Over the next few seasons, we could see both his attempts and successes decline as he ages. Andrus should maintain the exit velocity gains he’s found to the opposite field, therefore projecting him at .300/.340/.430 is a better bet than what you’ll see out of the projection systems for him in the next couple seasons. (Jim Melichar)
9) Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 20)
Torres is the youngest SS asset in the top 10, and we don’t really know what his ceiling looks like quite yet. He’s got a 60 grade on his hit, and perhaps 55 or 60 on his game power, which makes his ceiling quite intriguing. As a 20-year-old in AA he was able to maintain both a low strikeout rate with a high walk rate, which is impressive for his age. In his short stint at AAA before succumbing to Tommy John surgery, Torres did see his strikeout rate balloon in a small sample size. That could be an indication he’s still got adjustments to make before we see him performing at a high level in New York.
His current upside looks a lot like Xander Bogaerts, and you might expect 10 HR with 20 SB at the major league level upon his first full season. Because there is room to grow you can dream a ceiling of 20+ home run, .280-.290 avg., .340-.350 OBP in his prime. By 2020 you might see Torres nestled in the rankings just behind Correa, Turner, Lindor, and Seager. (Jim Melichar)
10) Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 9)
Javier Baez continues to maintain dual-eligibility between 2B and SS and may be one of the more underrated bats at shortstop. When it comes to exit velocity to all fields, Baez is second only to Carlos Correa over the past two seasons. Baez has produced 26 homers to left, 7 to center and 4 to right. He doesn’t appear to have the bat control that Correa has, and thus ends up with far fewer line drives. This suppresses his average and on-base-percentage. With his power profile, Baez has the ability to build upon the .203 ISO from 2017 and could very well be a .270/.320/.500 type player over the next few seasons. There could be spikes in his LD% which could lead to BABIP excursions that allow him to reach the .280/.330/.500 level in some seasons. (Jim Melichar)
11) Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies (Age: 21, Previous Rank:10)
Patrick’s Baseball Name Grade: B+
Sounds comic hero-ish… maybe Captain America’s little brother? He certainly looks the part.
Rodgers continues to simmer at the minor league level. He’s dropped one spot in our dynasty rankings, but don’t let that fool you into passing up on a middle infielder with the likelihood of playing in Coors. While Rodgers played significantly less games at second base in 2017 than 2016 (10 versus 24), there is still a strong possibility he ends up there. Current second baseman DJ LeMahieu is 29 years old and entering the final year of his contract, while Trevor Story (who we’ll talk about later) has entrenched himself at short.
Rodgers was drafted in 2015 after some other semi-well-known shortstops: Alex Bergman and Dansby Swanson. Talent surely wasn’t the reason that Rodgers ended up going after those shortstops, but rather he did not share the same proximity to majors. Thus far, though, he has performed quite well in the minors, quickly rising through the ranks while displaying tantalizing power:
Year | Level
|2015 | Rockies (R)||7.1||.147|
|2016 | Rockies (A)||16.5||.199|
|2016 | Rockies (A+)||16.7||.284|
|2017 | Rockies (AA)||12.8||.153|
He’s dominated the lower level of the league and is quite young for Double-A. Keep your eye on his performance in 2018, because I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Rodgers in 2019. (Patrick Magnus)
12) Amed Rosario, New York Mets (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 18)
Patrick’s Baseball Name Grade: B-
Solid name, but really doesn’t lend itself to any good jokes.
The hype on Rosario picked up quite a bit between 2016 and 2017, and with good reason: he beat up High-A and Double-A pitching. Success at Double-A means that a player is a quick hop-and-a-skip to the majors. Indeed, that was the case with Rosario, as he received the call in 2017. Alas, things did not go quite as well in the majors as they had in the minors: .248/.271/.394
Part of the reason for Amed’s struggles was his 28.8% K rate. Newsflash! It’s not easy to hit major league pitching! Unfortunately, a large portion (50.9%) of the contact he made resulted in ground balls. Still, there are some good pieces of news. First Amed has shown a higher K% when first arriving at higher levels, with that number shrinking as he adjusts. Second, despite showing a tendency to hit ground balls through the minors, he’s extremely fast! As in, the fastest shortstop in baseball fast. Baseball Savant has his Sprint Speed at 29.7 feet per second. Expect some of those groundball outs to turn into base hits. Once he’s on base a bit more, maybe he starts using that speed to provide your dynasty team with some coveted stolen bases. Oh, and don’t forget: Rosario was a top-10 prospect going into last season. If he was still rookie eligible this offseason, he’d still be perched atop those lists. Don’t let a poor big league debut prevent you from buying on an elite prospect. (Patrick Magnus)
13) Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 13)
Patrick’s Baseball Name Grade: A-
I don’t feel like this one really needs much explanation. The puns alone make this name pure gold. End of story.
Despite the massive amount of doubt that surrounded the success of Story’s rookie season, he managed to put up a rather solid sophomore campaign. Despite his strikeout rate increasing from 31% to 34%, he continued to display excellent power; throw Coors into the equation, and you’ve got an asset at shortstop.
Story carries another statistical attribute that you enjoy seeing in a Rockies player: he doesn’t hit the ball on the ground! Only 31.8% of Story’s contact resulted in ground balls. However, don’t mistake him for a player with an elite skill-set. He remains fantasy useful because of his home ballpark; Story hit just .227/.298/.435 on the road, compared to .279/.346/.575 in Colorado. And while we’re talking about splits, we should mention Story’s struggles against right-handed pitching. He should continue to get playing time and, as a result, will continue to hit dingers, but he’s also the riskiest non-prospect in the top-15. (Patrick Magnus)
14) Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)
Patrick’s Baseball Name Grade: F
Take your “tatas” jokes and throw them in the trash.
Athleticism, pedigree, and an appearance in Double-A by age 18? Check, check, and check. In 2017, Fernando Tatis Jr.’s stock climbed dramatically. In 117 plate appearances, he managed to slash .281/.390/.520 at Single-A, hitting 21 home runs and stealing 29 bases. His 2017 season showed that the glowing scouting reports were on the mark: the bat speed and in-game power are legit.
The fantasy community is rather high on Tatis currently, and with good reason. However, he is still a couple years away from the majors and, like any young phenom in the minors, it’s important to avoid the rose-tinted glasses. He appeared to be a bit overwhelmed at Double-A in his limited time there in 2017, so Tatis may start next season in High-A. Still, if the Padres are aggressive in his assignments and struggles follow, don’t hesitate to buy ‘low.’ This shortstop has potential superstar written all over him. (Patrick Magnus)
15) Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)
Patrick’s Baseball Name Grade: A+
Bo Bichette might be my fave on this list, he’s got a bunch of things going for him: 1. Alliteration 2. He’s named after a weapon from ninja turtles and 3. He shares a name with Bo Jackson, Beau (kinda) Bridges and Bo Derrick.
Toronto scoped up Bo with the 66th pick in the second round of the 2016 draft. Bo has already shown an advanced approach for his young age, showing stable walk-rates at three levels. He also slashed .427/.451/.732 in Rookie Ball, and .384/.448/.623 at A-Ball. Bo also sprays the ball all around the park!
|Year | Level||Pull%||Center||Oppo|
|2016 | Toronto (R)||44.1||29.4||26.5|
|2017 | Toronto (A)||35.4||26.6||38|
|2017 | Toronto (A+)||35.7||20.7||43.6|
Combine that with his knowledge of the strike zone and his potential major league home, and you have a bonafide stud prospect. There has, however, been a steady decline in power while he has risen through the minors thus far. However, given his young age, it might just be a question of growing into the in-game power. Either way, Bo is someone you should know (and I do not apologize for this line).(Patrick Magnus)
16) Orlando Arcia, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 27)
Patrick’s Baseball Name Grade: C
Orlando is hot, muggy, and full of tourists.
In 2017, Orlando Arcia lived up to his prospect praise. Despite 2016 was a disappointment, Arcia stuck to a similar approach at the plate and had much better results. He slashed .277/.324/.407 in his sophomore season, providing a bit of pop and a bit of speed with good ratios. The primary difference was an improved BABIP, up from .267 to .317, and the latter rate is far more sustainable.
There are some rather strange peripherals in Arcia’s profile. Baseball Savant has his Sprint Speed at 27.3, which places him in the company of Jackie Bradley Jr., Austin Hedges, and Eric Thames. Not exactly the most fleet of foot, and while he managed to steal 14 bases in 2017, he was also caught 7 times. He’ll need to improve that if he wants to continue to get a green light. If he can make the needed adjustments there, he should be putting up 2017 stats with room for growth for years to come.(Patrick Magnus)
17) Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 30)
Patrick’s Baseball Name Grade: D
D for DiDi making it “D DiDi” (There will be no more funny jokes from here on out).
What a year for Mr. Gregorius. He drove in a career-high 25 home runs along with a similarly career-high .191 ISO. Where did that pop come from?! Yankee Stadium is certainly helping Didi’s power, but it’s not the only factor. He actually hit more home runs on the road than he did at home (12/13). So… what’s up?
Didi has altered his approach to adapt to the current era of fly ball insanity. All of his home runs came on the pull side of the outfield. He has molded himself after traditional power hitters, and although he isn’t exactly built like a traditional power hitter, it’s working. That said, Baseball Savant has Didi ranked at 240th in exit velocity in 2017, so some regression may be coming. With solid contact abilities and an incredible lineup to support him, there’s still plenty of reason for optimism. Let’s just hope the MLB continues to “not alter the ball” so that Didi remains mighty. (Patrick Magnus)
18) Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 6)
Patrick’s Baseball Name Grade: F
Two first names? Pass. (I don’t care)
Russell has fallen from fantasy grace, slipping from sixth all the way to 18th in our dynasty rankings. Three seasons of big league experience has not provided the returns dynasty owners expected. The first-round pick has been a first-round flop. While the results for fantasy owners haven’t been what they pined for as he ascended through the minor league system, there are some signals that Russel may actually improve his stock soon.
Coupling a well-above-average launch angle far of 19.37 degrees with consistently increasing hard-contact rates, a breakout could be on the horizon for Russell. He’s shown the ability to drive the ball the other way, and Russell’s still awfully young. His approach still has some tweaking to go, but keep your eye on the former first-round pick. (Patrick Magnus)
19) Paul DeJong, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)
Patrick’s Baseball Name Grade: C
DeJong lends itself to some puns and consistent mispronunciation, but the comical value is limited. Paul isn’t exactly a cool name either. No offense to readers named Paul.
Previously unranked, Paul DeJong came up and made mashed potatoes out of baseballs. As an unknown in most prospect circles, most acquired him on a lucky waiver-wire snag. Our new friend DeJong isn’t exactly a fan of not trying to hit a baseball, as he walked 21 times while piling up 124 strikeouts. That may not seem like a very sustainable approach, especially with a .349 BABIP.
DeJong is in love with the Dejong ball (get it, like longball?). He’s been pulling baseballs at a mid-40% clip since A-Ball, and this profile has allowed him to hit for excellent power (30+ home runs) at shortstop. His success eerily matches his numbers at Triple-A, giving some reason for optimism despite 2017 looking rather unsustainable on the whole given the extreme approach. (Patrick Magnus)
20) Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox (Age: 24, Previous Rank:18)
Patrick’s Baseball Name Ranking: Incomplete
I’m too lazy to even grade.
Speaking of approach… If there’s one shortstop that enjoys swinging the bat more than DeJong, it would be Tim Anderson. His walk rates have remained incredibly low, and his strikeout rate has been in the mid-20s for the majority of Anderson’s minor league career. Not exactly the plate discipline you would expect from a first-round pick.
Alright, enough of the negativity, let’s get positive on Mr. Anderson! He has a knack for getting his bat on the ball, owning an excellent 85% Z-Contact rate and 72.3% total contact rate. He’s pretty quick, too, posting a 28.6 ft/sec sprint speed. The damage that might be done from his ground ball rate (over 50% in the majors and minors) will be somewhat undone by the extra infield singles beaten out with his speed. (Patrick Magnus)