Keaton It Real: The Buyers Guide To SS
I know it’s early for some to be thinking about whether to phone it in for the year or go for the title. But this series is going to span over a few weeks so I figured I’d start it now and then, as the title suggests, you can use it as a guide down the road. In this series, I’m going to go position by position and highlight a few names I would target if I am going all in for a title this year, and a few names to target for a rebuild. Here are the shortstops.
If you’re competing:
Eduardo Escobar, ARI, Age: 30
Escobar is in the midst of what is probably his best year so far, slashing a career-best .290/.353/.561. He’s also benefited from the ball, launched 13 dingers, and should easily pass his previous of 23 (last season). Escobar wasn’t a sexy name coming up with the White Sox, and it took him 4 years to crack regular playing time but he has come on the past couple seasons and proved to be a reliable man playing multiple positions in the infield. If you’re in the market for a shortstop he’s a great target to the stretch run.
Andrelton Simmons, LAA, Age: 29
Depending on where your team is this one is a bit risky as Simmons is currently on the IL. His time table to return is the end of July, which will only give fantasy owners a little less than two months of production, but prior to going down with a sprained ankle, Simmons was having a pretty good year, slashing .298/.323/.415 while holding a K/9 of just 7.7%. What’s more impressive is Simmons’ quality of contact, as he had a hard hit rate of 42.2%. Because of the injury, it shouldn’t take much to acquire him and it could pay off when it counts.
If you’re rebuilding:
Carter Kieboom, WAS, Age:21
Kieboom got his first cup of coffee earlier this season when injuries took hold of the Nationals, struggled to adjust, and struck out at a wild 37.2% clip. There were some positives to his short stint though, as his Statcast numbers were fantastic. A 12.4-degree launch angle and a 91 MPH exit velocity pushed his barrel rate to above average, and his hard hit rate well above average ar 43.5%. He’s going to stick and be a solid MI for the Nationals for a while. If his owner in your league gets scared by small sample returns then go him now before comes back and starts torching the bigs.
Nico Hoerner, CHC, Age: 22
Hoerner was a hot name this offseason and deep into the spring, and there was even a non-zero chance he might have debuted this year if not for a hand injury. Injury aside, he’s still probably going to move rather quickly through the minors. Carried by an impressive hit tool, Hoerner surprised folks with his performance in spring training just 6 months after being drafted by the Cubs. In 17 at-bats, Hoerner compiled a .471/.550/1.059 slash line with 1 walk and no strikeouts. He earned a 2019 start at Double-A, where he again impressed in a short sample prior to the injury. He has the ability to play all over the infield, so it shouldn’t be long before he forces his way into lineup somewhere. Now is the best time to buy while he’s sidelined before he comes back a shoots even farther up prospect ranks.
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