TDG 2021 RISERS AND FALLERS: SHORTSTOP
This is a companion piece to our annual dynasty league shortstop rankings. The opinions below are the writers’ own and do not reflect the TDG consensus.
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RISER – BO BICHETTE, TORONTO BLUE JAYS (AGE:22, PREVIOUS RANK SS:15)
Bo is my beau, Blue! Try not thinking about the movie Old School when you read that. You can’t! If you have him on your fantasy lineup then I know you watch your lineup like a hawk, waiting for his next at-bat, so you can call him your boy time and time again. His time in the majors so far shows that you can count on him to get on base one-in-three times. This is what I want. In 2019 He hit 11 home runs in 46 games. Then, in 2020, he hit 5 home runs in 29 games. He is going to be a guy that will get you 20 home runs and 15 stolen bases.
The first knock that I have on Bo is he needs to walk more. In 2019 his BB% was 6.6. This isn’t bad but when you combine that with his 3.9 walk percentage in 2020, it leaves something to be desired. The sabermetrics agree with me here as he ranks in the 4th percentile in walk percentage. The only other knock I have on him is that he needs to stay healthy. You don’t show up on a sabermetrics board when you don’t play. I am looking forward to seeing a full season out of my beau, Bo. (Brett Cook)
FALLER – JAVIER BAEZ, CHICAGO CUBS, (AGE: 28, PREVIOUS RANK SS:8)
Remember when times were simple? The days when Houston didn’t have any problems to bring into the league through cheating. I know someone who does: Javier Baez. All he wanted to do was watch his swing on television, but all thanks to the Houston Astros that didn’t happen. Was the problem really that he couldn’t make in-game adjustments? Maybe. The truth is that his sabermetrics tell a different story.
Going all the way back to 2018 is a good place to begin this story. In that season he was in the bottom 17th percentile in K%, 7th worst percentile in BB%, and the bottom 4th percentile in whiff percentage. It gets worse for Javier, though, because in those same three categories in 2019, the 17th percentile dropped to the 13th worst, the walk percentage meagerly improved to the 11th worst percentile, while falling a percentile in whiff percentage (3rd worst). But wait, we aren’t done: 2020, the year he blamed it all on the lack of ability to make in-game adjustments, he dropped into the bottom 7th percentile in the league for all of those metrics. You can see this one of two ways. The first is that this man really does need a television to make in-game adjustments (maybe he does), and the second would be to see that this trend started long before he lost his television privileges. I prefer the second option. (Brett Cook)
RISER – AMED ROSARIO, CLEVELAND INDIANS (AGE: 25, PREVIOUS RANK: 14, CURRENT RANK: 25)
Despite dropping 11 spots in the consensus rankings over the last 365 days (from #14 in 2020 to #25 in 2021), I’m still very high on Amed Rosario’s potential. Now, if you’ve been under a rock for the last few weeks, Rosario was recently traded to Cleveland, along with keystone buddy Andres Gimenez, Josh wolf, and Isaiah Greene, for superstar Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. That may look like a rather one-sided trade at first glance…and, well, I’m not here to tell you that it’s not. The Mets definitely netted some studs, and have assembled quite a roster heading into the 2021 season. That being said, I think this trade is exactly what Rosario needed to break free. While Roster Resource currently projects him to hit 8th in the lineup, a spot in the lineup is still a spot in the lineup! And the goodness doesn’t stop there – STEAMER has him projected for just over 550 plate appearances, a modest .252 average, 14 homers, and 15 steals. Those are solid numbers, people. I could even see him stealing more bags if he earns his way up the lineup – let’s see you flash that 92nd percentile sprint speed, Amed! All in all, I recommend keeping an eye on the former top prospect this offseason, and if the trade price is right, snag him before he blows up. (Taylor Case)
FALLER – ADALBERTO MONDESI, KANSAS CITY ROYALS (AGE: 25, PREVIOUS RANK: 10, CURRENT RANK: 14)
Man, what if Adalberto Mondesi puts it all together in one season? What if he stays healthy and goes on an absolute bender just this once? Can’t you just smell that 25 homer, 60 steal season!? Ever heard that before? I know I have. It’s just hard for me to imagine at this point. Now, I’ll give the man plenty of credit, his end-of-year stats were very good, and his steals alone may have been enough to justify his redraft cost. 24 steals in 59 games? That’s better than very good – that’s unheard of these days. And a .256/.294/.416 slash line with 6 homers, 33 runs, and 22 RBI is nothing to sneeze at.
But now, here’s why I’m done with the fantasy rollercoaster that is rostering Mondesi, and consequently have him ranked below the consensus. His 2021 stats are great, but a large majority of that was due to the last six games of the season when he batted a whopping .682 over 25 plate appearances with 2 homers, 9 runs, 8 RBI, and 4 steals. That insane stretch raised his batting average by 47 points, and I would argue it’s one of the sole reasons he was fantasy-relevant in 2020. Approximately a week before, Adalberto had another hot streak of three straight games in which he homered and stole a base, followed by absolute ice until the final six games mentioned above. Is this a bulletproof argument against his dynasty value, you ask? Absolutely not. Anyone, and especially Mondesi (who has shown he can mash in the past), is capable of ridiculously hot stretches and we were bound to see these kinds of performances in a short season. But only in a 60-game sample can they save your bacon. If you take away these two streaks (~15% of his games played), you’re left with a .199 batting average, one homer, 17 runs, 8 RBI, and 16 steals. That’s not nearly as sexy, and while I know the other 9 games count when all is said and done – it’s so very hard for me to get excited about, especially when you couple it with his low walk and high strikeout rates. I know I’m making it sound like I don’t have him ranked for dynasty at all, and I assure you I do, because you must always consider the upside. I still rank him at #17, a mere three spots behind the consensus.
But I don’t feel good about it. If you have the stomach for this kind of ride, well, kudos. However, I think his inconsistent bat and the fact that his floor might actually be lava are plenty of reasons to be concerned for 2021. (Taylor Case)