2021 Dynasty Baseball Rankings

THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2021 TOP 50 DYNASTY LEAGUE SHORTSTOPS, #11-30

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11. Carlos Correa, Houston Astros (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 11)

The 26-year-old Correa finally made it through an entire season healthy, albeit a 60-game one, in which he played in 58 games. Prior to that, you would have to go back to 2016 to find a year where Correa played in more than 110 games. Correa’s 98 wRC+ with a paltry .383 slugging percentage in 2020 would appear to be a third straight disappointing season for fantasy owners, for one reason or another. Correa found a way to reel us all back in, however, by tearing the cover off the ball for the month of October. In 13 games, he slashed .362/.455/.766 with 6 HR and 17 RBI, after completing a regular season of only 5 HR and 25 RBI. The 2015 Rookie of the Year has had a rollercoaster of a career and is the definition of low floor/high ceiling. (Bob Osgood)

12. Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 8) 

How much are you willing to throw out the outlier 2020 seasons? That will likely determine your value of Javier Baez entering 2021. As outspoken as anyone in regards to the lack of in-game video review, Baez could never get into any kind of groove last year. Coming off of back-to-back All-Star performances, Baez had an OPS under .600 and an OBP of .238, last in all of baseball’s 142 qualified hitters. His free-swinging ways are well documented, but the K% bumped to a career-high 31.9% this year which is nearly impossible to compensate for when your BB% is in the 2nd percentile. With a 75th percentile sprint speed and an electric defensive profile to fall back on, there is no reason to be out on Baez based on 60 games, but a slow start in 2021 would be cause for concern.  (Bob Osgood)

13. Marco Luciano, San Francisco Giants (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 16) 

Luciano has the coveted “middle of the order shortstop” potential that very well could place him as the #1 prospect a year from now, depending on who has graduated rookie status by that time. Luciano signed for $2.6M out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2018. At 17-years-old, he hit .322 with ten homers and eight steals in his stateside debut in 2017 in rookie ball. With 60-grade hit and 70-grade power, and 40-to-50 grade speed that could lead to five-category production in fantasy baseball. Luciano was given an alternate site assignment that was reportedly handled well for an 18-year-old, even reaching a reported 118 mph exit velocity. There is the possibility that Luciano could move to third base if he doesn’t make the necessary improvements needed to be an everyday shortstop but there are no indications of that so far. It will be exciting to see Luciano on a full-season assignment, and he should be in our top ten a year from now. (Bob Osgood)

14. Adalberto Mondesi, Kansas City Royals (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 10) 

I feel very confident in saying Adalberto Mondesi is the most polarizing player in all of fantasy baseball. Mondesi has a .284 lifetime OBP, a 29.7 lifetime K%, has never walked more than 5% in a season, and through 37 games last year was slashing .179/.209/.231 with 0 HR, 3 RBI, 11 runs, 8 SB, and 5 CS.

Counterpoint? Mondesi has a .260 BA over the last two seasons, has the defensive ability to keep him on the field at all times, moved into the 78th percentile in exit velocity (90.6 MPH) in 2020, and over the final 22 games last year slashed .376/.424/.706 with 6 HR, 19 RBI, 22 runs, 16 SB, and 3 CS. He finished 17th on Razzball’s Player Rater.

Mondesi is not a punchless speedster like Mallex Smith or Billy Hamilton, but he’s also not for everybody. Pick your side with the facts above but whatever you do, don’t bench him on a cold streak or you run the risk of missing out on eight steals in a week. (Bob Osgood)

15. Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City Royals (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 19) 

Witt went through some growing pains in 2019 during his initial short-season appearance, where some questioned if his hit tool was high enough to truly justify the second overall pick. He returned in 2020 to put those questions to rest, succeeding against advanced pitchers at training camp, alternate site, and the fall instructional league. By all accounts, Witt was more aggressive with fewer swing-and-misses while improving his already sound baserunning and defensive instincts. After seeing what’s happening in Toronto, I’m starting to think there’s something to this baseball lineage idea. Baseball America puts a 60-grade on all tools for Witt, and the hope is that he will work his way to Double-A in 2021 with a path to the majors by 2022. (Bob Osgood)

16. C.J. Abrams, San Diego Padres (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 18) 

With each stop in the minors (and alternate sites, and fall leagues), CJ Abrams impresses more and more. He has yet to meet a challenge he couldn’t handle. A .401/.442/.642 slash line with a 9% K-rate as an 18-year-old in 32 games of Rookie Ball, followed by excelling at the alternate site as well as the instructional league. With unquestioned bat skills and speed (70 grade on each, at least), it’s a question of whether the power will follow. Reports are that Abrams added strength in 2020 and the power may develop, which would be a scary profile. With Tatis and Machado blocking the left side of the infield, it’s unknown if Abrams will stay at shortstop, move to second base, or even center field. From a fantasy perspective, who cares what position he plays … move whoever you have to in order to get him in your lineup in 2022. (Bob Osgood)

17. Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 27) 

Growth is rarely linear in baseball, and yet for Swanson, it has been nothing but that. In the five standard fantasy categories, Swanson’s growth looks like this:

 BAHRRBIRSB
2017.232651593
2018.23814595110
2019.25117657710
2020 (Proj. 162 G).274 (.274)10 (27)35 (95)49 (132)5 (14)

Projecting out to 162 games isn’t fair, and yet 80% of those stats are more than satisfactory for a player going outside the top 100 in redraft ADP. The former 1.1 will continue to hit near the top of the lineup and be a runs machine for the defending NL East champs. (Bob Osgood)

18. Noelvi Marte, Seattle Mariners (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 32) 

The time is running out to trade for Marte who could be a year away from being discussed in the Bobby Witt Jr./CJ Abrams tier. More and more prospect lists in fantasy circles are moving Marte up to the top-25 range, thanks to his tremendous upside. The one thing holding him back from is that we have yet to see a minor league assignment yet, having only dominated in the Dominican Summer League in 2019, but did get some reps at alt-site and instructional league last year. Seeing Marte’s contact skills against true minor league pitching in a full-season assignment in 2021 will tell us a lot more, but with a plus hit tool, plenty of projectable power, and a sound like this coming off of his bat, I’m a believer that he’ll make “the leap” soon.  (Bob Osgood)

19. Marcus Semien, Free Agent (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 13) 

Semien was unable to carry over his career 2019 season into 2020 and now heads into free agency with plenty of unknowns. Arguably, the biggest question is if Semien is still a shortstop with metrics like OAA (Outs Above Average) putting him in the 6th percentile in 2020. Semien’s batted ball metrics plummeted across the board into the bottom third in the league. His K% jumped from 13.7% all the way to 21.2%, and despite hitting .223, Semien was actually considered lucky, with an Expected BA of .204. Semien hit .138 against breaking balls and .136 against offspeed pitches in 2020, after hitting .249 and .254, respectively, in 2019.

In fairness, Semien had several solid seasons prior to 2019 and is deserving of a legitimate payday for what he did on the field throughout his twenties, tallying double-digit HRs and SBs every season from 2015-2019. Still a free agent at the time of this writing, Semien might be better off taking a one-year “show me” deal to get back on track for a better payday next offseason. (Bob Osgood)

20. Ha-seong Kim, San Diego Padres (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)

The Padres want to throw a wrench into everyone’s fantasy plans this draft season, on both sides of the field. Without a DH, it’s hard to know how everyone is going to get their 600 plate appearances to max out their contributions. Kim was that wrench on the offensive side, but he probably won’t take any single player’s job and instead play all over the field until an injury or a Universal DH happens. All that A.J. Preller has told us thus far is “I think right out of the gate, we see him as an infielder.” I’m thinking of Kim as a Tommy Edman type with more power, in that he could end up with any combination 2B, SS, 3B, and OF eligibility throughout the years to come. Kim brings power, speed, and great defense being an everyday shortstop at the age of 19 in South Korea. In his age 19 through 24 seasons in the KBO, Kim never hit below .280, never hit fewer than 19 home runs, and cracked the 20 stolen base total four times (including 33 in 2019). How these stats will translate to Major League Baseball is anybody’s guess, but Kim is just one more reason that the Padres should be on national television three times a week in 2021. (Bob Osgood)

21. Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins, (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 21)

Coming off of the best season of his career in 2019, 2020 was a bit of a downer for Polanco. His walk rate dropped 3% and his average regressed about 40 points from the previous two seasons. Granted, it’s easy to overlook a weird short sample season and Polanco was by no means the only player who struggled. What was encouraging was that Polanco was running again, tallying the same amount of steals in 55 games in 2020 as he had in 153 games in 2019. If that continues in 2021, Polanco should be able to reach something in the neighborhood of a 15-homer / 15-steal season while hitting for a decent average, and that combo is real fun in fantasy. (Keaton DeRocher)

22. Royce Lewis, Minnesota Twins, (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 17)

Royce Lewis was a hot topic in the fantasy world after his 2019. He fell a bit short of his breakout 2018, but I’m not ready to dump him just yet. He has the kind of speed and power that it doesn’t really matter what either his AVG or OBP is, it’s just gravy on his 20/20 power-speed combo. In both of his full seasons in the minors, Lewis has tallied over 20 steals, and he almost hit that mark in his short season and pro debut with 18 in 2017.  His ability to draw a walk makes me buy into his hit tool and that he’ll be closer to his 2018/2017 averages rather than his 2019 numbers. Lewis is still a fun prospect. (Keaton DeRocher)

23. Paul DeJong, St. Louis Cardinals, (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 24)

Paul DeJong has been an underrated shortstop the whole time he’s been in the majors. In 2019, DeJong added a new element to his skill set swiping 9 bags to compliment his 30 homers. DeJong is a stud in OBP leagues, still very good in average leagues, but if you wait on shortstop or are looking for a player to buy low on who will produce above his rank, DeJong is your dude. His 2020 was a step back, basically across the board but as I mentioned before, a lot of people struggled in 2020 and it’s easy to look more at his track record in full seasons and see the quality DeJong provides a deep shortstop position. (Keaton DeRocher)

24. Willy Adames, Tampa Bay Rays, (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 23)

Willy Adames is a fine player, and his youth and versatility should help him in a Tampa bay line up that likes to shake things up, which is good news because Adames’ days at shortstop are as numbered as Wander Franco’s days in the minors.  Adames will probably bounce around the infield enough to keep him relevant because his bat has enough power and he can hit for enough average that the Rays will look to keep him active. Until, that is, he’s worth more than like 3 million- then he’ll get non-tendered a deal and move on to an everyday role somewhere else where he’ll continue to be a source of power at the shortstop position. (Keaton DeRocher)

25. Amed Rosario, Cleveland Baseball Team, (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 14)

Rosario was a tough player to rank, and the coincidence of timing is such that between when these rankings were finalized and me writing this comment now, Rosario was traded to Cleveland. This is a really good thing though for his fantasy value. How much playing time Rosario would get was really murky but now after the trade, he has a clear path to playing time in 2021. Prior to a weird 2020, where Rosario just decided not to run for some reason, every year he had been in the majors he had improved his stat line across the board. I like to look at that when evaluating him and not his downer 2020. That may bite me in the butt, but I’ll risk it and I think Rosario will be a fantasy stud in 2021. (Keaton DeRocher)

26. Tyler Freeman, Cleveland Indians, (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 37)

Tyler Freeman is a really interesting prospect. His tool kit rests mainly in his hit tool and stealing ability. he has next-to-no power, but the ability to steal 20-30 bases in a full season. In three seasons in the minors, he’s totaled a .319/.379/.441 slash line. I think good comp for him is David Fletcher with a bit more speed which makes him mildly interesting in fantasy, if unexciting. He’s already 21 so I don’t see a surge in power coming, but we’ve seen guys with great hit tools add power at the major league level so maybe he musters enough to get to double digits. (Keaton DeRocher)

27. Ronny Mauricio, San Francisco Giants, (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 33)

Long term, Ronny Mauricio might not be a shortstop, but wherever he lands on the diamond he has all the skills to be an offensive force. One of the top international signees from 2018, Mauricio signed for 2.1 million and debuted in 2018 in the Gulf Coast League as a 17-year-old and held his own. Mauricio slashed .279/.307/.421 with 3 homers and a steal in 49 games. It’s still a question if his ability to steal will translate to the majors but he’s not shy about trying, totaling 8 steals in 16 attempts in the minors so far. Not a great percentage but love to see the determination. (Keaton DeRocher)

28. Geraldo Perdomo, Arizona Diamondbacks, (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 40)

Geraldo Perdomo’s skill set is remarkably similar to Tyler Freeman with the exception being that Perdomo is much better at getting on base. So, you may be asking yourself why Freeman is ranked above Perdomo and the truth is there isn’t much that separates them, but we rank for average leagues, not OBP leagues, so Freeman got the bump. Making a massive jump from 40 last season to 28 this season, however, shows Perdomo is just as interesting a fantasy player as Freeman. With a .278/.411/.368 slash over 236 minor league games, Perdomo complimented that with 66 steals. It’s a tough profile to fully buy into but with his ability to get on base he would make a really interesting target if he’s hitting at the top of a major league order. (Keaton DeRocher)

29. Orelvis Martinez, Toronto Blue Jays, (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 38)

Orelvis Martinez Landed a massive signing bonus from Toronto in the 2018 international signing period, inking a 3.6 million dollar deal. Martinez debuted in 2019 at 17 playing 40 games in the Gulf Coast League and slashed .277/.352/.549, slugging 7 homers and adding two steals. It was a pretty decent showing for his age and level and it’s a bummer we didn’t get to see the progress in 2020 with no minor league season. Martinez clearly has the tools, and the Blue Jays certainly weren’t shy in signing him, so it’s worth buying in now before he pops in 2021, but if you’re hesitant due to the small sample of pro-ball, I don’t blame you. (Keaton DeRocher)

30. Didi Gregorius, Philadelphia Phillies, (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 26)

Didi Gregorious was actually one of what feels like a small number of players who actually had a stellar 2020 campaign. In his first season in Philly, Didi slashed .284/.339/.488 and knocked 10 homers while stealing 3 bases. Didi is more a victim of a loaded shortstop position than he is of his own abilities, which leads to his ranking down here at 30. He’s not overly old at 31 and plays in a hitters park in an interesting line up so the counting stats and ratios should be there, making him an interesting target if you’re in the hunt for a shortstop or in a draft missed out on the top players and are looking for a late-round source of stats. (Keaton DeRocher)

The Author

Keaton O. DeRocher

Keaton O. DeRocher

Keaton O. DeRocher is a Data and Tech Consultant in Chicago, Senior Baseball Writer for The Dynasty Guru and writer for Over The Monster. A voice on Dynasty's Child podcast and on the Over The Monster podcast network. Lover of bat flips, brunch, and Bombay Sapphire. His High School batting average was .179 and he lead the team in strikeouts. Follow him on Twitter @TheSpokenKeats

1 Comment

  1. BB
    January 26, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks, a few thoughts:
    – Smart money has Noelvi moving to 3B, since he’s still growing and isn’t a great fielder to start with (plus the M’s have a long-term need there).
    – Most folks are more optimistic about Freeman’s power, particularly after he hit eight HR in alternate camp – not gonna be a masher, but 10-15 seems realistic. Profiles better defensively at second.
    – Didi is a free agent, so can’t necessarily count on him playing in a hitter’s park. A reunion with the Phillies is still possible, not sure how the Realmuto re-signing affects that financially.
    – And of course Rosario’s clear path to playing time is cloudier now with Cesar Hernandez back on board. Looks like he or Gimenez will get the SS job with the other possibly slotted for super-utility, don’t know which one my money’s on yet.

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