2024 Dynasty Baseball RankingsDynasty Baseball

THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2024 PLAYERS TO TARGET *AND* AVOID: SHORTSTOPS

This is a companion piece to our 2024 Dynasty League Rankings. The opinions below are my own and do not reflect the TDG consensus.

Corey Seager, Texas Rangers (AGE: 29, RANK: 2)

When it comes to shortstops there are so many great top-of-the-line target potentials to grab with your 2024 fishing pole, but the trophy fish at the top of my list is Corey Seager. Seager is a behemoth at #2 on our SS Dynasty Rankings and he is well worth the cost. Seager did it all in 2023, as he hit .327/.390/.623, with a 1.013 OPS, and 33 home runs. Basically, Seager does everything I am looking for in a shortstop, except for stealing bases. He will give you a great batting average, superb on-base percentages, and monster power. He is the quintessential plug-and-go, don’t worry about it, four-category beast at shortstop. If I am going to go into a draft and target a shortstop early, Seager is who I want despite the lack of stolen bases. In almost every other category he is at the top of the position and you can find stolen bases elsewhere if needed. 

Now with that said, there is another caveat that needs to be understood when it comes to Seager. He might not give you a full slate of 600 plate appearances or close to 160 games. In his career he has only passed 600 plate appearances three times and in 2023 had only 536 in 119 games. This shouldn’t be too much of a negative though, because he puts up big numbers every game he does play. The way I look at it, this could be a positive if he can manage to put up such amazing numbers over a complete season, beginning to end. We could be looking at 40-plus home runs and a chance at an MVP. The games played angle adds buying power because in some leagues it might be viewed more negatively. This might give you the chance to add Seager at lower costs than his actual value holds, especially if a full season of games is in the near future again. Here’s hoping that comes in 2024. 

 

Thairo Estrada, San Francisco Giants (AGE: 27, RANK: 25)

One player I am targeting this offseason in dynasty leagues is Thairo Estrada. He comes in at #25 on our SS Dynasty Rankings. He is an overall solid player that will provide you with a bit of everything fantasy-wise, but most importantly in this range he is a 20 home run and 20-stolen-base threat with an outside shot of going higher in stolen bases. He will be entering his prime years coming into 2024 at 28 years old. Over the last two seasons, he has averaged 14 home runs and 22 stolen bases over 130 games, while putting up a respectable .266/.319/.408 triple slash line and a strikeout rate of 23%. Multiple injuries led to him missing a quarter of the 2023 season and have slowed him down throughout his career so far. If he can stay healthy and avoid some of the freak injuries, he could shock fantasy owners by putting up close to 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases over a full season of at-bats.

Some factors going in Estrada’s favor for 2024 are the improvements he made this past season, which saw him put up equal or better numbers as he did the previous year. His 2023 stats came in at .271/.315/.416, with 14 home runs and 23 stolen bases. The home runs matched his 2022 season and the stolen bases exceeded it. This was while he was battling two freak hand and wrist injuries that led to him missing 42 games, which was 22 more games than he missed in 2022. The San Francisco Giants will also have him near the top of the order in a hopefully improved lineup, leading to more chances for counting stats.

Overall, Estrada doesn’t look like a special bat, but if things work out and he is healthy all year, you are looking at fantasy numbers that will rival other players like Xander Bogaerts, Ha-Seong Kim, and Bryson Stott. It is a big if on whether or not he will stay healthy, but one I am willing to take a chance on given his current cost, value, and rank in the fantasy world.

 

Bonus Player to AVOID: Willy Adames, Milwaukee Brewers (AGE: 28, RANK: 18)

On the flip side, we have Willy Adames who comes in ranked #18 on our SS Dynasty Rankings. He is one player I am definitely avoiding in dynasty leagues. Adames is a shortstop who appears to be trending down the last two seasons and that comes with his batting average tanking south faster than birds in the winter. The scary part of Adame’s fantasy-wise is his batting average and on-base percentage. His batting average has dropped each of the last 3 seasons going from .262 to .238 and reaching a career low in 2023 of .217. Likewise, his on-base percentages in the last three seasons were .337, .298, and .310. That batting average and on-base percentage just isn’t worth the headache given his power isn’t as game-changing for shortstops going into 2024. His 24 home runs last season came with a high cost in many categories, including speed. Adames won’t add many stolen bases, so virtually his only plus is his power, however; in 2023 there were 20 shortstops who hit at least 15 home runs and only one had a lower batting average (Anthony Volpe).

Overall the issues Adames had in 2023 came from a big drop in his hard hit percentage and an increase in his infield fly ball percentage (IFFB%). In 2023, his percentage of balls in play that were classified as hard hits dropped from 43.4% in 2022 to 36.1%. This drop in hard-hit numbers coincided with him hitting more pop-ups as his IFFB% increased from 10.3% in 2022 to 11.1% in 2023. It also seems pitchers returned to having better success against him last season. Pitchers threw a similar percentage of pitches down and away in 2023 compared to 2022, but he missed a considerably higher percentage of pitches in this location. He swung and missed on 122 pitches down and away (64%) in 2023 compared to only 86 (51%) in 2022. The 64% whiff rate falls in line more with his career average in this area compared to his 2022 season which is an outlier. 

Overall, it appears that Adames isn’t someone I’m willing to take a risk on at this time. His whiff rate on pitches down and away rising back up after a career low in 2022 is a very troubling red flag and signifies that his troubles with batting average and on-base percentage are likely to continue unless he makes significant changes in 2024. He is a solid power-only bat, so he is worth monitoring. However, until he can fix the swing-and-miss issues, batting average, and on-base percentage, that power isn’t worth counting on and I will avoid him where I can.

 

The Author

Daniel Labude

Daniel Labude

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