When it comes to the 2017 shortstop busts. You must take the term “bust” with a grain of salt. These guys are good. Most of them are really good.
The shortstop position as a whole is arguably at its best and deepest in Fantasy Baseball history. There are four shortstop-eligible players going in the first 25 picks of mixed league ADP. The only position with more players in that range is the always stout first basemen group.
What I am getting at is that these shortstop busts are players that are going too high. More importantly, I think you can get the majority of their production from the shortstops going in the back half and end of drafts.
The common theme among the shortstop busts is that they are all former “top prospects.” They have all performed up to an above-average level, but I feel like the previous hype over their future potential has clouded the group think assessment of their current production.
So every year in Fantasy Sports there are the “Post-Hype Sleepers.” These are the guys that were billed as sleepers or good value picks the previous year, but they under performed. They can then be had at a good value the following year and are actually sleepers.
So these Post-Hype Busts are shortstop busts that were former top prospects. They started to live up to the hype, and are now already seen as elite players overall.
For the shortstop busts, I wanted to stick to guys ranked in the Top 10 of the SCFE Positional Rankings.
2017 Fantasy Baseball Shortstop Busts
Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians – SCFE Positional Ranking: 4th
First and foremost, I think the entire Indians’ season will be titled Regression. Last year was a nearly perfect run for the Tribe that saw them give up a Warriors-like lead in the World Series. Coming from a diehard Texas Rangers’ fan, it is absolutely impossible to just bounce back from that kind of devastating loss.
So right off the bat, I see the Cleveland offense regressing, and therefore Lindor’s run-scoring opportunities regressing. I don’t think he sniffs the 99 runs he scored last year. That number was what really made people believe in Lindor being elite.
Along those same lines, I see Lindor having less RBI opportunities. Considering he outperformed his previous career high at any level by more than 25%, I think this is a safe bet.
Now I think the former top prospect will still hover above .300 and steal 15-18 bases, but neither will be elite enough to warrant a second-round pick.
Give me one of my shortstop sleepers like Tim Anderson or Zack Cozart much later, while picking up another, more solidly elite player with that much draft capital.
Jonathan Villar, Milwaukee Brewers – SCFE Positional Ranking: 5th
Villar was never quite as highly touted as Lindor or some of the other shortstop busts. However, he has the same trait: regression qualities and an inflated ADP.
Villar’s 92 runs, 19 home runs and 62 stolen bases would seem worthy of a Top-30 pick. Only the home runs really look like they might stand to decrease considering he has put up near the run and stolen base rates at the minor league level.
However, the area that Villar really boosted his game was his batting average. He set a career high last year and it was over 20 points more than his career average. This was mostly due to another career high, his Batting Average on Balls In Play of .373.
His BABIP is sure to drop, which will cause a waterfall effect. His batting average will drop leading to less steals and runs scored. When you factor in his likely power regression as well, then we are looking at lower numbers across every major Fantasy category.
While Villar will still put up elite stolen base numbers, his other production will be average to above average at best. All of this adds up to a package not worthy of the 30th overall pick.
Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs – SCFE Positional Rank : 8th
Russell has long been seen as one of the leaders of the pack in the young group of top shortstop prospects. Last season, he seemed to start to fulfill on that potential, slugging 21 home runs and 95 RBIs. That type of power would normally be associated with a corner infielder.
While his power definitely spiked last season, it does not seem like an outlier. He has steadily improved in that area and batting in one of the best lineups in the league afforded him more RBI chances as well as let him swing for the fences when necessary.
The problem is that Russell is kind of a one-trick pony. His batting average is abysmal. He barely steals any bases, especially for the position. And somehow, he only scored 67 runs in that high-scoring lineup.
I think that if you replaced Russell’s name with someone who was never a hot prospect, he would be drafted 3-4 rounds later. You can get just as much, if not more power much later. This can come from the likes of Didi Gregorious, Marcus Semien, Troy Tulowitzki or even J.J. Hardy.
Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers – SCFE Positional Rank : 10th
One more former hot prospect, this one just took longer to start to fulfill his promise. However, I think that the fulfillment was even overrated a bit.
Andrus had his best contact year of his entire career hitting over .300. But, that number was 46 points higher than the previous season and 31 points higher than any of the last five years. It was severely boosted by a career high BABIP.
Andrus did power through for a career high in home runs and RBIs. Those numbers still just totaled 8 and 69 respectively. Neither of those is worthy of a starting shortstop, unless they are an elite base stealer, where Andrus continues to hover in the mid-20’s.
So the only above average category that Elvis really provided was his batting average, which is sure to regress. He provides decent steal numbers, but those can be found in the later rounds.
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