2017 Fantasy Baseball: Shortstop Sleepers
With the elite-level shortstops growing into a bigger group while being more highly ranked among all positions, shortstop sleepers are more crucial than ever.
One thing you will notice about my Fantasy Baseball strategy is I like to zag at certain positions when everyone else wants to zig. It’s the best way to get the best value with your draft capital.
What I mean, is if there is a plethora of speed at shortstop, then I am going to get the guys with power. If the majority of first basemen provide power, then I will go for the speedy corner baggers.
This type of thinking and strategy can help you uncover hidden gems in terms of value. That is where my shortstop sleepers are focused.
I may be a broken record at this point, but Fantasy Sports information is too widely found. There are no real “sleepers” but more under-valued and over-valued players. It’s all about finding the inequities and exploiting them.
So here are the 2017 Shortstop Sleepers. I tried to focus on guys ranked outside of the Top-16, and then found one deep sleeper.
2017 Fantasy Baseball Shortstop Sleepers
Didi Gregorious, New York Yankees – SCFE Positional Ranking : 21st
Gregorious is a victim of two things: his predecessor and the overall strength of the young core at shortstop. Most seasons in the past, he would not be up for consideration as one of the shortstop sleepers. However, the depth at the position and the fact his last name isn’t Jeter has pushed him into late-round territory.
In his second full season, Gregorious doubled his home run total, increased his RBI number by 25% and run total by 20%, while getting a few more steals, a few less strikeouts and raising his average by eleven points. His projections are leaning toward regression back down, but I am betting on him to plateau at these levels and finishing as a SS1.
Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox – SCFE Positional Ranking : 25th
Anderson is definitely one of the more traditional shortstop sleepers. He is a 23-year old about to start his first full season as a starter in the Bigs. I think he has elite potential at the position.
In his first taste of big-league action with less than 100 games, he hit nine home runs and stole 10 bases while batting .283. There is definite 20/20 potential while maintaining a high average. He had not shown the power that much in the minor leagues, but he is filling out his bigger than average frame. At the minimum, there will be elite speed, and above-average runs scored and batting average.
Tim Anderson hit .315 at home for the White Sox in 2016 at age 23 as a rookie and .326 vs. lefties. I’m telling you, he’s being overlooked.
— Tim Froehlig (@TFroehlig) February 19, 2017
Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds – SCFE Positional Ranking : 26th
Cozart is another guys coming off of a couple of injury-plagued seasons. Even after missing a quarter of 2016, he hit a career high in home runs. In fact, if you take his last two seasons combined, you barely have more than one full season, but he has 25 home runs.
His 150-game pace over the last two years would be 82 Runs, 22 home runs, and 67 RBIs. Yet his consensus projections have him at about 60% of those numbers. Are we so certain that he will miss almost half the season?
If I can get Cozart in the 300’s of ADP as my backup shortstop or third middle infielder than I am ecstatic.
Orlando Arcia, Milwaukee Brewers – SCFE Positional Ranking : 28th
Arcia is another young player that has the potential to explode. He goes against the theme of my shortstop sleepers in that his power is not apparent, yet. However, he is still just 22 years old so there is room to grow.
I mean the kid still had 12 home runs across the minor and major league last year. Toss in the 23 steals he compiled and I think he is a sneaky 20/20 candidate just like Tim Anderson. As bad as his batting average was with the Brewers last season, he is a .282 career hitter across all levels. I think that his contact hitting will come around with his power, but will it be this season or the next? For this low of a price, he is worth the gamble.
Shortstop Sleepers : Deeper Target
J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles – SCFE Positional Ranking: 33rd
Hardy is not your traditional sleeper. He is 34 years old, coming off three straight seasons with injury issues, and he already is experiencing back problems at the beginning of spring training.
This is all exactly why I will be buying low on the Oriole in deeper leagues. You can probably get him with one of your last picks. The upside is worth it though: the last three years he avoided injury, he slugged at least 22 home runs each year. If you can get the regression of a healthy season, you can get a 15-homer, 70-RBI and .260-average from a late round middle infielder. It’s worth the risk.
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