Because he only played in 27 games last season, Corey Seager enters this seasons still a rookie. He hit four home runs, 17 RBI and .337 in that span. If he was called up earlier, who knows what kind of numbers Seager would have put up last season.
Brad Kelly wrote an article about the differences between Lindor and Seager. He said that Seager has more power, but Lindor showed some pop in his bat. Lindor has the advantage in the speed and average departments. He said that he would pick Lindor over Seager if stuck, but you can’t go wrong with either.
It’s hard to gauge where Seager ranks when looking at the advanced statistics because of the lack of playing time. Seager had a 0.74 BB/K ratio. He had a 53.2 ground ball and 26.6 fly ball rate. He was making great contact with the ball, 40.5 medium and 45.6 hard hit percentages.
Seager is entering his first full season at the age of 22. The sky is the limit for him, so to have him ranked this high so early is a sign of things to come. I expect some of those ratio stats to decline, but with more playing time, he will be a top-five shortstop this season.
Troy Tulowitzki is a great shortstop. He was the best in the league for a long time. The only downside was the frequent injuries. He’s played over 150 games just twice in his 10-year career. He missed the final 18 games of last season in September with a cracked shoulder blade.
I wrote out Tulo’s injury history in this article. There’s been a lot of different issues. Torn quadriceps, groin surgery, fractured rib, hip surgery and many others. It’s a long list and something you need to take into account if you draft Tulo.
He split time between the Colorado Rockies and Toronto Blue Jays last season. In 128 games, he hit 17 home runs, 70 RBI and .280. He also struck out over 110 times for just the third time. It was arguably the worst season of his career. He had a career-high strikeout rate (21.3 percent) and career-low walk rate (7.1 percent). He saw a rise in his ground ball rate and drop in fly ball and HR/FB rates.
Tulo in that lineup against the poor AL East pitching should make for a dangerous 2016 campaign, if he can stay healthy and play 140-plus games. But that’s a big ‘if’. I wouldn’t draft him before the fifth round.
This may be the biggest surprise in the rankings. Xander Bogaerts actually finished as the No. 1 shortstop on the Player Rater. He didn’t post the same home-run numbers as some of the other names on this list, but he was a more rounded player. Bogaerts played in 156 games and hit seven home runs, 81 RBI and .320 with 10 steals.
While some Boston Red Sox hitters struggled, the team fared well. They were fourth in runs and RBI, fifth in batting average and seventh in on-base percentage. Bogaerts was a big contributor to the ratio stats. While he didn’t walk as much, 32 walks, he struck out just 101 times. He had a 52.7 ground ball rate, but with his speed, he had a 11.1 infield hit percentage.
Bogaerts is the second or third-best hitter on the team, depending on who you ask. Just like with Tulowitzki, he will do well in the American League East. I see an increase in the power numbers while maintaining a .300 batting average. His final stats will be close to 14 home runs, 75 RBI, .301 and 10 steals. The steals is a big reach, but if given the opportunity, he should run more than last season.
He is another fifth or sixth-round pick in standard leagues.
Carlos Correa enters the 2016 as the best shortstop in the league. He didn’t play in as many games as some of the other players. Yet, he was able to produce much more than them. He finished as the No. 2 shortstop on the Player Rater. He hit 22 home runs, 64 RBI and .279 with 14 steals.
He did strike out 78 times, but walked 40 times. He had a 29.1 fly ball rate and a ridiculous 24.2 HR/FB rate. Correa made great contact with the ball, 47.0 medium and 32.9 hard hit rates. He did swing at a lot of pitches out of the zone, 32.8 O-Swing percentage, but was able to make contact with 70.3 percent of those pitches. If he can be a little more patient at the plate, his average and strike outs will improve.
Brad Kelly wrote an early projections article on Correa. He made the comparison to Alex Rodriguez, with the power and speed combination he brings to the game. He just turned 21 at the end of September and the ceiling is very high. If he were to play in a 162-game season, he would have had stats similar to the .286/35 HR/86 RBI/20 SB line that Manny Machado posted.
As with other sports, the sophomore slump is a real thing. However, I don’t think that will be the case with Correa. His power numbers will likely increase as he keeps the average around the .275-.280 mark. He will be a 20 HR/20 SB guy with 100-RBI potential. He is the clear-cut No. 1 shortstop this season and could be for years to come.
There it is. My top-10 shortstops for the 2016 season. There may be a few surprising names on the list, especially with the sophomores, but they’re up here for a reason. Look at them and compare them with those I ranked 11-15. They have a lot more upside and will improve throughout their careers.
There are a lot of interesting names on this list that will be fun to watch this season. Lindor and Seager are two of those players. How will they progress in their second (or first full) season? Correa is another obvious one. Does he regress a little bit or break the trend of the sophomore slump? I think he’ll be the latter and cement himself as the best shortstop again.
I also want to see how Tulowitzki performs in 2016. Can he avoid injury or will he miss another 20-30 games? I, sadly, think he’ll miss some time this season. I will avoid him at all costs when drafting.
Regardless, the shortstop position is on an upswing and the “position scarcity” label it once had is no longer.
Is there someone I overrated? Underrated? Who is your sleeper at shortstop this season? Let me know in the comments.
The next position ranking is third base, Nos. 20 to 11.