Fantasy Baseball 2018 Debate: Javier Baez or Trevor Story

The shortstop position is growing year over year. When drafting a shortstop for fantasy baseball, do you go with Javier Baez or Trevor Story?

Years ago, the shortstop position was very scarce for talent. You either draft a top name or play the waiver wire throughout the season. Fast forward to 2018, the pool goes 20 players deep. Two shortstops worth debating are Trevor Story and Javier Baez, both 25 years old.

Story broke out in 2016 for the Colorado Rockies. With Jose Reyes away from the team for off-the-field issues, Story took over the starting job and everyone took notice. He hit 10 home runs, 20 RBI and .261 after the first month. Story finished with 27 HR/72 RBI/.272 in 97 games.

Last season saw a big increase in his games played but a decline across the board. In 145 games, he hit .239 with 24 homers, 82 RBI and a 191:49 K:BB ratio. He was a 37.9 ADP in ESPN leagues but finished as the 25th-best shortstop on the Player Rater.

The strikeout rate, ground ball rate and HR/FB rate all went in the wrong direction in his sophomore season. He was swinging at a lot more pitches and opposing pitchers were getting ahead in the count against him.

The Rockies lineup is mostly the same as 2017, minus Carlos Gonzalez who is a free agent. With Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado leading the charge, the rise of DJ LeMahieu and a healthy Ian Desmond, Story should have a bounce-back season in 2018.

On the other side of the debate is a player with a bit more experience but had his breakout in 2016 as well. Baez played in 80 games combined in 2014 and 2015, hitting .201 with 10 homers and 24 RBI.

It wasn’t until 2016 when he became fantasy relevant. He hit 14 home runs, 59 RBI and .273 in 142 games. As a result, owners were interested in Baez but weren’t investing an early pick on him. He had a 153.2 ADP entering last season.

Those owners were rewarded with a great season. Baez hit 23 home runs, 75 RBI and .273 in 145 games. The one thing he has over Story is speed. Baez stole 12 bases in 2016 and 10 last season. Story stole eight and seven, respectively.

The Chicago Cubs are another dangerous lineup. Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber are all capable of 20-home run seasons. Adding Baez to the mix gives him the ability to drive in more runs.

Story hit in most of the spots in the order but was primarily hit sixth or seventh. He had Arenado, Desmond and CarGo ahead of him. Baez, on the other hand, was seventh or eighth throughout the season. He even hit ninth in a few games.

The difference in batting order affects all stats. More at-bats lead to more opportunities to get hits, drive in and score runs, increase your batting average and get on base. Story had 503 ABs while Baez had 469.

Baez comes in with second base, third base and shortstop eligibility, making him a little more valuable. They are ranked closely together, with Story just a few spots behind Baez. Story may have some more power but the higher strikeout rate and lower average hurt his value.

It’s a close battle that could make or break a season for whoever has to deal make that choice.