As the 2022 regular season winds down, let’s review the shortstop pool.
Dansby Swanson – Braves – We’ve likely seen Swanson’s career year as he approaches free agency. His 93/21/89/.279/.332/18 line has been a great value from where he was drafted this year. Many teams will likely line up for Swanson’s services and he seems like a guy whose value will change upon a move to another team, particularly if he moves to a team with a weaker lineup like the Giants. His xBA is .254, so we could see some batting average regression next year.
Bobby Witt Jr. – Royals – Witt’s made a great impression in his rookie year with a 79/20/78/.255/.295/28 line. His max EV is in the 92% percentile, his sprint speed is in the 100th percentile, and he’s already been spraying the ball all over the park in his rookie campaign. As Witt gets more of a grasp of the league and of how pitchers attack him, his average and OBP should tick up as he gains more of a strike zone awareness. 2022 was likely the last chance to get Witt cheap in drafts.
Willy Adames – Brewers – While Adames’ average and OBP are not impressive, but accumulating 83 runs, 31 homers, and 96 RBI from a middle infield spot from where he was drafted is impressive. Adames is in his prime (will be 28 next year) and is a player who has a great home ballpark and has made positive gains in mostly every metric over the last year.
Fernando Tatis Jr. – Padres – FTJ’s season was doomed from the start. A wrist injury coupled with a PED suspension that wiped out his 2022 season and will cause him to miss the start of the 2023 season has wiped out a lot of our championship hopes. If the price is right next year, I would be willing to take a chance on the potential of Tatis’s first round production if he falls to the 5th-7th round next year.
Trevor Story – Red Sox – Story has suffered through an injury-plagued freshman year with the Red Sox, stumbling along to a 53/16/66/.238/.303/13 line. Fenway Park is a great hitters park, but if Story can’t get on base and steal bases like he did with the Rockies (his sprint speed has been steadily declining as he reaches his age 30 season), then I’m out on him for next season. Perhaps Story becomes more comfortable in his next season with the Red Sox, and perhaps he signs up for a few sessions at the TB12 Performance & Recovery Center in Boston, to stave off Father Time like Tom Brady has.
Wander Franco – Rays – Another player whose injuries have decimated his season. A cursory glance at his 42/5/31/.274/.319/5 looks to be nothing special, but under the hood, Franco remains a special player. Next year Franco will be further removed from his quad and hamate bone issues, and in almost 300 at-bats, has only struck out 9.6% of the time. Franco is making great contact, especially for a player so young (can’t believe he’s only 21), and a couple tweaks to his launch angle will vault him up to superstar status. Don’t give up on this guy yet.
The Players Caught In The Middle:
Carlos Correa – Twins – Correa can opt out of his Twins deal in the offseason, and it’ll be interesting to see if he does, considering the crop of elite shortstops scheduled to hit free agency. Correa has enjoyed a solid season 66/21/61/.287/.364 line, but for fantasy purposes doesn’t have the raw power or top-end speed to move up the rankings considering the other power/speed threats at the position.
Marcus Semien – Rangers – Well, it was always a long shot Semien would replicate his career year last season, and after this year’s ice-cold start, has rebounded to salvage his season with a 94/24/78/.254/.311/24 line. He’ll never approach 45 homers again, especially since he calls Globe Life his home ballpark, but should remain atop the Rangers lineup and be a 20/20 threat for another year or so before his speed becomes completely useless. His price should be depressed a bit rolling into 2023.
Corey Seager – Rangers – Kyle’s younger brother has enjoyed a productive first season with the Rangers to a 87/32/82/.247/.320/3 line. He stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the new 2023 rule changes, and has one of the biggest AVG/xBA discrepancies this season (.283 xBA). While a potential 90/30/90/.275 line would be great, and should boost him up the 2023 rankings, the lack of steals will always depress his value a bit.
Good luck to those playing for a title this week!