Fernando Tatis Jr. spent a couple of weeks during the odd year that was 2020 establishing himself as one of the best baseball players on the planet. During one particularly scorching 16-game stretch last season, Tatis slashed .344/.400/.844 with 10 home runs 17 runs scored and 20 RBI. He wrapped the 60-game season with 17 homers 11 steals and a very strong .277/.366/.571 slash and parlayed that performance with a monster 14 year $340 million contract. At just 22 years old, Tatis is one of the most exciting players in the game and warrants consideration as the top overall player in fantasy. I’m not quite ready to put the young stud at the top of my draft board, but I certainly won’t doubt anyone who does.
The great part of it all? Tatis may not even be the top player at his position. Trea Turner led all players in offensive fantasy value last year, adding a touch more pop (career best .253 ISO) to his strong power/speed blend. Turner went 12/12 with a sizzling .335/.394/.588, a pace over 60-games that would stretch to something like a .335-127-33-113-33 line over a full 162 season.
The shortstop position holds a number of other top-tier options that could offer similar 5-category production. This is the juiciest position in fantasy and it’s really hard to go wrong. Given the bevy of options at any price-point, I may be inclined to actually lower each individual player just a touch in the overall rankings, knowing that there will be a solid value at cost whenever you decide to address the position.
Xander Bogaerts (29) represents a really strong third round pick in any league. He’s sustained the power for three straight seasons now and while he doesn’t offer the top-end speed of those shortstops that will go in the top-20 overall, Bogaerts is as steady as anyone at the position. After a disappointing 2020, Javier Báez looks primed to get back on track as a four-plus category contributor. The projection systems all put Báez in the range of .250-.260 range with 85 runs and RBIs, 30 homers and double-digit steals. The counting stats are super useful and though the K-rate is always an issue, Baez posted a .281 batting average from 2015-2019 before bottoming out at .203. That projection in the .250-.260 range feels like a hedge and a return to .270+ would not be a surprise at all. Javy remains a major target of mine with an average draft position sitting at 80 overall — the 14th shortstop off the board.
As we dip further Didi Gregorious, who was a top-40 bat in 2020, can be had outside of the top 150 picks in many drafts. Jonathan Villar (234) is interesting at either middle infield spot. Jorge Polanco (194), Andrelton Simmons (436) and Elvis Andrus (343) should provide plenty of volume at the back end of drafts as well.
Top 40-ish Shortstop Rankings for 2021
|1||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SD|