Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a different strategy if you wish to truly compete. Rankings themselves are a different beast altogether, as category specialists like Mallex Smith and Dee Gordon (stolen bases), Kyle Schwarber and Franmil Reyes (home runs), and the majority of closers will be devalued. Hitters who draw walks and avoid strikeouts earn more points so plate discipline is rewarded and must be considered. For pitchers, the opposite obviously applies.
All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings for the shortstop position, put together by analysts Nicklaus Gaut, Riley Mrack, and Pierre Camus.
Shortstop H2H Points League Rankings
|6||2||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SS||39||43||37|
We start at the top with the Indians' Francisco Lindor. As much as you need players with profiles that translate best to the platform you're playing on, to be elite, you simply have to have the plate appearances. And Lindor has piled them on since hitting the bigs in 2015, with his average of 4.5 PA-per-game trailing only Mookie Betts over that time period. It's obviously not just all the trips to the plate that make Lindor so special, it's also the massive production the 26-year-old puts up every year. Even missing the first three weeks of the season with a calf injury, Lindor finished with 32 home runs, 74 RBI, 101 runs scored, and 22 stolen bases. The Cleveland shortstop is as safe a pick as they come in points leagues.
I may have Trevor Story the lowest between us three rankers but it's not the skills I doubt, just the way his game fits into points. Story had another stellar year in 2019, with 35 HR, 111 R, 85 RBI, and 22 SB but got punished on ESPN and CBS for his 26.5% K-rate. The Colorado star finished as the #19 player on Fantrax but was only #28 on CBS and #53 on ESPN. Projected by most for a roughly similar year, Story would be around #15 for me if we're talking just about Fantrax and NFBC. But since he's likely to finish at a similar level on CBS/ESPN as he did last season, I'll split the difference and put him at #23.
Alright! Our first case study of a particular profile that gets destroyed on a particular platform. In this instance, we're talking about Trea Turner, who's projected to finish as the #21-22 overall player on Yahoo, CBS, and Fantrax, and #15 on NFBC. Which is why I have him ranked at #21; seems reasonable, right? However, hear me out.
You cannot draft Trea Turner on ESPN. I don't care that he's currently ranked #6 by ESPN's own rankings. You cannot draft Trea Turner on ESPN unless he somehow falls to the 30s...which he won't. I'll explain.
For one, ESPN awards just one point for a stolen base, the fewest of the major platforms, taking away value from Turner's most valuable trait. For two, they punish strikeouts the most (at -1) and even though Turner's 19.9% K-rate isn't outrageous, that still equaled 113 negative points last year in just 569 PA. Getting so few points from his speed and with just a 7.6% walk rate, Turner will have a hard time making up for the hole that his whiffs will put him in. Our own expert ranker Nick Mariano projects Turner to bat .298, with 19 HR, 96 runs scored, and 35 stolen bases. That's a stellar line if you're playing roto or playing points on any of the other platforms. And yet, on ESPN, that line projects to make Turner the 43rd-highest scorer. You cannot draft Trea Turner on ESPN at his ADP.
Putting him at #30 overall, it looks like I have Manny Machado the highest even after a disappointing first year in San Diego. I like him for a bounceback from 2019 and think 35 HR, a .275 AVG, and 200 RBI+R are reasonable numbers for the 27-year-old. But what I really like is the balance of his game, with a decent walk rate and not too many of his points reliant on one skill.
You'll only get Ketel Marte as a shortstop on Yahoo, as he played just 10 games at the position in 2019, but Marte is valuable whether played at SS or 2B/OF, where he is eligible on all platforms. We've already talked about players punished by their strikeout rates but Marte is the inverse, with his 13.7% K-rate the 18th-lowest among qualified batters in 2019. Marte may have some pushback on the power front from a career-high 19.0% HR/FB but he also had a .299 xBA that was in the top 6% of baseball and a .404 wOBA that was in the top 3%. Add in a 9.3% barrel-rate that was also a career-high and you can mark me down for believing in Marte repeating much of his success from last year.
It pains me to put Adalberto Mondesi so low, as my #114 ranking is far below my RotoBaller brethren. From the makers of "You can't draft Trea Turner in ESPN" comes: You cannot draft Mondesi on ESPN...or CBS...or Yahoo...or FanTrax...or NFBC. Not unless his draft price is comically low.
Too many strikeouts, not enough walks, too much value tied up in his stolen bases. Don't believe me? Well, let's start with the mothership, the most egregious of sinners. Currently ranked on ESPN as the #20 overall player, ATC projects Mondesi to finish as the #216-highest scorer. Read that sentence again. Oh, and #137 on CBS, #93 on Fantrax, and #87 on Yahoo. He's all the way up at #48 on NFBC (home of the five-point stolen base) but if you can manage to get Mondesi in the fourth round there, then good on you.
From a legacy player that I hate to one that I love; let's talk some Bo Bichette as I have him about 20 spots higher than Pierre and Riley. This son of a Dante had an outrageous major-league debut, slashing .311/.358/.571 with 11 HR and 18 doubles in 212 PA. Nick Mariano is projecting him to hit 26 home runs, with 70 RBI, and 96 runs scored, numbers I tend to agree with. And numbers that would put him in the #50-55 range on Yahoo, Fantrax, and NFBC and at #85 on ESPN and #75 on CBS. Not too shabby young Bichette, not too shabby.
Broken record alert, but Carlos Correa is going to be a lot more palatable on Yahoo, Fantrax, and NFBC than he is on the strikeout-punishing ESPN and CBS. After posting K-rates between 19-21% in 2015-17, Correa has now struck out at a nearly 24% clip for the past two seasons. That may not sound like a lot but it equals about 15-20 rank drop between ESPN/CBS and the other major platforms. Honestly, I really just want to rank him down where Pierre had him (#114) because you know as well as I do that he's going to miss at least half of the season with one injury or four.
If you're looking for a shortstop who is going to perform well, regardless of platform, Jorge Polanco might be your man. Polanco finished 2019 ranked between #39 and #49 on ESPN, CBS, and Fantrax, with only Yahoo's #72 serving as an outlier. Projected to pull back some from the 22 HR and 107 runs that he put up in 2019, Polanco is still a solid bet to earn more than the 155 ADP he has currently on NFBC.
Jean Segura is secretly kind of a points-league stud and could be one of the best bargains you can find in 2019. Not as valuable on Yahoo in 2019 - coming in as the #182 highest-scorer - Segura shined on the other platforms, finishing between #117-123. Heading into 2020, the Philadelphia infielder has only a 191 ADP on NFBC but is projected to finish on the five major platforms between numbers 84 and 107. A well-rounded performer across all categories and with a minuscule 11.8% K-rate? Sign me up.
The development of a major leaguer is not always linear and will you look at that? Amed Rosario is finally fantasy-relevant! Over 655 plate-appearances, Rosario slashed .287/.323/.432 with 15 HR, 72 RBI, 75 R, and 19 SB. See? Useful! Projected to put up similar numbers in 2020, Rosario is on the cusp of a top-100 player on most platforms but would finish about 50 spots lower on ESPN and CBS.
Oh, you poor souls who still think that Colorado will actually play the players that make the most sense. Why play one player at a position, when you can play six? And why play a young player when you can sign someone old. These are the mysteries of the Rocky Mountains that we mortals may never understand. Please be aware that even if Garrett Hampson gets a starting job he'll run into problems like we've already seen before; he strikes out at a 26%-clip and much of his value hinges on his stolen bases. I feel like we've made note of this particular profile before...
I suppose I have to explain my #157 ranking on Nick Ahmed. Well, he may not be flashy but did you know that Ahmed finished between #99 and #113 on Yahoo, ESPN, Fantrax, and CBS last season? And that he's projected to finish no higher than #157 on the same platforms in 2020? Did ya know that? What about a 399 ADP on NFBC? Did you know about that? Plus, the D-Backs like him enough that they recently signed him to a four-year extension after trading away top SS prospect Jazz Chisolm last year.
Ahmed is a perfect example of how understanding your platform can sometimes lead to making player evaluations that make you feel like a crazy person.
Know your platform. Exploit your platform. Sometimes that means counting on Nick Ahmed.
Trust the process.