FANTASY BASEBALL – 2016 SS Rankings: Liking Lindor
by Garion Thorne | 6:00 am, January 13th, 2016
Thorne’s 2016 MLB Fantasy Preview
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Podcasts: ’16 Strategy w/ Fred Zinkie
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Thorne’s 2016 SS Rankings
- Carlos Correa, Houston* – So, why the asterisk? Well, Correa is the undisputed best true short stop on the planet heading into 2016, but, in fantasy, reality sometimes doesn’t matter. With Manny Machado logging 53 innings at short last season, the Oriole picked up SS eligibility in both Yahoo! and ESPN. The question is whether or not he retains it in either. If he does – I like him more than the now sophomore. Even when you concede that Correa’s stolen base potential is more legitimate, there really isn’t any area where the former phenom Machado doesn’t come out on top. In 2015 the 23 year-old posted a sizeably lower soft contact rate, lower strikeout rate, and just a better contact rate overall. Yes, Correa’s home run for every 17.6 at bats trumps Machado’s 18.1 figure, but the now third baseman’s 17.6% HR/FB ratio seems far more sustainable than the Astro’s rate of 24.2%. The separation is razor thin, but don’t forget that Machado was Correa just two seasons ago.
- Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto
- Xander Bogaerts, Boston
- Francisco Lindor, Cleveland – Lost in the warranted hype of the playoff bound Correa, was the superb second half of fellow 2015 rookie Francisco Lindor. Known primarily for his speed and glove (the Indian’s 10.5 URZ dwarfed eventual Gold Glove winner Xander Bogaerts), Lindor registered 10 of his 12 home runs after the All-Star break last season, posting the league’s 15th best wOBA at .395. In fact, the only middle infielder with a higher mark was Matt Carpenter at .400, and he’s only a 2B in technical terms. Now, in a perfect world, Lindor develops on his 12/12 partial campaign and becomes a 20/20 threat. However, I wouldn’t bank on this too much. I’d say 15/25 is far more obtainable, with Lindor having just posted a 30 steal season in 2014 across three levels. Really, the only flaw is his selflessness as Lindor led the American League in sacrifice bunts. Don’t do that.
- Corey Seager, Los Angeles
- Jung-ho Kang, Pittsburgh – Its hard to get a sense of whether Kang’s current NFBC ADP (181) is more representative of an under the radar second half or concern over a horrendous injury. On the point of the latter, Pirates GM Neal Huntington is hopeful Kang will play at some time in April, which, combined with said second half success, is good enough for me. Now, obviously 214 plate appearances is not the largest of sample sizes, however, its hard to ignore that Kang’s post All-Star numbers strike an uncanny resemblance to projected first rounder Anthony Rizzo’s 2015. Actually, both his .392 wOBA and .239 ISO are slightly better. With Pittsburgh’s trade of longtime second baseman Neil Walker also opening up everyday space in the Pirate lineup, I’m willing to take a risk with the upside of Kang.
- Ian Desmond, Free Agent
- Brandon Crawford, San Francisco
- Elvis Andrus, Texas
- Alexei Ramirez, San Diego
- Addison Russell, Chicago
- Trevor Story, Colorado
- Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis
- Marcus Semien, Oakland
- Ketel Marte, Seattle
- Eduardo Escobar, Minnesota – In a season that saw Escobar set career-highs in home runs (12), RBI (58), and ISO (.183), its surprising on the surface that it wasn’t till August that the Twin had even secured a full-time position. But what an August it was. Escobar managed a massive .402 wOBA in 88 plate appearances, complimenting that figure with a .295 average and .282 ISO – not all that assisted by a relatively sustainable .317 BABIP. Following up that month with a stellar September, it appears Escobar will be Minnesota’s Opening Day SS. Whether or not he keeps the job is up for debate (and will correspond with the development of Triple-A infielder Jorge Polanco), but the switch-hitting, utility man proved to be more than just a stop-gap in 2015.
- Trea Turner, Washington
- Alcides Escobar, Kansas City
- Jed Lowrie, Oakland
- Brad Miller, Tampa Bay
- Jose Reyes, Colorado
- Jean Segura, Arizona (traded January 30th) – 2013 is looking farther and farther away every single second. Let’s get the stolen bases out of the way off the top. Segura has 45 steals the past two seasons. He has 89 in his three full seasons. Fan-freaking-tastic. Now, with a early ADP outside the Top 200, Segura’s not exactly in bust territory, but he’s still a fringe starting short stop in standard leagues and that’s near unforgivable. Since 2014, among players with 1,000 plate appearances, the Brewer sits with the third worst ISO (.079) and third worst wOBA (.270). In fact, the only player with a worse offensive rating on FanGraphs than Segura’s cumulative -42.1 mark over the past two years is Omar Infante with Segura’s base running just keeping him out of the basement. None of my teams will feature the soon to be 26 year-old.
- Asdrubal Cabrera, New York
- Erick Aybar, Atlanta
- Didi Gregorius, New York
- Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati – You’d have to imagine the three-team Todd Frazier deal left Suarez in the ever-popular glass case of emotion. On the one hand, Suarez, who was on his way to being supplanted at short stop by the incumbent Zack Cozart, now had a clear path to playing time with the Reds. On the other hand, the incoming Jose Peraza looms. Anyway, let’s assume Suarez at least begins 2016 with an everyday role – I understand the fantasy infatuation. The former Tiger slugged 13 home runs in 398 plate appearances last season, taking advantage of the pitching nightmare that is Great American. However, the 12.1% HR/FB ratio seems due to normalize, as does the .341 BABIP. Throw in a lacklustre 0.18 BB/K rate and the possible job uncertainty seems a little more severe an issue.
- J.J. Hardy, Baltimore
- Jose Iglesias, Detroit – Iglesias lacks the raw power or speed to truly be relevant in year-long formats, but he is a sneaky name to remember in DFS. Not only did the now 26 year-old hit .354 with a .384 wOBA against left-handed pitching in 2015, but, maybe more importantly, he did so in a lineup full of under appreciated lefty mashers. Iglesias, James McCann, and Nick Castellanos make for a cheap yet effective stack.
- Wilmer Flores, New York
- Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles