Dumpster Dives and Dynasty Finds: Shortstop
Each week of draft season, I’ll be digging through the dumpster to find players for the deepest of deep league owners. I’ll also look at some prospects who have a decent acquisition cost in dynasty leagues. The projections next to the player’s name are an average of THE BAT, ATC, Steamer, and ZIPS, projections systems found on Fangraphs. NFBC ADP data is from the date range 02/01/2019-03/04/2019. Shortstop goes deep 2019. How deep are you willing to go?
Garrett Hampson, COL (ADP 199): 386 PA, 47 R, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 19 SB, .279/.341/.405/.746
While obviously not a “dumpster dive” at pick 199, Hampson is my absolute favorite “dynasty find” of the 2019 draft season. This is a player that I think is going to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick going into 2020, so this may be your last chance to get in at a low price. Barring an injury to Trevor Story, he’ll be in the second base section of this preview next year, as he’s set to be the everyday man at the keystone for the Rockies. The name of the game for Hampson is batting average, a good eye, and killer speed. He’s posted batting averages over .300 and 35+ SB in every minor league season to date. He even started to produce a little more power in 2018, totaling 10 HR. The most impressive stat I noticed from his 24 game cup of coffee in the MLB was a 14.6% walk rate. While it’s a small sample, that’s absolutely an elite mark that would make him a stolen base monster. I’m predicting him to blow the above projection out of the water. I’m talking .300/.370/.430/.800 with 10 HR and 40+ SB. Sign. Me. Up.
Kiké Hernandez, LAD (ADP 312): 429 PA, 55 R, 17 HR, 53 RBI, 3 SB, .248/.330/.446/.776
Hernandez might be the Dodger who’s next playing time can best be predicted. He’s going to be in the lineup against left handed starters thanks to his .266 career average vs lefties. The good news for Hernandez are the strides he made against righties last season. Below are his R/L splits from 2018:
vs R: .252/.338/.495/.833 with 12 HR in 237 PA
vs L: .260/.335/.445/.780 with 9 HR in 225 PA
That doesn’t look the split profile of a platoon hitter. Kiké has turned himself into a really nice player that has multi-position eligibility (SS/2B/OF). He has a good eye (10.8% walk rate) and only struck out at a 16.9% clip last season. If you believe in the skills growth, Hernandez is a great last pick in your draft.
Scott Kingery, PHI (ADP 440): 432 PA, 47 R, 10 HR, 41 RBI, 11 SB, .239/.286/.376/.662
Dansby Swanson, ATL (ADP 476): 521 PA, 55 R, 12 HR, 57 RBI, 8 SB, .245/.316/.390/.706
Orlando Arica, MIL (ADP 482): 545 PA, 53 R, 10 HR, 50 RBI, 12 SB, .249/.295/.366/.661
Yuck. These three former top prospects have all experienced struggles so far in their time in the big leagues. Kingery really struggled in the MLB debut, slashing .226/.267/.338/.605 with 8 HR and 10 SB. He showed horrible plate skills and little power or speed. It was a disaster season. I’m not quite sure why he’s going so far ahead of the other two as he was clearly the worst of the three last season. He’s a distant third for me in this bunch.
Swanson, a former #1 overall pick, finally started showing some of the power we’ve been waiting on for years. He slashed .238/.304/.395/.699 with 14 HR and 10 SB in 136 games. There were some clear signs of improvement for Swanson and it looks like the 25 year old may be carving out a role as a solid starting shortstop in the big leagues. His defense keeps him on the field and if he continues to show solid plate skills, power, and speed he can be a solid overall contributor in fantasy.
Arcia struggled so much during the 2018 season that he was sent back down to AAA. Once he was called back up, he performed quite a bit better. The lasting memory we have for Arcia is his monster postseason for the Brewers. Some things were clearly worked on while he was in AAA, so let’s hope he’s able to hold onto those improvements. He has poor plate skills, but he does have the best single season out of these three (2017).
Troy Tulowitzki, COL (ADP 48): 290 PA, 32 R, 11 HR, 37 RBI, 1 SB, .250/.311/.415/.726
Look, I get it. Tulo is going to get hurt and miss time this season. He’s never going to return to the stardom that we all dreamed of. It’s just not going to happen. What is happening though is that he’s the starting SS for the Yankees to start 2019. That, alone, is noteworthy given the ballpark and lineup. He’ll be in the lineup, when healthy, until Didi Gregorious returns from Tommy John surgery. There’s a realistic possibility he can put up the numbers he did in 2017 with the Blue Jays, though. He posted a .254/.318/.443/.761 with 24 HR in 131 games. That’s a good risk to take with your last pick. When he gets hurt early in the season, just cut him and move on.
Richie Martin, BAL (ADP 675): 302 PA, 29 R, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 8 SB, .236/.297/.333/.630
Whomst? Let’s get real deep folks. Martin was a Rule 5 pick by the Orioles this offseason and he’s currently slated to be the starting SS in Baltimore. He’s a 24-year old who slashed .300/.368/.439/.807 with 6 HR and 25 SB in AA last season. Jumping from AA to the MLB is going to be a big challenge for him, but he’s got a great park, speed, and (for now) a starting job. It’s early, but in 7 games this spring he’s batting .412 with 2 SB. Take a flier on him in 50 round draft and hold leagues and keep an eye on him for your other leagues.
Shortstop is one of the deepest positions in the major leagues already, with some serious talent in the pipeline. 4 of RotoWire’s top 10 prospects in baseball are SS. Bo Bichette and Fernando Tatis Jr. should be in the big leagues in 2019 and are likely owned in your dynasty leagues. Wander Franco and Royce Lewis are ranked ahead of the previous two but likely won’t debut until 2020. In my opinion, Franco is the prospect that HAS to be on your dynasty league roster right now. He’s going to be the next mega prospect in the mold Ronald Acuña Jr. and Vlad Guerrero Jr. Get ready, the hype train is about to take off real soon. Here are some lesser known SS prospects that I have my eye on.
Luis Garcia, WAS: Age 18, ETA: 2020
Garcia projects to be have a plus hit tool, average power, and plus speed. He’s very young but he’s advanced for his age. Keep an eye on his numbers this season and see if he can reach AAA.
Jazz Chisholm, ARI: Age 21, ETA: 2020
Chisholm was signed out of Bahamas by Arizona. It’s not exactly a hotbed of baseball talent but two the Diamondbacks’ top prospect hails from the island country. Chisholm is very toolsy. He has plus power, plus speed, and plus fielding. If he puts the tools together, look out.
Xavier Edwards, SD: Age 19, ETA: 2021
Edwards looks like Billy Hamilton with on base ability. He projects to have a plus hit tool, below average power, and elite speed. He had 22 steals in 45 games last year in the lower minors and a 15.5% (!!!) walk rate. It’s very rare to find a player this young that walks so much. He’s going to be an absolute monster on the base-paths if he continues to walk like this.