To help with your fantasy baseball draft prep, Dalton Del Don will examine potential draft bargains at each position. His catcher sleepers are here. First base is here. Second base is here. He’s got the shortstops below.
Normally it’s best not to target a 35-year-old coming off his career-best season, but there’s reason to believe Crawford’s improvements last year can continue given how many other teammates have also jumped in performance in the Giants’ system (the team utilizes multiple hitting coaches and advanced hitting machines that simulate upcoming opponents).
Moreover, Crawford’s ADP means you can still grab him in Round 20 despite finishing as a top-50 fantasy player last year, ranking higher than fellow shortstops Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Trevor Story, who all go at least 150+ picks sooner.
Crawford isn’t platooned and is set to bat third in San Francisco’s lineup against righties. Oracle Park is no longer MLB’s toughest place on power for lefties (and far more toward neutral) thanks to the new dimensions, and Crawford maintained his elite defense while adding a career-high 11 steals last season, so age doesn’t appear to be too big of a factor just yet.
With Fernando Tatis Jr. set to miss up to three months after undergoing wrist surgery, San Diego’s shortstop position is open. With just 183 plate appearances above Single-A and missing a good chunk of last season with an injury, I originally wrote off Abrams for the most part as the team’s answer right away. But after a strong spring start (admittedly just two games!), Abrams’ timetable may be sped up. The alternative would be Ha-Seong Kim, whose 70 wRC+ last season would’ve ranked second-worst among all hitters if he qualified.
Since Abrams has also stolen 28 bases over just 312 career ABs in the minors, he’d have immediate fantasy upside should he break camp with the Padres.
Crawford is slated to hit leadoff for a suddenly improved Seattle lineup that now features Jesse Winker in the middle. Crawford is just now entering his prime at age 27 and was a former first-round pick. He doesn’t offer a ton of power/speed upside, but Crawford has strong bat control and sports one of the lower ADPs (#239) you’ll ever see for a middle infielder likely to score 100+ runs.
Urshela’s fantasy value took a hit with the change in home ballparks, but at least he’s now locked in as Minnesota’s everyday third baseman after getting traded to the Twins. He remains shortstop eligible while playing the less taxing position yet is an afterthought at drafts (Yahoo ADP of 243). A career .271 hitter, Urshela should be a cheap source of 20 homers and 80 RBI.
With Carlos Correa signing in Minnesota, Peña appears to be Houston’s new starting shortstop. The rookie is a plus defender who missed most of last year in the minors after undergoing wrist surgery. Peña had 10 homers and five steals over just 30 games in Triple-A when healthy, so there’s some nice fantasy potential, especially while hitting in the Astros lineup. Peña is considered Houston’s top prospect and a top-50 overall one; he’s a deep sleeper.
Source: Yahoo Sports