1. Trevor Story SS (COL)
Trevor Story proved his 2018 breakout was no fluke with 35 home runs, 23 steals, and a .294/.363/.554 slash line in 2019. Like many Colorado hitters, he faired much better at home with a .328 average in Coors and a .260 average on the road. In a shortened season, bases stealers like Story are going to be incredibly valuable. Despite the home and road splits, he actually stole more bases on the road, and it makes sense that he’d be more aggressive as the offense as a whole needs more help scoring runs outside of Colorado.
2. Francisco Lindor SS (CLE)
While Story may possess a higher ceiling, Francisco Lindor is one of the safer players going at the top of the draft. Now five years into his career, Lindor has never hit under .273 and has never struck out at a 16% rate or higher. Not to mention he’ll hit .280 anywhere. You can’t go wrong with this elite power/speed combo.
3. Trea Turner SS (WSH)
With 19 home runs, 35 stolen bases, 96 runs scored, and a .298 average, Trea Turner certainly had a successful 2019. Now imagine if he had played 162 games rather than the 122 he played due to injury. Those numbers extrapolate to 25 home runs, 46 steals, and 127 runs. A full season could have had Turner in the conversation for a top-five pick. With steals harder to come by throughout the draft in a 50-60 game season, Turner could be league winning pick, even in the first round.
4. Alex Bregman 3B,SS (HOU)
Bregman is among the most patient hitters in the league, only swinging 35.1% of the time last year (MLB average was 47.0%). He only chased out of the zone 18.8% of the time, his contact rates are very high, and his 4.6% swinging strike rate from last year was minuscule (and third-best in MLB). He pulls a lot of fly balls–especially against southpaws–and while he calls Minute Maid Park home that is a good thing.
5. Fernando Tatis Jr. SS (SD)
Tatis Jr. was derailed by a back injury that shelved him for good after only playing about half the season (84 games). All he did during that initial stretch was play like an MVP, though. He slashed .317/.379/.590, hit 22 homers, and stole 16 bags. His 8.1% walk rate was tolerable, but his primary “flea” was the 29.6% strikeout rate. That whiff rate was supported by a 15.6% swinging strike rate and below average 67.1% contact rate (MLB average was 76.2% in 2019). Anyway, what he has going for him are the obviously loud tools, plus the fact that he didn’t chase out of the zone (31.8%) and was above average in his first year at swinging at pitches inside the zone, at 72.6% (average was 68.5%). He has some swing-and-miss, but it helps when you hit the ball really hard when you do make contact. Tatis Jr. had a 13.2% barrel rate (top 9%) and 44.1% hard hit rate (top 20%) in his debut. He was also above average in average exit velocity, xWOBA, and xSLG. Last but not least, the 29.3 ft/s sprint speed ranked inside the top 5% of the majors. You’ll assume some batting average risk here, but there’s zero doubt about the tools.
6. Xander Bogaerts SS (BOS)
He’s sitting on back-to-back 100+ RBI seasons and has clubbed 56 homers over the last two years (23, 33). He also set a career-best 7.9% swinging strike rate in 2019 and walked more than ever, at 10.9% of the time. His 29.4% chase rate was also the best of his career. Entering 2020 at only 27 years of age, he’s squarely in his prime and slated to bat third for the Boston Red Sox. As for the power, he’s posted barrel rates of 9.8% and 8.6% over the last two years–both much improved over his previous three seasons.
7. Ketel Marte 2B,SS,OF (ARI)
Marte trimmed the ground balls last year and set career-high marks in line drive and fly ball rate. An increase in launch angle (from 5.7 degrees to 11.5) supports the change in batted ball profile. A .299 xBA (top 6% of MLB) and .405 wOBA (top 3%) were his best attributes. He also beefed up his barrel rate, from 5.0% to 9.3%. A career-high hard hit rate of 40.0%, 73rd percentile sprint speed…it all culminated in 32 homers and 10 steals.
8. Gleyber Torres 2B,SS (NYY)
I feel like I’m paying a “Yankee tax” on Torres at his ADP in 2020. Still, he’s slated to bat in between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. He also hits a lot of line drives and fly balls, which is a nice recipe in Yankee Stadium. He was aggressive in 2019, swinging 51.8% of the time (48.4% the year prior). Despite the added aggressiveness, he trimmed his swinging strike rate from 14.0% to 13.2%. His contact rates inched closer to the MLB average, and his swing rate in the zone was epic, rising from 68.7% in 2018 to 76.3% last year (20th in MLB). There are legitimate concerns about his exit velocity, as Torres ranked 147th in the MLB with a 92.8 MPH average on line drives and fly balls last year. I’m inclined to trust the power, though, given his frame (6-1, 200) and ability to barrel the ball (10.1% rate last year). Torres is 70th percentile in barrel rate, for reference. So he may not be “all red” on the Statcast page, but when you factor in the home stadium and his launch angle…I think the ability to hit home runs is legitimate.
9. Javier Baez SS (CHC)
Another 27-year-old shortstop in his prime, Baez has given us back-to-back elite fantasy seasons. He only stole 11 bags last year and his success rate fell from 70% to 61.1% (11-for-18). We can probably chalk that up as fluky given that his sprint speed held steady in the 86th percentile. Baez won’t impress you with his 18.4% swinging strike rate from last year–the highest mark among all qualified hitters. That, and his 44.1% chase rate ranked sixth-highest in the league. He swings (and misses) plenty, but his quality of contact is very good–which drives his batting average. Baez has a career .339 BABIP and hasn’t been below .345 in any of the last three seasons. In fact, despite the career 4.9% walk rate and the tendency to whiff, he hits the ball so well that he has a career .270 BA and his expected marks in the last two years are .279 and .270. Stop worrying about Baez. His aggressive approach guarantees some streakiness, but he is a stud.
10. Manny Machado 3B,SS (SD)
Can you say underrated? He’ll turn 28 years old in July, and he’s been a model of consistency with regard to power. The home runs totals since 2015 are: 35, 37, 33, 37, and 32. He won’t run much anymore (39th percentile sprint speed) but the power that comes without torpedoing your batting average is awesome. Machado is a career .279 hitter, but last year’s .256 mark wasn’t aided by the .274 BABIP and was below his .266 xBA. I’d bet on a rebound in that department, which makes Machado a four-category contributor.
11. Bo Bichette SS (TOR)
The 22-year-old shortstop has apparently been staying in shape by working out with his father, four-time All-Star, Dante Bichette. Not bad help to have around the homefront. Anyway, Bichette managed eight homers and 16 steals over 60 minor league games in 2019. Once he hit the big leagues, he added 11 homers and four steals. That’s 19 homers and 20 swipes for those counting at home, and it came over only 106 games. He’s a 20-homer threat with some speed (83rd percentile) and he’ll bat leadoff for a loaded Toronto Blue Jays lineup.
12. Jonathan Villar 2B,SS (MIA)
The 29-year-old had a full breakout in 2019, hitting 24 homers and stealing 40 bases for Baltimore. His 27.9 ft/s sprint speed ranks in the 72nd percentile, which is normal for him (so he hasn’t lost a step). He’s also shown some plate discipline growth, trimming his swinging strike rate in two straight years. He’s also increasing his swing rate (47.4%, 48.2%, 49.1% last three years) but not chasing much (29.5%, 30.8%, 30.8%). And best of all, his swing rate in the zone is on an upward trend, too–66.2%, 68.0%, 71.3%, 75.1%. Villar made an effort to elevate in 2019, as his 48.9% ground ball rate was the best of his career and the 31.3% fly ball rate was also a career mark. This was supported by an increase in launch angle. And it’s not elite, but the 6.8% barrel rate was a little better than average and was also a career-high. I like this incremental growth from Villar.
13. Adalberto Mondesi SS (KC)
Mondesi should bat second for the Royals, sandwiched in between Whit Merrifield and Jorge Soler. Add in last year’s stud Hunter Dozier and a return to health by Salvador Perez, and it’s truly not a bad place to be. Problem is, Mondesi hasn’t proven he can stay healthy. That, and his 2019 was down, power-wise, even prior to the shoulder injury (and eventual surgery) that sidelined him early. His below average marks in hard hit rate and average exit velocity support the downturn in power, too. He’s living on the edge with his plate discipline, swinging and chasing a ton. For a guy with a career 4.1% walk rate and his career 19.5% swinging strike rate, he’s very reliant on his speed to survive. It’s a good thing that 29.9 ft/s sprint speed score ranks in the 99th percentile. The upside here is immense, but there’s downside, too.
14. Tim Anderson SS (CWS)
It’s a testament to the depth at shortstop that Anderson is the 14th-ranked man. Anderson gave us 20 homers and 26 steals in 2018. An ankle injury derailed him for over a month in 2019, but he still logged 18 homers and 17 steals en route to the American League batting title. He won’t post a .399 BABIP again, but distinct changes in his stance and approach point towards sustaining some of last year’s growth. There’s a deep dive on Tim Anderson right here at RotoRanks.
15. Carlos Correa SS (HOU)
Correa is the annoying player you want to find a reason to totally fade, given that he keeps burning us with injuries. But then he goes out and slugs 21 homers in only 75 games last year, reminding you that he has the potential to be the top bat overall at shortstop–which is really saying something. He added a little loft last year, raising his average launch angle from 11.6 degrees (2018) to 12.4 degrees, the highest mark of his career. He did so while setting a career-high barrel rate of 13.5% and holding steady with a 23.4% K-rate and healthy 10.9% walk rate. He won’t run anymore, as he’s only attempted seven steals over the last three seasons combined. But he’s easily a four-category contributor when healthy, with the potential to be a league-winner.
16. Marcus Semien SS (OAK)
That Semien is ranked 16th should tell you all you need to know about how loaded the shortstop position is in 2020. The 29-year-old has teased us with his power/speed potential in the past, but in 2019 he put everything together with a career-high 747 plate appearances and an ironman performance of 162 games played. He set career marks with an 8.5% barrel rate and 88.8 MPH average exit velocity. And while those marks are pretty average, Semien’s 556 batted ball events ranked second in the majors and his 37.8% hard hit rate resulted in 207 balls being hit at 95 MPH or more–the 10th most in the league. It would be nice if he ran a bit more, but his success rate was only 55.5% in 2019 (10-for-18). He was 14-for-20 the year prior, good for a 70% success rate. His sprint speed has slowly dwindled, from the 94th percentile in 2015 down to the 76th percentile last year. But that’s still fast enough to do damage–just probably not a lot in a shortened season. Don’t bank on him for steals, but take a handful of them if they come.
17. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. 2B,SS,LF (TOR)
He’s slated to bat third for Toronto after Bichette and Biggio, and ahead of Vladito. Talk about seeing some good pitches to hit. In last year’s 84-game sample, Gurriel Jr. popped 20 homers and stole six bags. He started the year slowly and was subsequently demoted to Triple-A, but when he returned as a left fielder (instead of a second baseman) things went well. He hits the ball hard, showing in the 82nd percentile last year in hard hit rate. His average exit velocity, barrel rate, and xSLG marks are all well above average, too. Last year’s low 5.8% walk rate is of some concern given his aggressive tendencies and 15.7% swinging strike rate…but this is a profile we’ve discussed frequently already. You either dig it or you don’t.
18. Jorge Polanco SS (MIN)
He set career marks in almost every facet in 2019, including games played (153), plate appearances (704), home runs (22), runs scored (107), and RBI (79). He slashed a healthy .290/.356/.485, with the only blemish being a paltry four steals. Polanco was caught three times, and he’s honestly never had great success with steals. A 72.2% success rate (13-for-18) in 2017 was his best showing, and in 2018 he was an uninspiring 7-for-14. His 28.2 ft/s sprint speed ranks in the 79th percentile, but for some reason he’s not getting it done on the basepaths. Bank on the batting average and runs, with enough power not to hurt you. Anything else is icing.
19. Tommy Edman 2B,3B,SS,RF (STL)
His walk rate has dropped over two levels since he posted a 10.5% walk rate at Triple-A back in 2018–but it’s tough to argue with the results. Despite rates of 6.9% (2019 Triple-A) and 4.6% (2019 MLB), Edman has posted quality OBPs of .356 and .350 over the last two levels. A well above-average 8.3% swinging strike rate, .287 xBA, and eye-popping 97th percentile sprint speed all factor in. He’s a candidate to displace an aging Matt Carpenter in one of the top two spots in the Cardinals lineup, and/or displace Kolten Wong when the Cards draw a southpaw. Question the power if you like, but Edman is a 30-steal threat with his on-base skills and speed. Add that to double-digit pop and multi-positional eligibility…Edman is a fine play in all formats in 2020.
20. Corey Seager SS (LAD)
Injuries derailed Seager in 2018, but other than that he’s pretty much been the same guy. Solid batting average and very good on-base skills, as well as 20+ home run pop on a great Dodgers team. He’s got good plate discipline, regularly posting zone swing rates above 78% (MLB average last year was 68.5%). He seemed to aim for more loft last year, setting a career-high with a 14.1 degree average launch angle. But he made less hard contact and posted the worst barrel rate of his career, at only 7.3%. I’d be hoping for a more level swing and a return to more line drives in 2020, and hopefully last year’s .261 xBA mark can leap back into .290+ territory like all four of his other big league years.
21. Amed Rosario SS (NYM)
He gave us 15 homers last year along with his 19 steals. He hit the ball a bit harder, averaging 89.2 MPH (54th percentile). He’s trending in the right direction with regard to plate discipline, with his swinging strike rate falling each year: 18.1%, 12.8%, and 11.6%. His contact rates are going up (67.3%, 76.0%, 77.6%) and his swing rate inside the zone is growing, too (66.6%, 69.3%, 71.8%). And don’t forget, there’s 95th percentile speed here. In a full season, Rosario would be a double-digit homer guy with 30-steal upside.
22. Gavin Lux 2B,SS (LAD)
It wasn’t long ago that Lux swiped 27 bags–2017, to be exact. And he’s been in double-digits across multiple levels in 2018 (13) and 2019 (12). He socked 26 homers last year across two minor league levels, prior to swatting two more once he arrived in the bigs. So 28 homers and 12 steals last year. The big fear in a shortened season (and with expanded rosters) is that the platoon-happy Dodgers hide Lux against left-handed pitchers. But against righties, he should rake.
23. Eduardo Escobar 2B,3B,SS (ARI)
He quietly hit 35 homers last season. I’m not sure where it came from, given that his batted ball profile and launch angle were fairly static. His barrel rate actually dropped from 8.3% in 2018 to 7.0% last year. His hard hit rate ticked up slightly to 31.5%, but that uninspiring mark still ranked below the 20th percentile. He also had a career-worst 12.0% swinging strike rate. On fly balls and line drives, Escobar’s 91.1 average exit velocity ranked 202nd of 250 qualified hitters. In general, this doesn’t read like a 30-homer bat, but more like a 20-homer guy. You can hold onto the 162 balls that Escobar hit over 95 MPH, ranking 67th in the MLB. That, and his average distance was 212 feet, ranking fourth in the big leagues. That’s a strange stat to end on, but I thought it worth noting. Just enjoy the 20 homers and five steals, okay?
24. Scott Kingery 2B,3B,SS,LF,CF (PHI)
We’ll find out if he’s an everyday player or a plus utility man soon enough. He slashed a ghastly .226/.267/.338 as a rookie in 2018, but still gave us eight homers and 10 steals. He rebounded solidly in Year 2, slashing a tolerable .258/.314/.474 with 19 homers and 15 steals in 126 games (500 PA). Call me crazy, but I sniff the coveted 20/20 plateau if Kingery ever gets a full season’s worth of at-bats. Anyway, last year he earned every bit of his 29.4% strikeout rate given his 15.1% swinging strike rate. However, while his swing rate remained static, he chased far less out of the zone and swung far more at pitches inside the strike zone. There wasn’t a jump in contact rate, but it’s nice to see some growth in plate discipline. Add in the 93rd percentile sprint speed, a stacked Phillies lineup, and a hitter’s home park…that’s a good recipe to hang your proverbial hat on. Just ding him a bit in OBP leagues given his below average walk rate (career 5.9%).
25. Elvis Andrus SS (TEX)
The 31-year-old was a steal last season, knocking 12 homers and stealing 31 bases. The 12 homers came over 147 games, and Andrus’s .118 ISO was well below average. His hard hit, exit velocity, and barrel rates were all in the bottom third of the league, too. So the power was more of an accumulation thing. The steals were surprising, too, given his sprint speed of just 26.7 ft/s (46th percentile). Still, he was successful on 31 of 39 attempts, so I think you can trust the bags along with a decent batting average. He’ll likely bat second in the order, too, providing him with at least one more year of usefulness before Father Time continues to chip away at his skills.
26. Danny Santana 1B,2B,3B,SS,LF,CF,RF (TEX)
Danny Santana burst onto the scene in 2019, hitting .283 with 28 home runs and 21 stolen bases. He also had some of the worst plate discipline, striking out 29.5% of the time with only a 4.9% walk rate. Even if Santana plays full time for Texas, he’s got a profile that screams volatility. That said, a wide range of outcomes is possible, especially in a shortened season.
27. Paul DeJong SS (STL)
DeJong is a GREAT glove, so as long as he’s healthy he should log tons of at-bats. He stayed healthy last year, amassing 664 plate appearances over 159 games. His .233 batting average was loathsome, but the 30 homers and 97 runs were golden. He also chipped in with nine steals, though he was caught five times. His hard hit and exit velocity marks won’t impress you, but he’s been a tick above average with his barrel rates every year as a pro: 9.2%, 9.1%, and 8.6%. He has a career .246 xBA and a career .251 batting average…but I wouldn’t bet on anything over .245. Still, slated to bat cleanup for the Cardinals is a solid spot to be. He should offer power, runs, and RBI if you can tolerate the sinkhole of a batting average.
28. Kevin Newman 2B,SS (PIT)
Newman is expected to bat first or third for the Pirates in 2020. He gave us 12 homers and 16 steals in 130 games last year, slashing .308/.353/.446. The power won’t be there in a short season, as his .138 ISO in the majors last year was higher than any of his minor league marks. But the speed is a factor. Newman’s banner minor league campaign came in 2018, where he hit four homers and stole 28 bags at the Triple-A level. His success rate was right around 71% that year, and his 66.6% rate at the MLB level wasn’t great in 2019. But unless your league counts off for being caught stealing, we don’t care as much about that. He won’t hit the ball hard, last year’s 2.1% barrel rate and 84.7 MPH average exit velocity both ranked inside the bottom 5% of the MLB. But the .291 xBA (top 10%), 11.7% strikeout rate (top 3%), and 28.5 ft/s sprint speed (84th percentile) are nice…especially given his role atop the Pirates order.
29. Didi Gregorius SS (PHI)
Sir Didi leaves the short porch of Yankee Stadium for another hitter’s park in Philly. He’s a free-swinger, as evidenced by last year’s 55.3% swing rate. But his contact rates are still above average and he’s only 30 years old. He struggled against lefties last year, batting only .216 in the split. But that is abnormal for Didi, and I’m inclined to say the .188 BABIP against lefties probably won’t repeat. In a full season I think you’d expect 20+ homers and a .260+ batting average, as well as a decent number of counting stats due to batting fifth or sixth in a very good lineup.
30. Garrett Hampson 2B,SS,CF (COL)
Hampson flopped early on in 2019 and was demoted to the minors. Honestly, he struggled all season until the month of September. Hampson slashed .318/.368/.534 over those final 23 games, swiping a whopping nine bags over that time frame. So just enough to make us not forget about him in 2020, though he’s still facing an uphill battle for playing time. Ryan McMahon is slated to start at the keystone, so Hampson is merely a backup there. And Hampson won’t garner at-bats at Trevor Story’s expense. That leaves the outfield, where you’re hoping he wrestles time away from Ian Desmond. However, Desmond can still hit southpaws, slashing .297 with 14 of his 20 homers last year in that split. There’s also the left-handed hitting Sam Hilliard around, who will push for playing time as well. It’s a really crowded Colorado situation. You’ll have to hope for a trade or an injury. And there are likely candidates in Desmond, Daniel Murphy, and David Dahl–but I hate drafting a player and hoping for ill luck like that. Anyway, enjoy the 99th percentile sprint speed. Hopefully it doesn’t get wasted on a bench player.
2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings powered by FantasyPros