Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Shortstop
Last time you saw us we talked second base sleepers. We’ll stick with the middle of the infield and talk shortstop sleepers in this edition of the We Know Fantasy Baseball Sleepers. Like I mentioned in the second base sleeper article, the middle of the infield is where you can wait on players instead of taking the bigger names, and find value later in the draft. That’s where the likes of the sleepers below come into play. I really liked the names we had on the second base list but I think this shortstop list is my favorite for any position in terms of sleepers we’ll cover. There’s some great value to be found here. Heck, I’d even double-up on some more valuable positions before even getting your first shortstop if either of these names below are available.
Kevin Newman (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Positional Rank: 31st
2019 Stats: .308 BA, 12 HR, 64 RBI, 61 R, 16 SB, .353 OBP, .336 SLG
2020 Projection (via RotoChamp): .287 BA, 9 HR, 52 RBI, 66 R, 19 SB, .333 OBP, .402 SLG
Newman’s 16 steals last year put him eight among shortstops. What’s even more impressive is that his 11.7-percent strikeout rate was the absolute best across the position. This seems all roses and daisies, but the problem is, he ranked 22nd in the position in plate appearances. There’s something about the Pirates not wanting to use his talent in 2019. However, Starling Marte has since been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, freeing up a big hole in the top of the Pirates’ lineup. Currently, we can expect Adam Fraizer to take over the lead-off role in Pittsburgh but his mediocre .259 BA and one-of-ten homers against lefties last year will open the door for Newman. I’m expecting Newman’s plate appearances to sky rocket this year and him to have a huge fantasy season.
Didi Gregorious (Philadelphia Phillies)
Positional Rank: 29th
2019 Stats: .238 BA, 16 HR, 61 RBI, 47 R, 2 SB, .276 OBP, .441 SLG
2020 Projection (via RotoChamp): .261 BA, 24 HR, 84 RBI, 75 R, 6 SB, .306 OBP, .462 SLG
The former New York Yankee starting shortstop, now with the Philadelphia Phillies, is benefiting from a 2019 injury, in terms of a fantasy baseball sleeper case. Prior to his injury, he had three great seasons, but after his injury, many will overlook him, and his ADP will fall, which will have the average fantasy baseball player passing on him. From 2016-2018, Gregorious averaged 24 HR, 81 RBI and 77 R. Now, he’ll be hitting early in a very top heavy Phillies’ lineup. Looking at projections, we can assume he could hit fifth, which would be an ideal place for him to rack up fantasy points.
Niko Goodrum (Detroit Tigers)
Positional Rank: 40th
2019 Stats: .248 BA, 12 HR, 45 RBI, 61 R, 12 SB, .322 OBP, .421 SLG
2020 Projection (via RotoChamp): .245 BA, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 66 R, 13 SB, .317 OBP, .423 SLG
In each of his first two seasons in the major leagues, Goodrum has 12-plus home runs and steals. He has a career batting average of just .243 and a percentage strikeout rate of 28.5, which are obvious downfalls. Let’s not forget that at his current ADP, you’re getting him in the 27th round of 12 man leagues. It’s a gamble worth taking. He has that combination of power and speed that you look for out of a shortstop. He’s also just 27-years-old, entering his third year, is inexperienced and is improving. I’m expecting a big 2020 out of him. He’s also eligible at 1B, 2B and OF besides SS. He's a player I’m getting a lot of shares in.