Pod’s Picks: Shortstop

Last week, I began looking at which players my ranking differed most from compared to the staff consensus. Shortstop is a much better position this year when digging for sleepers than its middle infield counterpart, second base. That gives you the opportunity to bypass the top options and grab when of the late rounders with nice upside. For the shortstop bullish and bearish picks, I will once again only look at my top 18 for bullish and the consensus top 18 for the bearish group.

Bullish

Jean Segura

My Rank: 14 | Consensus: 17

This year’s Jose Altuve? The two aren’t all that different. Altuve does make better contact and should therefore finish with a slightly higher average, but both have 5-10 home run power and the speed to steal 30+ bases. What hurts Segura though is that he is slated to his 8th and he has almost no chance of being moved to the top of the order. Still, he stole a combined 44 bases throughout the minors and Majors last year, so he makes for a nice late round option at the position.

Josh Rutledge

My Rank: 10 | Consensus: 12

I was grasping for straws trying to find another bullish pick, as it seems like maybe my sleepers aren’t so undervalued after all. Rutledge shouldn’t even necessarily be on this list as the consensus is skewed by Zach Sanders’ ranking of 17. What I like about Rutledge is his respectable combination of power and speed, as well as his expected slot in the lineup of second in between Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez. The risk is that his walk rate is poor so a weak OBP might get him dropped in the lineup, while he has never had an at-bat above the Double-A level.

Bearish

Alcides Escobar

My Rank: 13 | Consensus: 10

I would guess that his ranking is being inflated by a high BABIP last year that I am projecting to regress a bit. That would bring his batting average down to a less attractive mark and also take some stolen base opportunities away with it. He has limited power and a low walk rate so even if he remains in the two hole all season, his RBI and runs scored totals will be unimpressive.

Alexei Ramirez

My Rank: 17 | Consensus: 14

While I think his home run total will rebound some, I don’t expect another 20 stolen bases. He’ll be hitting toward the bottom of the order with little chance of moving up. Amazingly, he’s already 31 years old, which surprises me because he just seems younger than that in his sixth season.




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Mike Podhorzer produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. He also sells beautiful photos through his online gallery, Pod's Pics. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

7 Responses to “Pod’s Picks: Shortstop”

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  1. dp says:

    Hi Mike: I really like this, especially the Segura pick. There’s a typo in the Rutledge write-up–he didn’t play above AA until last year, when he skipped AAA and played 73 games in the bigs.

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  2. JREwing says:

    Mike, I enjoy these POD projection type articles. Is there anywhere that you have your POD projections all in one place? I think it’ll help me when making up my own projections – I like to go player by player, viewing a couple projection systems as well as 2 or 3 sets of “real people” projections. That would save me the trouble of mining all of the projections from guys you’ve included in your articles. And no I’m not computer savy enough to write a script to do that for me.

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  3. MLB Rainmaker says:

    Rutledge looks to comp to Alexei Ramirez to me — guess that’s not terrible, but I’d say he’s only worth starting in mixed leagues at Coors. Granted SS is pretty weak this year, but I’d rather take Martin Prado.

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  4. napster says:

    Yea I’d say Rutledge might be pressed to keep that 2nd order in the Batting lineup. I say he moves down to 7th at some point after a slump early in the season. I hear EY Junior is talked about being 1-2 with Fowler. He makes enough contact to compensate for his weak walk rate (Z = 88.9 and Contact=77.7) but he still hits 49.1% ground balls, so he’s not really a flyball hitter. But he’s still only 24. You never know.

    I’d also add Iglesias in Boston as another possible upgrade at some point in the year. The kid showed a lot more hitting prowess on top of superior defense this spring training. Or do you really trust the Stephen/JD Drew history of injuries?

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  5. ih says:

    Love your stuff, but regarding Rutledge:

    He had half a year’s work in the majors last year, unless i’m reading this incorrectly.

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