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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.