5/9 Dynasty Baseball Performance Report: Shortstops

Checking in on risers and fallers at shortstop for Dynasty Leagues.

The Dynasty Baseball Performance Report is a regular series, highlighting each position and providing insight into the risers and fallers of both the Major Leagues and prospects. Each week we’ll publish a positional report on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Over the last couple of years, the common refrain has been how deep the shortstop position is, particularly in dynasty baseball leagues. It seems like young exciting players are always making their way to the big leagues with even more of them waiting in the wings. So then what is the general perception of the “old guard” at the position compared to the new? Well, the 2023 season has shown us that at least so far, the young up-and-coming players haven’t been able to completely dethrone the old. Let’s take a look at one potentially undervalued stalwart at the position and check-in on three young bucks who are trying to make a name for themselves.

Major Leaguers

Xander Bogaerts (SD)

Xander Bogaerts opted out of the final three years of his contract with the Red Sox last November and went on to sign an enormous 11-year, $280 million contract with the Padres. Having just turned 30, and coming off a seemingly mediocre year, there was less excitement for Bogaerts in fantasy circles this spring than I would have expected. Perhaps he was also overshadowed by another Padre in superstar Fernando Tatis Jr., or perhaps fantasy managers simply forgot just how productive Bogaerts has been over the years. After all, this is his 11th season in the majors… How boring… right?

In 2022, Bogaerts played in 150 games with a triple-slash of .307/.377/.456, 15 home runs, and 8 stolen bases. None of these numbers stand out as exceptional outside of the high batting average. However, anyone who looked beyond the box scores would know that the second half of the season’s offensive output was impacted heavily by some injuries he played through. Fast forward to this season and through 31 games played, Bogaerts has already displayed more power with than last season already popping six home runs. He is also sporting the best walk percentage (11.1%) and strikeout rate (14.8%) of his entire career.

Before you say anything, I know we are very early in the season. The point here is that Bogaerts is on track to put up better numbers than last year, and he brings a level of consistency to a fantasy lineup that is often overlooked. While he is on the wrong side of 30, he looks like that type of special player who will be productive into his mid to late 30’s. So for dynasty leagues, if someone wants to move on from this “old man”, I’m certainly buying. Don’t go crazy and overpay, but if you are in need at the position, it can’t hurt to make an offer and have a guy in Bogaert’s to construct the rest of your team around.


Jeremy Peña (HOU)

There were a few surprise breakouts in 2022, but one of the more surprising would have to be Jeremy Peña of the Houston Astros. The departure of Carlos Correa provided Peña with the opportunity to show that he could provide value beyond his defensive ability. He went on to hit 22 homers and steal 11 bases as a rookie, all while hitting .253/.289/.448. Those numbers may have put him on fantasy managers’ radars, but what cemented him as a fixture in the Astros’ lineup was his postseason performance, where he launched four home runs in 13 games while also securing the ALCS MVP.

Everything isn’t sunshine and roses for Peña in his sophomore season in the big leagues. He is hitting an eerily similar line to where he ended in 2022, albeit with a tad more power this season. His .246/.294/.448 line is solid, but he needs to take a step forward with his ability to draw walks if he is going to take another step. A 3.5% walk rate puts him in the 6th percentile league wide for free passes, and that will, of course, impact his spot in the lineup and his counting stats. Peña is still someone I love because I believe the progression will come, I love the power/speed combo, and his swing is a beautiful thing to watch when he barrels up on the ball (as shown in the video below). He could be tough to buy in dynasty because of his age, but might come at a bargain compared to others at the position.

DYNASTY STATUS: Treading Water

Ezequiel Tovar (COL)

Was there a young player with more hype heading into 2023 than Ezequiel Tovar? Fantasy managers were drooling over the prospect of a new power/speed threat at SS who also happened to play half of their games in Coors. However, through the end of April, Tovar looked absolutely lost at the plate batting .213 with a 31.6% strikeout rate to boot. Expectations for his output outpaced the reality that most rookies have their ups and downs. With that in mind, Tovar’s last six games have seen him heating up at the plate with a .364 BA, two home runs, and three doubles. I didn’t love the price preseason for Tovar, but I also think it’s a little early to call him a bust. He is a good buy-low for a rebuilder, albeit a risky investment.


Zach Neto (LAA)

The Angels were transparent upon drafting Zach Neto 13th overall in 2022, but no one would have predicted him getting the call and seeing his first game action before April was even halfway through. Neto is a good defender and projects as the type of offensive player who will be solid across the board, but without a standout skill. There isn’t enough of a body of work to form much of an opinion on his future yet, but what I do like is that he isn’t striking out a lot (15.9%) which is also backed up by his 17.1% chase rate. In deeper dynasty leagues keep an eye on Neto, particularly on his ability to flash any power. In the meantime, his glove should keep him in the lineup and provide him with a long enough leash to get valuable at-bats at the major league level. So, unless you play in a league that rewards defense, keep Neto on your watchlist for now, and enjoy the smooth infield defensive play.

DYNASTY STATUS: Treading Water


Yiddi Cappe (MIA)

I may be burying the lead a bit, but if there was one guy who needs to be talked about more in fantasy circles right now it’s Yiddi Cappe in the Miami Marlins‘ minor league system. A 2021 international signee, he was almost completely disregarded in fantasy circles because he was seen as a glove-first prospect and not much else. At just 6-foot-3 and 178 pounds, the skepticism around his offensive growth was certainly understandable. Cappe closed out his 2022 minor league season in Low-A hitting .278/.299/.380 with three home runs. These numbers aren’t eye-popping, but when you add another six homers in Rookie Ball and his excellent plate discipline throughout the entirety of 2022, there were definitely positive signs of what could develop.

Since then, all he’s done is hit and prove there is more in the bat than original projections indicated. This season in High-A, Cappe has continued to show growth, as he has hit .280/.333/.460 while maintaining a sub-20% strikeout rate and a slew of multi-hit efforts. I love that Cappe still has room to grow into his frame, which very well may translate to decent pop. This means we could be looking at an infielder with plus defense that contributes at least moderately in every category. He is still a way off from debuting in the majors, but he will be one to watch.


Matt McLain (CIN)

Matt McLain went 17th overall to the Reds in the 2021 amateur draft and was seen as a somewhat safe selection for dynasty managers in their first-year player drafts. His scouting report indicated that the way to more power for McLain would come at the expense of his hit tool, and the results in 2022 displayed exactly that. While he was able to pop 17 home runs in double-A, his batting average suffered as expected at a paltry .229. Understandably, these results crushed any shine he had in fantasy circles heading into the 2023 season. Fast forward to this year and not only has McLain retained his power growth (9 HR) but he’s also slashing .333/.448/.667. More impressively, this is all being done in triple-A. The window to buy McLain is likely closing at this point, but he is definitely someone worth trying to acquire.


Gabe Zammit

Gabe Zammit has been writing about baseball since 2017. He is a contributor on Pitcher List in addition to Friends with Fantasy Benefits. Outside of the baseball world, Gabe is a music director and producer and loves to chat about anything and everything music.

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