5 Shortstop Busts For 2024 Fantasy Baseball

Taylor Tarter provides five potential shortstop busts for 2024.

Sometimes we can throw around the terms “sleeper” and “bust” a little too much in fantasy sports. So I want to be very clear – these shortstops are busts in terms of their ADP versus my rankings. These are players I expect to underperform their draft value. Some of them I plan on avoiding altogether, but some are simply players I will avoid at cost. Here are the shortstops I see as potential busts for 2024.


CJ Abrams – SS WAS


CJ Abrams had a breakout year in 2023, finishing with 18 homers, 83 runs, 64 RBI, 47 steals, and a .245 AVG. He was fourth overall in stolen bases and one of just 11 players with at least 15 homers and 30 steals.

That season has earned him a top-40 overall ADP in drafts ahead of this season, as SS7. The big question is whether he is worth the high draft capital.

While Abrams could very well repeat, or even increase, his stolen base total, the power is a major question mark. He doubled his plate appearances from 2022 to 2023 but had nine times as many homers. While Abrams did increase his exit velocity, barrel rate, and HardHit rate from 2022, all were still below league average. Among 133 qualified batters, Abrams was one of 20 that had at least 15 homers while possessing below-average EV, barrel, and HardHit rates.

For perspective, Xander Bogaerts tied or outproduced Abrams in three of five roto stats last season. Most projections expect Bogaerts to outproduce Abrams in every roto stat except steals this season. Yet, Bogaerts is SS13 with a 105 ADP. Are we still valuing steals that much?

There were more than 1000 more steals in 2023 than in 2022 with the new rules. Players like Ha-Seong Kim and Andrés Giménez have similar results to Abrams from last season and have similar projections this season. Kim is SS12 with an 83 ADP, and Gimenez is 2B10 at pick 108.

The price of Abrams is too steep for a player who has a ton of potential, but some question marks as well.


Anthony Volpe – SS NYY


Another shortstop with too high of a price is Yankees youngster Anthony Volpe. Volpe had a 20/20 season in his rookie year but finished with a .209 AVG. He struck out 27% of the time.

Unlike Abrams, Volpe has the power to increase his homer total past his 21 from last season. Volpe’s 9% barrel rate and 42% HardHit rate are both above league average. He also pulled and drove the ball well, which suggests his BABIP and AVG could have been a bit better as well (he had a .229 xBA). But until he fixes some discipline issues, fantasy managers should avoid Volpe at cost.

He was worse than league average at chase rate, contact rate on pitches in the zone, overall contact rate, first-pitch strike rate, and swinging strike rate. Those issues will continue to limit his ability to hit for average and suppress his fantasy value. His Strikezone Judgment, Contact, and Hitter Performance PLV data all point to a well below-average hitter when it comes to contact:

These are worrying metrics, that suggest he may not meet his projections for batting average this season, which hover around .230.

He is SS16, with a 136 ADP, and has been drafted ahead of Ezequiel Tovar, Trevor Story, Tommy Edman, Willy Adames, Jeremy Peña, Luis Rengifo, and Carlos Correa. The Fangraphs auction calculator projects each of those players to be worth more than Volpe.

Fantasy managers drafting Volpe at his current ADP are likely betting on a significant improvement, but may be a year or two too early.


Tommy Edman – SS/2B/OF STL


Tommy Edman is SS17, with a 170 ADP. This ADP may be influenced by his projections, most of which expect an increase to his PAs, runs, RBI, and steals from last season.

In 2023, Edman finished with 13 homers, 69 runs, 47 RBI, and 27 steals. Among 18 qualified batters with at least 25 steals, Edman had the third fewest homers, the second fewest runs, the fewest RBI, the second fewest steals, and the second lowest average. Among all qualified batters, he was among the 30 worst in homers and RBI.

Additionally, he was among the 45 worst in runs and average. A third of the batters who finished with fewer PAs than Edman outproduced him in at least three roto categories.

Edman is also going into 2024 with a wrist injury that many have reported will delay his debut by weeks. Some reports suggest he could be ready by opening day, but wrist injuries have been known to sap power, and for a player whose power production already has limitations, this could seriously hurt Edman’s fantasy value. Just look at his Power PLV data from last season:

Edman also has worrying data in regard to his strikezone judgment:

Little power that may be sapped even more, combined with poor strikezone judgment could result in fewer than his projected 12 homers. That, coupled with recovering from a wrist injury, could severely hamper him from producing what fantasy managers expect. He also may be more tentative on the basepaths when it comes to stealing bases, which is where most of his fantasy value lies.

Similar to Volpe, Edman projects as a -$2 player according to Fangraphs’ auction calculator. He is one spot ahead of Volpe. This is a player that should be going much later, and fantasy managers should avoid him at cost.


Jackson Holliday – SS BAL


In NFBC leagues, Jackson Holliday carries a top-200 ADP as SS21. Yes, he could be a generational talent, but his playing time is no guarantee.

First, the Orioles have a number of talented players at second base, third base, and shortstop. So Holliday will likely have to perform extremely well in the minors to earn a call up. Or he will have to hope for someone at the MLB level to underperform.

And while there is a chance he cracks the big league club, he is just 20 years old with 255 PAs between AA and AAA. The O’s may hold him back, not just to earn him more playing time, but to get him more time against advanced pitching.

There is a significant chance that he sees too few PAs, and does not produce enough to return value as a top-200 player. According to The Bat X projections, Jeremy Peña, Luis Rengifo, Carlos Correa, Ezequiel Tovar, Javier Báez, and Vaughn Grissom all project to outperform Holliday in at least four roto stats. Each of them have ADPs after Holliday.

Holliday is a high risk, high reward pick, but as a top-200 player, he carries too much risk.


Jordan Lawlar – SS ARI


Jordan Lawlar has been a highly touted prospect for the Diamondbacks. He finished last season with 20 homers and 36 steals between AA and AAA, while also hitting for average at both levels. He also made his major league debut for Arizona, recording two runs and a steal in 14 games.

Standing in Lawlar’s way is Geraldo Perdomo. He earned the starting shortstop role last season and performed well, although he lacks in power and AVG. The team values Perdomo’s defense at short and production at the end of the batting order, which could keep him in the starting shortstop role going forward.

I interviewed Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic about the Diamondbacks for my podcast, Fastball Fantasy Baseball, and he spoke about Lawlar’s outlook this season. Essentially he expects Lawlar to have to find a role potentially at another position in order to crack the big league club this year, or wait for Perdomo to falter. Piecoro also noted that Lawlar is likely to start the season in AAA to get him regular at-bats. He noted that Kevin Newman could fill a potential platoon at short because of his abilities to hit lefties. You can find the interview here, with our discussion about Lawlar starting at 29:15.

One other reason to avoid Lawlar at cost is that there are five other shortstop eligible players going after him in drafts that The Bat X projects to outproduce him in at least three roto categories. Chris Taylor, Javier Báez, Marco Luciano, Orlando Arcia, and Masyn Wynn all go after Lawlar. Fangraphs also projects them to be more valuable as well.

Lawlar has a lot of potential, but is no guarantee to produce at the big league level this season.

Taylor Tarter

Taylor is a fantasy baseball champion that has been playing for over a decade. Tune into his podcast, Fastball Fantasy Baseball, every Wednesday for in depth analysis making sabermetrics friendly to the everyday fantasy player.

3 responses to “5 Shortstop Busts For 2024 Fantasy Baseball”

  1. Scott Small says:

    I hate he playing time argument against Lawlar, it’s just not true in my experience. He’s a top prospect, if he hits he’ll play. Arizona promoted him last year and hasn’t been shy about getting guys up to the majors. They’re in win now mode so if they think he will help they will find ways to get him into the lineup.

    Same thing goes for Holliday, I would be way more concerned about his lack of power than his playing time.

  2. Taylor says:

    Check out my interview with the D-Backs reporter. Seems to think differently.

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