Witt, Turner headline 2024 fantasy SS rankings

March 26th, 2024

With the 2024 season fast approaching, it's time to start thinking about those fantasy baseball rosters. As it usually is, the shortstop position is loaded with talent, especially with an infusion of young stars over the last few years.

Here is a breakdown of the top fantasy baseball shortstops in 2024.

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Tier 1: Bobby Witt Jr., Trea Turner

After a solid-if-unspectacular rookie season in 2022, Witt broke out with a huge '23 season. As a 23-year-old, Witt accumulated 5.7 Wins Above Replacement (FanGraphs) and became the first 30-30 player in franchise history with 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases. In keeping with the trend of setting franchise bests, Witt and the Royals recently agreed on the largest deal in Royals history -- an 11-year guarantee that could reach 14 years and upwards of $300 million.

In the first season of his 11-year, $300 million deal with the Phillies, Turner was not his normal self through the early going. He posted an 84 wRC+ in the first half of 2023, albeit with 10 home runs and 19 stolen bases that were valuable for fantasy. With a little help from the Philly faithful, Turner went bonkers for the final two months, recording a 165 wRC+, 16 home runs and nine stolen bases after August. Given his track record, you can count on Turner performing much closer to the second-half version we saw in '23.

Tier 2: Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, Bo Bichette, Elly De La Cruz, CJ Abrams

Seager was a dominant force in the Rangers' World Series run in 2023. Whether it was the regular season (33 home runs, 6.1 WAR) that resulted in a second-place AL MVP finish or a postseason that saw Seager take home World Series MVP honors for a second time, the star shortstop had a spectacular season. The only reason Seager doesn't find himself in the top tier is his extensive injury history, which is relevant again with sports hernia surgery that could delay the start of his 2024 season.

Few stars have been as consistently great as Lindor since he debuted in 2015. The switch-hitting shortstop never misses time (he's missed three games with the Mets the last two seasons) and is constantly a dominant two-way force when he's on the field. Lindor has recorded six straight 20-plus-home run seasons (sans 2020) and posted the first 30-30 season of his career in 2023. In terms of quantity and quality, Lindor is your best bet to perform like a fantasy star on an annual basis.

Bichette is a sight to behold when he's at the dish. The combination of hitting for average (career .299 BA) and power (.487 SLG) has consistently made him one of the top offensive shortstops in the sport. He's also been remarkably consistent for Toronto, posting between a 120 and 143 wRC+ in his five seasons in the Majors. What's holding him back from the top fantasy tier is the decline in stolen bases. Thanks to a dwindling sprint speed -- it's steadily dropped from the 83rd percentile as a rookie to the 42nd percentile last year -- Bichette has only swiped 18 bags the last two seasons after stealing 25 bases in 2021.

Perhaps only MVP winners Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. flashed more loud tools in 2023 than De La Cruz. The electric Reds rookie captivated the baseball world after debuting -- showing a combination of hard contact (119.2 mph maximum exit velocity), sprint speed (100th percentile) and arm strength (98th percentile) in '23. While he crushed 13 homers and swiped 35 bags in just 98 games, there's still room for progress, evidenced by his 84 wRC+ and 33.7% strikeout rate. If he cuts back on the whiffs in '24, De La Cruz could be in line for a monstrous season.

Abrams came into his own during the second half of the '23 season, when the Nationals' young shortstop posted a .733 OPS, slugged 11 home runs, stole 33 bases and showed big strides with his plate discipline. While there were initial struggles in the early part of his MLB career, it's easy to forget that he debuted as a 21-year-old in '22. Fresh off a season where he hit 18 home runs and swiped 47 bases, Abrams could be in for a huge fantasy season in '24.

Tier 3: Oneil Cruz, Xander Bogaerts, Dansby Swanson, Anthony Volpe

Similar to his Reds counterpart, Cruz has made us rethink what the modern shortstop can look like. He is one of the most gifted athletes in the sport with a power/speed combo that could propel him into the upper echelon of players. His 122.4 mph single in 2022 was the hardest-hit ball since Statcast began tracking in 2015 and he ranked in the 98th percentile in sprint speed in his debut season. Cruz will return in 2024 after playing in just nine games in '23 following a left fibula fracture and if he's fully healthy -- and shows some progress with his plate discipline -- he could be a 30/30 threat as a shortstop.

Different team, same Bogaerts. After a memorable run with the Red Sox, Bogaerts was his usual self in the first year of an 11-year, $280 million deal with the Padres. It was a bit of an up-and-down season: He started the season strong (154 wRC+ in March/April) and finished well (204 wRC+ in September/October) but struggled in the middle of the season (88 wRC+ from May to August). Still, the veteran shortstop finished with a 120 wRC+ and finished both a home run and stolen bases shy of a 20-20 season.

Swanson has blossomed into one of the best defenders in the Majors but his offensive game has shown major strides in the last half-decade. He has slugged at least 20 home runs in three straight seasons -- including 22 last year in his first season with the Cubs -- and has roughly been right above league average with the bat. He likely won't ever find himself in the top tier of fantasy shortstops but he's a respectable starting option.

It's hard to live up to the expectations as a rookie shortstop for the Yankees but Volpe more than held his own as a 22-year-old in The Bronx. Sure, there's room for improvement from his 84 wRC+ and .283 OBP but posting a 20/20 season and winning a Gold Glove Award as a rookie shortstop is no small feat. There's a reason why Volpe was a top prospect entering last season and there's optimism that he can take his game to a higher level in '24.

Tier 4: Willy Adames, Ezequiel Tovar, Trevor Story, Jeremy Peña, Carlos Correa

Adames has clubbed 108 home runs since his first full MLB season in 2019, third-most among shortstops behind only Lindor (117) and Seager (116). Adames probably won't find himself in the top tier of fantasy shortstops due to his propensity to strike out (career 27.7% strikeout rate) and his .247 career batting average. Still, Adames is durable (at least 139 games in the last three seasons in Milwaukee), slugs home runs and generates enough walks to make him a fine low-end regular in fantasy.

The bad news is that Tovar has struggled to see his strong Minor League numbers translate to the Majors with the Rockies, which has mainly boiled down to his plate discipline. When you're striking out nearly seven times as often as you are walking, you need to offset it with a strong power output, which has not been the case for Tovar and his career .404 SLG. The good news is Tovar is still just 22 years old and showed enough of a power/speed combo in '23 (15 home runs, 11 stolen bases) to warrant a look in '24.

Story didn't debut until August last season following right elbow surgery and never got things going in Boston, posting a .203/.250/.316 batting line in 43 games with a 48 wRC+. Story's days as a star shortstop may never return but the hope is that he can perform closer to his '22 self, when he was worth 2.4 WAR, slugged 16 home runs and stole 13 bases.

Outside of the truncated 2020 season, we've never seen Correa struggle the way he did in '23. Excluding '20, the veteran shortstop set career lows in BA (.230), OBP (.312), SLG (.399) and wRC+ (96). It's important to note that Correa dealt with plantar fasciitis all season, which could've played a big role in his performing so far below his career norms. The Correa conundrum is you can easily project a bounceback with the Twins in 2024, yet his extensive injury history will give any fantasy baseball manager cause for concern.