The Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies made rather large financial investments in free agent shortstops this past offseason, pushing Nico Hoerner, Ha-Seong Kim and Bryson Stott, respectively, over to second base. More established veterans Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts and Trea Turner cashed in with lucrative, long-term contracts and fantasy managers gleefully invested in them for the early rounds.
A funny thing happened in another unpredictable fantasy season. Hoerner and Kim were far more valuable in fantasy than the players they moved positions for, though they went considerably later in drafts, if they went at all. Turner was a top-three pick in many leagues. Stott was more valuable until a recent Turner hot streak. Extracting major statistics from late-round picks or free agent additions is crucial, and Hoerner, Kim and Stott have been among the most valuable players in fantasy.
Hoerner and Kim each surpassed 30 stolen bases for the season with more than a month to spare, while also hitting for high batting average and scoring myriad runs leading their respective lineups. Stott may still get to 30 steals. No, these players are not as valuable as Los Angeles Dodgers 1B Freddie Freeman and OF/2B/SS Mookie Betts, Kansas City Royals SS/3B Bobby Witt Jr. or a host of others chosen in the first rounds of ESPN average live drafts, but Hoerner, Kim and Stott were fantastic values. We expect top-20 players to perform as top options. We do not expect players outside the top 200 to do so.