This week we will be taking a look at 3 Shortstops that could be useful to target in your dynasty/keeper leagues. One player you may see in the majors this season named Carter Kieboom and two that you can see in the future Gavin Lux and Wander Franco. Two of these guys are actually very similar; they got drafted in the same year only a few picks apart, and they have similar profiles. They will be rounded out in this article with a guy in the name of Wander Franco, who just may have better potential than both the aforementioned prospects. One important note before we move forward, today I will profile Carter Kieboom and Gavin Lux as shortstops. When they reach the majors, there is a chance that either or both can reach the majors at a different position. This does not however affect how I value them.
Carter Kieboom going into this season was being hyped as having a chance to make the roster at some point in 2019. This will be his age 21 season, but he has not surpassed AA ball. In fact, he had less than 300 PA’s at the AA level so there was little to no chance of him making the roster out of spring. This was a pipe dream for Kieboom fans, until the Nationals signed Brian Dozier to a one year deal. Since then, people tempered their expectations of Kieboom from an early call up to a possible after all star break, or even a September call up. Then last night (April 2nd) Trea Turner fractured his finger attempting a bunt. As of right now the Nats do not plan on calling up Kieboom as a replacement, but I would keep an eye on the situation. If Turner is out for a long period of time the chances of Kieboom getting a call could increase.
Kieboom as a player can be a dynamic bat for a fantasy owner and in real life. He has power/ speed ability with a decent average. Last year between advanced A (A+) and AA, he hit .280AVG, 16HR, 84R, 69RBI, 9SB. The closest comparison at the major league level from last year would be DJ LeMahieu (.276 AVG, 15HR, 90R, 62RBI and 6SB). Now of course LeMahieu was not a top player last year, but he certainly was useful and I think that a floor of that production can be a good place to start.
Fantasy Outlook: In a redraft league, I would have a radar on Kieboom. But do not add him, unless you have a very big bench and a big need at 2B or SS. In a keeper league, I do not think Kieboom would warrant being a keeper by the end of this season, but next year he could reach that status. In a dynasty league, I would try to acquire Kieboom with the upside he possesses. If he continues to grow, I think the power can get in between the 20-25 range with the same average, but that can be a few years down the line.
Gavin Lux- LAD
Gavin is someone I have had my eyes on since he got drafted in 2016. He is actually the same age as Kieboom (21) and got drafted eight picks ahead. Lux is someone I can see at shortstop or second base and that can depend on what the Dodgers want to do with Corey Seager by the time that Lux is ready. Though Kieboom may be closer to the majors, I believe that Lux has more potential and a higher ceiling. There are two reasons for that, Lux’s speed and hit tool.
Last year between two levels, Lux hit .324 at both levels and combined for 15HR and 13SB. Lux has also shown that he has the ability to steal more than 13 SB, in 2017 he stole 27 bases. If Lux can repeat the speed while maintaining the power we could see a breakout season. Unlike Washington, the Dodgers do not have a reason to rush Lux’s development at the moment. Therefore we will most likely have to wait a little longer to see Lux in a Dodger uniform.
Fantasy Outlook: In a redraft and keeper league I would consider Lux at this moment. Where he is most valuable is the leagues where you have a prospect roster or dynasty leagues. If possible I would pick him up or trade for him. I do not believe his trade value would be sky high at this moment, but that may not be the case at the end of this season if he can put it all together. Future potential could be similar to Jean Segura or Jose Peraza from 2018.
Wander Franco- TB
Wander Franco is an 18 Year old that completely burst on the scene last year and over this offseason. Two years ago he was signed by Tampa Bay during the July 2nd International signing. According to MLB.com he was the #2 ranked prospect of that class to be signed behind only Shohei Ohtani. The next year he jumped up to the #14 overall prospect without even taking an at bat in professional baseball. Last year the hype really started with Franco’s season stats in Rookie ball:
What stands out to me most is the discipline of the 7% strikeout rate while maintaining the almost 10% walk rate and hitting over .300 AVG. That is some elite hitting skills even if that isn’t sustainable through an entire season or at higher levels. Coming into 2019, Franco is ranked #13 overall and ranked #5 Shortstop ahead of both Kieboom and Lux. By the end of the season I can see Franco ranked higher in position. Some other lists can have Franco as high as #2 overall coming into this season.
Fantasy Outlook: The problem with Franco is the absence of a big track record. As of right now we are going off of less than 300 AB’s from last season. If you are a firm believer and are willing to wait on Franco, then I would not blame you. I do not see the price lowering too much barring a disappointing season this year. You will be waiting about three years to see Franco at the major league level, and the wait could very well be worth it if we can have the next superstar on our hands.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday March 31st, 2019 from 8pm-9:30pm EST for episode #148 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. We will discuss spot starters for the coming week, plus a weekend update, and look ahead to next week.
Our guest this week is Brandon Ziman. Brandon is the newest baseball writer to join the crew in 2019. His articles publish every Thursday and covers the minor leaguers.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday April 4th, 2019 from 7:30-9pm EST for episode #149 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Cole and Kyle will discuss the latest happenings in the world of MLB and fantasy. They will take a look back on the previous few days and a preview of the coming weekend. Including spot starts, bullpens, offense, and minor league players.