Few would argue our 2020 shortstop rankings are as thin as they've been in previous years, but smart fantasy baseball owners know they should always be on the lookout for undervalued sleepers at this important position. Fortunately, there are several overlooked veterans and/or potential SS breakouts who need to be circled on draft cheat sheets this spring.
Some of the players below (Dansby Swanson, Didi Gregorius) don't have to worry about starting jobs this spring, while others might begin the year in a platoon or at Triple-A. That just creates more opportunities for value during your draft, though, so don't be discouraged if your favorite breakout pick has a slow start. The baseball season is long, and all it takes is one injury or hot streak for an under-the-radar player to really take off.
DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2020 Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet
2020 Fantasy Baseball SS Sleepers
Position eligibility based on Yahoo default settings (10 games played or 5 games started)
Didi Gregorius, Phillies. Gregorius developed plus-power during his time with the Yankees, which was especially on display last year when he hit 16 HRs in just 82 games. It's tempting to think he was just a Yankee Stadium creation, but he actually hit noticeably better on the road in 2015, '17, and '19. He can pop plenty of homers in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, and that will lead to plenty of runs and RBIs. Back in the NL, he might even flirt with 10 steals. Given his relatively low ADP, Gregorius looks like a major value.
Carter Kieboom, Nationals. Kieboom struggled in his 11-game MLB stint last year (.128/.209/.282), but he killed it at Triple-A (.303/.409/.493), which still tells us a lot about the 22-year-old infielder. Kieboom has a great shot at winning the Nationals starting 3B job the spring, and if he does, the production will follow. With a career .287/.378/.469 line in the minors, it's clear Kieboom has the talent to break out once he becomes acclimated to MLB pitching, and he can even throw in a few steals to further raise his value.
Dansby Swanson, Braves. Swanson continues to gradually improve, and heading into his age-26 season, he could be on the verge of a breakout. He had a career high in isolated power last year (.172), and he also posted career highs in batting average, OBP and SLG over a full season. In a loaded offense, Swanson should have run-scoring and run-producing opportunities, so if his power and on-base ability continue to develop, he should post nice numbers across the board.
Luis Urias, Brewers (also eligible at 2B). Urias disappointed in his 83 big-league games with the Padres, hitting just .221 with six homers and a steal. But at just 22, his best years are yet to come. He's going to be helped this season by playing in a hitter-friendly park, and he showed what he can do in better hitting environments last year at Triple-A (.315/.398/.600 with 19 HRs and seven SBs in 73 games). Urias is dealing with a wrist injury this spring, but he's the favorite for the Brewers' SS job once he returns to the field. The tools are there for Urias to make good on his top-prospect status this year.
Garrett Hampson, Rockies (2B, OF). Hampson is another highly touted prospect who struggled mightily early on last year, hitting just .200/.239/.285 in the first half. He showed signs of life in the second half, though, posting a .284/.348/.462 line and hitting seven HRs with 11 SBs in just 58 games. Hampson doesn't have a clear path to playing time this spring, but if he can snag a spot in the OF or if the aging Daniel Murphy struggles at 1B, Hampson could find himself getting regular at-bats. That's all he needs to produce, particularly in the stolen base department.
Ryan Mountcastle, Orioles. It's unclear where exactly Mountcastle would play if he makes the big club out of spring training, but his bat looks big-league ready. Last year in 127 games at Triple-A, Mountcastle hit 25 HRs and slashed .312/.344/.527. That's in line with what he did at Double-A the year before. The 23-year-old righty doesn't walk much, which is a bit of a worry as he prepares for the next step in his professional career, but he shouldn't have a problem hitting homers in Baltimore's tiny home park. He could find himself playing any of the infield positions, so his eventual multi-position eligibility will give him additional fantasy value.
Other SS-eligible sleepers we've highlighted elsewhere: Scott Kingery (2B), Mauricio Dubon (2B), Nick Madrigal (2B), Jon Berti (3B)