If you were looking solely at the real life stats and WAR of shortstops in 2023, you would think that JP Crawford would've been a valuable piece to have in fantasy baseball. He had the second best offensive rating on Fangraphs, and was T-4th overall for shortstops last season. He had to have a high value in fantasy baseball then, right?
Unfortunately, that isn't always the case when it comes to translating real-life value to fantasy baseball. Still, you would think that Crawford would be ranked, and someone you would want to seriously consider for your shortstop position, right?
JP Crawford is a back-end draftee at best when it comes to Fantasy Baseball
Well, you'd be wrong once again. Even though Crawford was incredibly valuable to the Mariners and to the actual game of baseball, he wasn't in fantasy. Part of that comes from how positional availability and assignments work in fantasy. There are a ton of players who have eligibility at SS, but they don't actually play that position that often, if at all anymore. Lots of those players have moved to 2B, 3B, or even OF.
Crawford actually finished as the 16th ranked SS last season in standard scoring. That's hard to believe, but there is no value in fantasy for a player who doesn't steal bases and that walks a lot.
Look, if you think that JP can duplicate what he did last year, then by all means, draft him as a flyer at the end of your draft. Especially if you have those extra utility spots and maybe some MI spots as well. Crawford finished around 160th last year, which makes him rosterable in deeper 10-team leagues or in some 12-team leagues.
This year, he is projected to finish around 200th, and the positional ranking on him sits anywhere from 12th down to 36th. This is going to come down to how your league is set up. A standard and shallow league, and Crawford shouldn't be rostered. Anything larger or deeper, and you can grab him at the back end of the draft. If we see another season like last year, then he is going to be worth having on your team.
However, with a BA in the 260s, no steals, and not a lot of opportunity for RBI, it brings his fantasy value down. Keep that in mind as you approach your draft when it comes to JP Crawford.