Whenever we discussed the shortstop position in the preseason, we always had to add a caveat: "Don't forget, Trea Turner will be shortstop eligible within the first week of the season." Adding a potentially elite player to the position would obviously make it a bit easier to fill that spot in your lineup, and many of you undoubtedly drafted Turner with the expectation you would play him at shortstop before long.
Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice, men, and all that. Turner suffered a hamstring injury before appearing in the field in his fifth game of the season, and didn't receive shortstop eligibility until after a DL stint, three weeks into the season. He finally received it heading into Week 4 of the Fantasy season, but not before you had to spend the first three weeks with a subpar option at shortstop -- for me, it was Tyler Saladino, who I like, but… come on. Not to mention a subpar option in the outfield to replace Turner for the time he missed.
All's well that ends well, I guess, because Turner did receive his shortstop eligibility, giving the position another much-needed elite bat. These days, it seems none of the elite shortstops have really lived up to expectations, Turner included. Corey Seager and Francisco Lindor was third and second at the position in OPS so far, but Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and Manny Machado have all been disappointments, as have players like Jonathan Villar and Jean Segura, in the next tier.
All told, only six everyday shortstops have an OPS over .800 on the season, with names like Chris Owings and Andrelton Simmons included, hardly a great sign for the health of the position. Turner getting shortstop eligibility will help, as soon as he finds his bat, and the good news about missing out on him for the first three weeks of the season is, nobody else has gotten much from the position so far. If this goes on for a few more weeks, we might have to re-evaluate the strength of the position as a whole.
Gained eligibility this week
The Orioles are trying to get Trey Mancini's bat in the lineup, starting him in four of the team's last six games. Now we'll see if he's worth it. He's been a strong source of power in his limited exposure, but the minor-league track record isn't super promising, so we'll see.
It might have barely seemed to matter last week, when Ryon Healy was hitting just .170/.304/.340 in the team's first 12 games, but he has hit .524 over the last seven, and certainly looks like a viable corner infield option at this point. You probably won't have much use for him at first base, though.
1 game away from eligibility
More help could be on the way for the shortstop position, though Alex Bregman and Hernan Perez need to start hitting first. There's a lot to like about the potential both have shown, but neither has hit enough to justify even a starting SS spot so far this season. It would certainly be easier to stomach Bregman's subpar production at SS, but with Correa back from his hand injury, there's no telling when he might slide over a spot and get his fifth appearance.
Jay Bruce has slowed down a bit in recent games, but he would be a viable CI option if he keeps hitting the ball in the air the way he has. The more relevant news here is that, with Lucas Duda out, Michael Conforto has been able to get opportunities in the outfield, where he has the chance to be a difference maker. When healthy, the Mets have too many bats to play every day, but their collection of interesting players rarely seems to be healthy at the same time.
2 games away from eligibility
Anthony Rizzo got another appearance as second base, thanks to the Cubs' inventive squeeze bunt coverage. These appearances will be sporadic, but with three in the span of about 10 days, it's only a matter of time before he gets there, it seems. Remember, it only takes one play to get an appearance.
Carlos Santana and Kendrys Morales should get their dual eligibility as soon as their teams' next appearances in an NL park. Both have two-game series in NL parks coming up in May, so that could be it, however one random off-day in could push things back. Still, both the Blue Jays and Indians have five games in NL parks by the middle of the June, so you'll still have flexibility for most of the season.
3 games away from eligibility
Not exactly the most exciting group of players here, but you should see some of the names I left off! Chase Headley is hitting well for now, but is 33 and six years removed from his last Fantasy-relevant season.
Motter has been hitting well for the Mariners, but doesn't have much of a minor-league track record to back him up. Still, between shortstop, the outfield, and first base, he has the chance to get in the lineup nearly every day, even if he only likely matters in Fantasy as a MI option in deeper leagues.
Eduardo Nunez matters if for no other reason than his ability to steal bases, especially since you need to fill five outfield spots in Roto leagues. He is also three games away from SS eligibility.