This year’s current crop of shortstops is very shallow to say the least. Shortstop is the thinnest position outside of catcher in fantasy baseball. Even the consensus top three were hurt at some point last year missing a combined 89 games. After the top three we see a collection of young up and coming players, veterans on the down side, and many question marks. This is not a position you will be looking at for power or 100+ RBI but you can find some 15/15 guys or high average, 100+ runs and SB. With so many youngsters at this position do not get fooled by the hype of potential upside. Two of the youngest and most hyped are Elvis and Starlin. Elvis is going in drafts 6 rounds earlier than Starlin with, in my opinion, equal upside and worse production. Compare last year: Elvis .265 0HR 35RBI 88R and 32 SB, Starlin .300 3HR 41RBI 53R and 10SB in 20 fewer games. Both will bat lead off with Elvis garnering more R and SB but Starlin will win out in BA, HR, and RBI and can be had 90 picks later. The lesson here is if you cannot grab the top 3 in this position do not get caught up in the hype of upside, grab consistency in later rounds for value. Most of you will be surprised with who I have ranked at 4th on our list here. Just remember I told you this in late January.
- Troy Tulowitzki –Rockies
- Hanley Ramirez - Marlins
- Jose Reyes – Mets
- Alexei Ramirez –White Sox
- Jimmy Rollins –Phillies
- Derek Jeter –Yankees
- Stephen Drew – D’Backs
- Elvis Andrus – Rangers
- Starlin Castro – Cubs
- Ian Desmond – Nats
- Rafael Furcal – Dodgers
- Alcides Escobar – Royals
- Yunel Escobar – Blue Jays
- Alex Gonzalez – Braves
- Miguel Tejada – Giants
Tulowitzki has the all around game. Power, speed, and the best hitters park in the majors. He might not get to 20SB but is a lock for 25 HR and 100+ RBI. He will bat 3rd this year and will be MVP fodder if he starts off as he finished last year.
Ramirez is basically 1a on this list and 1 on a majority of expert’s rankings. I feel he is on a last place team this year and his lack of a pennant race and weak supporting cast will keep his number flat. But his flat numbers are better than everyone else.
Reyes could struggle if he is batting all over the line up this year. Keep him in the lead off spot and he will come close to 110R and 40SB. Look for 15 HR or better if they place him down in the order.
The other Ramirez is my sleeper at this position. Look for a big year from the White Sox. Ramirez will hit from the 2 hole with Pierre ahead of him tormenting pitchers, behind him will be Rios, Dunn, and Konerko. If Alexei can take a few more walks his R will close to 90. Combine that with 20/20 season and we have the best SS in the American League.
Rollins has been a former MVP but is clearly on a decline across the board. Blame it on a combination of injuries and age. I expect his running to continue to decline but power to be steady. He will always put up big R numbers in that line up so look for a 15/15 season with 90+ Run potential if he can stay on the field.
Jeter is Jeter, the lead off hitter in that potent line-up. He has numerous milestones coming this year: 3000 hits, 500 doubles, 250 HR, 1200 RBI. Don’t worry; you won’t go a week without Sport Center cramming that info down your throat. Look for a 12/12 season with 100+ Runs.
Drew could be hitting clean up all year in the dessert and will be asked to provide more power on an anemic offensive squad. He won’t be running much this year but should have 80+ RBI.
Andrus didn’t hit a single HR last year but hit 6 in his rookie campaign. He gets a few in 2011 and will use his speed to leg out many more infield hits. As long as his hammys are in good shape he will run like Forrest Gump and score many Runs in Arlington’s mid summer heat.
Castro will improve on last year. Rumors have it he has bulked up and will look to provide some pop in windy Wrigley. He will have just turned 21 the week before opening day and is expected to bat lead off all year for Quade.
Desmond could be fantastic if he could cut down his K rate. A little power and a little speed make him very serviceable. Not sure where he will bat on the revamped Nats team but do not look for good R numbers even though he has some speed. The Nats will be battling Florida for last place in the East.
Furcal is a nice switch hitting SS who had trouble staying healthy in the past few years. When healthy he is a threat on the bases. I like Davey Lopes helping this team on the bases so look for a spike in SB and any power from him is a bonus.
Escobar could be let loose to roam after the trade to KC. The Royals need some excitement to butts in seats so look for Escobar to break out the tools that the Brewers had him keep in his tool box last year while batting 8th. Her will hit high in the order and produce some Runs and excitement
Escobar (the Canadian version) is built like a power hitting SS and will emerge after getting out of Atlanta and his beef with Bobby Cox. Look for close to 15 HR in Toronto for a guy who always put the ball in play with a low K rate.
Gonzalez has put up 14+ HR 5 times in his 12 year career. He seemed to flourish in Atlanta last year after the trade. He showed he could put up power numbers and there is no reason for that to fall off in that line up.
Tejada is a former MVP and seems to turn it on and off every couple of years. Playing in SF he has no pressure to be the man so I expect him to quietly put up solid numbers across the board. He may bat as low as 7th in the order but will contribute.
So, do you agree, disagree, or want to kick me in the knee over my SS ranking? Drop a comment and let me and the other readers know.