May 22, 2024

Clearing The Bases: Shortstops

March 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Today, or tonight depending upon when you are reading this, we will finish up our look at the middle infielders with a look at our top 15 shortstops.  There is not a lot to like here as this position has two outstanding players, then maybe three or four other players you wouldn’t mind having, then a whole bunch of question marks that could almost be put into any order you want.  If you’re unable to get one of the top six players, than waiting on until later in your draft is the direction you should be heading.  There just isn’t to many players to reach for here.

1.       Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins:  Didn’t exactly go out on a limb here now did I.  While I do believe that HRam is the number one shortstop, I have my doubts as to whether or not he is still the second best player in fantasy.  Not sure what I would do with the number two pick in a fantasy draft, might just try and trade it away.  Ramirez is however in great shape and seems to have matured a bit as he is trying to take on more of a leadership role with Florida.

2.       Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies:  Tulo is easily the second best SS in fantasy but beware, he does tend to get off to slow starts, has been injury prone in the past, and his points do tend to come in bunches which can be difficult to handle in a head to head league.  That being said he is just to good to pass up at a weak position, and will go in the first round of most drafts.

3.       Jose Reyes, New York Mets:  One of the bigger gambles in fantasy.  When healthy he is a dynamic player who can do it all.  Sort of the middle infield version of the Red Sox Carl Crawford, but staying healthy has been a major problem throughout his career.  This is a contract year for Reyes however so he does have big time incentive to stay on the field and put up big numbers.  The question is will the Mets not give him the green light as much on the bases for fear of him injuring himself.

4.       Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox:  Ramirez is a player who I am personally looking to grab later on in drafts.  I believe he will have a better season than either Rollins or Jeter, but I since most rankings have Ramirez behind those two I would rather take a chance and wait until after they are drafted before zeroing in on Ramirez.  Ramirez is a player who keep s getting better and better each season, and 2011 could be his breakout year.

5.       Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies:  Rollins had a tough time staying healthy in 2010, playing in only 88 games.  His numbers suffered as he no longer looks like the five tool player he was just a few seasons ago.  His batting average has been in the .250 neighborhood the past two seasons, and it’s not like his power or run producing will make up for it.  The good news is that his speed hasn’t waned as he was on pace to steal 30+ bases if he played a full season.  There has also been some question as to where he will bat in the order as the Phillies lineup is in a state of flux, especially with normal third place hitter Chase Utley not being able to play yet.

6.       Derek Jeter, New York Yankees:   Jeter had the worst season of his career in 2010 and that started the whispers that it’s the beginning of the end for Jeter.  The Yankees and Jeter have tinkered with his swing this spring to enable him to get to the hard stuff on the inside of the plate.  Seems unusual for a player with Jeter’s success and service in the league to tinker with what has made him successful.  Perhaps this goes on more than we know but we’re hearing about it because it’s Jeter and he plays for the Yankees, perhaps not.  Either way where you select him comes down to answering one key question, do you believe Jeter just had one bad season, or do you believe 2010 was a sign of things to come.

7.       Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers:  Andrus have never quite been the player many thought he would be.  Outside of his ability to steal 30+ bases he doesn’t have any other value on the offensive side of the ball.  He did not hit a HR last season, hard to do playing in Texas, and only drove in 35 runs.  He scored 88 runs but with his speed you would think he should cross the plate a bit more, and just doesn’t get on base enough with an OBP of .342.  I suppose there is some upside, but he’s not someone that should be drafted early.

8.       Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks:  Drew seems to be a player that more is expected from.  He had a big season in 2008 which led many to believe that it was just the tip of the iceberg.  Unfortunately that may have been his plateau as he has been unable to approach that level of power (21 HRs) since.  He’s still is a decent producer and does run more than in the past, just don’t think he’s about to have a career season.

9.       Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles Dodgers:  For the second time in three season’s Furcal failed

to play in at least 100 games.  Sure he produces when he’s in the lineup, but just how often that will be is a hug question mark.  He could be a steal late in your draft if he can stay healthy, but his recent history would seem to suggest that it would be highly unlikely that Furcal will be able to do so.

10.   Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs:  Castro has the makings of a star shortstop for the Cubs.  For fantasy purposes he may still need another season before he climbs further in the rankings.  Right now he doesn’t have enough power or steal enough bases to truly be an asset is shallow leagues, in deeper, dynasty, or keeper  leagues however he could be worth drafting a little higher as his best years seem to be in the future.

11.   Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians:   Cabrera had a breakout season in 2009 with 68 RBIs, 17 SBs, and a .308 AVG, but  a broken forearm cost him half of last season ruining what was a solid sleeper candidate at the SS position.  Cabrera seems to be an afterthought this season, but if you wait until late in your draft to grab a SS and need some steals, Cabrera could be your man.

12.   J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles:  You could pretty much put any of these last four shortstops, and maybe a few others in any order you want.  Hardy has a disappointing season in 2010 as he found it hard to stay healthy and even harder to hit in Target Field.  One has to believe that playing in the band box that is Camden Yards might help his power numbers.

13.   Yunel Escobar, Toronto Blue Jays:  Those who thought that a change of scenery would help Escobar, better think again.  Escobar was dealt out of Atlanta after a series of run in with manager Bobby Cox.  He was not a player favorite in the clubhouse and was traded to Toronto.  Toronto may be a homer heaven for right handed hitters, but Escobar certainly didn’t take advantage.  Perhaps he just needed time to adjust to a new team and a new league and this will be the year that he will break out.

14.   Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels:  I’m just not a big fan of Aybar as he doesn’t seem to have much upside and outside of some SBs I just don’t see any upside.  In my mind he is nothing more than a reserve player or someone I might be looking to claim off the waiver wire.

15.   Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers:  Peralta is someone I wouldn’t mind targeting later in a draft as he has power potential and has 3B eligibility.   Not that I would want to start him at 3B, but in case of an injury it’s nice to know you have an option on your bench that wouldn’t totally kill you.

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