2014 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Shortstop
After delineation, deliberation, and anticipation, here are your 2014 Philly.com Fantasy Baseball rankings.
Over the next several weeks, we will unleash the top players at each position, culminating in a handy guide to help you through your draft.
Here's what we've covered so far:
1. Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers
2013: 304 AB, .345 AVG, 1.040 OPS, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 10 SB, 27 BB, 52 K
What an insane half-season for Ramirez, who fit in just fine with the Dodgers upon his return. He’ll be a stat-filler this season, however, it comes down to his health. He’s missed chunks of time in three of the last four seasons. But, oh, that Dodger lineup. He’ll be in the heart of an order that is loaded from top to bottom. I wouldn’t count on him hitting a homer every 17 at-bats again like last season, although you can definitely pencil him in for 20 bombs and plenty of RBI opportunities. Draft high; late first, early second.
2. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
2013: 446 AB, .312 AVG, .931 OPS, 25 HR, 82 RBI, 57 BB, 85 K
Tulo can be a real pain, mainly because he's always in pain. When he plays, there are few like him in the majors. At one of the thinner positions, normally devoid of top-notch power, Tulo has to go high, even if he’s only going to play 130 games. The damage he inflicted over just 126 games last season was impressive. If he can get even close to a full season’s worth of at-bats, expect 30 homers and well over 100 RBI. He’s somewhat frustrating, as awesome as he is, that he can never hold it together for a full year.
3. Ian Desmond, Nationals
2013: 600 AB, .280 AVG, .784 OPS, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 43 BB, 145 K
A lot depends on your league when it comes to Desmond. If you’re in a points league, he’ll hurt you with his high strikeout and low walk totals. Desmond makes up for that with great power and speed, as he went 20/20 two seasons in a row and is only 28. Another good season is ahead for Desmond.
4. Elvis Andrus, Rangers
2013: 620 AB, .271 AVG, .659 OPS, 4 HR, 67 RBI, 42 SB, 52 BB, 97 K
Because of his ability to score a ton of runs and steal a ton of bases, Andrus is ranked this high. He’ll help you out in the RBI category a bit too, ranking 5th among shortstops last season. Andrus doesn’t kill you with average, and he’s far from a category-filler, yet he’s steady and falls into the second tier of shortstops with Desmond and Reyes.
5. Jose Reyes, Blue Jays
2013: 382 AB, .296 AVG, .780 OPS, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 15 SB, 34 BB, 47 K
The reason I have Reyes ranked below Andrus is because of his inability to stay healthy. Leg problems have taken their toll on Reyes, as he’s missed significant time in four of the last five seasons. In Yahoo! leagues, Reyes is being selected in the fourth round, but I think there’s better value that high. I’d wait him out a bit because I don’t trust the health concerns.
6. Starlin Castro, Cubs
2013: 666 AB, .245 AVG, .631 OPS, 10 HR, 44 RBI, 30 BB, 129 K
Castro was supposed to be the next big thing, until he wasn’t. He fell flat on his face last season and hurt many owners who assumed a breakout was near. Playing for the Cubs sometimes does that. I see a better year in line. Expect him to steal more bases and pick up the power. But he’ll have to cut down on the strikeouts a bit; Castro will hurt you in the K-spot in category leagues.
7. Ben Zobrist, Rays
2013: 157 G, .275 AVG, .756 OPS, 36 2B, 12 HR, 71 RBI, 72 BB, 91 K
The multi-dimensional Zobrist is a fantastic utility player to have as he’s also eligible at shortstop and outfield. Over the past five seasons, only Evan Longoria and Miguel Cabrera have a higher total WAR than Zobrist. He will be 33 and his best days are likely behind him, but he’ll hit you 15 homers, knock in a decent amount of runs, and even steal double-digit bases.
8. Jean Segura, Brewers
2013: 588 AB, .294 AVG, .752 OPS, 12 HR, 49 RBI, 44 SB, 25 BB, 84 K
It was a tale of two seasons for Segura. He hit .325 avg before the break, and .241 after it. He hit 11 homers before the break, and just one in the second half. You get the picture. What you know you’ll get is high-end speed, so even if he disappoints with the bat like he did at the end of last season, you‘ll still be helped in a major category. After Segura, there is a major drop off in production at shortstop.
9. JJ Hardy, Orioles
2013: 601 AB, .263 AVG, .738 OPS, 25 HR, 76 RBI, 38 BB, 73 K
Hardy plays in a very potent Orioles lineup, but won’t wow you in many categories besides the 20-plus homers. He provides no speed and a middling batting average, plus he'll hurt you in OBP leagues. I’d try my best to get one of the top eight shortstops because I feel the differences are stark.
10. Andrelton Simmons, Braves
2013: 606 AB, .248 AVG, .692 OPS, 17 HR, 59 RBI, 40 BB, 59 K
We could be looking at the next shortstop to join the elite ranks. Too often, rookie players hit a wall and begin to descend as the season wears on. In 90 games before the all-star break, Simmons put up 21 extra base hits. In just 66 games post-break, Simmons smacked 29 extra-base hits. I think he can roll that second half into 2014. If he does, that’s a hell of a selection.
11. Evereth Cabrera, Padres
2013: 381 AB, .283 AVG, .736 OPS, 4 HR, 31 RBI, 41 BB, 69 K, 37 SB
Tisk, tisk. Cabrera was inching toward 50 steals last year before he got nailed for a banned substance, ending his season early. Cabrera won’t do much other than walk a bit and steal a ton of bases. Now you’ll wonder how much the PED’s played a role.
12. Jed Lowrie, A’s
2013: 603 AB, .290 AVG, .791 OPS, 15 HR, 75 RBI, 50 BB, 91 K
Lowrie was most likely a late round pick, at best, last season and cleaned up for you if you were lucky enough. The good: power from a weak position, eligibility at 2B, and of course a solid OBP for cat-leagues that account for it. The bad: Lowrie had never done that before. Was it a one-year wonder?
13. Derek Jeter, Yankees
2013: 63 AB, .190 AVG, 1 HR, 7 RBI
Everyone is well aware that Jeter is coming down the stretch. I think he has one good year left. And at this point in the draft, all the shortstops start blending together. If Jeter can hold it together one last time, he should score a good amount of runs and might surprise you with one more Jeter-like year. Just maybe.
14. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
2013: 508 AB, .242 AVG, .700 OPS, 14 HR, 64 RBI, 35 BB, 114 K, 9 SB
Cabrera is no longer the 25-homer guy he was a few years back. But later in the draft, he’s a decent backup. He’ll hurt you in K’s and doesn’t walk a ton. But 15 homers isn’t bad.
15. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
2013: 600 AB, .252 AVG, .667 OPS, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 22 SB, 59 BB, 93 K
What does Jimmy have left? He’ll tell you the tank is still near full, but I think we know J-Roll is on the back-nine. That doesn’t mean he can’t be helpful in spurts. The power is likely gone, although I certainly believe he’ll hit more than the six he provided a season ago. Plus, Rollins still has decent wheels, swiping 22 bags in ‘13. But his batting average is what it is and we know Jimmy isn’t a huge on-base threat. I don’t think he’s a starter in many leagues, but can provide you with solid insurance should your first option go down. My gut tells me .260, 10 HR, 52 RBI, 18 SB. Not terrible. But not the old Jimmy, either.
16. Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals
2013 (with DET): 409 AB, .303 AVG, .815, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 35 BB, 98 K
Peralta goes to the Cardinals, who seem to unearth gems left and right. I’d imagine he’ll fit in nicely. He’ll give some pop and his average won’t destroy you in category leagues. But, Peralta is also coming off a 50-game ban. Will he be the same?
17. Brad Miller, Mariners
2013: 306 AB, .265 AVG, .737 OPS, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 24 BB, 52 K
Late-round flier type that could hit for a little power and might surprise should he get upwards of 500 at-bats. We all know Safeco is a real SOB sometimes.
18. Jonathan Villar, Astros
2013: 210 AB, .243 AVG, .640 OPS, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 18 SB
Oh hey, former Phillies prospect! Villar is a one trick pony right now, and that trick ain’t bad. He grabbed 18 steals last year and with a full season, could near 35-40. Showed a little pop in the minors, hitting double-digits in two of the last three seasons. AL-only league or late, late pick.
19. Erick Aybar, Angels
2013: 550 AB, .271 AVG, .683 OPS, 6 HR, 54 RBI, 12 SB, 23 BB, 59 K
Keep an eye on him for the steals alone.
20. Zach Cozart, Reds
2013: 567 AB, .254 AVG, 12 HR, 63 RBI, 26 BB, 102 K
No speed, a little power, terrible at getting on-base. Cozart is what he is at this point.
Five more just in case
21. Stephen Drew, FA
22. Alcedes Escobar, Royals
23. Yunel Escobar, Rays
24. Jose Iglesias, Tigers
25. Brandon Crawford, Giants
Now check out the rest of our rankings:
Contact Pat on Twitter: @PatGallen_975