Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Shortstop
Hanley and Tulo duked it out for the top spot in our rankings this year. Either could easily be the 2014 MVP. They could also each miss 100 games with an injury. No position has as many health question marks at the top of the rankings like shortstop does. There definitely some steady guys that you can go with if you’re looking for a bit more predictability from your shortstop. Below the rankings is a more detailed preview of the top 10 shortstops.
Top 10 Fantasy Shortstops
Hanley Ramirez (LAD) - Last year many people attribute the Dodgers turnaround to rookie phenom Yasiel Puig, and you won’t find a bigger Puig fan than me, but it’s clear that it was Ramirez and his gaudy 190 OPS+ that carried the Dodgers to the NL West title last year. Now he’s had a full off season to heal, I expect Hanley to have a monster season.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) - It’s always been injuries for Tulo. When he plays a full season, he racks up huge numbers for any position player. He’s the type of player that can put up a 100 R, 30 HR, 100 RBI season. There aren’t many of those guys in the majors right now and none in the middle infield.
Jose Reyes (TOR) - Another health question mark. While he has delivered top numbers over the years, he’s entering his age 31 season. Fantasy owners used to be able to count on 90+ R, 8 HR, 50 RBI, 40+ SB and a .290 AVG from Reyes. Moving forward I see those numbers ticking down. He’s not in the top tier of fantasy shortstops any more.
Ian Desmond (WSH) - Desmond is a 20/20 guy who carries a .273/.318/.432 slash line. If you miss on a higher rated shortstop, getting a steady, Ian Desmond may actually be a saving grace.
Jean Segura (MIL) - Segura burst onto the baseball scene last year. He was a major chip in the Zack Greinke deal with the Angels and last year we saw why. He got off to a crazy hot start last year with a first half OPS of .849. He cooled off considerably over the second half managing only a .583 OPS. Most of numbers declined in the 2nd half but he still managed to swipe 17 of his 44 bases in just 54 2nd half games. Even though he wasn’t getting on base nearly as much in the 2nd half, he increased his steals per game from .293 in the 1st half to .386.
Elvis Andrus (TEX) - Andrus has the highest floor of anyone on this list. He’s heading into his age 26 season and he’s been a consistent performer in his first 5 seasons. He’s never going to give double digit home runs which is why he lags behind the big boys on the list. But he’s averaged 86 R, 4 HR, 53 RBI, 33 SB, .274 AVG and an .339 OBP over his first 5 years in the majors. I will take that every single season from my fantasy shortstop.
Everth Cabrera (SD) - Here’s another guy who is not going to provide any power numbers. He’s also coming off a suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. Before his suspension he was having a great season. In 95 games he had already stolen 37 bases and was able to hit for a .283 average which was the highest of his career. Of course people can attribute his success to the PEDs, but I don’t think it’s that simple. He’s coming into his magic unicorn age 27 season and has improved his hitting. If Cabrera falls in your draft, you can feel good about padding your steals with him on your squad.
Starlin Castro (CHC) - Castro was a monumental failure in 2013. After posting two 3+ WAR seasons in 2011 and 2012, Castro was below replacement level in 2013, with -0.6 WAR. It was no secret that he and former skipper Dale Sveum didn’t see eye to eye, I have to question his makeup if his performance is going to fluctuate based his relationship with his manager. Of course he is just entering his age 24 season. We can’t forget that the guy at the top of this had some similar concerns early in his career.
Ben Zobrist (TB) - Another high floor guy. Since getting regular playing time in 2009 Zorilla has averaged 86 R, 18 HR, 80 RBI, 17 SB and a .269 AVG. He also gives you some pretty sweet position flexibility. He’s eligible at 2B, SS and OF.
Xander Bogaerts (BOS) - It’s not every prospect that gets to get his first taste of the big leagues appearing in 18 regular season games before posting an .893 OPS in the post season en route to a World Series title. That’s exactly what Bogaerts did. He’s a consensus top 5 prospect in baseball that most prospect writers project to be able to step into the starting shortstop gig for the world champs. I have no reason to believe otherwise, but I do know there will be struggles. Hold tight. This kid is going to be special.