Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Shortstop Fantasy Rundown

TOP 20

1. Troy Tulowitzki
2. Starlin Castro
3. Jose Reyes
4. Jimmy Rollins

Tulowitzki is a player I love to have on my fantasy team when he's healthy, but 2012 wasn't one of those years. This year Tulo has promised to come back strong, and I believe him. At 28, he's in the prime of his career and I wouldn't be shocked by a .300, 30 HR, 110 RBI, 100 R line this season. The wildcard in his situation is the rest of the offense being able to produce consistently.

Castro has been a favorite of mine since he broke into the big leagues. I like his offensive game, seeing no true weaknesses. He might not get you the power numbers yet (he's only 23), but I'm expecting him to put up a 20 HR & 25 SB this season, along with his usual .300 average. If you miss out on Tulowitzki, Castro is a great fall-back option who could finish the year ranked first at the position.

Reyes is an exciting player to watch, and I like his outlook for this season in Toronto. Reyes has a solid lineup around him and he will have plenty of opportunities to run freely on the bases. I wouldn't expect more than 15 HR, but I can see him topping 50 SB's easily. I think there will be some added motivation in the way Miami shipped him out of town (see Jeffrey Loria).

People might argue Rollins being included in the top tier of shortstops, but I'd point to his hot start and his production over the last two season as all the proof you need that Rollins belongs. Even at 35, Rollins is a great option if you are looking for HR, SB, and Runs. I don't see this season as the year he falls off because he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down .

5. Ben Zobrist
6. Ian Desmond
7. Elvis Andrus

After the top tier, there is a sizable drop off in offensive production. Zobrist seems to make the most sense leading this tier, thanks to his consistency over the last four seasons. Also, Zobrist's value is also on the rise with the upgrades to Tampa Bay's offense; a healthy Longoria, Desmond Jennings development, and the not so far off arrival of Wil Myers. If I missed out on Zobrist, I'd probably pass on the rest of the second tier and  take my chances on Hanley Ramirez (and a backup SS while Hanley's out).

8. Hanley Ramirez*
9. Martin Prado
10. Asdrubal Cabrera

If healthy, Hanley would be included in the first tier of players at SS. His injury shelving him for roughly the first two months of the season is the reasoning for the low ranking. Personally I'd advise taking him if you have faith your team can start off strong without him because I see him having a BIG second half of the season. In a lineup with Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, there will be plenty of offense to go around.

11. Derek Jeter
12. Erick Aybar
13. Josh Rutledge
14. J.J Hardy
15. Alcides Escobar
16. Alexei Ramirez

At this point in his career, Jeter is a fringe fantasy starter at best. As a Red Sox fan, I have no problem acknowledging what a great career he has had. However, his best seasons are behind him at this point. I'd prefer either Josh Rutledge or Alexei Ramirez from this tier. Both players offer the potential of 15 HR & 15 SB at the cost of a mid-to-late round pick.

17. Andrelton Simmons
18. Danny Espinosa
19. Everth Cabrera
20. Jed Lowrie

If you are stuck with one of these shortstops as your starter, you did something REALLY wrong. I will say one thing though, former Red Sox castoffs going to Oakland worked out last year for Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick. Why not take your chances on Jed Lowrie seeing a similar spike in production? He has started off strong, only solidifying my recommendation.

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