Fantasy Baseball Preview 2014: Shortstops

Think about buying a car for a minute. On one side of the spectrum, you have the sleek, uber cool Teslas and Lamborghinis which come with a hefty price tag. Down the street at the other end of the spectrum is the used car tent where you find dented sedans that don’t look pretty but will get you to work without much worry. In between, there are tons of options to meet your price range.

That is what shortstops feel like this year. There is a decent option at every single round of the draft. No need to stretch if your budget says you can wait. And no need to freak if the top guys go off the board. It is a gradual drop from guy to guy unlike what you find within the second and third base categories.

It seems like every year there is always one round of a draft where I take a look and just don’t like what I see. This year, I’m going to wait to draft my shortstop when that round comes up.

 

Fantasy Baseball Preview: Catchers

Fantasy Baseball Preview: First Base/DH

Fantasy Baseball Preview: Second Basemen

Fantasy Baseball Preview: Third Basemen

Fantasy Baseball Preview: Pitchers

 

Honus Wagner Tier

The very best in fantasy baseball.

1 Hanley Ramirez – Los Angeles Dodgers

If Hanley stays away from the DL this year, he will compete for the MVP. Even last year when he played only 86 games, he hit 21 homers, .345 avg. and added 14 steals. That’s good enough to have made him a top 5 guy. Thanks to a renewed competitive spirit (thank you, Puig) he is playing hard. I’m projecting him to a .284 avg., 25 HR, 77 RBI, 88 Runs, and 17 steals. It comes with cost, but when he’s in the game, he’ll win you weeks. If he drops to the 2nd round, grab him.

2 Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado

With all due respect to Hanley, Tulo has been the poster boy for the “draft knowing he’ll get hurt” strategy. 2013 was a very good statistical year for Tulo, but he only played 126 games. However, in that shortened season he hit 25 homers (4th time in 5 years) and hit .301. Last year’s injury was a fluky broken rib on a dive play. Do you really expect that to repeat? Or is he just one of those guys who is prone to get hurt a lot (only 3 seasons with 130+ games in the last 7 years). If you get him, just make sure you have a decent backup to handcuff him. And don’t overreach.

3 Bargain Alert! Ian Desmond – Washington

If Hanley and Tulo are the European slick sportscars that will break down at the sight of a pebble, then Ian Desmond is pure American musclecar. His last four years game played totals are: 154, 154, 130, 158. No big breakdowns. He proved his breakthrough 2012 was no fluke and followed it up last year with more solid numbers. Expect an across the board similarity to last year. In other words, you get the same numbers as Hanley and Tulo, but spread over more games. He’ll be going in the third round, but will be worth a second rounder.

Ozzie Smith Tier

While not the best of the best, these guys will be stat wizards on your roster.

4 Jose Reyes – Toronto

No longer the king of the SS pile. There are some legit injury concerns but he comes to play and should have one more good season in his 31 year old body. Double digit power and speed with consistent average is very worthy especially in an inconsistent position pool. He is a lower class BMW. Yeah, you want the newer model but you’ll enjoy the ride all the same.

5 Jean Segura – Milwaukee

There is major question marks to the legitimacy of Segura’s numbers last year. He showed lots of power early on, but it evaporated as the season wore on. He may have exhausted under the strains of his first full year in the bigs or may have just had a fluky first month or so. What is not in question is the 44 steals he accumulated. Draft him figuring he’ll keep his OBP and swipes and take any power as gravy.  

6 Elvis Andrus – Texas

Like Reyes and Segura, Andrus will bring you lots of speed (projected 33 SB) and a hope for bonus bumps in other categories. For Andrus, it is runs thanks to the potent Rangers lineup. He’s the Toyota Camry.

Cal Ripken Tier

Still among the best in the game, drafting here ensures great consistency and reliability.

7 Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay

In most leagues, Zobrist brings flexibility with his 2B and OF eligibility. He has consistently provided decent stats. A little power. A little speed. A decent average. Drafting him is like drafting a Dodge truck.

8 Sleeper Fav! Starlin Castro – Chicago

I once owned a PT Cruiser. At first, everyone were so excited about the PTs. Sleek and exciting. They were going to usher in a new era of hip, cool modern car designs. Then… everybody hated them all at once. Big disappointment. Castro is the PT Cruiser. He made so many “sleeper” and “breakout” lists last year that everyone who overpaid for him was quickly pissed when he phoned in the year. He should hit double digit steals and homers this year to match a .280 average but … he could also tank again and have a resale value similar to my own PT.

9 Bargain Alert! Brad Miller – Seattle

Miller’s projections are too good to drop him to the tier below but he hasn’t put in a full year yet so temper any expectations that he’ll be “consistent and reliable”. Thanks to a (another) horrendous year, the Mariners threw all of the prospects at the proverbial wall to see what will stick. Some didn’t (Zunino) and some did (Miller). I have him projected as the #5 shortstop this year, but his youth brings down his draft stock. A double digit SB & HR season to pair with 70+ runs & RBIs is very, very possible. 

10 JJ Hardy – Baltimore

Hardy will hit 20+ homers this year which will once again (4th year straight) put him near the top in the power stats for SS. Very few shortstops have been as reliable as Hardy. If his average and speed were better he would be better regarded. He is what he is… a powerful but slow Hummer.  

David Eckstein Tier

Great value from small (priced) packages.

11 Everth Cabrera – San Diego

With a whopping 4 homers, you know Cabrera wasn’t taking PEDs for the power. Expect his speed to be legit and repeatable sans suspension. 45 steals and 74 runs for a projection is not to shabby. I just wish I wasn’t expecting him to hit .255.

12 Bargain Alert! Xander Bogaerts – Boston

The #2 prospect in all of the land has a full time job, so expect big things. He’ll contribute in four out of the five categories with only stolen bases lacking. He has a great pedigree and minor league stats, so don’t let the rookie status worry you. Just don’t stretch to make the pick – if he is available in the late rounds, grab him. One bit of warning – he may not be eligible at SS in your league. If he is eligible for both SS and 3B then he is a Subraru Outback. Pack your bags and get ready for the adventure!

13 Andrelton Simmons – Atlanta

I won’t lie. I’ve never been on the Simmons bandwagon. I thought his high prospect status was based too much on defense for fantasy purposes. I was wrong. Like an electric car, Simmons snuck up on me. I’m projecting .265 average, 14 HR, 66 R, 66 RBI, and 9 SB. That’s pretty good all around production.

14 Alexei Ramirez – Chicago

Speed and average and not much else. Maybe if he was on a better team, he could shine. Keep an eye on him if he is traded away at the break. For now, he is a reliable mini-van.

 

Omar Vizquel Tier

Only draftable in the deepest of leagues — in honor of the great who could go deep into the hole and pull off a great web gem.

15 Asdrubal Cabrera – Cleveland

A .250 average, mid 60’s runs/RBIs and <15 HR/SBs makes for a very average shortstop. Very boring. Very average. He won’t hurt you, but he won’t win you any trophies.

16 Erick Aybar – Los Angeles Angels

He’ll provide runs (71) and average (.270). Not much else.

17 Jonathan Villar – Houston

He’ll provide stolen bases (38+). Not much else.

18 Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis

Reliable like Volvo. Cheap like a Kia. Mid 60 runs and RBIs thanks to playing in Detroit. He has shown power in the past.

19 Jed Lowrie – Oakland

He’ll provide a bit of power (14-17 homers) until Addison Russell takes over.

20 Jimmy Rollins – Philadelphia

Like that classic car that’s been sitting in your Dad’s garage… you’re not sure if it has one more ride left, but you know it would be awesome if the answer was yes.

21 Sleeper Fav! Chris Owings – Arizona

IF Owings wins out the shortstop role over Didi Gregorius AND Cliff Pennington AND Owings gets enough at-bats THEN he can show off the potential. Until then, don’t expect him to be much help.

Alex Roridguez (2014 Version) Tier

Do NOT draft under any circumstances

Just stay away. They are not even worth taking a flier on.

Derek Jeter, Zack Cozart, Stephen Drew, Jordy Mercer, Jose Iglesias, Yunel Escobar, Brandon Crawford, Pedro Floriman, Addison Russell, Rafael Furcal, Josh Rutledge, Brendan Ryan, Nick Punto, Eduardo Escobar, and Francisco Lindor.



Brian Reddoch is a CraveOnline reporter and rabid fan of all teams Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter @ReddReddoch or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook

Photo Credit: Getty

 

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