Thursday, March 20, 2008

FSE Fantasy Baseball Positional Rankings - Shortstop

Over the next week, FSE will release rankings for each position in fantasy baseball. Top 10s will be provided for all infield positions while outfielders, starting pitchers and relievers will have an expanded set of rankings. In addition, we will highlight a few sleepers at each position and provide some honorable mentions if applicable.

We have already covered catchers, first basemen, second basemen and third basemen which brings us to the final position on the infield, shortstop.

Top Ten Shortstops

#1 Jose Reyes - You really can't go wrong with any of the top three shortstops. Reyes gets the slight nod here as he is the only guy in fantasy baseball with the ability to steal 70+ bases. He will also hit around .300 and score a ton of runs while contributing in homeruns and RBIs. Don't let his slump late last season worry you, he should be a top 10 fantasy player this season.

#2 Hanley Ramirez
- Ramirez is coming off a monster season hitting .338 with 29 homers, 51 SB and 125 runs scored. Ramirez even added 81 RBIs while putting up an OPS of nearly .950. Hanley is still only 24 and will continue to improve this season. A 30+ homer, 50+ stolen base season is a distinct possibility and he might even see more RBI opportunities if the Marlins decide to move him into the three hole.

#3 Jimmy Rollins - J-Roll could easily be the #1 SS in fantasy as he is coming off a season where he went 30-40 while scoring 139 runs and nearly driving in 100. Rollins will continue to hit leadoff int he powerful Phillies lineup and hit in one of the best hitter's park in baseball. Expect similar gaudy numbers across the boards from Rollins as he attempts to back up yet another round of preseason prognostications.

#4 Derek Jeter - The old stalwart at the shortstop position, Jeter who will be 34 in June saw his numbers slipped a bit last season in both the homerun and stolen base department. Regardless, Jeter is one of the more reliable players in all of fantasy, rarely missing a game due to injury and a lock to hit over .300 with double digit homeruns and steals, 100+ runs scored and 70+ RBIs. He will leadoff for a formidable Yankees lineup and continue to thrive.

#5 Troy Tulowitzki - After a slow start, Tulo burst on the scene last year with the upstart Rockies, putting up formidable power numbers across the board. Tulowitzki is an excellent fielder so errors are not a a concern and he should be good for 25 homers and 100+ RBIs hitting in hitter friendly Coors Field. A very solid option at shortstop with a bit of upside.

#6 Carlos Guillen
- The Tigers will be playing Guillen at first base this season in an effort to keep him on the field. Fortunately, fantasy owners will be able to start him at SS which means far less errors than you would usually see at the position. Guillen is a steady offensive producer hitting in choice spot in a deep Tigers lineup. 20 homers, 100 RBIs, 10 SBs and an average around .300 are likely as long as Guillen avoids the DL.

#7 Miguel Tejada - Hitting in the bandbox once known as Enron, Tejada is in excellent position for a legitimate bounce back season. He will be surrounded by formdiable bats in the Houston lineup and face weaker pitching staffs in the NL Centeral, giving him a great chance to return to form if he can avoid injury.

#8 Rafael Furcal - Furcal struggled mightily early last season and finished with some of the poorest numbers of his career. Ranking him as the #8 SS may seem a little high, but Furcal is now fully healthy, will be hitting at the front of an improving Dodgers lineup and still is one of the speedier guys in baseball. We expect a nice bounce back season from Furcal featuring double digit homerun totals, 30 SB, 100+ runs scored and an average between .280-.290. He is too talented to be held down back to back seasons.

#9 Michael Young
- You can always count on Young to hit for a high average; however, his power numbers have been steadily declining. Now 31 and hitting in a Rangers lineup that is less potent than it has been in the past, Young's fantasy value has regressed a bit. Although he can no longer get you 20 homeruns, Young is still good for a .300+ BA, 80-90 RBI and runs scored and close to double digit steals. Take him once the top SS are off the board.

#10 Edgar Renteria - Renteria quietly sneaks in at #10 and could be in line for a big season. An offseason trade landed the veteran SS in Detroit where he is projected to hit towards the front of the Tigers' powerful lineup. Renteria had a fine 2007 hitting .332 with double digit homeruns and SB. Although not the elite SS he once was, he will be able to help you in multiple categories this season, most notably batting average and runs scored, and could even see a spike in his production if he can stay healthy.

Honorable Mentions

Khalil Greene
- Isn't going to hit for good average, but Greene quietly hit 27 homers to go along with 97 RBIs and 89 runs scored in the hitter's nightmare known as Petco Park. Entering 2008 at the golden age of 27, a 30 homer, 100 RBI season is a real possibility. Greene could be a real value pick later in the draft.

JJ Hardy
-Hardy got off to a red hot start to the 2007 campaign before coming back down to Earth. After hitting 18 homers in the first half, Hardy only notched 8 dingers after the allstar break and was fairly average in the final months of the season. Regardless the 25 year old has the ability to hit 20 homers and drive in 80 runs, but don't expect too much in the way of batting average or stolen bases.

Orlando Cabrera - Now with the White Sox, Cabrera should continue to hit for an average around .300, scoring around 100 runs and steal around 20 bases. His speed gives him value, but his numbers are very average as a whole.

Jhonny Peralta
- I've come across a bunch of people who are especially high on Peralta this season but I just don't see it. He is a one dimensional player with his only plus being an ability to hit homeruns. Peralta does not hit for average, drive in a ton of runs or steal bases. Basically he is a poor man's Dan Uggla.


Yunel Escobar
- The Braves liked this kid so much they were willing to unload Edgar Renteria and hand him the starting SS job. At only 25, Escobar is still growing as a player however, he has the ability to make respectable contributions in fantasy this year. A .300 average with around 100 runs scored and homerun and steal totals in the low teens are a definite possibility.

Stephen Drew
- Brother of Philadelphia's favorite son JD Drew, Stephen struggled in his rookie campaign in 2007 but showed flashes of good things to come. If he can get his strikeouts down and raise his average, Drew is a shortstop that can give you double digit homerun and stolen base totals. In addition, Drew should put up over 70 RBIs and runs scored if he gets over 550 ABs.

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