2010 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Shortstops

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Sometimes it pays to be patient when it comes to drafting certain positions in fantasy baseball. For example, waiting to snag your starting catcher until late in your draft makes sense. Landing a couple star players at weaker positions in the early rounds while waiting to select someone in a deep pool of first basemen can also be adventurous.

But choosing not to grab an elite shortstop in one of the first two rounds is about as smart as bringing a knife to a gunfight. You’ll be at a serious disadvantage because the talent pool after the top five players doesn’t level off – it drops off a mountain.

If you weren’t lucky enough to land one of the top picks in the draft, then you’ll probably miss out on Hanley Ramirez. Don’t sweat it – there are four other shortstops that you can target in one of the first two rounds in order to set yourself up with a great player at shortstop. Just make sure you snag one of the top five or else you could wind up pulling your hair out because you just can’t get enough consistent production out of your starting shortstop position.

Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
Ramirez is in a class all his own. He’s a five-tool superstar that will give you 25-plus home run power, 90-plus RBI and 100-plus runs, all while stealing 25-plus bases and hitting anywhere from .320 to .340. The problem is, if you don’t have one of the top 2 spots in your draft you won’t have him on your roster this season.

Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
At a thin position, Tulowitzki is arguably the safest choice among shortstops. He returns to the same lineup in which he hit .297 last year with 32 home runs, 92 RBI, 101 runs and 20 stolen bases. Given his youth, there’s a great chance that he’ll wind up with similar numbers again this year and as long as he doesn’t suffer an injury like he did in 2008 (by far his worst season as a pro), then he’ll be a great addition to your lineup.

Jose Reyes, Mets
Don’t fall asleep on Reyes, who, before an injury-riddled 2009 campaign killed his fantasy value, was once a top 5 pick. Assuming his recent thyroid condition isn’t cause for concern (he might miss the start of the season, but should return shortly thereafter), then Reyes should hit around .290 with 100-plus runs, 10-plus home runs and 50-plus steals. We know he’s a risk given his injury concerns, but Reyes is a fantasy stud when healthy.

Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
Rollins was a huge disappointment at the start of last season, but those owners that stuck with him reaped the rewards after the All-Star Break. While his batting average (.250) was disappointing, Rollins still finished with 21 home runs, 100 runs scored and 31 stolen bases. His average should jump back up to around .275 this season and another 20-plus home runs with 35-plus steals are certainly not out of the question.

Derek Jeter, Yankees
While Jeter’s age (36) is a concern, there’s no denying his production. The Yankees’ shortstop continues to spit in the face of father time and is coming off an outstanding year in which he hit .334 with 18 home runs, 30 stolen bases and 107 runs scored. He might not hit as many dingers or steal as many bases this season, but Jeter should hit well over .300 again, score 100-plus runs in a potent Yankee lineup and blast 10-plus dingers in a hitter-friendly stadium. We know he’s aging, but would you pass on a .320 average with 100 runs, 12 dingers, 70 RBI and 20 stolen bases from your shortstop? We didn’t think so.

Below is our official ranking of fantasy shortstops. As we mentioned above, we highly recommend snagging one of the top 5 players or at the very least, make sure you land your starting shortstop before Alexei Ramirez comes off the board.

1. Hanley Ramirez, FLA
2. Troy Tulowitzki, COL
3. Jose Reyes, NYM
4. Jimmy Rollins, PHI
5. Derek Jeter, NYY
6. Ben Zobrist, TB
7. Jason Barlett, TB
8. Stephen Drew, ARI
9. Alexei Ramirez, CHW
10. Yunel Esobar, ATL
11. Elvis Andrus, TEX
12. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
13. Rafael Furcal, LAD
14. Erick Aybar, LAA
15. Alcides Escobar, MIL
16. Everth Cabrera, SD
17. Miguel Tejada, BAL
18. J.J. Hardy, MIN
19. Ryan Theriot, CHC
20. Marco Scutaro, BOS
21. Jhonny Peralta, CLE
22. Orlando Cabrera, CIN

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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