2011 Fantasy Rankings: Shortstops

All 2011 Fantasy Articles | 2011 Position Rankings

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. Shortstop is the new second base, a fantasy wasteland where only six (!) players are projected to be drafted in the first ten rounds. Six, out of a hundred. That’s bad.

New York Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter warms up before the Yankees take on the Texas Rangers in game four of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium on October 19, 2010 in New York. UPI/Monika Graff

“Hello. I’m Derek Jeter, and you’re not.”

Worse, only five of those players are proven fantasy performers year after year, and even that is stretching the truth until it nearly breaks. Truth be told, there is one guy in this group (Hanley Ramirez) that has held up as a reliable fantasy stud. The rest are streaky, as in ‘Will Ferrell in “Old School”‘ streaky. (Tulo, we’re looking at you.) What is a fantasy manager to do once Hanley and Troy Tulowitzki are off the board? For starters, don’t panic, and for God’s sake don’t reach. Continue to take the best guy on the board, and see if one of these guys lands in your lap.

Jose Reyes, Mets
The late, great Sparky Anderson once said, “Just give me 25 guys on the last year of their contracts; I’ll win a pennant every year.” You think he wouldn’t love to have Reyes this year, since he’s essentially auditioning for all of Major League Baseball? The Mets are so bogged down with money issues that there has even been speculation that they will have a hard time paying their players, which makes the likelihood of a contract extension to Reyes unlikely. Meanwhile, the shortstop of the Red Sox, Marco Scutaro, has a player option on his contract for next year, which the club could buy out for $1.5 million. Don’t think for a minute that Reyes doesn’t know this, and will bust his ass to get him some Carl Crawford money. Having said that, don’t bid the moon and the stars to get him. If he comes to you, great. If not, then take a look at…

Marco Scutaro, Red Sox
Reyes’ 2010 stat line was .282-83-11-54-30. Scutaro’s line was .275-92-11-56-5. Nearly identical in every category except steals, and he can be had 11 rounds after Reyes is off the board. If you play in a points league and Reyes is gone, take a deep breath, and remember that the next best thing is a mere 110 picks away. Scutaro is the textbook definition of a value pick, even if he spends the entire year in the 9-hole.

Derek Jeter, Yankees
Thanks to his worst year offensively since his rookie season, plus the embarrassing public back-and-forth with the Yankees for a new contract extension, Derek Jeter’s stock has never been lower, and he knows it. Jeter has spent spring training doing extra sessions with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long to work on shortening his swing, so look for him to play with an anvil-sized chip on his shoulder.

Rafael Furcal, Dodgers
Furcal’s 2010 stat line was .300-66-8-43-22…in 97 games played. Over a full season, that projects to .300-110-13-71-36. Not bad, and it can be all yours for the low, low price of a 16th round pick.

Starlin Castro, Cubs
He could probably use another year of seasoning, but Castro has the skills to be a Jose Reyes-caliber player. He batted .300 his rookie season (and remember, was only 20 years old) and showed occasional pop. If there is one thing he needs to work on – besides his defense – it’s his base stealing. He stole 10 bases, but was caught a whopping eight times. He certainly has the wheels to steal close to 30 bases if the Cubs gave him the green light, but he clearly needs to work on his timing and anticipating the off-speed pitch. (Ask Aubrey Huff about that last one; he stole seven bases last year, and wasn’t caught once.) He’ll make for a nice backup this year, but look for him to take a big jump in 2012.

Don’t believe the hype

Elvis Andrus, Rangers
Fantasy geeks love this guy, but the truth of the matter is that he’s the Juan Pierre of shortstops, only not as productive. He hit six homers in his rookie campaign but didn’t hit a single home run last year, and his caught stealing ratio (32 steals in 47 attempts, 68% success rate) is atrocious. Pierre, by comparison, was caught 18 times, but stole 36 more bases than Adrus did (79% success rate). Here’s perhaps the most damning stat of all: in our points league, Andrus was outscored last year by Jeff Keppinger, Juan Uribe and Yuniesky Betancort. Ow. If he cuts those caught stealings in half, he’ll be a useful shortstop for 5×5 leagues, but last we checked, speed only affects one of those five stats, while power affects the other four. Just sayin’.

Use him while you can

Juan Uribe, Dodgers
He’s playing second base this year. D’oh.

Below is our official ranking of shortstops.

1. Hanley Ramirez, FLA
2. Troy Tulowitzki, COL
3. Jose Reyes, NYM
4. Derek Jeter, NYY
5. Jimmy Rollins, PHI
6. Alexei Ramirez, CHW
7. Rafael Furcal, LAD
8. Marco Scutaro, BOS
9. Elvis Andrus, TEX
10. Stephen Drew, ARI
11. Miguel Tejada, SF
12. Yunel Esobar, TOR
13. Starlin Castro, CHC
14. Ian Desmond, WAS
15. Cliff Pennington, OAK
16. Juan Uribe, LAD
17. Yuniesky Betancourt, MIL
18. Alcides Escobar, KC
19. Jhonny Peralta, DET
20. Alex Gonzalez, ATL

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