2014 Fantasy Baseball, Total Run Index Sneak Peaks: Shortstops
Shortstop is easily the most glamorous position on the diamond. This is especially true as players are growing up and if players are coming from off the mainland. Of course, much of that prestige comes at the defensive end. Lay you odds that most of the “Web Gems” you see on ESPN come from the shortstop position. At least most of the “Web Gems” in the infield.
In fantasy circles, defense means nothing. At least it means nothing directly. However, paying attention to defense can help you keep abreast of who might be moved out of the position. Other than that, we are all about offense here and that is how it’s going to stay.
1. Hanley Ramirez— Los Angeles Dodgers
Ramirez had already been moved out from shortstop in Miami, but returned to shortstop once he went to the Dodgers. 2013 was a revelation in terms of his offensive production. I’m not sure he will be that productive in the future. 2013 was out of character in comparison with his previous three seasons. The numbers just don’t add up.
2. Troy Tulowitzki— Colorado Rockies
Unlike Ramirez, Tulowitzki has been as consistent as they come offensively. When healthy, he is a virtual guarantee to produce more than 20 runs according to TRI. For my money, I would rather let Ramirez pass and wait on Tulowitzki. At least, I could then rely on consistent production at the position.
3. Jed Lowrie— Oakland Athletics
Keep in mind, we are talking purely about 2013 in these sneak peaks. When we look at longer track records, Lowrie will not appear nearly this high. He should be in the top ten though and there will be a number of fantasy players that pass on him. The trouble for him has always been remaining healthy. If he could be guaranteed to get 500 plate appearances, I would make him my starting shortstop in a pinch.
4. Ian Desmond— Washington Nationals
Ian Desmond now has two consecutive solid seasons under his belt. He is a virtual guarantee to be solid, but his place in this spot is more an indictment of the position. It shows that you should either jump early or keep waiting until nearly out of the top ten.
5. Everth Cabrera— San Diego Padres
He lost the last 50 games of the season to a drug suspension or it might have been a +15 season. Then again, every other player that has come back from drug suspension has lost a least some level of production the next season. Cabrera is probably good for 40 to 50 steals, but he likely won’t produce the kind of hitting statistics he had this past season.
6. Jhonny Peralta— Detroit Tigers
It looks as if Peralta is going to be a Cardinal. That’s all well and good, but a huge payday doesn’t guarantee a certain level of production. Just like Cabrera, he is destined to to see a drop off in production. The question for fantasy owners is how much of a drop off can we expect? Maybe it’s to pre 2013 levels which puts him likely out of the top ten.
7. Jose Reyes— Toronto Blue Jays
Jose Reyes is a legend in his spare time. If he could ever put together a 600 at bat season he is definitely a top three fantasy shortstop. We saw him do this a few times and there is no one better to have. Do you want to gamble that he will be healthy in 2014?
8. Brad Miller— Seattle Mariners
The Mariners had been riding the Brendan Ryan train for over a year and he was worth it on the defensive end. Last year, his sub 600 OPS wasn’t worth the trouble, so they tried Nick Franklin and Brad Miller. It looks like Miller is the guy moving forward. He may not be the defender that Ryan was, but the Mariners are desperate for some offense and he might be even better than this.
9. Jean Segura— Milwaukee Brewers
On a long enough timeline, the survival rate drops to zero. Segura looked like an MVP candidate in the first few months of the season, but when the dust settled he was only a few runs above average. He might actually be better next season, but no one should draft him on the strength of those early season numbers. This is the real Jean Segura right here.
10. Stephen Drew— Boston Red Sox
Stephen Drew is a man without a team at the moment. It looks like the Red Sox are going young with Xander Bogearts, so Drew is looking for work. Like many of the other shortstops, the key with Drew has always been his health. If he could ever make it through a season healthy he would cement himself as a top ten shortstop.