2016 Fantasy Baseball: Waiver Wire Series– Shortstop Edition
Most of the opening day fantasy shortstops have gotten off to a decent start, but a few have struggled coming out of the gate. Coming into Saturday’s action, Troy Tulowitzki was hitting .163 with five home runs and 13 RBI. The power numbers are certainly pretty good, but no one expected him to be hitting that far beneath the Mendoza line. Players that punted shortstop and chose to go with Erick Aybar are also regretting that decision. He is hitting a robust .190 with no home runs and only two stolen bases.
Tulowitzki owners would be wise not to drop him yet, but adding a shortstop on your bench might be a good idea at this point. Aybar owners may consider out and out cutting Aybar if they haven’t already. Choosing a waiver wire shortstop can be tricky. The key is to make sure you get someone that won’t kill you in too many categories. So, we will compare all of the shortstops to the positional average. We took all of the regular shortstops and compiled their averages over the last four seasons (or as long as they have been regulars). Below are the averages for all of the positions we have covered so far.
A large part of what we might call dumpster diving revolves around having realistic expectations. You aren’t going to find any fresh escargot in the dumpster. All the players there have some warts. The key is in recognizing what is currently going on in the game. Power numbers are up in general over season’s past, but players are not as productive overall as they were ten years ago. The key is finding a player that will reasonably keep you afloat.
The rules are very simple. We are looking at players that are available in at least 75 percent of their Yahoo and ESPN leagues. The chart below indicates how the player has performed against the average shortstop over the past four seasons. A plus sign indicates they are better than the average shortstop. A minus indicates they are worse. A “M” indicates they are virtually average.
Alexei Ramirez—San Diego Padres
One of the issues in going with aggregate numbers is that it doesn’t necessarily allow for when a player begins to slip. Ramirez is hitting for a decent average this season, but the power is virtually gone. Yet, as long as he plays every day, he will likely continue to produce the other numbers he has traditionally produced. He may not be more than a stopgap solution, but if you are waiting around for Tulowitzki to start hitting consistently, he might not be a bad option.
Jose Iglesias—Detroit Tigers
Iglesias is a steady performer, but he doesn’t add a lot in terms of power or speed. His claim to fame is his glove, so as long as he is healthy, he will get into the lineup. That hasn’t happened consistently throughout his career, but he is off to a good start in that department. An addition of Iglesias is purely a short term fix. No one should expect to win fantasy titles with him getting consistent playing time.
Didi Gregorius—New York Yankees
A bet on Gregorius is a bet that he truly turned the corner after the all-star break last season. Of course, the early returns seem to be going against that. Still, if you are betting he will end up at .250 and around 10 home runs, then picking him up now may be a wise investment. That means you get a .260-.270 shortstop with decent power.
Andrelton Simmons—Los Angeles Angels
When Ozzie Smith came up, he was virtually all glove and no bat. Simmons is a similar player with the glove. Unfortunately, he hasn’t gotten all of the Gold Glove awards he has deserved, but with advanced metrics, fans that pay attention know how good he is. The hope is that he can develop his offensive game like Smith did later on in his career. Simmons even has more power than Smith did, so there is always that hope.
Jimmy Rollins—Chicago White Sox
Rollins is a borderline Hall of Famer playing out the string. David Ortiz is making his farewell tour with all of the fanfare. Rollins probably deserves equal treatment considering he is a former MVP and was the best all-around shortstop in the game for a while. Anyone buying in now is buying into nostalgia.