2013 Fantasy BaseballFantasy BaseballFront Office

A Look Back at the 2013 Draft: NL Shortstops

The National League shortstop universe is an interesting contrast to the American League version. Their collective total averages and batter runs are considerably better, but the median runs created total for the position was under 40 in the National Leagues. That can mean only one thing: there were a number of key injuries last season.

Of course, our main focus is to point out major areas of inefficiency. On the negative end we have another sacrificial lamb at the altar of batting average. Starlin Castro has the look of an elite player and the Cubs certainly are paying him as such. He managed to elevate himself to average defensively last season and his overall performance is a tad north of the median at the position offensively.

Based on this and this alone, fantasy owners went nuts by making him the second most owned shortstop in fantasy sports. What Castro is good at is being durable. He played in all 162 games a year ago and therefore accumulated hits and runs created. Still, when you consider that durability it is a bit disconcerting that he still finished a surprising  fourth in runs created. Obviously, the rate metrics are trailing big time. Let’s see if we have any other examples of inefficiency below.

Owned

TAV

BR

RC

Troy Tulowitzki

99

.272

3.9

29

Starlin Castro

98

.265

-1.1

84

Ian Desmond

97

.290

18.2

81

Jimmy Rollins

97

.274

0.4

87

Hanley Ramirez

94

.271

5.2

81

Everth Cabrera

80

.250

-6.9

48

Jean Segura

68

.234

-5.8

16

Brandon Crawford

45

.248

-12.0

45

Andrelton Simmons

43

.264

0.5

22

Zack Cozart

40

.243

-12.5

62

Didi Gregorius

14

.218

-1.0

2

Pete Kozma

11

.326

5.2

14

Ruben Tejada

4

.260

-4.8

52

Cliff Pennington

4

.234

-19.1

37

Dee Gordon

2

.223

-16.4

23

Alex Gonzalez

1

.273

1.4

12

Adeiny Hechavarria

1

.228

-4.3

12

Clint Barmes

1

.216

-22.5

36

Nick Punto

1

.224

-6.9

16

Willie Bloomquist

1

.262

-4.1

38

Median

—-

.255

-4.2

33

On the positive end, the single most underrated player on the board is Ruben Tejada. He played regularly in New York and managed to put up league average numbers across the board, but only four percent of Yahoo players own him in mixed leagues. This simply makes no sense. Let’s take a look at his positional rankings in the three categories among regular shortstops.

  • Total Average: .260 (10th)
  • Batter Runs: -4.8 (13th)
  • Runs Created: 52 (16th)

Clearly, he is a borderline starter in a mixed league. If you exist in a 12 team league then he should fit in nicely as a bottom tier fantasy starter. At the very least, he deserves a spot on your bench. He certainly deserves a spot over the likes of Brandon Crawford. You could make a compelling argument that he should be started over Everth Cabrera, Zack Cozart, and Jean Segura.

Those players offer some individual skills (namely speed) that fantasy players crave, but too many fantasy players sacrifice three or four categories to get an advantage in one. Tejada will give you a little bit of everything and won’t torpedo your rate statistics like those players might.

In the potential department (yeah, I know that dirty word again) we have Didi Gregorius and Pete Kozma. Kozma has limited real potential, but last season seemed to perform well when Rafael Furcal was out. Now, Furcal is out for most (if not all) of the season with a broken wing. Kozma is not hitting as well this season, but he will play regularly because the Cardinals really have nowhere else to turn.

Gregorius is a bit more exciting now that he has been called up by the Dbacks. He is off to a fast start and has a much better overall pedigree than Cliff Pennington. The question for Gregorius has always been his ability to hit over the long haul, but Cliff Pennington has proven that he can’t hit over the long haul. So, Gregorius should get an extended look in the meantime. If he doesn’t hit, his defense should carry him until he turns it around. So far, that hasn’t been an issue.

If you are deep sea diving for bench players in a NL only league then you should find some help with the likes of Clint Barmes and Adeiny Hechavarria. Again, you have to adjust your expectations as it’s quite possible that Barmes and Brendan Ryan were separated at birth. Both are brilliant defenders that haven’t gotten their due because they are terrible at hitting. Barmes will hit the occasional home run and could even surpass ten home runs on the season if he is allowed to play regularly.

Hechavarria has had injury concerns so far on the season, but if he gets healthy he should be the guy in Miami. Like the other two shortstops mentioned, he is excellent defensively and that will carry him through the tough times with the bat. Neither Barmes nor Hechavarria are solid candidates to start even in an NL only league, but they are decent bench options if you get caught in a pinch.

 

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