The 2011 class of shortstops is fortunate enough to have two of the most coveted players in fantasy baseball at the very top. It’s also unfortunate to be stocked full of mediocrity and uncertainty after that.
The follow is a list of the top shortstop options this season as complied by all of the RotoGraphs authors.
No surprises here. The kind of production these two provide from a generally weak position is what owners pay top dollar for. Few players in baseball, at any position, can match their overall talents. They shouldn’t go ahead of Albert Pujols, but a real case can be made for taking either number two in your draft.
In past seasons Reyes and Jeter could make a case for Tier 1, but that time seems to have passed. Jeter’s counting stats should still be valuable, and Reyes will continue to steal bases if finally healthy. Ramirez has apparently bulked up a bit this offseason which will hopefully help his home run totals get into the 20-25 range again. Drew and Rollins are both very balanced players, contributing in any number of categories.
The younger players seemed to have fallen into this tier. Andrus, Castro, and Desmond could each end up in the second tier by years end. Andrus because of his steals, Castro because of his average, and Desmond because of his power. Furcal is Furcal, he’s been a steady producer at the position for years and years. Escobar seemed to come back to life a bit in Toronto. He’ll never run much, but should provide you with a decent average and double digit power.
Lots to go on here. Escobar’s value is going to rely on how many bases he steals. The Royals seems set on giving him the job, but if his OBP is under .300 as it was last season I don’t see him lasting the entire season. J.J. Hardy is a nice sleeper candidate. He’s not far removed from a very nice season and gets to play in a great hitters park in Baltimore. You’ll find power numbers from Uribe but little else, while Brignac provides sneaky double digit home run potential.
The biggest wild card here to me is Jed Lowrie. The value you assess him all depends on how much playing time you think he gets. He hit nine homers in under 200 ABs last season, but couldn’t stay healthy. Personally, and other RG writers agree, I think he ends up playing more than Scutaro. The rest should only be owned in the deepest of leagues, otherwise they’re waiver wire fodder for a rainy day.
Please discuss the rankings in the comments if you’d like. I’ll try and get to as many questions as I can.
Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.