Widgets Magazine

2013 Fantasy Shorstop Rankings

Written By on 30th January, 2013
Jurickson Profar is a prolific prospect, but where does he fall in the rankings?

Jurickson Profar is a prolific prospect, but where does he fall in the rankings?

Bullpen Banter continues to bring you positional rankings for the 2013 fantasy baseball season. These rankings assume standard 5×5 rotisserie leagues and re-draft (not keeper  or dynasty formats).  You can find first base, second base, third base, as well as the outfield 51-101 as well as the top 50 outfielders.

Unlike first base and the outfield, shortstop lacks considerable depth.  Consequently, the position should addressed early in a draft. Taking the best player available is the logical process for at least the first five or six rounds of a standard draft, and there is a good chance that a shortstop may be your answer in the middle end of the first round.  The position has a clear elite tier, with three names rising above all the others.  Reyes is a mid-first-round talent, while Rollins and/or Tulowitzki should go in round two.  The other shortstops will not likely be the best players available for the next several rounds, but feel free to grab a shortstop after round six. Of course, if the entire league starts reaching for shortstops, you may not have choice but to follow suit as the position is highly tiered.  Tier One is represented by players one to three (they will provide solid four category production with a decent fifth (although Reyes has a legitimate shot to be a five category star with the move to a smaller ballpark and leading off a much deeper power-laden lineup).  Tier two is represented by players four to 15, where three categories will be well-serviced.  Players who will provide home runs and RBI will typically have decent run values and poor averages and stolen base numbers.  Players with high averages and stolen base numbers will also provide lots of runs.  Tier three covers players 16-21 where one major skill (either power or steals) is available, most likely with a low batting average (with the notable exception of Segura and Profar, who may have decent averages).  The rest of the players fall into a final tier, because they suffered poor 2012 seasons either simply due to performance, or possible injury; or because of limited experience.  They are relative unknowns, with potential, that I simply cannot justify ranking higher – although if you are a gambler, they may be worth a shot.

Ranking

Player

Team

1

Jose Reyes

Toronto Blue Jays

2

Troy Tulowitzki

Colorado Rockies

3

Jimmy Rollins

Philadelphia Phillies

4

Ben Zobrist

Tampa Bay Rays

5

Starlin Castro

Chicago Cubs

6

Hanley Ramirez

Los Angeles Dodgerss

7

Ian Desmond

Washington Nationals

8

J.J. Hardy

Baltimore Orioles

9

Asdrubal Cabrera

Cleveland Indians

10

Martin Prado

Arizona Diamondbacks

11

Jhonny Peralta

Detroit Tigers

12

Elvis Andrus

Texas Rangers

13

Erick Aybar

Los Angeles Angels

14

Danny Espinosa

Washington Nationals

15

Alcides Escobar

Kansas City Royals

16

Marco Scutaro

San Francisco Giants

17

Alexei Ramirez

Chicago White Sox

18

Jed Lowrie

Houston Astros

19

Andrelton Simmons

Atlanta Braves

20

Jurickson Profar

Texas Rangers

21

Jean Segura

Milwaukee Brewers

22

Everth Cabrera

San Diego Padres

23

Rafael Furcal

St. Louis Cardinals

24

Derek Jeter

New York Yankees

25

Yunel Escobar

Tampa Bay Rays

26

Stephen Drew

Boston Red Sox

27

Jamey Carroll

Minnesota Twins

Player to Grab: Zack Cozart
Zack Cozart is an interesting player due to his stark contrast regarding his respective real world and fantasy profiles.  In the real world, Cozart is a player that will hit 15-20 home runs.  He is also a player that makes plenty of outs.  His .288 on-base percentage was the fourth lowest in 2012 among hitters with a minimum of 600 plate appearances.  The top two spots on that list (read: worst) are both fellow shortstops.  Both are on my list; can you guess them?  This is based on them having produced decent batting averages in the past (answer at the bottom of the page).

The distinction between batting average and OBP is an important one.  OBP features two skills (contact and walking — although contact does not necessarily translate directly into hits).  Batting average on the other hand, ignores walking at all other outcomes beyond an arbitrarily defined “at-bat”.  If you are reading this, you are probably all well aware of this, yet it bears repeating.  Cozart will have a low batting average, but his average will be much less damaging than his OBP, relative to the league.  The reason to grab him is due to the fact that many SABR-inclined individuals will simply remember his OBP.  Many of those same SABR inclined people ostensibly play in OBP leagues; where Cozart is an absolute sinkhole. Of course, some of those same SABR people still play standard 5×5 for some comparatively light fun (full disclosure: I am one of these people).  If your league has participants of this nature, Cozart may stay on the board through the top 15 or even 20 rounds.  He makes an interesting second shortstop/middle infielder (although I prefer a multi-position player for that) and he should be a workable starting SS in the event that a shortstop run in your draft may force you to otherwise reach.

Even with the low OBP, Cozart should score a fair amount of runs — especially if Dusty Baker (in his questionable tactics) continues to have him bat in front of Joey Votto and Jay Bruce (take note Votto & Bruce owners).  He may even have a decent RBI total for a SS (to go with the home runs) given the Reds deep lineup.  Cozart is not an ideal solution by any stretch, but he is better than an initial impression might convey.  If you happen to spend your budget elsewhere, or maybe everything just goes horrendously awry on draft day (e.g. your internet explodes) Cozart provides an intriguing safety net from having to delve into the great shortstop oblivion.

Player to Pass: Derek Jeter
While this may sound like pure lunacy for people that have followed baseball for the last 17 years, I advocate passing on Derek Jeter in fantasy drafts this year.  I know he is the Yankee captain, Mr. November and whatever other honorifics the Pinstripe faithful have chosen to shower on him; however a painful dose of reality is in order.  Despite coming off another nice rebound season, Derek Jeter will turn 39 at the end of June in addition to suffering a fractured ankle during the ALDS versus the Baltimore Orioles.  Although Jeter is out of his walking boot and should be ready for Opening Day, one has no choice but to wonder about the lasting effects of the injury.  Jeter was already a poor defender — as he has been throughout most of his career — and although defensive stats don’t matter in standard fantasy leagues, defense could affect his playing time due to possibly reduced mobility plus the need to take days off.  The ankle injury will likely also have an effect on his speed.  Expect very few stolen bases from his year, very much out the norm for a player who is typically good for 15-20 bags.  Diminished speed could also result in a decrease in runs as well.  Jeter also posted a 16.1 HR/FB% that  is unsustainable (career 12.6%) and his FB% has declined four of the last five years to a career low 15.9% in 2012.  In the same time his GB% has settled in the 60-65% range (58.0% career rate).  While grounders have a higher BABIP than fly balls, such an extreme codependency on ground balls in conjunction with his potential speed leave me wary of his batting average being sustainable.

Of course, Derek Jeter has a wonderful offensive track record as a major league shortstop and is headed for Cooperstown (surely the BBWAA can’t botch that one, right?).  If he is available in a double digit round, at that price, pounce.  Now, given the length of and breadth of his body of work, someone will break their arm reaching for the 2012 version of Jeter.  If you want to win your league in 2013, let that person be someone else.

Trivia answers: #2 – Alexei Ramirez (.287), #1 – J.J. Hardy (.282).

AHume
Alex Hume
About Alex Hume

2013 Fantasy Rankings, Articles, Fantasy, Features, Rankings

10 Comments on "2013 Fantasy Shorstop Rankings"

  1. Profile Photo
    MJ L January 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm -

    So tier 3 consists of Marco Scutaro?

  2. Profile Photo
    PL February 1, 2013 at 10:19 am -

    Thats a pretty good list, I would trust this guy with my fantasy team.

  3. Profile Photo
    BIG DADDY February 1, 2013 at 3:28 pm -

    No rating for Nakajima from Oakland?

    • Profile Photo
      Alex Hume February 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm -

      Big Daddy,
      I chose not to rank Nakajima because we have no data to go off of outside of his Japanese numbers.  Given the history of Japanese middle-infielders (Kaz Matsui, Nishioka, Kawasaki, etc.), if I had to rank him, he would be at the very bottom of my list.

      • Profile Photo
        David Wiers February 2, 2013 at 11:37 am -

        I’ll weigh in here as a bit of a counter-point:

        I’m pretty high on Nakajima based on not just his impressive numbers in Japan, but how impressive his numbers were in context. When offensive numbers went down league-wide — thanks to a change in the baseball — run scoring was depressed significantly. 

        Nakajima didn’t escape unscathed, but his numbers compared to the league average were just as much, if not moreso, impressive than before the ball change. 

        I’m pretty high on Nakajima, but if it doesn’t work out, the A’s can always play Cespedes there. Just kidding. Kind of. Apparently he took a few grounders there just for kicks and giggles, but the A’s staff agreed that he *could* probably play there with some practice, based on physical gifts alone.

  4. Profile Photo
    Ryan Kenny February 3, 2013 at 2:46 am -

    Ha Alex, nice profile picture! I know exactly where that was taken. I work across the street from the Capitol and did my time interning there in the governor’s office in 1997. I enjoy seeing a photo so close to home. And BTW, great list and article. -Ryan

  5. Profile Photo
    Head Scratcher February 7, 2013 at 9:35 pm -

    I stopped taking this list seriously after seeing Rollins at #3