I used to get excited about drafting shortstops. I don’t anymore. In fact writing these rankings feels more like work. Humor me, and we’ll take a walk down memory lane. Do you remember the Mariner version of Alex Rodriguez? Or the 70-steal Jose Reyes? What about Moneyball Miguel Tejada? How about the poor Hanley? The list can go on forever. Maybe it was steroids. I don’t know. I still miss the old days. I look at the list of shortstops for 2013, and I can’t shake the feeling of being underwhelmed.
There’s Tulowitzki who has the potential to be a shortstop of old but can’t be trusted. If I draft Tulow in the middle-to-late first round, I’m not going to be excited about it. Reyes and Hanley have new surroundings so there is a chance something gets sparked within them, but I don’t see either achieving what they have accomplished in past seasons. Starlin Castro is an exciting player, but his skill set is more tailored to a real-life great ball player and not so much the fantasy beast we all hope he’ll be. The upside for Starlin isn’t near as high as previous youths at the position. I know I have you all excited and geared up for some riveting shortstop analysis. Hold on tight.
Guys I Like:
Jose Reyes SS TOR- Geez guys this is what I was talking about earlier. I feel like I’m writing about a guy based on nothing more than projection and situation. I don’t feel extremely passionate about Reyes this year, but anybody that knows me knows that I like confidence in people, especially athletes. Reyes has already gone on record this offseason proclaiming that he will be driven in a Major League record amount of times by Jose Bautista. That is the definition of confidence. Well that or the definition of ‘pipe dream’.
As for me, I legitimately like the Jays chances this year. As you gaze around the AL East, it is thinning a little, and teams like the Jays and Rays are rising to the top. Reyes is a near lock for ten homers, over 100 runs, 35+ stolen bases, and an elite batting average. There’s enough to get excited about for the average fantasy player. If anything, he’s very stable when he’s not injured. Realistically, if he’s there for me in the third round, I will be giving him a hard look, and I’m most likely to draft him over the likes of Tulow and Hanley based on their average draft positions so far.
Andrelton Simmons SS ATL- Andrelton figures to hit lead off atop the most potent line up in all of baseball. If history serves us correctly, those guys usually produce. Simmons is by no means an offensive juggernaut. He is, however, an elite defender with great speed. He hits for contact and poise. He shouldn’t be your starting shortstop in 12-team leagues or fewer, but I could see him nestled in quite nicely into a MI slot.
I like the way he plays, and I think with enough at bats, the counting stats will favor him to outperform his 360+ ADP (That means he’s not being drafted.). I’m figuring we’ll see 80+ runs/ 8 or so home runs/ 50 RBIs/ 15-20 SBs. Did I mention he is waiver wire fodder? Don’t forget about him. I actually think he’s a decent replacement with one of the big three of Tulow, Reyes, and HanRam in case of an injury.
Hiroyoki Nakajima SS OAK- I told you there was little to get excited about in the shortstop position. Nakajima is filed under the ‘little excitement’ folder of my rankings. I’ve honestly never watched Nakajima swing a bat. That alone is enough to discredit these next several sentences, but I’m going to write them anyways.
Nakajima’s stats from Japan suggest to me that he is an above average hitter. Nick Houser of Bleacherreport compiled his last six seasons average stats: .310/17HRs/86RBI in 136 games a year. I don’t care about any of what those stats mean except for the 86 runs batted in. If you can drive in runners in the Japanese league which highly favors small ball, I am impressed. He’ll get all the plate appearances he needs to prove he’s more of a Norichika Aoki than a Tsyoshi Nishioka. This is another guy to monitor.
Guys I don’t Like:
Erick Aybar SS LAA- This guy is the black widow of shortstops. Aybar will draw you in like he has for the last few years with his sexy play; then he’ll break your heart. You will drop him. Somebody else will pick him up, and he’ll put up ridiculously good numbers for the rest of the season. You are then left with your head in your hands, and Mike Aviles as your shortstop.
If you can have the stones to stick with Aybar for the entire season, the potential for profit is there. By season’s end, his stats could be decent enough. For you daily leaguers and head-to-head guys you needn’t walk away from Aybar. You should run away. Deeper league guys feel free to take the plunge, but you shallow guys have to be wary of this very type of player. They are season killers.
Everth Cabrera SS SD- Cabrera led the National League in steals with 54 in 2012. People in decent sized leagues will be very aware of that fact come draft day. The speed is real, but Cabrera just isn’t a good hitter at all. Even with a .336 BABIP last year he only hit .246. He’s not going to get RBIs.
Maybe he’ll get you 60 runs and 35 steals, but he will absolutely kill your batting average. I don’t think even .246 is repeatable. I figure he’ll hit .230 which let’s just say doesn’t fit the bill. Find your speed in the outfield and stay away from this guy.