2012 Rankings: Top 15 Shortstops

Shortstop is one of the more interesting positions to look at.  You have elite talent at the top, though all seem to have injury issues that need to concern fantasy owners.  You have some big names, but their best days are clearly behind them.  Then, you have a few emerging talents who may be primed to fully entrench themselves among the best in the game.  In other words, the position has it all.  Let’s take a look at how fantasy owners should view the top options heading into 2012:

  1. Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies
  2. Hanley Ramirez – Miami Marlins
  3. Jose Reyes – Miami Marlins
  4. Starlin Castro – Chicago Cubs
  5. Asdrubal Cabrera – Cleveland Indians
  6. Elvis Andrus – Texas Rangers
  7. Jimmy Rollins – Philadelphia Phillies
  8. Alexei Ramirez – Chicago White Sox
  9. Dee Gordon – Los Angeles Dodgers
  10. Erick Aybar – Los Angeles Angels
  11. Derek Jeter – New York Yankees
  12. J.J. Hardy – Baltimore Orioles
  13. Emilio Bonifacio – Miami Marlins
  14. Yunel Escobar – Toronto Blue Jays
  15. Jhonny Peralta – Detroit Tigers

Thoughts:

  • Is there a position with more injury risk at the top then shortstop?  Tulowitzki played in 143 games in ’11 and was limited to 122 in ’10.  Ramirez, who had been relatively healthy over his first five seasons played in just 92 games in ’11.  Jose Reyes, once again plagued by hamstring injuries, has played in 133 games or less in each of the past three years.  All three have tremendous upside and ability, but you have to be prepared to be without them at times.
  • Starlin Castro will enter the year at 22-years old, two years of experience under his belt and a ton of upside potential.  He took major steps forward across the board in 2011, hitting .307 with 10 HR and 22 SB and could take another step in 2012.  He’s a near lock to hit over .300 and should contribute some power (10-15 HR) and enough speed (20-30 SB).  He has the chance to be the next great SS, and he could realize it as soon as this season.
  • Both Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter have seen their better days pass them by.  The issue is even more pronounced with Jeter, who hit .297 with 6 HR, 16 SB and 84 R in ’11.  Sooner or later the Yankees are going to realize that he is no longer an ideal leadoff choice and his value is going to take an even greater hit.  Do not draft him on his name or value to the Yankees, he just doesn’t bring the same upside as other options.
  • Dee Gordon has stolen as many as 73 bases in a season (at Single-A in ’09).  In 2010 he had 53 SB and, across three levels in 2011, he had 56 SB.  There’s no doubting the speed he brings to the table and he should be given a very long leash (as long as he’s healthy).  As a low-end option, and one that can carry you in one category, he’s a very intriguing option.
  • Erick Aybar is often an overlooked player for fantasy owners.  However, if he hits leadoff (with Albert Pujols behind him), there is an awful lot to like.  He brings moderate speed (20-30 SB), some power (he hit 10 HR in ’11) and could score a ton of runs.  With a .307 average for his career one could argue that he’s a similar player to Starlin Castro, just without the same type of upside.

***** Order the Rotoprofessor 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, complete with updates from January through the start of the season, for just $6! As an added bonus, if you purchase by 3/15 you will be entered to win a Michael Pineda autographed baseball! To place your order click here. *****

Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings:

Late Round Target: Can Cody Ross Rediscover His Old Form?
The Trade Counsel: Pre-season Keeper Trading

12 comments

  1. Malarkey says:

    Why so low on JJ Hardy? He had a monstrous season last year and has shown that he can hit for power before. A .260 avg with at least 25 HRs is definitely within his range and ability, which I’ll take over Rollins, Jeter, and Alexei.

    • jmax says:

      Those 3 other shortstops contribute in more categories… Power numbers are easily aquired

      • Malarkey says:

        Power #’s were once easily acquired. 25-30 HR power is becoming more and more rare every year, and to get that kind of power from a shortstop is crazy outside of the top guys. Not to mention, isn’t Hardy 29 yrs old? These are prime years…

        • jmax says:

          You have a Utility and CI position to fill. How many first basemen are going to hit 20 and 70+ this yr?? Plugging these positions w one of those types of guys will fill that void. Just my opinion though…

  2. Neight says:

    Aybar is a career .276 hitter.

  3. yummy says:

    Hardy is a top 10 SS. Even if he is an injury risk. He and Rollins have nearly identical slash lines for their careers. I give you Rollins will get a many more SB but Hardy will give you 10+ more HR and 20+ more RBI.

    • jmax says:

      Same thing I said above. Im not Rotoprofessor by any means but I’d rather have a guy who is above average in 4 categories as opposed to a guy who is good in 2

      • Malarkey says:

        What 4 categories is Jeter going to contribute? His BA is trending downwards, as well as his SB, and like the Rotoprofessor says, if he gets removed from the leadoff spot, don’t expect 100 Runs either. Alexei will give you 15/15 with a .280 BA every year without much in the Runs or RBI categories… similarly for Rollins except he might go 15/25 and with a lower BA… I don’t think that is as far better than JJ how this list would lead us to believe

        • jmax says:

          Alexi has scored 80+ runs 2 yrs in a row. Does anyone doubt that the White Sox offense is going to be better this yr?
          I’m not a Jeter fan. In fact I despise him. However, w his decline I believe he offers more to a team simply bc I feel power is easily obtained. Where does Jeter hit if he doesnt bat lead??? 2 spot??? Whats the difference???
          At mockdraftcentral JJ going at pick 132. Alexi 167. Jhonny Peralta who also has some good upside and who can put up similar numbers to JJ is going at 175. Why reach for JJ??

    • outsidelookingin says:

      Rollins:

      in 1636 games he has a TSL of .272/.338/.399 with 1080 R, 170 HR and 373 SB.

      Hardy:
      in 801 games he has a TSL of .264/.320/.435 with 399 R, 111 HR and 6, count them 6, SB.

      You can compare TSL between the two all you want, but Rollis is OBVIOUSLY the better player over their careers and, most likely, over the remainder of their careers as well.

  4. Rotoprofessor says:

    Let me cover J.J. Hardy in one shot here. Yes, Hardy had a great 2011 campaign, but there is one number that really worries me about him.

    Flyball rate = 43.4%

    It’s not an outrageous number by any stretch, but it was by far a career high. He has never been one to post a lucky BABIP (.280 for his career), so anything that he does that could contribute to a worse number is worisome. If he is going to start swinging for the fences, the potential is there for his average to plumet. On the other hand, is the FB% normalizes, he isn’t going to come close to 30 HR.

    It’s a double-edged sword, but either way it is going to limit his potential value.

  5. GAHHH says:

    What are your thoughts on Dee now that he is ranked as an 8th round pick (12 team) in Yahoo? They re-ranked him to 96th overall, if you don’t know what I’m referring to.

    Seems early to me, like you’re paying for the certainty of 50 steals, when it’s entirely possible that he doesn’t get there.

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