Next on the list of early rankings is the shortstop position, which holds a few major questions around some of the top players at the position. How will Jose Reyes return from injury? Will Jimmy Rollins be able to put his first half behind him? Let’s take a look at how the preliminary rankings stack up (keep in mind that these are going to be fluid throughout the offseason based on news, transactions and further research):
1. Hanley Ramirez – Florida Marlins
2. Jose Reyes – New York Mets
3. Jimmy Rollins – Philadelphia Phillies
4. Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies
5. Derek Jeter – New York Yankees
6. Stephen Drew – Arizona Diamondbacks
7. Elvis Andrus – Texas Rangers
8. Yunel Escobar – Atlanta Braves
9. Jason Bartlett – Tampa Bay Rays
10. Miguel Tejada – Houston Astros
11. Jhonny Peralta – Cleveland Indians
12. Rafael Furcal – Los Angeles Dodgers
13. Alcides Escobar – Milwaukee Brewers
14. Asdrubal Cabrera – Cleveland Indians
15. Marco Scutaro – Toronto Blue Jays
- Troy Tulowitzki rebounded from a terrible sophomore season to be better than anyone could have imagined in 2009. Not only did he hit 32 HR, but he showed some speed with 20 SB. Of course, he had never shown that type of speed before, so a regression could be in order there. That fear, along with the knowledge of how good Reyes & Rollins could be, places him fourth on this list.
- How do you think Jose Reyes will rebound? That’s the big question here, but I’m confident that he can return to at least something close to the player he once was. Not enough to take him in the first round, but he still should be among the first three shortstops off the board.
- Don’t be fooled by Jimmy Rollins’ terrible first half. He hit .272 with 14 HR, 43 RBI and 15 SB after the All-Star Break. Additionally, when you have Chase Utley & Ryan Howard hitting behind you, you are going to get plenty of opportunities to score runs.
- While Miguel Tejada saw his average rise above .300 again, he did it due to a career low strikeout rate of 7.6%. Does anyone really expect that to be repeated in 2010?
- Elvis Andrus at #7? He has the potential to hit around .280 or so. If he gets to hit in the #2 hole over the long haul (he spent the majority of his time hitting ninth in 2009), he should easily pair that better average with 30+ stolen bases (he stole 33 in his rookie season) and over 100 runs scored. That potential makes him a better option then the Yunel Escobar’s of the world, who doesn’t bring anything specific to the table (i.e. no significant power or speed).
- Where did Jhonny Peralta’s power disappear to? A career high 50.2% groundball rate (which corresponded to a 30.6% flyball rate) is the most likely reason. With over 20 home runs in three out of four years from 2005-2008, it is hard to imagine him not rebounding from his disappointing season.
- If Alcides Escobar is given a starting job, he likely jumps over Furcal and becomes a low-end starter in all formats thanks to his speed potential. What the Brewers do with him (and correspondingly with J.J. Hardy) is one of the biggest stories at this position.
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