Top 15 Fantasy Shortstops for 2010: An Early Look

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):

Tier 1:
1. Hanley Ramirez – Florida Marlins

Tier 2:
2. Jose Reyes – New York Mets
3. Jimmy Rollins – Philadelphia Phillies
4. Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies

Tier 3:
5. Derek Jeter – New York Yankees
6. Stephen Drew – Arizona Diamondbacks
7. Elvis Andrus – Texas Rangers

Tier 4:
8. Yunel Escobar – Atlanta Braves
9. Jason Bartlett – Tampa Bay Rays
10. Miguel Tejada – Houston Astros

Tier 5:
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

Thoughts:

  • 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.
What are your thoughts on the early rankings?  Who is too high?  Who is too low?  Who was omitted that shouldn’t have been?

Previous Early Rankings:
Catchers
First Baseman
Second Baseman
Third Baseman

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

14 comments

  1. Dave says:

    I’m not going anywhere near Reyes next year with his history of leg injuries. I’d put Reyes in Tier 3 and Jeter at the end of Tier 2. That might make Reyes a steal (pun intended), but with his entire value tied to his oft-injured legs, the injury risk is too high for a 2nd round pick.

  2. Dave, I can understand the concerns regarding Jose Reyes but I have to disagree a little bit. He had been healthy for some time, so I do not think it is fair to suddenly assume his legs are going to be a problem for him every season. While I think concerns are justified, I wouldn’t say that I am going into this season expecting him to suffer another leg injury. As long as he recovers from the current problem (which they say he will be), I’m willing to take the gamble.

  3. fiji.siv says:

    Sorry Dave, but Reyes averaged 65 SBs 2005-2008 so I’m going to agree with the Professor on this one. :-)

    I really really want to believe in Bartlett but his 2009 numbers just don’t jive with anything in his career… OPS .135 over career, ISO up .063, BABIP up .038. Tier 4 sounds about right.

    I liked the way Peralta’s numbers had been heading recently then 2009 hit. You’re right about that GB% – it looks way out’a whack.

    Not sold on Drew though. He Ks too much, he doesn’t walk, he doesn’t steal and his power isn’t consistent.

    A. Cabrera’s speed is hard to pin down. Previously he had .029 SB/H then this year that jumped to .106! His minor career is full of single-digit SB totals except for 23 SBs in a partial AA season in 2007.

  4. I also would leave Reyes as the #2 SS, but would bump Tulo ahead of Rollins personally.

  5. Matt says:

    Where’s Alexei Ramirez? He arguably has better numbers than Furcal, Drew and Peralta, right?

  6. Rotoprofessor says:

    Matt, you are 100% right. That was an oversight on my part and I apologize. That’s why these are early rankings!

    While he was disappointing in 2009, I would probably put him right on the border of a low-end Tier 3, high-end Tier 4. Ramirez vs. Andrus would be an interesting comparison as we head into 2010. Who would everyone rather have?

  7. Jimmy says:

    I could see Tulo slotting behind Reyes, as well. The speed he showed this year definitely put him over the top for me.

  8. Greg says:

    I don’t expect Bartlett to hit 14 homers again next year, but I am optimistic that his OBP could be .380+ again. If he’s hitting at the top of the Rays lineup, he could also score 90+ runs and even approach 30 steals again.

    My concern with Drew is that over the past 3 years his OBP seems to have stalled around .320 (give or take 10 points). I still think he could take the next step and become a better hitter next year, but he seems to be a bigger risk than Barlett in my opinion.

  9. Barry says:

    How much longer will Rollin’s and his sub-300 OBP be leading off? If he is dropped to 7th, he loses any awfull lot of AB.

  10. Vin says:

    Where is Everth Cabrera? He is a stolen base machine that bats lead-off. His numbers are better than those in Tier 5.

  11. Rotoprofessor says:

    Barry, I agree, if the Phillies drop Rollins down in the order he will lose some of his appeal. He almost has to, with a dramatic drop in runs scored possible. With that said, until it happens he’s still got to be considered one of the better SS in the league.

    Vin, as for Cabrera, I have in the 16-20 range at this point. I agree that he has the potential to be a solid play, but the Padres are a mess. Even batting lead-off for them, there is no guarantee that he’s going to pile on the runs. I may move him up a little bit next time around as I do more research, so make sure to check back.

  12. yaya says:

    no erik aybar? you gotta be KIDDING ME!!!

  13. matthole says:

    weak list: Im a NY Mets fan, DO NOT DRAFT ANY METS…..Johan, reyes, wright, beltran…..STAY AWAY…….Tulo is clearcut #2……rollins has been struggling and weak tier 2….you wont win with these guys. PERIOD. Taking a crappy jose reyes or jimmy rollins in 2nd/3rd rd over big bats is a big mistake.

    also, STEPHEN DREW IS HORRIBLE….Derek Jeter is on too good of a team and has too good of a situation to be lumped with STEPHEN FREAKING DREW….hahaha

    And I agree….Id MUCH rather EVERTH CABRERA in the later rounds over an early rd pick of JOSE REYES……

  14. matthole says:

    also, ben zobrist was omitted

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