Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fantasy Focus: Worst Case Scenario- Shortstop

Shortstop is another position that lends itself to this kind of analysis because, like Catcher, it is a relativey offensive challenged position and most fantasy managers are not going to carry more shortstops than they are required to.  Again, I will look at this from the standpoint of my own 10 team fantasy league, but you can adapt the exercise to 12 team leagues or higher.  Again, remember that the bigger your league, the less you are going to want to rely on being able to find a good player in a shallow position with the last pick in your draft.

Here are Yahoo's current top 10 ranked shortstops(numbers are their overall rank):

1. Troy Tulowitzki(16).
2. Jose Reyes(18)
3. Starlin Castro(39)
4. Ben Zobrist(52)
5. Ian Desmond(56)
6. Jimmy Rollins(63)
7. Elvis Andrus(76)
8. Martin Prado(81)
9. Asdrubal Cabrera(89)
10. Hanley Ramirez(106)

Of that group, the first two plus Hanley Ramirez have the potential to put up big numbers but they have all had significant injury issues and Hanley is currently out after undergoing surgery for torn thumb ligaments.  Of the rest, Ian Desmond is the guy I would target, but there are even concerns about his secondary stats and whether a significant regression is likely.

The next 5:

11.  Derek Jeter(151)
12.  Danny Espinosa(154)
13.  Erick Aybar(169)
14.  Alcides Escobar(172)
15.  Josh Rutledge(177).

Again, a very risky group for multiple reasons.  Jeter is almost 40 yo and still having problems with the leg that suffered a stress fracture last postseason.  Stay Away!!!  Espinosa has 20/20 potential but at the cost of a very bad BA.  Aybar's main appeal is that he hits in a good lineup.  Rutledge is the hot sleeper pick but has horrible plate discipline and may not continue to produce even if he wins a starting job out of spring training.  Of these 5, I like Escobar the best, mainly because he gives you everything Andrus gives you for a lot lower price.  I would submit that if you wait this long, you might as well wait until the very last round or two and until you get to the $1 stage of the draft.

Let's look at who is available even later:

JJ Hardy(188)
Everth Cabrera(195)
Jed Lowrie(229)
Andrelton Simmons(234)
Marco Scutaro(249)
Zack Cozart(258)
Jean Segura(264).

Of these, Segura is the only one you can be 99% sure is going to be available at the very end of a 260 player draft, but unless your league has a MI roster slot, it is highly unlikely that any of the last 3 or 4 names are going to be taken earlier.  In fact, it is quite unlikely that unless it is required by your league roster rules that any more shortstops will be taken than the number of teams in your league.

So here is my Worst Case Scenario target list for shortstop:

1. Everth Cabrera- Cabrera is someone who may get nabbed earlier for a utility slot by a SB chaser.  If he falls to the end of the draft, though, he is a very cheap source of elite SB numbers and SS is a great position to use for that.
2.  Jed Lowrie- If he can stay healthy, and that is a big if, he could hit 30 HR's.  If he doesn't, hey, you haven't invested a lot in the pick and you can get something off the waiver wire as a replacement.
3.  Alcides Escobar- As I said earlier, gives you everything Andrus gives you for a whole lot cheaper.
4.  Jean Segura- Has the starting SS gig in Brewtown.  Love his minor league numbers and love his cameo last year.  The only concern is, besides his obvious inexperience, is that he may get stuck batting 8'th all season.
5. Andrelton Simmons- Similar to Segura but possibly less power.  Has an advantage in being named the leadoff hitter by Manager Fredi Gonzalez.

Deep Sleeper:  Don't forget to put Brandon Crawford, who I think might surprise a lot of people, on your watch list.


  1. I don't do fantasy baseball, but I noticed that several on the list (i.e. Zobrist, Prado, Scutaro, etc.) don't play SS on a regular basis. Compared to everyday shortstops, Crawford looks reasonably good, and likely to get better. No, I don't expect him to hit like Reyes or Tulo, but better than Cozart is quite possible.

    1. In fantasy, those players qualify at SS's even though the don't play there regularly. They will almost certainly be rostered at SS's by most fantasy teams due to the general offensive weakness of the position.

    2. Exactly. Fantasy. In baseball reality your shortstop actually has to play shortstop, which is why I'm content with Crawford. In fantasy, my girlfriend is played by a 23yo leggy, busty blond (I'm 54yo) who's a great cook. In reality, my GF has only one of those attributes.

    3. It's not like that. Fantasy baseball is a game that is distinctly different than MLB. You have to keep it relatively simple to manage it and it is still quite complex. So yeah, it's not real baseball and nobody is claiming it is. For instance, much of Crawford's value is in his defense and defense counts for nothing in the vast majority of fantasy baseball leagues.

  2. Not a mention of Alexei Ramirez??? I'm starting to worry about my team now that I drafted him and Jeter up the middle! Throw in Salty and it wouldn't be looking all that great if not for a the rest of the team which I am excited about.

    1. Not a fan of Alexei either, but he may be due for a bit of a rebound. How many teams in your league? I picked up Scutaro for SS, Aaron HIll for 2B and Wilin Rosario for Catcher all off the waiver wire/FA market last year and they took the Savvy Vets to a championship.

  3. "Deep Sleeper: Don't forget to put Brandon Crawford, who I think might surprise a lot of people, on your watch list."

    As a Giants fan I realize your opinion is biased but why do you think Crawford is a sleeper/breakout candidate?