2009 Fantasy Projections: Shortstop
“Shortstop” is the name of a greasy spoon diner right under the last stop of 1/9 train in Riverdale – whatever you order, keep it greasy and order seconds. Cheese fries are highly recommended, if I remember correctly.
“Shortstop” is also where the NL East is dominating the positional rankings in fantasy baseball:
Shortstop Rankings – National League
- Hanley Ramirez (.300-30-110) – Ramirez moves down to the third spot in the lineup this year, so expect more RBIs and a small drop in his SB – I’m thinking he steals 20-25. There’s a reason he is rated #1 by most fantasy baseball magazines and websites.
- Jose Reyes (.300-18-70) – Reyes will put up his usual numbers – Solid average, power and RBI numbers for a guy that will steal a ton of bases. And I do expect him to steal a TON of bases when the Mets start to hit a rough patch early in the season. Forget what you’ve heard about Jerry Manuel’s “jazz beat” – Reyes will run until his legs fall off this season or the Mets will fall apart. Thank God he isn’t batting third…
- Jimmy Rollins (.280-15-65) – Rollins is an excellent barometer with which to gauge the collective temperment of your draft/auction. He puts up power numbers comparable to Reyes and he should steal about 15 more bases than Ramirez, yet he isn’t quite up to their overall levels of production… If you are in an auction league, you may get him for less than $35 if Reyes/Ramirez are still on the table. But watch out, once the big guys are gone, the price for Rollins could skyrocket close to $40. Don’t overpay, but get him closer to $30 if you can.
- JJ Hardy (.275-20-85) – I’m starting to think people overvalue Hardy because they are lumping him in with Ryan Braun and Corey Hart – how many people at your draft have actually seen a Brewers game? Could they tell the difference between Hart, Hardy and Braun? Hardy will post decent numbers, but he isn’t a top tier talent at SS and he is wildly streaky. Get him cheap if you can, but don’t bid on him if he approaches $20. There are plenty of solid AL shortstops that come cheaper and there are better values in the NL.
- Stephen Drew (.208-18-65) – Get him if he’s cheap, avoid him if he’s too expensive. Rinse. Repeat.
Sleeper – Rafael Furcal (.280-10-50) – If Furcal plays a full season and he is completely healthy, he is almost as productive as Jose Reyes. Don’t expect him to be healthy all season, but watch him post .300-15-65 with 50 SB and 110 runs scored if he is.
Shortstop Rankings – NL East
- Hanley Ramirez (see above)
- Jose Reyes (see above)
- Jimmy Rollins (see above)
- Yunel Escobar (.290-12-65) – You can’t build a fantasy team around Escobar, but you can definitely get him at a fair price and spend your money (or your higher draft picks) on top talent at other positions. If you’re lucky, he may swipe 10 bases.
- Cristian Guzman (.285-8-50) – Proceed with caution. This guy is on the Nationals for a reason – he’s just not that productive. Don’t expect him to post another .300-season and don’t expect many SB. He’ll bug the hell out of you with a two-out bloop single late in a tie game against the Mets, but being a gadfly doesn’t translate to fantasy value. Spend no more than $3 on him in an auction and don’t bother with him in shallow mixed leagues.
Sleeper – No one. If Ramirez, Reyes or Rollins get injured, their replacements won’t make a noticeable impact unless they are acquired by via trade.
How about Omar Infante as your NL East sleeper? He won’t battle Escobar in Atlanta for the SS job, but he does have SS eligibility and he’ll likely be spelling Chipper Jones a lot at 3B when Jones is dealing with his plethora of nagging injuries. Infante accumulated 317 ABs while subbing in mostly at 3B, SS, and LF last year, and hit a cool .293 with 24 two-baggers and 40 runs driven in. Not knock-your-socks-off statistics, but he certainly won’t hurt your team if you need a part-time fill-in.
As for Rollins, despite his injuries, last season’s production was pretty much what you can expect from him each year, barring the ’08 breakout. If he does hit 20+ HR with a .290+ AVG, I think he’s #2 on the list. But I would go into a draft/auction expecting .280-15 HR.
Finally, Stephen Drew’s BA should read \.280\ and not \.208\… Sorry.