Positional Ranks: Shortstop

Finishing out the infield, we head to shortstop.  While the talent at the top is strong, the middle tiers are filled with bounce back candidates and young unproven players.  Those unproven players, however, make for some of the more enticing late picks on draft day.
 

Tier one

 
1. Hanley Ramirez
 
There is only one Hanley Ramirez and there is only one tier worth of his talents.
 
Tier two
 
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Jose Reyes
4. Jimmy Rollins
 
Tulow’s 2009 breakout was for real and his talent should make him a top shortstop for years to come.  Still, we can expect a little regression in power and stolen bases (Think 30/15).  Reports are that Jose Reyes is running pain free, which gives him the edge over Jimmy Rollins in the rankings.  Health will be the key, of course, and if 100 percent, he could be a bargain second round pick on draft day.  Rollins just never got hot after a very good display at the WBC.  His AVG was hurt from a .253 BABIP, but even a correction would only make him a .275 hitter.  He should continue to hit around 20 home runs with 30-35 steals. 
 
Tier three
 
5. Ben Zobrist
6. Derek Jeter
7. Alexei Ramirez
 
Even with some regression built in, Zobrist should remain as one of the top options at short (as long as your league allows eligibility there).  2009 was an incredible bounce back year for Jeter, but he is going to be 36 this season, so a regression or even the start of a decline is very likely.  Even so, Jeter should continue to hit for AVG, steal around 20 bags and score a bunch of runs atop that Yankee lineup.  Alexei’s 2009 numbers may not have been as sexy as owners had hoped, but he actually made improvements to his plate discipline and pitch selection.  With a full season at short behind him, he should be able to improve his counting stats in 2010.
 
Tier four
 
8. Jason Bartlett
9. Stephen Drew
10. Asdrubal Cabrera
11. Yunel Escobar
 
In 2009, Jason Bartlett set career highs in BABIP, line drive rate and HR/FB rate.  That is to say a regression is almost a lock.  Though his AVG may drop to around .290, he still contributes in stolen bases with a little power.  Stephen Drew should provide some nice value after an injury plagued 2009.  He’s not really a .290-.300 hitter, but the power numbers should rebound along with a .280ish AVG.  Asdrubal Cabrera won’t contribute a ton in AVG or power, but he does have 20-plus stolen base potential along with a full time gig in 2010.  Yunel Escobar is solid, but won’t provide much more than 15 home runs and 5 or so steals. 
 
Tier five
 
12. J.J. Hardy
13. Elvis Andrus
14. Alcides Escobar
15. Ian Desmond
16. Miguel Tejada
17. Erick Aybar
18. Ryan Theriot
19. Rafael Furcal
20. Jhonny Peralta
21. Everth Cabrera
 
Here is the magical mystery tier that I mentioned in the first paragraph.  J.J. Hardy was looking like a steady player until his miserable 2009.  There is a good chance he bounces back in his new scenery.  Both Elvis Andrus and Alcides Escobar have 35-plus stolen base potential, but there AVG is a question mark.  I like both as late round fliers.  Ian Desmond could be an even deeper sleeper.  The big question is where his AVG will end up.  Aside from that, an everyday job with the Nationals (moving Christian Guzman to second) could result in 10-plus home runs and 20-plus steals.  I’m staying away from Miguel Tejada as much as I can as regression should mix with decline in his age 35/36 season.  Erick Aybar was a great second half story in 2009, but his hacking ways should lead to a lower AVG in 2010.  There is 20 stolen base potential there though.  The Riot should maintain somewhat similar numbers, but don’t expect the seven home runs again.  Rafael Furcal may not be as old as Tejada, but his back injuries seem to have sapped his stolen base potential.  Without the steals, he is nothing more than average and an injury risk at that.  Jhonny Peralta has been nothing but inconsistent through his young career.  Look for a slight bounce back in power.  Everth Cabrera is another young speedster, but he has a long way to go with his AVG.  That being said, he should easily steal 30 bases in 2010 with a shot at 40.
 
Tier six
 
22. Marco Scutaro
23. Orlando Cabrera
24. Luis Valbuena
25. Maicer Izturis
26. Christian Guzman
27. Brendan Ryan
28. Cliff Pennington
29. Edgar Renteria
30. Jack Wilson
 
Marco Scutaro had a career year at age 33.  That doesn’t give me much hope for a repeat, even in Boston.  The two names that pop out to me in this tier are Luis Valbuena and Cliff Pennigton.  Both may struggle to hit for AVG, but deeper leagues should find value in Valbuena’s 15/15 potential and Pennington’s 20-plus stolen base potential.
 
The Master List
 
1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Jose Reyes
4. Jimmy Rollins
5. Ben Zobrist
6. Derek Jeter
7. Alexei Ramirez
8. Jason Bartlett
9. Stephen Drew
10. Asdrubal Cabrera
11. Yunel Escobar
12. J.J. Hardy
13. Elvis Andrus
14. Alcides Escobar
15. Ian Desmond
16. Miguel Tejada
17. Erick Aybar
18. Ryan Theriot
19. Rafael Furcal
20. Jhonny Peralta
21. Everth Cabrera
22. Marco Scutaro
23. Orlando Cabrera
24. Luis Valbuena
25. Maicer Izturis
26. Christian Guzman
27. Brendan Ryan
28. Cliff Pennington
29. Edgar Renteria
30. Jack Wilson