As a reminder, my complete ranks can be found here…
Shortstop has elite talent, then some good players, then some also rans. If you can’t get a top guy in the first 2 rounds, and don’t want to spend a 4th or 5th round pick on someone who isn’t going to produce at the same level as the other players going around them, prep to wait to get someone in the 10th round or later.
On to the notes!
Troy Tulowitzki is the top SS on the board, and is a top 5 player if not someone to get 1st overall in drafts. He is the best of the best and his 97 HR’s since 2008 is the best mark by 8, despite hitting only 8 HR’s in an injury shortened 2008. His .228 ISO over that time is best by a mile. I don’t think I need to convince anyone how good he is.
Hanley Ramirez is a question mark. He has the physical talent, but I’m going to stay clear of him this year since he is shaping up to let his emotions get the best of him in his desire to remain at SS. If you think he’ll come around and put that aside and get back to playing like his old self, then he is worth every peny of that late 1st or 2nd round pick, or the 40-plus auction dollars you want to throw down.
Jose Reyes is a beast on the field, but like I touched upon in his projection profile, how often is he on the field? Not enough for my liking. He retains value in roto leagues, but he misses to much time for me to justify his price tag for a head to head league.
Elvis Andrus and Starlin Castro both have tremendous value in keeper leagues due to their young gun ages, however I’m not convinced that their production merits their selection placement in re-draft leagues. (noticing a theme here?) That being said though, as far as Castro goes, there aren’t many players at SS who have batted .300 in their first two years of pro ball in their age 21 and 20 seasons. Andrus is the same age, and has an extra year of experience on Castro. He has stolen over 30 bases each year in the majors and while he is at the top of the Texas lineup (or even 9th) he is a threat to score over 100 runs.
Jimmy Rollins is another Jose Reyes type, but with slightly less production. He spends a lot of time hurt, and with Ryan Howard missing a large portion of the season, runs will be harder for Rollins to come by.
Is Asdrubal Cabrera an emerging star or a one hit wonder? Projection systems are saying the .274 AVG can be expected, but to expect regression in all the counting stats. Looking at the season he had last year, regression could be 18 HR and 14 steals which is still pretty solid value for a player you can get for $16 in auctions.
Derek Jeter has had a good run, but I’m afraid his ceiling isn’t quite what it used to be. He won’t kill you in average, but his ceiling is probably 7 or 8 HR’s and 15 steals. He isn’t a lock to score 100 runs, so with that I’m out and will be looking elsewhere.
Dee Gordon stole 24 bases in 50 games this year. He is a lock for 50 steals and will compete with Bourn to lead baseball in steals. I’m not sure he’ll be able to bat .300 again, but with his speed it’s certainly possible.
Stephen Drew is a wildcard. He is a few years removed from a 20 HR season with a double digit HR/Steal season in 2010. His average isn’t anything to write home about but it’s a safer bet he’ll be closer to the .260 range than the .290′s. Then there is the injury…he had surgery on the ankle last year and so far this spring hasn’t played in a game or even run on it. He most likely won’t be ready for the season opener.
Sleeper: Zack Cozart‘s cup of coffee in the majors left us with a .324 AVG and 2 HR’s in 11 games. His power was similar to what we saw from him in the minors, and given a full season of major league ball from him a .280 AVG with 14 HR’s isn’t out of the question. Not bad for someone being skipped entirely in drafts.