Fantasy Baseball SS Preview: Tulowitzki and the Question Marks
Fantasy Baseball: The good news is that there are 15 potential starters at shortstop this year. But only one of them, Troy Tulowitzki, is a surefire top pick. Most of the others come with huge question marks. But that means that you have the option of waiting to fill your shortstop slot. In ESPN leagues, Jimmy Rollins is going 90 spots ahead of Erick Aybar. It might not be worth reaching for a bigger name if options that are almost as good are available many rounds later.
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
Tulowitzki has averaged 30 HR and 97 RBI the last three years, and that’s with missing 70 games in that span. His lowest yearly BA in that span is .297.
Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
Jose Reyes, Marlins
Ramirez gets edge because his upside is five-category superstar. He also adds position flexibility this year with the move to third. Ramirez did miss 70 games and was having an off-year before he went down for the season in August with a shoulder injury, but Reyes is the bigger injury risk. Reyes hit .354 in the first half with 30 SB and 15 triples in 80 games. But amid two more hamstring injuries, Reyes hit .305 in the second half in 46 games with 9 SB and just one triple. But even if Reyes ends up not running as much, he could score a lot of runs hitting in front of a healthy Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton.
Starlin Castro, Cubs,
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
Elvis Andrus, Rangers
Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
Rising star Castro hit .300 for second straight year. His 207 hits led the NL. With 674 AB, his BA will help your team that much more. Castro had 8 HR in second half for total of 10, so he could be headed toward being a player who will really help in some categories but won’t hurt your in others.
Rollins remains one of the better power-speed combos at SS with 16 HR and 30 SB in 142 games, but don’t expect a high BA. His .268 was his highest since 2008. Rollins’ career BA is .272. At 33, health a concern.
Andrus has 102 steals in three years, but no power and .271 career BA.
Cabrera’s 25 HR does not look sustainable – his previous high was 6. His unpredictable seasons have a 162-game average of 13 HR, 13 SB and .281 BA.
Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
Jhonny Peralta, Tigers
Erick Aybar, Angels
Derek Jeter, Yankees
J.J. Hardy, Orioles
Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins
Dee Gordon, Dodgers
Yunel Escobar, Blue Jays
Ramirez has had steady but unspectacular numbers in his career, though his 15 HR and .269 BA were down from 2010 and his 7 SB came after three straight years of at least 13 SB.
Peralta‘s 21 HR and 86 RBI are not much more than his career 162-game average of 19-83, but his .299 BA looks like an outlier next to his career .268 BA.
Aybar’s steals trending upward: 14, 22, 30. If at top of order, will benefit with Albert Pujols now in middle.
Jeter hit .327 in the second half after .270 in the first half, but had same 3 HR and 8 SB. .666 OPS vs. righties after having .633 OPS against them in 2010.
Hardy regained power of 2007-8 Milwaukee days with 30 HR in just 129 games. But that was the most games the injury-prone Hardy has played in since ’08.
Bonifacio came out of nowhere to hit .296 with 40 steals. But he had a .372 BABIP and, while he appears to have a place to play in center field, he has a small track record. May not run as much batting second after Reyes, but could score more hitting in front of Hanley Ramirez and Stanton.
Gordon was a no-hit SS with great speed before he hit .372 in September with 12 steals. His 24 SB in 56 games project to 69 over 162. But can he hit MLB pitching for more than one month?
Escobar hits for BA and some HR but no speed. His OPS at home was 226 points higher than on the road.
Photo by SD Dirk.
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