Fantasy Baseball Preview: Shortstops

Adam Beard

On Feb. 24, I previewed third basemen. Now, let’s discuss the shortstop position.

Which shortstop should go off the board first?

Troy Tulowitzki (COL) – When he is playing, Tulowitzki is one of the most valuable fantasy players at any position. However, that’s only when he’s healthy enough to play. The Rockies shortstop has played in 130 games just twice in the past six seasons and has found himself on the disabled list five times in the past seven years. It’s hard to not want to pick him, though, because of his high ceiling and successful history. It’s a toss-up as to who the number one shortstop is right now and will be at the end of the season, but I like Tulowitzki – he plays in a hitter-friendly ballpark and is surrounded by talent.

Who is making a comeback from a disappointing 2013 season?

Starlin Castro (CHI) – Saying Castro underperformed last season is an understatement. The Cubs shortstop was a complete bust. He hit just .245, stole only nine bases and had 44 runs batted in. His numbers in 2013 were significantly worse than they were in 2012, and he had 20 more at-bats. Castro will earn his keep this year and return to all-star form. He has potential to be a top-five shortstop.

Don’t sleep on this guy

Derek Jeter (NYY) – This may seem cliché, but did you see the year Mariano Rivera had in his last season upon announcing his retirement? Expect Jeter to perform the same way, especially since he is a guy that wants to finish on top. In 2012, the Yankees legend hit .316 and scored 99 runs for fantasy owners who were pleased with that type of production out of the then 38-year-old. Jeter is now 40, but he is healthy after playing just 17 games last year. That rest and healing time makes him a very good candidate to be a sleeper in 2013.

Bound to bust

Jose Reyes (TOR) – Reyes is ranked high every single year, and people who draft him always end up having to watch the waiver wire upon Reyes’ trip to the DL. Reyes is a special talent and a tough out. He is one of the fastest players in the majors, and he usually hits for a very high average while scoring plenty of runs. I just think injuries will hold him back once again, making him a bust.

My Preseason Rankings: Shortstop

  1. Troy Tulowitzki (COL)
  2. Hanley Ramirez (LAD)
  3. Jean Segura (MIL)
  4. Ian Desmond (WAS)
  5. Jose Reyes (TOR)
  6. Elvis Andrus (TEX)
  7. Starlin Castro (CHC)
  8. Ben Zobrist (TB)
  9. Everth Cabrera (SD)
  10. J.J. Hardy (BAL)
  11. Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE)
  12. Andrelton Simmons (ATL)
  13. Xander Bogaerts (BOS)
  14. Jonathan Villar (HOU)
  15. Derek Jeter (NYY)
  16. Alexei Ramirez (CWS)
  17. Jurickson Profar (TEX)
  18. Jed Lowrie (OAK)
  19. Jhonny Peralta (STL)
  20. Erick Aybar (LAA)

I’ll leave you with this…

Shortstops don’t offer much of anything as far as elite players go, and this might be the most risky position to draft this season considering that three out of the top five (Tulowitzki, Ramirez and Reyes) tend to get hurt almost every year. There is also uncertainty if Segura will perform like he did in 2013, if Castro is capable of bouncing back, if Villar can put together a nice season that most people are counting on and so much more.

Each week, Adam will give his two cents about the players at each position, naming a clear-cut number one, a comeback player, a sleeper/breakout, a bust, his full rankings and a little advice as to what to do in your draft and throughout the season.