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February 3, 2014

Fantasy Players to Target

Shortstops

by BP Fantasy Staff


Long renowned as one of fantasy’s most shallow positions, shortstop is about to get an infusion of talent like we haven’t see in many years. The influx of strong young performers will create an opportunity both to secure new cornerstones of your fantasy franchises, as well as capitalize on veterans who fall through the cracks as owners flock to what is shiny and new.

Elvis Andrus, Rangers
There might not be a cushier spot in a baseball lineup than the one Andrus occupies. Hitting no. 2 behind on-base superstar Shin-Soo Choo and in front of Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, and Alex Rios (I’m drooling now), the 25-year-old shortstop could threaten 100 runs in what figures to be one of baseball’s premier offenses. I’m grabbing Rangers wherever I can, but Andrus really excites me in this new-look offense. He’s averaged 33 steals in five seasons—including 42 last year—and I think another 25-30 SB is a reasonable low-end estimate for 2014. There’s little-to-no power here, but Andrus’s elite-run potential puts him over the top. —Alex Kantecki

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
Bogaerts only has 306 professional PA above the Double-A level, and he’s not very fast. I have now provided you with a complete list of attributes to dislike about Bogaerts from a fantasy perspective. The 21-year-old can hit for average. He can hit for power. He’s going to be an OBP machine. He’ll be batting in one of baseball’s best lineups, in a hitter-friendly park, and he’ll be doing all of this at shortstop, barring an unexpected return to Boston by Stephen Drew. Even if Drew is re-signed—which is pretty much a nightmare scenario for Bogaerts owners—I’d expect Bogaerts to start at shortstops against lefties, which means he’d still be eligible for the position in most leagues by June.

I’m aware that relying too heavily on prospects can be fantasy suicide, and I often prescribe to the theory that taking a proven veteran over the next best thing is the way to go. Bogaerts is a special case, though, as he’s universally regarded as having the approach at the plate, maturity and physical tools to excel in the majors right away. I like him to finish as a borderline top-10 fantasy shortstop this year, finishing with a line around .270/.330/.400 with around 18-22 homer uns. If he’s taken too early in your draft you should resist the temptation to reach for him, but he’s a player you should be targeting nonetheless. Bogaerts makes me #swoon. —Ben Carsley

Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
Even in a disappointing season, Cabrera was one of the better power hitting shortstops , and provided a little bit in the stolen base s to boot. Forget about his 2011 power coming back, but a moderate bounce back in batting average makes a .270 BA, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 70 run, and 10 stolen base season well within the realm of possibility. Cabrera’s ISO was actually slightly higher in 2013 than his 2012 total. In early drafts, Cabrera is going 2-3 rounds behind Andrelton Simmons and Jed Lowrie. Cabrera is likely to provide similar value to these players at a lower cost. —Mike Gianella

Everth Cabrera, Padres
If you had Everth Cabrera on your team last year, you might be a little angry at him. He was on his way to an excellent season before the Biogenesis mess came up and cut him down for the final 50 games of the season. He no doubt earned back his draft day price with 37 SBs and a .283 AVG, but you were left scrounging to fill the toughest spot on the diamond after the suspension. His transcendent speed is still worth targeting, though.

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Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (01/31)
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