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February 3, 2014

State of the Position

Shortstops

by Mike Gianella


To read the previous editions of this series, follow the links below:

While some might think of shortstop as a weak position where you had best grab someone good early or face the consequences of a terrible auction or draft, the reality is that this hasn’t been the case for years. Twenty-three of the top 168 fantasy hitters in mixed leagues last year were shortstop-eligible. What the position lacked in 2013 in a top-tier superstar it more than made up for in terms of quantity at the back end. Only first base and outfield had more hitters among the top 168 last year than shortstop did.

This isn’t a paradigm shift either. Shortstop is more or less the same as it ever was going back to at least 2008. The days of seeing a $35-plus earner at the position might be over (Jose Reyes was the last player to pull the feat, in 2011), but the consistency and depth at the position endures.

Shortstop is a surprisingly stable position in 2014. Nearly every starter in the major leagues is an established veteran but not at the point where a post-peak drop off of a cliff is likely. Naturally, any player at any point on the age curve can completely fall off the map from a performance standpoint, but there aren’t a slew of players in their mid-30s who are “due” to fail. Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter are the only projected starters who are Age 35 or older.

Another “surprise” at shortstop is that there are very few multi-positional eligibles heading into 2014. This is especially true in standard mixed leagues. Ben Zobrist (SS/2B/OF) and Jed Lowrie (SS/2B) should be owned in all formats and that’s pretty much it. In deeper mixed leagues, there are cases to be made for Jordy Mercer (SS/2B) and Jose Iglesias (SS/3B). As Paul Sporer mentioned in his second base summary last week, there are more upside candidates at second base in 2014 than at shortstop. Because of this, if you’re starting any of these multi-position eligibles in any format, it’s recommended that you stick them at shortstop.

The League Breakdown
For the last few years, shortstop has been stronger in the National League and this holds true once again this year. Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Jean Segura, and Ian Desmond are four of the top five shortstops being taken in early drafts. There is a definitive drop-off from the top tier to the next level. Starlin Castro, Everth Cabrera, and Andrelton Simmons make up the next tier; all three have boom or bust potential.

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: ... (02/03)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article State of the Position:... (01/27)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article State of the Position:... (02/10)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: C... (02/03)

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