CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Baseball ProGUESTus: E... (02/06)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast... (01/31)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast... (02/14)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avo... (02/07)

February 7, 2014

TTO Scoresheet Podcast

Shortstops

by Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

This week, we’re taking a look at shortstops. If you tune into our podcast, you’ll hear our thoughts on individual players and strategy, only some of which we cover below. We also answered a number of reader questions on keepers, and we discussed what keeper rules we’d change if we held the keys to the Scoresheet kingdom. If you need help with any last minute keeper decisions, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll do our best to get back to you before the deadline.

Here’s how we rank shortstops in Scoresheet:

KEEPERS

Rank

Age

Team

Player

1

29

COL

Troy Tulowitzki

2

30

LAN

Hanley Ramirez

3

33

TBA

Ben Zobrist

4

21

BOS

Xander Bogaerts

5

24

ATL

Andrelton Simmons

6

24

MIL

Jean Segura

7

31

TOR

Jose Reyes

8

21

ChN

Javier Baez

9

25

TEX

Elvis Andrus

10

28

WAS

Ian Desmond

11

19

Hou

Carlos Correa

12

32

SLN

Jhonny Peralta

13

24

CHN

Starlin Castro

14

24

SEA

Brad Miller

15

31

BAL

J.J. Hardy

16

31

TBA

Yunel Escobar

17

20

Cle

Francisco Lindor

18

30

OAK

Jed Lowrie

19

20

Oak

Addison Russell

CUT BUBBLE

Rank

Age

Team

Player

20

28

CLE

Asdrubal Cabrera

21

30

ANA

Erick Aybar

22

32

CHA

Alexei Ramirez

23

20

LAD

Corey Seager

24

28

CIN

Zack Cozart

25

27

SDN

Everth Cabrera

26

35

PHI

Jimmy Rollins

27

18

KC

Adalberto(Raul) Mondesi

28

31

FA

Stephen Drew

29

27

SFN

Brandon Crawford

30

23

ChA

Marcus Semien

REDRAFT FOR VALUE

Rank

Age

Team

Player

31

22

ARI

Chris Owings

32

27

KCA

Alcides Escobar

33

24

DET

Jose Iglesias

34

24

ARI

Didi Gregorius

35

27

PIT

Jordy Mercer

36

21

Tex

Luis Sardinas

37

29

TBA

Sean Rodriguez

38

40

NYA

Derek Jeter

DEEP LEAGUES

Rank

Age

Team

Player

39

28

OAK

Eric Sogard

40

22

ChN

Arismendy Alcantara

41

22

KC

Hunter Dozier

42

33

TOR

Maicer Izturis

43

21

Pit

Alen Hanson

44

30

ARI

Cliff Pennington

45

23

HOU

Jonathan Villar

46

23

TB

Hak-Ju Lee

47

24

NYN

Ruben Tejada

48

18

Phi

J.P. Crawford

49

36

MIA

Rafael Furcal

50

33

CLE

Mike Aviles

51

27

MIN

Pedro Florimon

52

27

SLN

Daniel Descalso

53

21

Col

Trevor Story

54

27

NYA

Eduardo Nunez

55

19

Atl

Jose Peraza

56

21

Col

Rosell Herrera

57

25

MIA

Adeiny Hechavarria

58

29

BOS

Jonathan Herrera

59

19

Cle

Dorssys Paulino

60

20

Phi

Roman Quinn

61

35

PIT

Clint Barmes

62

24

TB

Tim Beckham

63

24

Was

Zach Walters

64

20

ChA

Tim Anderson

65

20

Min

Jorge Polanco

66

26

LAN

Dee Gordon

67

27

MIL

Jeff Bianchi

68

26

PIT

Josh Harrison

69

24

ATL

Tyler Pastornicky

70

18

SF

Christian Arroyo

71

31

TEX

Adam Rosales

72

25

MIN

Eduardo Escobar

73

24

PHI

Freddy Galvis

74

23

Min

Daniel Santana

75

25

HOU

Marwin Gonzalez

76

24

Sea

Carlos Triunfel

77

27

NYA

Dean Anna

78

27

Pit

Chase d'Arnaud

79

23

Sea

Chris Taylor

80

19

Mil

Orlando Arcia

81

20

NYN

Gavin Cecchini

82

26

NYA

Yamaico Navarro

83

32

NYA

Brendan Ryan

84

29

SFN

Joaquin Arias

85

19

Tex

Travis Demeritte

86

36

SEA

Willie Bloomquist

87

28

LAN

Justin Sellers

88

28

ANA

Andrew Romine

89

28

KCA

Pedro Ciriaco

We see shortstop as a relatively deeper position than second base. However, that doesn’t mean this position is one that you’ll want to skip when selecting your keepers, as the quality drops fairly precipitously at roughly the 12th-14th rounds. If you were starting a continuing league, it seems like the best value is found in the middle tier (roughly 4th-7th rounds), with Jean Segura, Ian Desmond, Starlin Castro, and Brad Miller all young and likely protectable for years, and the older Jhonny Peralta and J.J. Hardy providing reliable and potentially underrated stability.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even the best of us sometimes forget to check a player’s defensive rating. Don’t make that mistake when you are deciding on your shortstop. The average defensive rating is 4.75, and there are bunch of shortstops with a rating 4.80 or higher. Some of whom can even hit a little. Plus, it may sound obvious, but the nice thing about the defensive rating is that it is the one aspect of player performance you know with 100 percent certainty before the season begins.

We’ll delve into specific prospects below, but first a note on overall prospect strategy. This time of year, it's common to get excited about the shortstops jumping up prospect lists--expect to hear buzz this year about Javier Baez and Carlos Correa. We recognize the tremendous upside that these kinds of players can have, and we also support drafting and keeping elite prospects with skills to produce at up the middle positions--it's a key to winning a league more than once. However, you should use caution if you're considering drafting one of these prospects with one of your early draft picks in the initial draft for your league. Even elite prospects can flame out and the initial draft for a league will lay the foundation for your team going forward. Missing on a top-five pick can be a significant setback. So while you'll see shortstop prospects that are sprinkled up in our rankings list with many of the solid regulars, and we would certainly keep them with late-round picks in an ongoing league, it may be wise to avoid them with your early picks in the initial draft.

Let’s look a little more closely at some shortstops to consider.

KEEPERS
One of the guys that might get overlooked in the early rounds of an initial draft for your league is Ben Zobrist. He represents a good win now option for a team looking to contend in the next few years—while he'll be 33 this year, he's retained tremendous positional versatility by qualifying at 2B, SS, and OF, and he's projected to post above-average offense at either infield position. He will certainly be kept in any ongoing league, but he's a good player to keep your eye on in the first few rounds of an initial draft, or perhaps a useful trade acquisition if your team needs short term value in the middle infield.

Okay, you’ve seen Andrelton Simmons field. Forget that, even though he’s already the best defender in Scoresheet. Due to the mechanics of the game, he’ll never bring back quite the same value that he does in real life. It’s his offense that should get you excited in this league, as it appears Simmons is ready to beat out more base hits and unlock some of that latent power potential. He should never be an offensive star, but with his top-of-the-scale range, he doesn’t have to be.

There is… ahem, some controversy among the authors as to Andrus’ long-term potential, but count the Outcome who wrested the keyboard away for this sentence among the detractors, to a point. We all agree that Andrus is a keeper in nearly all formats, but there’s a difference between a player with low power, and one with no power. Like the King, Elvis is a singles hitter. Once you accept that, the difference between his keeper value and that of a Jed Lowrie becomes much less apparent, and Andrus will probably go rounds ahead in startup drafts.

CUT BUBBLE / REDRAFT FOR VALUE
We have mixed feelings on Asdrubal Cabrera. The pessimist sees a significantly below average defensive rating and last year’s .299 OBP. The optimist sees a player who ranks third among shortstops in homers over the past three years, and whose 2013 BABIP was 30 points below his career average. What’s your outlook on life?

If you're stuck without a strong keeper at shortstop, one of your options is to put together a platoon. There aren't many left handed shortstops in either the AL or the NL going into this year, so if you're going to try this strategy, keep your eyes out for Brandon Crawford and Didi Gregorius in the NL and Brad Miller and Eric Sogard in the AL. Of these, only Crawford and Miller are certain to get the playing time of a starter (Gregorius is in a spring training death match with Chris Owings and Sogard has to fend off Alberto Callaspo for at bats at second base), so act accordingly in your draft if you plan to setup a platoon. Finding the right handed half of the platoon is significantly easier, as most shortstops will have neutral or beneficial splits against LHP. If you land one of these two left handed starting shortstops, you won't have a tremendous need to play the right handed side of the platoon, so picking up a guy with defensive value at short and some positional flexibility can be a way to fill two uses with one roster spot. Guys like Sean Rodriguez, Maicer Izturis, and Daniel Descalso all have eligibility at multiple positions and could help fill out your platoon.

The downside to platooning your shortstop is that mid-tier draft picks are valuable, and it’s a dicey proposition to spend one of them on a hitter who’s unlikely to pinch hit for you. However, if you do make the active choice to go down this road, Cozart is the guy who can “crush” lefties while one of the aforementioned players holds down the strong side of a platoon. Cozart’s limited pop and defensive range carry over well enough from real life to make him worth a pick, but he’ll kill you as a regular starter in most shallow leagues.

DEEP LEAGUE
There weren’t very many players in the game who put up a batting line worse that the .202/.259/.260 line that Ruben Tejada managed in 227 plate appearances. But a whole host of factors suggest Tejada’s numbers could see a significant boost in 2014: he shuttled back and forth from the minors last year, he suffered a few injuries, he had a .228 BABIP, he posted a .333 OBP in 500 PA in 2012, and he surely doesn’t want to be the example that proves that pitchers can hit as well as major league hitters. The one catch is that pretty much everyone thinks Stephen Drew is heading to the Mets, despite vehement denials from the team. Doth the team from Queens protest too much?

It happens to all of us. Late in the draft you realize that you forgot to erase last year’s shortstop from your roster spreadsheet and you are looking at a heaping helping of AAA Infielder. Or maybe your starting shortstop is injury-prone, but you’ve spent the last five rounds drafting Single-A pitchers. There’s no need to fear: Pedro Florimon is here. He’s not, for lack of a better word, good. But he heads into the season with the starting gig in Minnesota. And he’s better than no one!

PROSPECTS
It should almost go without saying, but every Scoresheet team should have a shortstop prospect or two on its roster somewhere. Not only are players destined for success at other positions (Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager) currently holding down shortstop, but Scoresheet’s low replacement level at the position and latency in moving players off a position makes these keepers even more valuable. Unsurprisingly, the same players showing up at the top of Parks and co’s list belong on your team as well (Pro tip: draft Xander Bogaerts). Just to sound a quick word of caution, however, Francisco Lindor is probably not the star in Scoresheet that he will be in real life, unless the power comes quickly and is better than expected. Looking down the list slightly, there’s a mild chance Marcus Semien is still available in your league, if so, jump on that immediately, as his proximity to the majors puts him in a prospect class behind only the top tier. You may also want to look at mighty mite Arismendy Alcantara, usually found on a second base list, but still a shortstop here in Scoresheet. If he comes for Darwin Barney’s job, he’ll be at least backup-worthy at two positions this year with plenty of promise to come. On the late-round/supplemental pick tip, Zach Walters of the Nats and Dean Anna of the Yankees are both utility players who stand a chance to provide average regular return if given an opportunity. You can either draft them if that happens in a few months, or speculate now if you have a pick to waste.

Download Here (1:25:33)
Description: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/include_new12/newsletter/images/rss_icon.jpg RSS Feed
Description: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/include_new12/newsletter/images/itunes_icon.jpg iTunes Feed (Coming soon!)
Description: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/include_new12/newsletter/images/email_icon.jpg Email Us scoresheet@baseballprospectus.com
Description: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/u/images/Sponsorship.jpgSponsor Us

Related Content:  Podcast,  Scoresheet,  Shortstops

3 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

jtwalsh

Thanks again for the Scoresheet coverage. Will you be posting the other positional rankings ahead of the holds deadline? Please.

Feb 07, 2014 07:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Murphy
BP staff

We are working feverishly to finish at least an initial set of rankings for the rest of the positions. The first few positions are easier because they're not as deep and the lists don't have to be as long. The remaining positions, especially OF and SP, require many times more work to complete.

So we know it's important and useful and we will do everything we can to get the most useful lists possible posted soon. They'll be our initial take, but hopefully that's useful for keeper decisions.

Feb 07, 2014 08:58 AM
 
jtwalsh

Anything is a help. Again great to see the coverage.

Feb 07, 2014 09:11 AM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Baseball ProGUESTus: E... (02/06)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast... (01/31)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast... (02/14)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avo... (02/07)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article The Quinton: Draft Setting and the Wisdom of...
Every Team's Moneyball: Baltimore Orioles: U...
Every Team's Moneyball: Miami Marlins: Haste
Fantasy Article Expert League Auction Recap: Tout Wars: Gene...
Premium Article Daisy Cutter: Pedroia Got His Thumb Back, Bu...
Spring Training Notebook: Grapefruit League
Premium Article Some Projection Left: Top 50 Draft Prospects...

MORE FROM FEBRUARY 7, 2014
Remembering Ralph Kiner
Premium Article Raising Aces: Bush League: Archie Bradley
Premium Article Painting the Black: Slow Jams
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Atlanta's Extension Spree
Premium Article Minor League Update: Caribbean Series Game o...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: St. Louis Cardinals
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avoid: Shortstops

MORE BY IAN LEFKOWITZ
2014-02-21 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Outfielders
2014-02-14 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Third Basemen
2014-02-10 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Rankings
2014-02-07 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Shortstops
2014-01-31 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Second Basemen
2014-01-24 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: First Basemen
2014-01-17 - TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Catchers
More...

MORE TTO SCORESHEET PODCAST
2014-02-28 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Starting Pitchers
2014-02-21 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Outfielders
2014-02-14 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Third Basemen
2014-02-07 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Shortstops
2014-01-31 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Second Basemen
2014-01-24 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: First Basemen
2014-01-17 - TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Catchers
More...