Brian, Rankings, Shortstop

Brian’s Top 20 Shortstop Rankings and Projections for ’11

"2010 wasn't my best year...on the field or in the barber shop. Sue me."

The way I’ve been doing these rankings is I’ll rank players without looking at any numbers, and then I’ll analyze each player’s stats and age and formulate projections. For a lot of the positions, my initial rankings have coincided with what I’ve projected. But shortstop has proven to be a little tricky. I’ve had to shuffle players up and down because I couldn’t project good numbers for some players. There were a few players who surprised me because I wasn’t entirely aware of all of their prior stats. Ranking and projecting the shortstop position has been very enlightening.

In the 5.5 hole you’ll usually see a lot of old veterans and very young rookies and second year guys. It’s the nature of the position. It’s hard to find a good shortstop, and when teams finally discover that “Mr. Right,” they tend to hold onto him, even into the twilight of his career, probably because they fear looking for a new one. Players like Derek Jeter, Rafael Furcal, and Miguel Tejada are all guys who have managed to have really productive careers. Health permitting, I think the veterans of this group will have solid numbers in 2011. Jeter has been dealing with an employer who doesn’t think he can play at a high level anymore. He’s gonna have a chip on his shoulder this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back in the top three at the end of the year. Fucal has always had a problem staying on the field, but I think he and the Dodgers are poised for a big year. Look for him to score a lot of runs. Tejada switches teams, leaving the black hole that is Petco Park. He’s going to be surrounded by better hitters on a better team and he’ll be spotlighting his talents back in the Bay Area.

The youngsters of the position (Alexei Ramirez, Elvis Andrus, Ian Desmond, and Starlin Castro) are all a bit of a risk. I personally refuse to own Andrus (meaning I’m drafting a SS fairly early) on any of my teams, mainly because I abhor one trick ponies. Are 30 steals worth a stat line devoid of RBI and home runs? No, it’s not.

I’m also not drinking Castro’s K-laden Kool-Aid. He doesn’t walk enough. He doesn’t run enough. His batting average is going to come down this year. I know he’s still young, but on draft day I’m not going to exonerate him from so-so production just because he’s on the wrong side of twenty-two.

Ramirez is going to have a solid year. The White Sox are have a dynamic lineup from top to bottom and AlexeiRam showed some serious signs of life last year after a disappointing 2009 season.

Desmond is one of the most interesting players on this list. He’s a terrible fielder, but the Nationals aren’t going anywhere this year, so all his errors shouldn’t concern you; he will play 155 games and showcase why Washington is so excited about this young hitter.

I didn’t feel I needed to talk too much about the three guys in the top-tier. The only question mark is Reyes, and I believe his hamstring woes are behind him. Draft him and love him.

Three tiers (tier one: 1-3, tier two: 4-7, tier three: 8-20).

1. Hanley Ramirez- 95, 25, 90, 25, .310

2. Troy Tulowitzki- 93, 25, 96, 10, .295

3. Jose Reyes- 90, 15, 65, 38, .287

4. Derek Jeter- 100, 17, 70, 24, .280

5. Alexei Ramirez- 89, 20, 68, 10, .275

6. Jimmy Rollins- 75, 14, 69, 18, .263

7. Stephen Drew- 77, 15, 70, 10, .280

8. Elvis Andrus- 90, 3, 40, 30, .269

9. Rafael Furcal- 84, 6, 48, 17, .290

10. Ian Desmond- 65, 12, 63, 20, .270

11. Mike Aviles- 73, 10, 48, 10, .290

12. Miguel Tejada- 80, 14, 65, 3, .265

13. Starlin Castro- 68, 5, 50, 13, .280

14. Asdrubal Cabrera- 72, 6, 48, 10, .274

15. Juan Uribe- 68, 15, 70, 2, .255

16. Alcides Escobar- 58, 7, 50, 15, .258

17. Omar Infante- 68, 6, 45, 7, .300

18. Yunel Escobar- 70, 12, 55, 5, .260

19. Reid Brignac- 59, 13, 65, 4, .262

20. Jason Bartlett- 75, 5, 50, 20, .263


2 thoughts on “Brian’s Top 20 Shortstop Rankings and Projections for ’11

  1. You do realize that there is no Jimmy Rollins, correct? I’m a Cubs fan — but I have Alexei #3…my rankings:
    Hanley, Tulo, Alexei, Reyes, Jeter, Rollins, Andrus, Drew, Uribe, and then its a crap shoot (although if I had a gun to my head I would go with Ian Desmond or Asdrubal Cabrera).

  2. rotobrian says:

    Thanks, Carl. Doing all these rankings, I guess it was just a matter of time before I forgot a player. And Rollins is a pretty forgettable player, at least over the past few years. I agree with you on Alexei, he’s going to have a good year, but I don’t think he’ll be better than Reyes by season’s end (but who knows?). And I think a lot of the shortstops this year are crap shoots. Would you feel confident drafting Andrus, Uribe, or Furcal? I know I wouldn’t. Keep reading!

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