2012 Shortstop Keeper Rankings: Second Tier

Last week we kicked off our 2010 keeper league rankings, and Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes were alone in the top tier of shortstops. This week we take a look at a second tier that is filled with the new youth movement at a position that could use a shot in the arm.

Asdrubal Cabrera ($19)

How much you value Cabrera is likely in direct correlation with how much you believe in his power. He hit 25 home runs in 667 plate appearances last season after hitting just 35 home runs since 2006, spanning 2,713 plate appearances in both the majors and minors. Back in June I wrote about how I believed in Cabrera’s new found power, citing an Ohio.com piece, as well as one written by our own Joe Pawlikowski, which noted a change he made in his swing similar to that of Ben Zobrist. My views haven’t changed. He’s going to be 26 on Opening Day and provides 20 home run power to go along with 15-20 stolen base potential. Yes, his OBP and wOBA declined month by month, but if you believe in the power there’s no reason value him lower.

Starlin Castro ($16)

One of the youngest full time position players in the majors, Castro followed up his impressive rookie campaign with an even better sophomore effort. I’m a bit skeptical of the 10 home runs — he’d never hit more than three in any other season – but 21 year-olds filling out and discovering more pop isn’t unheard of. He doesn’t walk, but unless you play in a league that counts on base percentage it’s not a huge concern for fantasy owners. What he does do is swing. He posted percentages higher than league average in every plate discipline category that involves swinging at, and making contact with, the ball. Castro has the most upside of any shortstop in these rankings. Hitting .300+ with 10 home runs, 20+ steals and 90+ runs in your age 21 seasons is extremely impressive. At $16 in our rankings, he has the potential to have enormous value if he continues to mature.

Elvis Andrus ($15)

He’s nearly exclusively because of his speed and the fact that he bats second for the Texas Rangers. He doesn’t hit particularly well – his career high OPS is .708 – and has never had an OBP above .350. When he does get on base, though, he runs, stealing 37 bases. Hitting in front of Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young helped him score 96 runs this year, second to Jose Reyes among shortstops. Like Cabrera and Castro, age isn’t a factor in the decision to keep the 23-year-old Andrus. The Texas lineup isn’t going to turn into the Mariners over the winter, and Ron Washington isn’t going to move Andrus from the second spot in the order, so unless he breaks both of his legs he’ll continue to rack up the steals and runs.

Jimmy Rollins ($15)

Rollins is a jack of all trades but master of none. He helps you out in a variety of different categories but doesn’t particularly stand out in any way. He has 15-20 home run power now but will still steal roughly 30 bases, and as long as he stays in Philadelphia will rack up the runs scored totals. He’s benefited greatly from playing in Citizen’s Bank Park, posting just a .302 wOBA on the road in 2011. The two questions to be wary about when considering keeping Rollins are his team and his age. He’s a free agent, and while the Phillies have said they’d like to resign him, he wants a five year contract. There’s little chance any time signs him to a five year deal, especially one that is stuck with the long contracts of Howard, Lee and Halladay. His value would decrease if he went to a more pitcher friendly park, like, say, San Fransisco. Also, unlike the youth movement of Cabrera, Casto and Andrus, Rollins will be 33-years-old next season. He’s no longer the player he was in 2007. The fact that he’s even in this tier is a testament to how thin the shortstop position is. Of the six players I’ve previewed thus far Rollins is the one I have the least amount of faith in.




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Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.


19 Responses to “2012 Shortstop Keeper Rankings: Second Tier”

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  1. Ben says:

    Uh, where’s Hanley?

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  2. Tim says:

    How concerned are you that Castro will be moved from SS? His fielding there is not good, and that is being charitable.

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    • Daniel says:

      Cubs have zero reason to move him away from there for at least a few years yet. He doesn’t warrant moving at the moment really anyway. His range lets him stick there but he might lose that as he grows. I wouldn’t worry about it yet.

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  3. Nick V. says:

    I was under the impression that you’ve taken out “cost to protect” as a factor. Does this also mean that you’re taking out the cost to acquire last year? If so, Where is Hanley? Hell, if not, where is Hanley?

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  4. darger says:

    how has hanley fallen this far? wow.

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  5. Telo says:

    Hahmann
    did
    it
    again.

    HAHAHAHAHAHhahAHAHAhahAhAHaHaHAHHAHAhahaahahahAHHa
    HAHAHAHAHAHhahAHAHAhahAhAHaHaHAHHAHAhahaahahahAHHa
    HAHAHAHAHAHhahAHAHAhahAhAHaHaHAHHAHAhahaahahahAHHa
    HAHAHAHAHAHhahAHAHAhahAhAHaHaHAHHAHAhahaahahahAHHa
    HAHAHAHAHAHhahAHAHAhahAhAHaHaHAHHAHAhahaahahahAHHa
    HAHAHAHAHAHhahAHAHAhahAhAHaHaHAHHAHAhahaahahahAHHa
    HAHAHAHAHAHhahAHAHAhahAhAHaHaHAHHAHAhahaahahahAHHa
    HAHAHAHAHAHhahAHAHAhahAhAHaHaHAHHAHAhahaahahahAHHa
    HAHAHAHAHAHhahAHAHAhahAhAHaHaHAHHAHAhahaahahahAHHa
    HAHAHAHAHAHhahAHAHAhahAhAHaHaHAHHAHAhahaahahahAHHa

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  6. Telo says:

    Just in case anyone wanted to take a stroll down memory lane….

    http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/updated-shortstop-rankings-july/#comments

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  7. cs3 says:

    Either Hanley has a career threatening illness that only the author knows about, or Hahmann didnt learn his lesson back in july.

    Ranking Starlin and Asdrubal ahead of Hanley is pretty funny, but putting Andrus and Rollins above him as well is just mind bottlingly stupid.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWkNPrXkvRA

    But in his defense he def puts the “Hah” in Hahmann!

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    • ray says:

      Telo and cs3-tell me what you like about the following HR/ISO/SLG trends:

      year-HR/ISO/SLG

      2008-33/.239/.540
      2009-24/.201/.543
      2010-21/.175/.475
      2011-10/.136/.379

      yes, they belong to Hanley. The question is can he bounce back in 2012. He is coming off a shoulder injury and there is no telling if the power will return. he also isn’t running as much. It appears, to me, that Hanley’s name value is more than his fantasy value.

      Maybe this explains where Hanley is.

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      • Nick V. says:

        Even if you assume that the 2011 version is where Hanley is right now, he doesn’t compare that unfavorably to the guys ahead of him on the list.

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      • Telo says:

        A healthy 2011-2012 Hanley is no worse than 300/380/500 true talent. End of story. If you think otherwise, you are terribly biased for some reason.

        His injury is legitimate factor. But there is absolutely nothing to suggest that it’s the type of injury to end his career, or permanently effect his output. Those types of injuries to 28 year old players are practically non-existent.

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  8. Telo says:

    I would bet $100 that Hahmann traded away Hanley in a huge league and is biased against him because of it. If he ever posted, maybe we could get his explanation. Rotographs is a complete joke.

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  9. Rylan Stolar says:

    Wheres Yunel Escobar? High average, good OBP, double digit HR pop, hits in front of Jose Bautista…

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    • batpig says:

      Yunel falls into the category of “much better in real life than in fantasy”. He doesn’t hit HR or steal bases in quantity,

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  10. WilsonC says:

    Even if you assume the power will not return, it’s extremely likely that Hanley hitting 60+ points below his career BA is at least in part luck.

    Has anything regarding his health changed since this article:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/surprises-and-disappointments-shortstops/

    If he’s healthy, even a modest rebound to a .265-ish BA with the same power/speed rates as last year – all of which were likely impacted by his health – his numbers would be almost identical to Jimmy Rollins’ 2011 line, which was on the upper end of expectations for him. While there’s some health risk with Hanley, the days when Rollins was a model of durability are long gone. Unless there’s information indicating a setback in Hanley’s rehab, I don’t think we have any reason to think he’s a greater injury risk than Hanley. So, even if we assume that Hanley’s decline is permanent, he’d still fall in the same tier as Rollins.

    The difference between the two is upside risk. Hanley’s younger, and has a much better track record. He may not return to his peak levels, but he’s still young, and there’s a realistic chance that he fully recovers from his injury and returns to a .300/25/30/90/80 level and reclaims (or at least challenges for) the top spot.

    Unless there’s some reason to believe Ramirez’ injury makes him a much greater risk than Jose Reyes (who’s a speed player who missed games the last three years, mainly due to leg injuries) there’s no reason to drop Hanley into this tier. To leave him out of this tier altogether is baffling, and shows far, far too much reliance on a single year’s worth of data.

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  11. Ray says:

    Telo,

    Hanley hasn’t slugged over .500 since 2009…..he could return to those levels, but the trend is against him right now.

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    • Telo says:

      I think you think you understand what a “trend” is, but you don’t.

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      • senor_mike says:

        Eh, you are both right. The trend in Hanley’s ISO drop is real – at least through 2010 – but his 2011 performance is essentially an injury-driven anomaly.

        The tricky part is that it seemed that his ISO was still trending below the 175 he posted in 2010, so it’s hard to know what to expect.

        Because of that, using his 2010 season as a baseline of expectation for 2012 seems quite fair – .300/.380/.475. That would put him comfortable in the 2nd tier of SS, approaching tier 1.

        In the end this may all be moot, assuming he doesn’t get traded, because it now appears he’s the Marlins starting 3B. That may be the reason Hahmann kept him off the list.

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  12. Ray says:

    I’d rather have J.J. Hardy hitting .240 over Jimmy “I’m on my last legs” Rollins. The power is legit

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