2012 Shortstop Keeper Rankings: Tier Three

Last week we went over our second tier of shortstop keepers. This week we delve into the third tier where we run into a few players coming off bounce-back seasons.

Emilio Bonifacio ($12)

Bonifacio was a jack-of-all-trades last season, spending time at second and third base, each outfield spot, and most importantly shortstop. Bonifacio’s game is predicated on speed, swiping 40 bags in 51 attempts last season while also hitting seven triples. Playing a full season for the first time, he shined for the Marlins, hitting .296/.360/.393 in 641 plate appearances. He possessed the fifth-lowest flyball rate in baseball, slapping the ball all over the field and making the most out of his blazing speed. It’s that speed that doesn’t make me too nervous about his .372 BABIP. If he keeps the ball out of the air that number should steadily be above league-average. He’ll be 27 next season and may have finally found his comfort zone in Florida. Keep an eye out for the Marlins’ free agent shopping, since Bonifacio’s playing time depends on them standing pat or focusing their money on non-third base positions.

J.J. Hardy ($12)

Hardy enjoyed a nice 2011 season after two down years with the Brewers and Twins. His .222 Isolated Power was the highest of his career, and his 30 home runs were tied with Troy Tulowitzki for the most among shortstops. He benefited from playing half of his games in Camden Yards, with a home OPS .104 points higher than on the road. The league still required the Orioles to play road games, and Hardy suffered, although you could not tell from his home run total—rather, the canary in the coal mine was Hardy’s road on-base percentage (.286). I believe in his power, and given the position, you could do worse than Hardy.

Jhonny Peralta ($12)

This tier seems to be full of players who had big bounce back seasons, including Peralta. In blasting 21 home runs and returning to his power roots, Peralta posted his best fantasy season since 2008. His OPS of .824 was his highest since 2005. He’s kind of like the anti-Bonifacio in that he gives you zero speed, but plenty of power. Like Hardy, Peralta hit much better at home in 2011, as the difference in his home and road OPS was over .140 points. I really like Peralta for next season and think our $12 value may be on the low side. The Tigers have a good offense and the soon-to-be 30-year-old Peralta figures to be prominently involved.

Erick Aybar ($11)

Aybar also rebounded with a nice 2011 campaign. His 10 home runs equaled his previous two seasons combined, and with 30 stolen bases he was one of only four shortstops to post double-digits in both categories. Unlike Hardy and Peralta, Aybar hit much better away from spacious Anaheim—a .690 OPS versus .794 on the road. If you’re keeping Aybar you’re likely banking on his power surge being real, since the 30-steal potential is nice, but looks much nicer when combined with double-digit home run power. Tread cautiously here.

Derek Jeter ($10)

Ahhh, Cap’n Jeets. The debate about keeping Jeter comes down to which half you put weight into heading forward. Is he the pre-All-Star game Jeter that hit .270/.330/.353, or the post-All-Star game Jeter that hit .327/.383/.428? The former is not keepable in standard leagues; the latter is, however, considering only three shortstops had OPS of more than .811 last season. Hitting in the top of the Yankee order means he’ll continue to rack up gaudy runs totals if he posts a decent on-base percentage. Given his age, I’m of the belief that he’s more of the player he was in the first half than the second, but the quality of lineup around him buoys his value regardless.

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

17 Responses to “2012 Shortstop Keeper Rankings: Tier Three”

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    • Ben says:

      Seriously, does the author have a personal vendetta against Hanley? Did he beat you up in high school or steal your girlfriend or something? Bonafacio? Aybar? Haha.

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      • ettin says:

        Perhaps if you learned how to read you’d see the title of the article mentions something called “Tier Three” which, assuming that you passed 1st grade, is the tier that comes one level after Two and two levels after One.

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      • Nick V. says:

        Ettin, go read those other two articles you referenced, then come back and apologize. Also, congratulations on completing first grade!

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      • Ben says:

        Yes, thank you Ettin. Please refer to the first two articles in this series. I found it egregious that Hanley was left off both those lists as well.

        I suppose your first grade education helped you count to three, too bad it stopped you from reading the entire series. Though I should take it easy on your intelligence. Maybe you’re just overly sensitive to comments about getting beaten up in high school . . .

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      • wily mo says:

        oh man. this is hard to watch

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  1. Kyle says:

    Hardy also had a low BABIP, especially on the road, so maybe his OBP and BA go up next year?

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  2. batpig says:

    the most pathetic part is that Erik doesn’t even show up in the comments to defend his articles….

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  3. Jeff says:

    What about Escobar (Tor)?

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    • batpig says:

      Yunel isn’t a good fantasy player. Much of his value in real life comes from defense and OBP, but he doesn’t hit HR or steal bases.

      In 2011 the .290 AVG and 78 R was decent but he had only 11 HR, 48 RBI and 3 SB. That’s pretty terrible for fantasy.

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  4. MH says:

    I’m pretty sure what Erik is doing here is not breaking these groups so much into subjective tiers, but simply listing everyone by the dollar value they returned in 2011. So the first tier was a Tulo ($22) and Reyes ($21). Second tier goes from Asdrubal ($19) to Rollins ($15) and then this one. The dollar values have been descending with each player (and even when multiple players have the same value, such as Bonifacio, Hardy, and Peralta, they seem to instead simply be listed alphabetically).

    Honestly, this whole series of Keeper ranking articles is a huge mess. Everyone seems to be taking a different approach, and this SS series in particular is confusing, as its not so much a ranking as a report based on retrospective values from 2011. Other series aren’t doing that. For example, the third tier of NL SP had Josh Johnson, who was only listed at $1, obviously well ahead of many pitchers who produced more value in 2011. It would have made a lot more sense to post a bunch of polls in a private forum and just let the writers vote first, and then let individual writers do the actual write-ups, that way there was at least some semblance of consistency.

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    • batpig says:

      Agreed. One of the biggest problems with their in-season ranking (a total lack of uniform methodology) has persisted into this offseason series. It’s pretty much a mess with each writer winging it, and some producing much higher quality analysis than others.

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  5. MikeD says:

    Odd. Why does Jeter have to be either the first-half Jeter or the second-half Jeter? Why can’t he be the full-season Jeter? He’s unlikely to match the closer-to-vintage Jeter numbers he put up during the second half or roughly .330/.380/.430, but he just might be more consistent throughout the year, and put up a .295/.360/.395 line with lots of runs scored.

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