Unlike at second base, you could find your speed among the shortstop crop. There are also a host of guys who offer intriguing blends of power and speed, as well as a nice mix of youngsters with upside and established veterans.
The shortstop edition of Pod’s Picks may help you find value or learn who to avoid at their current going rates. The bullish section will only include players from my top 20, while the bearish group will only include those whose RotoGraphs consensus is in the top 20.
My Rank: 12 | Consensus: 16
After his breakout 2011 season, Cabrera has predictably regressed, but he has still held onto a large chunk of his gains, especially his power. His 2013 was essentially a carbon copy of his 2012, with the only difference coming from a steep decline in batting average. That’s what happens when your BABIP drops below .300 for the first time in your career. Cabrera’s batted ball distance has been nearly identical for three straight years, yet his HR/FB rate has fallen since that 2011 breakout. So I expect an increase this year to go along with a rebound in average.
My Rank: 11 | Consensus: 14
The fact that he’s likely to be stuck at the bottom of the order means I didn’t rank him even higher. He hit a ton of popups last year, but still, didn’t deserve just a .247 BABIP. With a fantastic contact rate, his average could increase significantly and actually contribute positive value. His power spiked, but really, it was just due to a jump in fly ball rate. If he maintains that or comes close, he’ll repeat a mid-teens homer total. Simmons is no speed demon, but he has stolen 26 bases in the minors and did hit six triples last year. The Braves didn’t run a whole lot last season, but he’s certainly capable of getting into the double digits if they do start to do so more frequently.
My Rank: 19 | Consensus: 15
He seems to be routinely overvalued and I don’t really understand why. He’s set to hit at the bottom of the order and is essentially a one category contributor. That he makes good contact means he could potentially help your batting average, but he won’t be a big asset there. His one real fantasy skill — speed — is already in decline as he stole just 12 bases last year, while getting caught seven times. At age 30, is it really prudent to expect much of a rebound? Unless he can be counted on to steal 20-25 bases, he’s just replacement level mixed league material.
My Rank: 15 | Consensus: 12
This could potentially make me look silly. Anytime you publicly share your pessimism on a rookie who has massive potential, it could backfire. Bogaerts has certainly shown a decent mix of skills in the minors and it absolutely seems like he’ll be a future star. But, he likely won’t standout anywhere and is going to be hitting in the bottom half of the Red Sox lineup, while any sort of slump could push him down to the absolute bottom. My projections are very similar to the three projection systems, and that just doesn’t have a whole lot of value in shallow leagues.
My Rank: 14 | Consensus: 11
Where did those steals come from?! Over the first four years of his career, Ramirez was a poor basestealer, succeeding on just 64% of his attempts. Despite those failures, he ran more frequently in 2012 and then upped his speed game again last year. At age 32, I cannot believe this willingness to keep running is sustainable in the least. And since his power is on a precipitous decline, he’s now essentially represents Erick Aybar‘s upside, and that fails to excite.
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