Over the offseason, we’ll update the rankings with a slant on the best keepers. This means an obvious tick up for youth, and a tick down for veterans, but it also been stability and consistency will be slightly more valued. One strong season doesn’t make you a top-flight keeper in other words. Here were the second base keeper rankings, and now here are the shortstops:
In terms of multi-category goodness at the position, these are the guys. Tulo’s stolen base success percentage probably means that he won’t steal double-digit bases too often going forward, but a healthy year has him hitting different benchmarks (30 HR, 100 RBI) that would make him an elite option anyway. After three straight seasons with an ISO over .200, the bet here is that Hanley’s power returns next year. Unfortunately, his fielding is sub-par and could still mean an eventual move off of the position, but that’s no reason to trade the star at what should be a low point in his value.
Still Strong And (Mostly) Young:
Jose Reyes, New York NL (27 yrs old, .282 BA, 11 HR, 83 R, 54 RBI, 30 SB, .329 wOBA)
Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia (32 yrs old, .243 BA, 8 HR, 48 R, 41 RBI, 17 SB, .317 wOBA)
Starlin Castro, Chicago (21 yrs old, .300 BA, 3 HR, 53 R, 41 RBI, 10 SB, .325 wOBA)
Elvis Andrus, Texas (22 yrs old, .265 BA, 0 HR, 88 R, 35 RBI, 32 SB, .298 wOBA)
This might be slightly controversial. Jose Reyes is often thought of as an elite shortstop, but even though he’s still a solid keeper, his last season highlighted too many of his flaws to put him in the top tier. His old problems garnering walks returned (5.1% BB%), and with so much of his value tied up in stolen bases, a low total in that category, or another injury to his hamstrings, and he’s pretty much a liability. Selling now would be selling low, but a nice half-season might be all you need to move him along. Ditto Rollins, actually, who is no longer a spring chicken and has flaws of his own (declining speed and injury concerns). Andrus has flaws, but he’s still young enough that there’s hope that he ups the average a bit and fills out for some (still probably marginal) power. In real life, Castro is the better hitter than Andrus, but he’s also more likely to move off the position eventually, and he probably won’t rack up ‘counting stats’ on the same level of Andrus’ stolen bases. In roto leagues, though, Castro’s all-around excellence is preferable.
Veterans That Are Still Useful In Deeper Keeper Leagues
Derek Jeter, New York AL (36 yrs old, .270 BA, 10 HR, 111 R, 67 RBI, 18 SB, .320 wOBA)
Alexei Ramirez, Chicago AL (29 yrs old, .282 BA, 18 HR, 83 R, 70 RBI, 13 SB, .322 wOBA)
Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles NL (33 yrs old, .300 BA, 8 HR, 66 R, 43 RBI, 22 SB, .366 wOBA)
In terms of present value, most of these guys outrank Andrus, most likely. But they’re all older than you might think, and none is currently so amazing that they need to be kept over the Ranger shortstop. Maybe Jeter has another good year left in him, maybe Furcal can stay healthy for a year. Maybe Ramirez has another good power year before his poor efficiency on the basepaths (64.5% success) costs him his stolen bases. But each of these possibilities is much less likely than improvement from the 22-year-old Andrus. Admittedly, it’s a fault line, and some may come down on the other side, but the long-term view, valid in more established keeper leagues, says Andrus and Castro are in a different tier.
Will They Get Better?
Stephen Drew, Arizona (28 yrs old, .278 BA, 15 HR, 83 R, 61 RBI, 10 SB, .354 wOBA)
Ian Desmond, Washington (25 yrs old, .269 BA, 10 HR, 59 R, 65 RBI, 17 SB, .308 wOBA)
Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland (25 yrs old, .276, 3 HR, 39 R, 29 RB, 6 SB, .301 wOBA)
Cliff Pennington, Oakland (26 yrs old, .250 BA, 6 HR, 64 R, 46 RBI, 29 SB, .315 wOBA)
Alcides Escobar, Milwaukee (24 yrs old, .235 BA, 4 HR, 57 R, 41 RBI, 10 SB, .270 wOBA)
Each of these shortstops probably deserves a more in-depth look over the offseason, but suffice it to say that they’ve each shown glimpses of possible mixed-league value while also displaying real flaws that make them deep-league dynasty league keepers if anything. Drew and Desmond are borderline keepers if your league keeps enough players, but we now have 2700+ plate appearances for Drew and 2010 was his best year, so we probably know who he is – and Desmond’s line last year was way too similar to his minor league line (mediocre as it was) to hope for much more either. Desmond is also a poor defender, which may factor in sooner or later. These are all flawed players – but they are young for the most part.
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