Reviewing Pod’s Picks: Shortstop

We have made it to shortstop week here in beautiful RotoGraphs country. So that means it’s once again time to check out the results of my Pod’s Picks at the position.

Bullish

Jean Segura

My Preseason Rank: 14 | Preseason Consensus: 17 | Actual Rank: 1

If I had any inkling that he would hit eighth for only the first three games of the season, I would have ranked him even higher. I essentially called him a poor man’s Jose Altuve, but he turned out to be a rich man’s version instead. He hit for more power and flashed better speed. Assuming he remains at the top of the Brewers lineup, I don’t expect a whole lot of regression, bad second half be darned.

Josh Rutledge

My Preseason Rank: 10 | Preseason Consensus: 12 | Actual Rank: 31 (CBS)

Ahh, the contradictory nature of rankings and bold predictions. You may recall that one of my correct bold predictions this year was that Rutledge would be demoted to Triple-A by the end of May. That’s exactly what happened, and yet I was more bullish on his fantasy value than the consensus! But given his combination of power and speed, along with improved contact at Triple-A, he’ll be a nice gamble if he wins the starting second base job.

Bearish

Alcides Escobar

My Preseason Rank: 13 | Preseason Consensus: 10 | Actual Rank: 21

This was an easy call and primarily driven by the inflated BABIP he enjoyed in 2012. Not surprisingly, the pendulum swung the other way this year and his batting average came crashing down. With little power, he needs to get on base to use his one fantasy skill — speed. It didn’t help that he was eventually dropped to the bottom of the Royals lineup, an offense that scored just the 11th most runs in the AL. Things probably won’t get any worse, so he could be undervalued in AL-Only leagues next year. In mixed leagues, however, he’ll again be near replacement level.

Alexei Ramirez

My Preseason Rank: 17 | Preseason Consensus: 14 | Actual Rank: 7

Wowzers, what a weird season for Ramirez. His home run total has been in free fall, but instead he’s made up for it by increasing his stolen bases. Prior to 2012, he was a rather poor basestealer, succeeding just 64% of the time. All of a sudden, he set a new career high in swipes and attempts in 2012, and reached even higher levels this year, both seasons fueled by higher success rates. He also reduced his strikeout rate to a career low and enjoyed his highest BABIP. On the wrong side of the age of 30, none of this was exactly expected. It’s anyone’s guess what his HR/SB breakdown is going to look like in 2014.



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Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. He also sells beautiful photos through his online gallery, Pod's Pics. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.


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Jeff
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Jeff

Good call on Segura, and the others were understandable misses.

On the podcast, can you discuss the elite shortstop at-bat projection problem? Among high-end guys, Hanley, Tulo, and Reyes all have injury histories but might give you an MVP type season (especially the first two). Considering their ceilings, how high would you draft them? Do you have to imagine 450 at-bats and imagine replacement-level for the rest? My most competitive league has extra offensive counting stats, so missed ABs really hurt. But does the top tier’s value justify the risk? Thanks!

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