Shortstop Risers and Fallers: Lowrie, Izturis, Rollins, Jeter

Going into the season I noted just how shallow the shortstop position was. Behind Tulowitzki and Ramirez, the cupboard was barely stocked with anything useful.  Over the past two weeks we’ve seen some surprise players start to hit far above expectations and make a name for themselves. Is their success sustainable? Probably not in most cases, but in the fantasy world we ride hot streaks as far as we can. At the same time there have been more heralded shortstops who have struggled to get things going. For the first time this season lets take a look at the Risers and Fallers at shortstop

Risers

Jed Lowrie 

Lowrie was everyone’s favorite sleeper coming into the season due to his excellent second half of 2010 and the fact that Marco Scutaro just isn’t that good. It was expected Lowrie would start stealing at bats at some point, and that has come sooner rather than later. He’s currently the 9th ranked player in Yahoo! leagues and is somehow owned in only 54% of leagues. His numbers over the past two weeks can be matched by only Troy Tulowitzki: .531 AVG, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 9 R. Is he going to maintain his 1.231 OPS for the season? Of course not. Could he keep it above .800? Only three shortstops had an OPS above .800 last season. That could be doable for Lowrie

Maicer Izturis

Izturis has played in the majors for parts of eight seasons now, but has seen action in more than 100 games only three times, and never more than 114. In those seasons he’s hit .293, .389, .300 and gotten on base at above a .350 clip while playing above average defense. He doesn’t have a serious platoon split either. With Brandon Wood being let go the door should be wide open for Izturis to get regular playing time. He’s already hit two home runs and stolen three bases, and at this rate is on pace to crush his three home runs and seven steals in 238 plate appearances last season. Over the past two weeks he’s hitting .409 with 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1SB and 6 R. Our ZiPS projections for the rest of the season have him hitting .305 with 7 HR, 50 RBI and 12 SB in 400 PA. That’s good production for very little cost, especially from a shallow position.

Fallers

Jimmy Rollins

The Philadelphia offense is struggling as a whole without Chase Utley, but Rollins has been one of the worst offenders of late. In his last 50 at bats he has 11 hits and has no homers, and only one run batted in on the season. We look at his season so far as a disappointment, but that was based off of the notion that he was fully recovered from an injury that limited him to just 88 games last year. His current .261/.320/.319 line isn’t far off his .243/.320/.374 line from last season. His FB% is at 25%, lower than it’s ever been, while his GB% is at 53.3% – it’s highest. Those two numbers need to correct themselves if he’s going to regain his MVP form.

Derek Jeter 

Cap’n Jeets was ranked in our second tier of shortstops at the outset, but has continued the poor play of last season that caused such the kerfuffle. He’s obviously not as bad as his triple slash of .219/.282/.234 would suggest, but in 71 plate appearances he’s smacked just one extra base hit. His contact rate is right around his career average and his K% is way down, but he has a GB/GB ratio of 5.38 (!), which is nearly double his career average. Jeter has never been one to hit many fly balls, but when you’re hitting nearly 73% of pitches on the ground, that’s a problem that not even the fastest hitters in baseball could overcome. He still plays in a good lineup located in a good hitter’s park, but so far he’s been slightly more valuable than 0% owned Luis Rodriguez. Not good.




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


29 Responses to “Shortstop Risers and Fallers: Lowrie, Izturis, Rollins, Jeter”

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  1. targeese says:

    Derek Jeter is still dominant in all leagues where intangibles and herpes are counting categories

    +30 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Aaron says:

    The fact that his GB/GB rate does not equal one is indeed worth an exclamation point.

    +39 Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Mike in NJ says:

    Well, I own Hanley Ramirez and I’m getting worried. No homers yet. Sub .250 batting average. Starting to wonder if I should have bought Tulo instead.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Erik Hahmann says:

      I have more faith in Hanley than any of the other “Fallers” I could have named. That’s why I didn’t list him.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:

      As someone who opted for Tulo over Hanley, I’m quite pleased with myself.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • shibboleth says:

      I have less faith in Hanley. HRs on 3yr downward trend (year 4 looking likely), his GB% has been increasing.

      I’d still take him over any other SS. I kept him this year but man, he’s not exactly rewarding my faith in him…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • ImKeithHernandez says:

      Now the question for me is do I:

      A) Sell low but also while I can still pass off his struggles as “just a slow start”
      B) Hold on to him and hope he turns it around

      I have a Marlins fan in my league who has Tulo. I’m thinking I can make a package around Hanley for him, but not if Hanley’s struggles continue for much longer. Of course I’d be selling low on Hanley and buying high on Tulo, but if Hanley keeps struggling I might not get anything for him.

      I mean, I have Crawford too. Arguably my two best hitters are giving me next to no return. I can’t put up with BOTH of them struggling for much longer (I’m already in last).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. ben says:

    Won’t Izturis still be fighting for ABs with Aybar back, though?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Owen says:

    I imagining Castro is a riser…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Erik Hahmann says:

      I only had so much room and wanted to name guys who weren’t listed as highly in our pre season rankings

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. kid says:

    Hanley’s GB/FB split is bad if I’m expecting him to hit 25 bombs. Last year’s 1.56 GB/FB was frightening. This year’s 2.17 GB/FB is terrifying.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Paol says:

    Do you see Lowrie being the better shortstop or I.Desmond?

    What makes him better in your opinion?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. gu03alum says:

    Should I drop Jeter for Lowrie?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. bowie says:

    Don’t worry — Jeter is saving it for the playoffs

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. John says:

    I hate jeter with my life. He may be the worst 4th round pick in the history of fantasy baseball.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. cs3 says:

    if you drafted Starlin and picked up Lowrie recently, would you be looking to deal one?
    if yes which one?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ameer says:

      I would deal Starlin. I think 15-20 hrs for Lowrie is not unreasonable. 15 for Starlin is probably dreaming.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Paol says:

        Is that an upside for Lowrie or more of an expected type of figure?

        Hate to bring him up again, but aren’t they saying Ian Desmond is a 20/20 type of guy too? Would that make Lowrie “less” of a value than Ian then?

        just curious… thanks guys

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • SKob says:

        Lowris has been mashing lefties and will still split time with Scutaro. He could do 20 HR’s, but without fulltime play, he won’t have higher runs or RBI than Desmond and has some risk if he goes cold and Scutaro heats up (well the cold part applies). Lowrie will have higher average, but Desmond with help more in steals. Depends on league scoring and need who you should value more, but I would prefer Desmond for most formats.

        That said, ride the hot streak of Lowrie while you can if you have him!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. BMac says:

    Owning Lowrie has been a bit frustrating. He was benched several times while he was knocking the cover off the ball, and the rest of the team was not, and the Red Sox were LOSING! Then they benched him Apr. 24th during his hottest string, against a LEFTY. Next day was an off day, too. Surprise, surprise, his hitting tapered off.

    But now, he is 1 start at 3B from qualifying there, too. His fantasy value is about to rise even more…

    Lowrie is not a fluke; he was Red Sox 2005 1st round pick, and has been their minor league player of the year in 2008. He has arrived.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. cs3 says:

    why does Francona sit this guy so often?
    like, what exactly is going through his head that makes him say once or twice a week…. “hmm we’ve been playing pretty bad all year, so today i think i will bench one of my most productive hitters again because ——–” ?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. Mikey says:

    well everyone’s favorite binky Jed Lowrie has fallen right off the map (Drew Sutton is stealing ABs from him). the L/R splits are just too hard to ignore and that’s why i never jumped on this kids bandwagon. too bad the left side wasnt his mashing side, he’d be a hell of a player. a .617 OPS vs RHP just aint gunna cut it.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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