Shortstops: A Quick Look at 2014

As the calendar’s turned to September, many fantasy owners have probably turned their attention toward solidifying their dynasty teams for 2014. That is, not everyone is left competing right now, and it’s difficult not to look ahead to next year if a shot at a podium position isn’t realistic.

Even a championship contender, though, can think long term in a dynasty format. Perhaps the trading deadline hasn’t passed or doesn’t exist. Or perhaps an injury or performance issue has an owner scanning the waiver wire for a new shortstop, but the owner wants the add to be a long-term fix rather than a short-term plug.

These are situations that don’t apply to all owners, of course, but dynasty leaguers can never stop thinking about the future.

Luckily, Fangraphs affords fantasy players a tool in this regard – the ZiPS “Rest of Season” projections.

Now, the number of homers or steals a player is expected to tally in September doesn’t help much. Not only is the sample so small that the projections could be wildly inaccurate, but projecting counting stats from a one-month RoS projection to a full-year 2014 projection is tough.

When it comes to rate stats, though, there’s much more to be learned. According to the description here at Fangraphs, “the ZiPS projections uses weighted averages of four years of data (three if a player is very old or very young), regresses pitchers based on DIPS theory and BABIP rates, and adjusts for aging by looking at similar players and their aging trends.”

What’s important here is that ZiPS RoS is going to be the same as ZiPS for 2014 if the season ended today. September information will change the projections a bit, as will any changes in the methodology over the offseason, but for the most part ZiPS RoS rate stats give an indication of what’s to expect for 2014.

The table below is excessive (it contains 50 names), but who knows, some of these names might be legitimate considerations in an AL/NL-only format with an MI position. Realistically, the top 25 names on here are the ones that are going to warrant 2014 consideration, and probably only the top 15 or so are going to warrant keeper consideration, depending on the dynasty rules. But have a look.

Note: SB/600PA & HR/600PA use ZiPS RoS small sample September projections and extend them over 600 plate appearances. There is likely a huge error bar between these and what the 2014 ZiPS will look like, but they have been included as a rough gauge for owners. The other rate stats are unaltered from ZiPS RoS.

Name wOBA AVG OBP SLG OPS SB/600PA HR/600PA BB% K%
Troy Tulowitzki 0.393 0.303 0.374 0.544 0.918 9 27 9.0% 14.9%
Hanley Ramirez 0.360 0.284 0.347 0.491 0.838 24 24 7.9% 17.1%
Jose Reyes 0.340 0.291 0.343 0.441 0.784 31 16 7.8% 9.1%
Jed Lowrie 0.336 0.271 0.339 0.425 0.764 0 17 8.5% 15.5%
Ian Desmond 0.335 0.276 0.322 0.450 0.772 19 19 6.2% 21.6%
Jhonny Peralta 0.329 0.274 0.332 0.419 0.751 0 15 7.3% 19.5%
Jean Segura 0.326 0.289 0.329 0.417 0.747 33 13 4.4% 14.3%
Stephen Drew 0.321 0.248 0.324 0.409 0.733 9 9 10.6% 22.7%
Asdrubal Cabrera 0.319 0.260 0.319 0.409 0.728 13 13 7.4% 18.1%
J.J. Hardy 0.319 0.258 0.302 0.431 0.733 0 25 6.2% 14.4%
Josh Rutledge 0.316 0.266 0.307 0.418 0.725 16 16 4.0% 20.0%
Starlin Castro 0.314 0.274 0.313 0.406 0.719 17 11 4.7% 15.0%
Jimmy Rollins 0.309 0.253 0.318 0.386 0.704 20 13 8.7% 13.0%
Derek Jeter 0.309 0.272 0.330 0.364 0.694 11 11 7.1% 14.3%
Didi Gregorius 0.306 0.267 0.314 0.386 0.700 0 7 6.2% 16.0%
Xander Bogaerts 0.306 0.244 0.297 0.402 0.699 0 13 6.7% 26.7%
Tyler Greene 0.306 0.234 0.302 0.396 0.698 26 13 8.5% 29.8%
Erick Aybar 0.306 0.273 0.311 0.386 0.697 19 6 4.2% 10.5%
Yunel Escobar 0.305 0.259 0.326 0.357 0.682 6 6 8.5% 11.7%
Elvis Andrus 0.304 0.271 0.337 0.340 0.677 28 0 8.3% 13.0%
Adam Rosales 0.302 0.241 0.298 0.392 0.690 0 13 6.7% 20.0%
Alexei Ramirez 0.302 0.276 0.308 0.382 0.690 17 11 3.8% 11.4%
Andrelton Simmons 0.302 0.265 0.309 0.379 0.688 13 7 5.6% 8.9%
Brian Dozier 0.302 0.247 0.304 0.380 0.684 12 12 7.1% 16.3%
Everth Cabrera 0.300 0.257 0.329 0.342 0.671 47 0 9.2% 19.7%
Tyler Pastornicky 0.300 0.267 0.306 0.375 0.682 12 12 4.1% 12.2%
Zack Cozart 0.299 0.252 0.292 0.393 0.685 7 13 5.6% 18.0%
Josh Harrison 0.298 0.263 0.302 0.378 0.679 12 12 3.9% 11.8%
Brad Miller 0.297 0.248 0.307 0.361 0.669 15 7 7.4% 19.8%
Willie Bloomquist 0.297 0.278 0.314 0.359 0.673 15 0 5.1% 12.8%
Cliff Pennington 0.296 0.251 0.312 0.357 0.669 16 8 8.0% 17.3%
Jordy Mercer 0.295 0.247 0.300 0.372 0.672 9 9 5.7% 18.6%
Mike Aviles 0.294 0.259 0.288 0.384 0.672 17 17 4.3% 13.0%
Maicer Izturis 0.293 0.255 0.312 0.345 0.656 10 10 6.7% 11.7%
Cody Ransom 0.292 0.197 0.281 0.378 0.659 0 25 10.4% 33.3%
Jake Elmore 0.292 0.247 0.325 0.320 0.645 19 0 9.7% 16.1%
Brandon Crawford 0.291 0.243 0.304 0.357 0.661 0 8 7.6% 20.3%
Jayson Nix 0.290 0.231 0.296 0.359 0.655 12 12 7.8% 25.5%
Eduardo Nunez 0.290 0.261 0.304 0.355 0.659 31 10 5.1% 13.6%
Jonathan Herrera 0.290 0.259 0.316 0.338 0.654 14 0 6.8% 13.6%
Justin Sellers 0.286 0.221 0.300 0.338 0.638 0 16 8.1% 21.6%
Jose Iglesias 0.284 0.267 0.312 0.320 0.632 17 0 4.3% 13.0%
Alcides Escobar 0.278 0.257 0.292 0.341 0.632 24 6 4.0% 13.1%
Jonathan Villar 0.278 0.222 0.290 0.331 0.621 41 10 8.6% 31.0%
Pedro Florimon 0.277 0.234 0.289 0.334 0.623 14 7 7.2% 27.7%
Adeiny Hechavarria 0.273 0.245 0.283 0.334 0.617 12 6 5.2% 17.5%
Dee Gordon 0.272 0.252 0.298 0.312 0.611 51 0 5.1% 16.9%
Carlos Triunfel 0.270 0.239 0.278 0.328 0.607 0 10 3.2% 17.7%
Pedro Ciriaco 0.262 0.245 0.267 0.332 0.599 30 10 3.3% 18.3%
Pete Kozma 0.259 0.221 0.278 0.308 0.585 7 7 7.1% 21.2%

That table is sorted by wOBA, not fantasy value. Owners can judge for themselves based on their “rate stat format” (AVG/OBP/OPS or even wOBA) how best to evaluate these players against each other.

One thing the table does give an idea of is tiers, though. Tulowitzki and Ramirez are well above the rest, Reyes heads up the next tier, and then after about Starlin Castro the list devolves into players who are below-average hitters in “real” terms but have value from one or more counting categories.

A few interesting names:

Starlin Castro and Josh Rutledge – despite down 2013s, ZiPS is a believer in both slugging enough and having a high enough average to be league-average with the stick. If that can hold true, there’s nice category juice there.

Asdrubal Cabrera – probably done as a slugger.

Jean Segura – despite having just one home run since June 21, ZiPS believes this year’s double-digit output wasn’t a complete fluke.

Ian Desmond – pretty safely slotted as a top-5 shortstop in fantasy baseball now.

Everth Cabrera, Jonathan Villar and even Dee Gordon – empty, empty steals. But at a position that usually ends up being very thin, that’s okay. Just ask Elvis Andrus, who is fourth in shortstop value for the season despite a .262 average and just a single homer.

I’m interested to hear who readers are surprised by and why. If readers can identify a few players whose projections don’t match up with conventional wisdom or the general ‘feeling’ about a player, I’ll tackle those players in the coming weeks in this Tuesday spot. Today was meant as both a helpful quick tool for dynasty players and a jumping-off point for late-season and offseason analysis.



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Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.


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everydayj
Guest
everydayj

Brad Miller immediately jumps out at me as somebody who’s projections seem remarkably low. I don’t have a lot of science to back it up, but .248 seems like it’s not backed up by what I’ve seen this year so far and his hitting history/pedigree.

Trey Baughn
Member
Member

Agree with this completely. I can see double digit HR from B. Miller next year, and it’s nice that he may qualify for 2B as well. If I didn’t land an SS in one of the top two tiers, I’d easily wait for Miller as he will likely contribute better than almost every category Zips has listed here.

elgato7664
Guest
elgato7664

RoS ZiPS don’t take into account current year minor league stats. So Miller & Bogaerts, could/should have significantly higher 2014 ZiPS projections.

Ray
Guest
Ray

Miller was easily the guy that jumped out to me as well. 7 HR in 600 PA’s? He has 5 in 257 right now, will finish the year with 18-20 across three levels, hit 15 in 2012. And the BA seems woefully low given his past as well. I’m thinking more .270 BA, 15 or so HR’s, and interestingly the SB’s seem high, I was thinking more 10-12 for him.

Nick
Guest
Nick

my first thought was Brad Miller as well. And I agree that .270-.285, 15 HR, 10-15 SBs seems reasonable.

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