Shortstops: ADP’s Up In Here

It’s that time of year again; College basketball is revving up, teams are preparing for spring training and fantasy leagues are gearing up for their drafts. In preparation we’re going to be looking at some average draft positions and the trends that occur, according to Today we’ll focus on shortstops. There aren’t many surprises, but there is one pick that intrigues me (more on that later). Here’s the top 10 based on a standard five by five mixed league.

Average Draft Position:

1. Troy Tulowitzki

2. Jose Reyes

3. Hanley Ramirez

4. Starlin Castro

5. Elvis Andrus

6. Asdrubal Cabrera

7. Jimmy Rollins

8. Derek Jeter

9. J.J. Hardy

10. Dee Gordon

There’s not room for too much contention. Tulowitzki has earned the top spot. You could flip flop Ramirez and Reyes without causing too much of a stink, but the latter is coming off a terrible season while the former had one of his best. I’m not as big on Andrus as others — I like at least a little power from shortstop– but appreciate the amount of runs and steals he provides. Cabrera had a breakout season thanks in large part to a huge uptick in his power numbers. He’s been quoted as saying he changed his plate approach last season, so perhaps, like a mini-Jose Bautista, the power is real. Our own Mike Podhorzer gives reason for concern, however:

The biggest red flag can be found on the pages of ESPN Hit Tracker. If you take a look at its home page, you will notice a “Just Enoughs – AL” box in the middle of the second line of data boxes. Look whose name is second. In 2006 (the data has never been updated on the page), the league average was for 27% of home runs of the “just enough” variety. Cabrera, however, hit 15 of 25 home runs classified in the category, or 60%.

That’s not a good predictor of future success. If his home runs drop from 25 to a more reasonable 15-20 that, combined with his 15 steal potential, leaves him in good company.

You absolutely know what you’re getting from Rollins and Jeter. They’re no longer the stars they once were but put up solid numbers, for shortstops that is. Despite his 30 home runs being split evenly between home and road, Hardy benefited greatly from Camden Yard where his OPS (.856) was .104 points higher. He’s someone who is likely better than Rollins and Jeter but is being drafted lower due to the name value of the former stars. The big surprise, to me at least, is the inclusion of Dee Gordon.

The son of former pitcher Tom “Flash” Gordon, the 23-year-old has only 233 plate appearances in the majors but is being handed the starting position. The only asset he brings to the table is speed. He has 50 steal potential and nabbed 24 bags in 56 games last season. Yes, he hit .304 last year but I’m not optimistic he hits .300 in 2012. He’s hit seven professional home runs, and none above Double-A. The Dodgers don’t have a great offense so it’s not as if he’ll be scoring runs like Andrus. If his bat falters at all, meaning fewer times on base and fewer steal opportunities, his value drops dramatically. Stealing 50+ bases certainly puts him in the top 10, but that’s becoming a rarer and rarer feat these days as only three players approached it last season. He’s the highest risk/highest reward pick amongst shortstops heading into this season.

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

20 Responses to “Shortstops: ADP’s Up In Here”

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  1. Scott Clarkson says:

    Am I the only one who’d rather have the unspectacular but consistent performance of Jhonny Peralta definitely over Gordon but also over Hardy?

    Jhonny’s gonna get his 600PA hitting #2 or #6 in the stacked Tigers lineup. I love him for modest power output and great counting stats.

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    • Nilsilly says:

      Peralta’s actually been a bit inconsistent over the last few years. I think Gordon is a fine risk/reward pick at 10th. If he hits he’s great value and if he doesn’t (unless someone carries 2 SS for some reason) he can always be replaced by Stephen Drew, Mike Aviles, Marco Scutaro (playing 2B but will still qualify at SS and will play in Coors), etc. I think at #10 for the position it makes sense to try for the home run.

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      • Scott Clarkson says:

        in 5×5 I see the lure of Gordon. I play mostly in OBP heavy or lwts leagues where Gordon’s value is muted.

        Hardy has had issues staying healthy through a lot of his career too.

        What I like most about Peralta: consistently cutting down his K’s year to year while maintaining a solid ISO and near league average walk rate.

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    • Vegemitch says:

      I agree, and I trust Peralta over Hardy as well. Fortunately in a snake draft you’ll already know if you are lacking speed and need some at SS/MI and can let Peralta or Hardy slide and take a risk with Gordon. SS is actually very deep in secondary options with guys like Drew, Bonifacio, Scutaro likely to bounce off waivers a time or two in season.

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  2. Detroit Michael says:

    I’d prefer Hardy over Jhonny Peralta, but would place Peralta above Jeter and Gordon.

    On the other hand, I’m a Tiger fan, so maybe I’m not very objective about Peralta.

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  3. Bryan says:

    Peralta won’t repeat his average from last season but 20 homers and 70-plus RBI are good bets. I’d rather chance it with Hardy than Peralta, though. I might even go Hardy over Jeter but with a gun to my head I’d probably still take Jeter.

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    • Scott Clarkson says:

      What is up w/ Hardy’s eroding plate discipline? He used to walk at a league average rate but has dipped into Adrian Beltre 4% BB rate territory.

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  4. Matt says:

    It would’ve been helpful if you included the ADP values for each player.

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  5. chris weinmann says:

    I’m curious what folks think of Emilio Bonafacio. He’s not playing SS this year, but he’s eligible there in most leagues.

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  6. The title of the story is “Shortstops: ADP’s Up In Here” and yet it’s never mentioned. This list isn’t much help without their ADP’s.

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  7. Rylan says:

    Why does Yunel Escobar never get any love? He brings solid numbers all over the board, lacking only in steals. .290/.365/.410 line with double digit home runs and solid run and RBI totals. He has a few injury problems but even only playing 130 games a season he puts up decent counting stats. I would definitely have him before Jeter an Rollins, who at their age probably wont play 150+ games next year.

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  8. Colin says:

    I see Tulo……then Reyes and Hanley….then like 20 guys who are going to be roughly equivalent. Also, I think Aybar seems to be getting less love than he deserves after last year with his SB uptick.

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  9. Wade8813 says:

    I’ll admit to getting sidetracked by other baseball projects, so maybe I missed it, but this is the first time I’ve seen Reyes over Hanley.

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  10. Jeffsqad says:

    I agree with the comment on Yunel Escobar. He is solid across the board, plays in a great lineup, hits at the top of the lineup (most nights) and still has additional upside unlike Rollins or Jeter. Hardy is an injury waiting to happen.

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  11. Pugsly says:

    Yunel Escobar is a good player to have on your team if you want to finish in 7th place. You would draft him over Jeter? Has he even once in his career had a better season than Jeter? Last year he had 5 more homers than Jeter but hit 7 points lower, scored 13 fewer runs, drove in 7 fewer runs and stole 13 fewer bases. The year before that Yunel hit. 4 homers and stole 6 bases in 500 at bats. He is waiver wire fodder.

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  12. Pugsly says:

    And the same point is true with Rollins. Rollins hit 22 points lower last year but had 5 more homers, 15 more runs, 10 more RBIs, and 27 more steals. I get that these guys are old, but Yunel Escobar? Give me a break.

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  13. Jeffsqad says:

    Fair points, but I think both are trending down while Yunel trending up. Also, Yunel was hurt 2 years ago when he had that 4 homer year. No doubt in past years Jeter & Rollins were better, but I think this is the year that changes.

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  14. PatW says:

    You mixed up the “former and the ladder.” They should be reversed (when mentioning HanRam and Reyes).

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  15. OzzieGuillen says:

    I disagree with the risk/reward statement about Dee Gordon. We know exactly what he is already, and there won’t be any HR/RBI volatility. Jeter and Rollins, however, provide greater risk and reward because of their wider range of possible statistical outcomes this year.

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