Surprises and Disappointments: Shortstops

The season is over and that makes us all sad uncontrollably sad. As always, some players really stepped up and surprised everyone while a few pre-season hopefuls failed to live up to expectations. Today we’re going to focus on some shortstops on each side of the spectrum.


Emilio Bonifacio

This was Bonifacio’s best season in every way offensively, setting career highs in every single category. In 2009, his only previous season with 500 plate appearances, he was 39 percent below average offensively. This season he was 13 percent above. The speedster even hit for a little power adding five home runs to his 40 stolen bases. His line of .296/.360/.393 was likely aided a bit by a .372 BABIP, but it’s not astronomically higher than his career mark of .339. He finished the season ranked as the eighth best shortstop according to Yahoo!. Not bad for a guy who was projected to have a sub .300 wOBA by Bill James, Marcel and ZiPS

Erick Aybar

Aybar’s another player who had a career season. His average, on base and slugging percentages were down from 2009 – his previous best season — but he was five percent better compared to league average than he was that season. He also hit more home runs, scored and knocked in more runs and stole more bases than any point in his career. A big reason for his increased production from last season was the fact that he started hitting line drives again. His line drive rated jumped five percent and finished virtually equal with the 2009 total. Aybar finishes ranked ahead of Derek Jeter and Alexei Ramirez, which isn’t too shabby.

Asdrubal Cabrera

He’s been written about extensively on this site but the main, and virtually only, reason for his inclusion here is the sudden emergence of power. His 25 home runs in 667 plate appearances were seven more than he had hit in his previous 1,610 combined. He’s had a better average and on base percentage but his 25 home runs and 17 steals helped vault him to the third ranked shortstop this season.


Hanley Ramirez

The entire disappointments section of this piece falls squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Ramirez. Perennially one of the top players in all of fantasy baseball, Ramirez took a cliff dive into obscurity this season. He played in only 92 games due to various ailments — which allowed Bonifacio playing time at short — but even when he did play he was far from good. In 385 plate appearances he hit .243/.333/.379, a far cry from his career norms. His 10 home runs, 45 runs batted in and 20 steals helped Ramirez become the 18th ranked shortstop this season. However, if you owned him that number sure feels lower. Ramirez underwent surgery on his right shoulder last month and should be fully recovered for the start of 2012. For where he was drafted, the expectations put on him and “production” he delivered there was no bigger individual disappointment in fantasy baseball last season.

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

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Mark Geoffriau
Mark Geoffriau

Let’s toss Alexei Ramirez into the “disappointments” category as well. Was hoping he’d finally take a step forward, but his hitting was stagnant and he cut his SB’s in half.