$2 Shortstops in Ottoneu Points Leagues

Let’s say you blew all of your money on Albert Pujols, Michael Pineda, and Eric Hosmer, and need a super-cheap shortstop in an ottoneu fangraphs points league.  Or, maybe you’re scrambling because Stephen Drew is dealing with his day-to-day, negative-MRI, weeks-old abdominal injury.  You have $2 to spend, and you need a shortstop with a job.  Here are shortstops who have been going for two bucks in ottoneu points leagues:

Name wOBA:ZiPS wOBA:Oliver TAv:PECOTA Average %Owned
Jason Bartlett 0.318 0.312 0.254 0.295 47%
Brent Morel 0.308 0.308 0.252 0.289 47%
Miguel Tejada 0.317 0.304 0.246 0.289 50%
Erick Aybar 0.304 0.301 0.236 0.280 37%
Alex Gonzalez 0.305 0.290 0.236 0.277 43%
Clint Barmes 0.295 0.293 0.240 0.276 3%
Orlando Cabrera 0.291 0.290 0.235 0.272 7%
Brendan Ryan 0.277 0.269 0.232 0.259 7%

Since it’s a FanGraphs Points league, we can get a good idea of value by simply ranking players based on your favorite offensive rate stat, be it wOBA here or at Hardball Times, or TAv at BPro.  I took a dumb average of the three projections just so we could get an overall ranking, but the average itself has no meaning in and of itself.

I think it’s interesting that all of these guys are basically going for the same price, despite massive differences in projected performance (though admittedly the worst three are owned in far fewer leagues than the top guys–and Barmes, of course, is hurt).

Who would I take?  Obviously none of these guys is likely to hit very well, but there seems like a pretty clear tier between the top three and the rest (well, at least the non-Brendan Ryan rest).  Bartlett’s a puzzle for me.  He had a terrific year in 2009, but was awful last year.  He has ability, but we’re also looking for a rebound in PETCO Park.  Tejada…well, he’s been very durable.  But he’s old.  You have to think an injury is in his future one of these seasons, and he doesn’t hit like he used to.

The name that I think is most interesting in this group is Brent Morel.  Michael profiled him as a 3B a few days ago, but thanks to some minor league games at shortstop last year, he is SS eligible in ottoneu.  He’s known as a slick fielder at the hot corner, but there are questions about whether his bat can play at third.  As a hitter in the minor leagues, he’s been fine, but not exciting.  While he’s hit for a good average, he doesn’t walk much (~5% of PA’s last year), and only has shown 10-15 home run power.  He has something around a .365 wOBA in the minors–good, but not elite prospect level.  As a 3B, I don’t really see him as rosterable.  But as long as he has the starting job in Chicago, we can play him at shortstop in ottoneu.  And as a shortstop, he should offer a decent bit of value as an injury replacement player.

If I’m picking a shortstop for the rest of the season from this bunch, I probably go after Jason Bartlett or Miguel Tejada (if they’re available), because I don’t trust Morel to keep his job all season.  Chicago has too many other options, and he’s just not that good.  But if I’m just in the market for a short-term replacement, or a backup, Morel’s the guy I’d take a flier on.  It’s always fun to play the young guy.  I doubt he’ll be an above-average hitter in the majors, but if he can even approach league average–and he has a shot at it–he’s a nice deal at $2.

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Justin is a lifelong Reds fan, and first played fantasy baseball on Prodigy with a 2400 baud modem. His favorite Excel function is the vlookup(). You can find him on twitter @jinazreds, even though he no longer lives in AZ.

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