Stay Away from Furcal

One of the premier fantasy shortstops from 2003-2006, Rafael Furcal has fallen off the map the past two years.

From 2003-2006, Furcal averaged 14 homers and 34 steals a year with a .289/.354/.433 line, numbers anyone would take from their starting fantasy shortstop. Furcal dropped off a bit in 2007, hitting .270/.333/.355 with 6 homers and 25 steals. Still not terrible numbers, but nothing compared to what he had done in the recent past. Part of his problem is 2007 was ankle injury that bothered him and forced him to the DL, and a lower back issue that popped up later in the year.

The big turning point for Furcal was that back injury, because it never got any better. He underwent surgery in May of 2008 after playing only 36 games. In those 36 games he looked tremendous, but a small sample size and fluky BABIP threw that right out the window.

Some owners, however, believed that a fixed back combined with a great month in 2008 would bring Furcal back to fantasy greatness. If you were one of those owners, stop reading this article now, climb onto your roof, and jump. Last year, Furcal hit .269/.335/.375, cranked 9 balls out of the park but swiped only 12 bases in 18 tries. Not good.

If I told you a random shortstop had ankle problems and back surgery, followed by a continued downward trend of his fantasy numbers, would you draft him? No, you wouldn’t. Don’t get sucked in by Furcal’s past returns, just stay away. It’s for your own good.

Right now, Furcal is the ninth shortstop off the board, being selected around pick 127 according to Mock Draft Central. Why do owners continue to reach for Furcal hoping he will fill their needs at shortstop? I’d much rather have Elvis Andrus (180), or Ryan Theriot (275) than Furcal, and they are being picked at a much more attractive position.

This story shouldn’t be anything special. Player A gets hurt, is a little old and doesn’t produce. Fantasy owners draft him high wishfully thinking he will bounce back. Don’t. When someone in your league drafts Furcal, look at them, point, and laugh.

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Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.

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ok i was one of those Furcal owners but I was a rookie and didnt see the folly. Furcal is long gone from my team, but I have Alexei Ramirez and Yunel Escobar…which one to keep?? I don’t need both.


I think Yunel is the more solid option, particularly for average. His peripherals are solid.

Alexei I like this year, as there’s a good chance he falls due to “sophomore slump whiplash.” He was overdrafted last year, stats were disappointing, yet his EYE improved a lot. Could be great value this year and his ceiling is higher than Yunel’s.

If the rest of your team is strong, I’d keep Yunel. If you need upside from that position, then Alexei.