Fantasy Baseball Focus: National League shortstops
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Editor’s Note: Fantasy Baseball Focus is a breakdown of each league, position by position. Each team receives a fantasy analysis on the starter, backup and future prospect if there is one. In case you’re wondering, is there a schedule? Why, yes! Thanks for asking. On the right hand side of the page (your other right), look for the Fantasy Baseball Focus headline. Jamie Shoemaker will analyze the National League, while Dan Kirby handles the American League. Good luck in your fantasy leagues!
Shortstop is one of the strongest positions in the National League this year. Unlike the first basemen, the top-notch players stayed in the NL. Jose Reyes went across the division to the Marlins and J-Roll re-upped with the Phillies. Most others just moved teams, but for the most part, NL-only leagues won’t have to do much research on new players.
So, without further ado …
For-sure pick – It means you’ll get consistency, nothing less, nothing more.
Sleeper – Underrated in drafts; can get in later rounds but might produce above-average stats.
Overrated – Might not produce at the hype he’s supposed to produce at.
Long-term value – Might not be the best bet for this year but excellent for keeper leagues.
- Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies — 2011 stats: .302/.372/.544 – 30 HR – 105 RBI – 36 doubles
- Starlin Castro, Cubs — 2011 stats: .307/.341/.432 – 10 HR – 22 SB – 36 doubles
- Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks — 2011 stats: .252/.317/.396 – 21 doubles – injury shortened year
- Jose Reyes, Marlins — 2011 stats: .337/.384/.493 – 16 triples – 31 doubles – 39 SB
- Jimmy Rollins, Phillies — 2011 stats: .268/.338/.339 – 16 HR – 30 SB – 63 RBI
Starter: Pastornicky will likely head into spring training as the starter with a job to lose … as most rookies have to win the job. He’s being handed the job (unless he flakes out badly in spring training, but even then, he will probably start) and the Braves seem very confident in him. Why not, though? The Braves have had excellent success with rookies in recent years. Pastornicky is ranked as their #7 prospect in a loaded organization, and some scouts think he can hit 15-plus homers with a decent average (.260-.280) in his first year, while also stealing 30 bases. If he can even come close to those stats, he’s a steal and likely to be drafted in the lower rounds. His plus side? Doesn’t strike out often. He’s a sleeper, for sure.
Backup: Jack is back! Wilson signed back with the Braves. He’ll get a decent amount of playing time, filling in for Chipper and Pastornicky. He’s there to mentor Pastornicky. Not much of a fantasy option at this point.
Miami Marlins — Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez
Starter: Reyes comes into town as the defending batting champion, and he also led the league in triples last year despite playing in less than 130 games. He signed a mega contract with the Marlins in the off-season, and it’s a lot for a guy who hasn’t played 150 games in a season since 2008. That makes him a gamble for your team, as well. He’s riding on a high but don’t expect last year’s numbers for this year. He doesn’t strikeout much, which is a plus, but he’s going to be playing in an unknown ballpark, so there’s no way to tell how it will impact his stats. Either more home runs or he’ll lead the league in triples again. Either way, he’ll be overrated in most leagues and drafted early, and fantasy owners will be lucky to get 150 games out of him.
Option: Wouldn’t it piss people off if I put backup after Hanley? Ha, but seriously, he’s going to have eligibility at the shortstop position even though he’ll be playing third, but we’ll touch on him at the third base option later this week.
Platoon: Um …
Philidelphia Phillies — Jimmy Rollins
Starter: Rollins has declined in the past couple years, but he is only 32. After playing one full year after his season was cut short in 2010, Rollins should have a bounce-back season this year. Nonetheless, expect at least last years stats, if not more. He’s a solid pick but likely will get drafted in a high slot. He hit .268/.338/.339 last year.
Washington Nationals – Ian Desmond
Starter: Desmond will figure to cover shortstop again and looks to lead off for the Nationals. Ian slipped in a few categories for his sophomore year, and judging by a bloom in the strikeout category, he either wasn’t as patient or he was too aggressive. Desmond stole a career-high 25 bases, and one would expect that to rise if he could just increase his on-base percentage. He hovers around an atrocious .300 OBP. For the year, he hit .253/.298/.358.
Chicago Cubs – Starlin Castro
Starter: Castro just seems to be getting better and better. It’s hard to believe that he is only 21. In the minors he had little to zero power and last year he connected on 10 long balls. He notched 200 plus hits last year, nine triples, 20 plus stolen bases, all while striking out less than 100 times. Pretty serious stuff for the youngster. Castro is a five-tool player. He’s the real deal. Long-term value written all over him.
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