A few days ago, Baseball Press kicked off our 2010 Fantasy Positional Rankings with catchers and first basemen, then started the middle infield with second base. Making our way around the diamond as today, we focus on the shortstop position. Players are eligible for the position in 2010, if they played at least 10 games at that position in 2009. These are initial rankings heading into draft day and do not reflect the final rankings come October 2010. The statistics listed to each player are his FINAL 2009 numbers, not the projected 2010 stats.
|RANK||Player||TEAM||POS||Stats - 2009|
|1||Hanley Ramirez||FLA||SS||BATTING - AB 576 AVG .342 OBP .410 R 101 HR 24 RBI 106 SB 27|
|2||Troy Tulowitzki||COL||SS||BATTING - AB 543 AVG .297 OBP .377 R 101 HR 32 RBI 92 SB 20|
|3||Jimmy Rollins||PHI||SS||BATTING - AB 672 AVG .250 OBP .296 R 100 HR 21 RBI 77 SB 31|
|4||Jose Reyes||NYM||SS||BATTING - AB 147 AVG .279 OBP .355 R 18 HR 2 RBI 15 SB 11|
|5||Derek Jeter||NYY||SS||BATTING - AB 634 AVG .334 OBP .406 R 107 HR 18 RBI 66 SB 30|
|6||Ben Zobrist||TB||SS||BATTING - AB 501 AVG .297 OBP .405 R 91 HR 27 RBI 91 SB 17|
|7||Alexei Ramirez||CWS||SS||BATTING - AB 542 AVG .277 OBP .333 R 71 HR 15 RBI 68 SB 14|
|8||Elvis Andrus||TEX||SS||BATTING - AB 480 AVG .267 OBP .329 R 72 HR 6 RBI 40 SB 33|
|9||Jason Bartlett||TB||SS||BATTING - AB 500 AVG .320 OBP .389 R 90 HR 14 RBI 66 SB 30|
|10||1||Yunel Escobar||ATL||SS||BATTING - AB 528 AVG .299 OBP .377 R 89 HR 14 RBI 76 SB 5|
|11||1||Miguel Tejada||BAL||SS||BATTING - AB 635 AVG .313 OBP .340 R 83 HR 14 RBI 86 SB 5|
|12||6||Asdrubal Cabrera||CLE||SS||BATTING - AB 523 AVG .308 OBP .361 R 81 HR 6 RBI 68 SB 17|
|13||J.J. Hardy||MIN||SS||BATTING - AB 414 AVG .229 OBP .302 R 53 HR 11 RBI 47 SB 0|
|14||2||Alcides Escobar||MIL||SS||BATTING - AB 125 AVG .304 OBP .333 R 20 HR 1 RBI 11 SB 4|
|15||Stephen Drew||ARI||SS||BATTING - AB 533 AVG .261 OBP .320 R 71 HR 12 RBI 65 SB 5|
|16||2||Rafael Furcal||LAD||SS||BATTING - AB 613 AVG .269 OBP .335 R 92 HR 9 RBI 47 SB 12|
|17||Erick Aybar||LAA||SS||BATTING - AB 504 AVG .312 OBP .353 R 70 HR 5 RBI 58 SB 14|
|18||3||Marco Scutaro||BOS||SS||BATTING - AB 574 AVG .282 OBP .379 R 100 HR 12 RBI 60 SB 14|
|19||Everth Cabrera||SD||SS||BATTING - AB 377 AVG .255 OBP .342 R 59 HR 2 RBI 31 SB 25|
|20||8||Jhonny Peralta||CLE||SS||BATTING - AB 582 AVG .254 OBP .316 R 57 HR 11 RBI 83 SB 0|
|21||1||Clint Barmes||COL||SS||BATTING - AB 550 AVG .245 OBP .294 R 69 HR 23 RBI 76 SB 12|
|22||Orlando Cabrera||CIN||SS||BATTING - AB 656 AVG .284 OBP .316 R 83 HR 9 RBI 77 SB 13|
|23||new||Edgar Renteria||SF||SS||BATTING - AB 460 AVG .250 OBP .307 R 50 HR 5 RBI 48 SB 7|
|24||1||Maicer Izturis||LAA||SS||BATTING - AB 387 AVG .300 OBP .359 R 74 HR 8 RBI 65 SB 13|
|25||1||Ryan Theriot||CHC||SS||BATTING - AB 602 AVG .284 OBP .343 R 81 HR 7 RBI 54 SB 21|
|26||Mike Aviles||KC||SS||BATTING - AB 120 AVG .183 OBP .208 R 10 HR 1 RBI 8 SB 1|
|27||Cristian Guzman||WSH||SS||BATTING - AB 531 AVG .284 OBP .306 R 74 HR 6 RBI 52 SB 4|
|28||Brendan Ryan||STL||SS||BATTING - AB 390 AVG .292 OBP .340 R 55 HR 3 RBI 37 SB 14|
|29||new||Ian Desmond||WSH||SS||BATTING - AB 82 AVG .280 OBP .318 R 9 HR 4 RBI 12 SB 1|
|30||new||Luis Valbuena||CLE||SS||BATTING - AB 368 AVG .250 OBP .298 R 52 HR 10 RBI 31 SB 2|
|31||6||Juan Uribe||SF||SS||BATTING - AB 398 AVG .289 OBP .329 R 50 HR 16 RBI 55 SB 3|
|FA* = Free Agent|
Hanley Ramirez is the no-brainer number one for his speed and power potential. Troy Tulowitzki (and his surprising total of 20 steals) slots in at number two, just ahead of former MVP Jimmy Rollins. Tulo led all shortstops with 32 homers and even chipped in 20 stolen bases. Rollins had fantasy owners face-palming all year with his .250 batting average, but looks to be a good bounce-back candidate and still went 20/30 on homers/steals in 2009.
Jose Reyes had an injury-shortened season, but loses ground in the rankings mostly because his performance is so erratic and his 2009 pre-injury numbers implied a decline. He's still a great option in 2010 due to the stolen base potential, but I'd take the top three over him at this point. Plus, it's getting increasingly harder to trust any Mets to stay on the field.
Derek Jeter's name has been kicked around for AL MVP at the time of this writing. While I think that may be a bit much, I think Jeter reestablished himself as an offensive force in a dominant Yankee lineup. Another .330-plus average may be too much to expect, but .300 with 15-plus homers and 20-plus steals is a virtual lock every season. He's no centaur, but he's still a very valuable fantasy commodity.Ben Zobrist should be eligible at shortstop in most leagues (he played 13 games there, starting 6) and provides a good power and speed combination, as does Alexei Ramirez. Ramirez had a somewhat disappointing season based on what many thought he might do in 2009, but a 15/15 season with a .277 average is still quite valuable, and his improved plate discipline shows he has room to grow.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus is up next on the list, and this spot might seem kind of high, but he'll be slotted into a very good lineup and his 33 steals in just 480 at-bats bodes well for his speed potential. I think he'll improve across the board in 2010 and score around 100 runs.
Jason Bartlett had a career year, and I expect significant drop-offs across the board. He may hit .290 with 30-plus steals in 2010, but the power seems fluky to me (14 homers in 2009, after just 11 in all years prior) and he really dropped his average late in the year.
Miguel Tejada and Yunel Escobar lock in next as solid but unspectacular options. Tejada still has the potential to have good seasons, but much of the power has eroded and since at an advanced age, you have to think he's running on fumes.
Jhonny Peralta and J.J. Hardy are both coming off of disappointing 2009 seasons. While Peralta still managed 83 RBI, his .254 average, 11 home runs, and 57 runs scored were way under his career standards and were eye-gougingly bad for fantasy owners in 2009. Hardy is a streaky hitter who never really got going, but his track record and a move to Minnesota should help him out of his slump, though it totally kills the usefulness of my Brewers #7 Hardy jersey.
Expect a nice rebound season from Rafael Furcal, but don't expect the world from him.
Stephen Drew isn't as bad as his 2009 numbers might indicate, but I don't really think he's much more than a .270 hitter with 20 home run power in his best season moving forward. Many so-called experts have been hot on this guy for a while now; I guess I just don't see it.
Brewers rookie Alcides Escobar showed good things in his brief stint as the starting shortstop, and I think a high batting average and a useful number of stolen bases is in the cards for him, but I'm hesitant to bestow too much praise on a guy with just 129 major league at-bats.
Angels infielder Erick Aybar is an intriguing option at shortstop. While I think he overachieved in 2009, anyone putting up solid numbers in a good lineup definitely deserves a fantasy look.
Evereth Cabrera steals bases and... that's about it. If he can post a league-average OBP he could have a legit shot at 50 steals in a full season.
Colorado infielder Clint Barmes makes for a nice jack-of-all-trades, as he can play multiple infield spots and chips in help in both the home run and steal categories. His .245 batting average in 2009 wasn't much to look at, but he could be an excellent breakout candidate in 2010.
Marco Scutaro leads all shortstops in my "I ain't buyin' it" competition. I'm happy the guy finally had a big season, but expect massive regressions. He will, however, score a good share of runs as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
There are several nice power/speed contributors rounding out the list, including Juan Uribe (who hit .289 with 16 dingers in '09) and Ryan Theriot (.284 with 7 homers and 21 steals for a pretty impotent Cubs lineup).
I also wouldn't sleep on Royals shortstop Mike Aviles, who played hurt for most (or all?) of 2009 before finally undergoing Tommy John surgery. I don't know if he'll replicate his 2008 numbers (.325 average, 68 runs, 10 homers, 51 RBI in 102 games), but the scrappy infielder has pretty solid minor league numbers and something to prove.