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Three Up, Three Down - 2013 Shortstops
Nate Springfield | Thursday January 31st, 2013
Hanley Ramirez offers SS and 3B flexibility for fantasy owners. (US Presswire)
Hanley Ramirez offers SS and 3B flexibility for fantasy owners. (US Presswire)
Baseball Press presents a returning miniseries entitled "Three Up, Three Down". We'll review player performances from last season and whether or not we feel they are capable of either improving upon last season's performance, or if the player had a "lucky" season in 2012.

So far, we've covered catchersfirst basemen, and second basemen for the upcoming 2013 season. The shortstop position is arguably one of the thinnest fantasy positions. Outside of one or two elite options, owners usually can expect little offensive help from the roster spot during the fantasy baseball season. 

Three Up

Jean Segura - Milwaukee Brewers
The greatest risk for Jean Segura in 2013 will be his ability to produce offensive stats for a full season. In 2012, the soon-to-be 23-year-old played in 44 games for the Brewers, while producing a .264/.321/.331 triple-slash line with 7 stolen bases. Although he has a small sample size at the big league level, he's produced at the minor league level, as he hit .313/.367/.439 over the course of six seasons. He won't hit for power, but his speed will help your stolen base totals. He had a 13.2% strikeout to plate appearance during his minor league career, and will hopefully carry that same approach in the big-leagues. As an owners, you simply want a player like Segura to avoid strikeouts, put the ball in play, and steal bases.

Hanley Ramirez - Los Angeles Dodgers
After a slow start to the 2012 season and a trade that sent him from the Miami Marlins to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hanley Ramirez is looking to reestablish himself on the West coast. After he was traded to the Dodgers, Ramirez hit .271/.324/.450 with 10 home runs and a .774 OPS. He has a career batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of .332 and during the 2012 season - he had a .290 BABIP while playing half the season in a horrible hitter's ballpark. I fully expect a bounce back season for Ramirez now that he's settled into a team that is surrounded by enough talent. Another reason to look at Hanley is his position eligibility of shortstop and third base, as he played 98 games at third base and 57 games at shortstop in 2012.

Asdrubal Cabrera - Cleveland Indians
After a breakout year in 2011, Asdrubal Cabrera almost disappointed owners in 2012 when he hit 16 home runs, stole nine bases, and hit for a .270/.338/.423 triple-slash line over 616 plate appearances. Pretty good numbers for a shortstop, but the decline in his counting stats is what frustrated owners. The Venezuelan actually made gains in 2012 by decreasing his strikeout and ground ball rate, while increasing his walk and line drive rate. Expect more opportunities for stolen bases, and a healthy Cabrera to get his counting stats close to the 20/20 mark with a .275 or better batting average in his age 27 season.

Three Down

Ian Desmond - Washington Nationals
After enjoying a career breakout season at the age of 26 least season, we wrote a Fact or Fiction about Ian Desmond at the end of the 2012 season. Simply put, Desmond posted an 18.2% HR/FB rate which is a number we typically see from true power hitter such as Adam Dunn and Ryan Braun (to name a few). Prior to 2012, his highest HR/FB ratio was 7.7%. We simply don't see Desmond all of a sudden becoming a power hitter during his 27-year-old season moving forward. Because the position is scarce with talent, Desmond is obviously a top-ten shortstop that can hit a few home runs and steal bases, but we simply wouldn't be on another 25 home run season. He's a free-swinger that doesn't take walks - and will eventually get himself out. He will have trouble clearing the 20 home run plateau again in 2013 - we currently have him projected with 16 home runs.

Jimmy Rollins - Philadelphia Phillies
Outside of the obvious "Jimmy Rollins is getting old analysis", there are many indications over the past years that say it's time to get off of this ship while you can. The 30 home runs that Rollins hit in 2012 were a product of him being more aggressive at the plate. Along with that aggressiveness came the third straight season that he saw his strikeout rate increase and his walk rate decrease. Another thing to keep in mind is his HR/FB ratio was two points higher than his career average last season, something he may not be able to maintain. Another 30 stolen base season may also be in question. Besides his aging legs, the lineup make-up this season probably will give him fewer opportunities to steal. The addition of the speedy Ben Revere will relieve Rollins of having to run as much, and with less opportunities comes fewer stolen bases.

Dee Gordon - Los Angeles Dodgers
I'm not sure how much more down you can be after finishing 23rd overall on the CBS ranking of shortstops at the end of the 2012 season, but Dee Gordon makes the list. He has been bumped from his position with the acquisition of Hanley Ramirez and the consistent play of Luis Cruz at the end of last season. Gordon's one asset, speed, is not able to be utilized unless he gets on base. This is a skill a healthy Gordon must work on in 2012, but it will be at the minor league level unless he's traded. If he is traded and seeing every day at-bats, he is worth owning, but what he showed most clubs at the beginning of 2012 will make it hard for him to have any fantasy value at all in 2013.

Reggie Yinger and Nate Springfield contributed to this article.
Nate SpringfieldNate Springfield joined the Baseball Press crew for the 2010 season and hosts the site's podcast. His love for the game has grown thanks to fantasy baseball, with a specialty in NL-only auction leagues. You can contact him at nate@baseballpress.com or follow him on Twitter @NateSpringfield.