The shortstop position is very top heavy this fantasy baseball season, but the list does have some players that are consistent. Some of these shortstops can be valuable fantasy players at a low price. This is not a position where you will find power outside of Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki unless someone else steps up in 2011.
This is a position filled with players that have had recent injuries, but if healthy, they are capable of producing valuable numbers in five or six categories, which could make them very helpful on your roster.
1. Hanley Ramirez – Florida Marlins
Ramirez missed 20 games in 2010 and also had issues in the clubhouse, but he managed to still have a great year batting .300 with 21 HR and 76 RBI. These numbers are not the reason he tops the shortstop rankings though. Ramirez is still young at 27 and has shown flashes of power and hitting for extreme average. He has hit 21 or more HR in four of his five full seasons and has hit over .292 in all five years, topping .332 twice. Ramirez is more than capable of running the bases totaling 51 SB twice in his career, with 27 SB as his low. Ramirez puts up numbers in every category as a hitter and should be in the top five in the overall MLB rankings.
2. Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies
Troy Tulowitzki is the only shortstop that comes close to giving Hanley Ramirez a run for his money in success at the plate. Playing in just 122 games in 2010, Tulowitzki had totals of .315, 27 HR and 95 RBI. If not for injury he would have been in the discussion for NL MVP. The only category that Tulowitzki does not compare to Ramirez is how he runs the bases, since he has only stolen more than 11 bases twice in four full seasons. Tulowitzki will put up big power numbers at the plate and if he stays healthy he has a chance to edge out Ramirez for the top spot in shortstop the rankings.
3. Alexei Ramirez – Chicago White Sox
In just three seasons Alexei Ramirez has really made a name for himself with his consistency hitting from .277-.290 with 15-21 HR and 68-70 RBI. His run and double totals were at highs in 2010 at 83 and 29 respectively. The only negative that can be seen about his statistics in three years is that his walks dropped drastically in 2010 compared to 2009 from 49 to 27 and he saw his strikeouts rise from 66-82. Don’t expect Ramirez to jump into the top two of these rankings, but he should have a solid 2011 as he has had the past three seasons.
4. Jose Reyes – New York Mets
Jose Reyes is an interesting player to look at because he is arguably the best base stealer in the MLB when healthy. The problem is that he has not been able to stay in the line-up the past two seasons playing in just 33 games in 2009 and 133 games in 2010. From 2005-2008 Reyes had tremendous totals hitting over .273 every year, stealing a high of 78 SB and a low of 56, hitting 12 of more HR every year and scoring a low of 99 R with a high of 122. These numbers are something that can be seen from Reyes, who has the most potential for a rise in production at this position. In 2010, Reyes was able to hit .282 with 11 HR, 54 RBI, 83 R, 29 Doubles, and 30 SB, If Reyes is healthy this year these numbers could look more like his numbers from a few years ago, and could push him into the top two at this position.
5. Derek Jeter – New York Yankees
Jeter did not hit over .300 for the first time since 2004. In 2010, he hit an un-Jeter like .270 which is .044 under his career average. The Yankee captain’s other numbers were still respectable though, scoring 111 R, with 30 doubles, 10 HR, 67 RBI and 18 steals. Jeter has been consistently good his entire career and expect the same in 2011. His average will rise closer to .300 and so will the rest of his numbers, but do not expect him to crack the top two or three on this list.
6. Jimmy Rollins – Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins really has not produced well since his 2007 MVP, but that is also due to missing games in 2008 and 2010. In 2010, he only played in 88 games but still had 41 RBI, 48 R and 17 steals. In 2010 I see him raising his .243 average to the .270-.280 range and doing so will increase his other numbers. Do not look for him to hit the long ball all that much, but Rollins is capable of having totals around 40 doubles, 40 steals, 100 R, 70 RBI and will hit around 10 HR. If Rollins can find a way to stay healthy look for him to crack the top five and maybe the top three on this list.
7. Stephen Drew – Arizona Diamondbacks
Drew has been up and down in his young career of four full seasons. He looked very promising in 2008, but 2009 he regressed in his numbers. In 2010 he looked much more like his 2008 self, which is promising for the 2011 season. In 2010 his totals were a .278 average with 12 HR, 33 doubles, 12 triples, 83 R, 61 RBI and 10 steals. Drew has the ability to manufacture numbers in several categories. I believe his 2011 season will be very similar to his 2010 season.
8. Jhonny Peralta – Detroit Tigers
Peralta is a player that is pretty much a guarantee to produce around the same numbers every year. His numbers are not eye opening because he does not hit for average or run the bases well, but he does drive in runs and has decent power for the position. Peralta has a .263 career average but in recent years it is more around .250. He also has just 9 steals in 8 years in the MLB. On the positive side, he has had more than 80 RBI the past three years and has hit 11 or more HR, topping 20 three times in 6 seasons. He is also capable of hitting 30 doubles a year and scoring 60 plus R.
9. Rafael Furcal – Los Angeles Dodgers
If Furcal could stay healthy he could be a top four or five Shortstop, but two of the past three seasons he failed to appear in 100 games. Last year, despite playing in 97 games he showed his worth, hitting .300 with 66 R, 23 doubles, 8 HR, 43 RBI and 22 steals. If he had played in 50 more games he could have had top tier numbers. This year he should stay healthy and add onto these numbers. If healthy he could climb up this list rapidly, but if not then he will fall out of the top ten.
10. Marco Scutaro – Boston Red Sox
The past two seasons for Scutaro have been very impressive compared to the rest of his career. He has hit over .275 with more than 92 R, 35 Doubles, 11 HR and 56 RBI each season. These numbers are quality but they are not mind-boggling which lands him at number ten. The one risk with Scutaro is that he may not be a full time SS with the Red Sox this year because he is already 35 and the Red Sox are very high on SS Jed Lowrie who is now healthy.
Honorable Mentions – Elvis Andrus – TEX Rangers, Ian Desmond – WSH Nationals, Alex Gonzalez – ATL Braves, Jed Lowrie – BOS Red Sox, Miguel Tejada – SF Giants