2014 Shortstop Tiers: Roto

HAnley

For this article I am taking the quick hop to the other side of the middle infield and in doing so making a bigger step away from power and towards speed with the Shortstop position. This is a great position to pick up some steals at but the balance is tryin to gain those extra steals without sacrificing your other four categories completely.

Again I will be outlining the categories people excel in compared to those players I’ve tiered them with because in a roto draft you need to have a balance of categories in order to take home the prize. Winning steals by 70 but finishing last in every other batting category scores you just 14 points in a 10 team league but finishing 5th in all five categories nets you 30 points and that really outlines the need for balance across your roster.

Within each tier players are ranked according to ADP taken from fantasypros.com

Image courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Elite: Ramirez (Runs/Steals), Tulowitzki (HR’s/RBI)

Hanley burst back onto the scene last year and has firmly inserted himself in the conversation for the first short stop off the board. Batting at number 3 in a stacked Dodgers line up should give him the opportunity for good production in runs and RBIs. Add 25 homers and 20 steals at a nearly 300 average and you have a solid contributor in five categories. Tulowitzki every year is considered a first round pick and with 30 homers at a 300 average projected this year it’s no surprise he is there again. He plays in a great hitters park batting fourth behind three good players which should help get him close to 100 RBI but with not a lot behind him his runs upside is limited. There is one big issue with these guys and that is they are considered two of the biggest injury risks in baseball but when they are on the field they can give you a massive advantage over the shortstops on every other team.

 

Step Below: Desmond (HR’s/RBI), Reyes (Runs/Average), Segura (Steals/Average), Andrus (Runs/Steals), Zobrist (HR’s/RBI)

Desmond feels like he has snuck up to a position where he is considered the safest bet of the top end guys at shortstop because his production often gets lost in the injury talk about Ramirez, Tulo and Reyes. His projected numbers this year are not far off those of Ramirez when it comes to homers, steals and RBI but batting number 6 gives him a big disadvantage in runs and his average is more around 270. Still should be a solid consistent performer. Reyes is a man who could easily be considered a third man in that elite tier but his injuries limit his upside so much. He relies on speed and is capable of 40-50 steals but Toronto are likely to exercise caution with him so 25 is more realistic. Batting at the top of the order with a good average means he should score plenty of runs in front of a great line up but his RBI numbers are limited by that batting position and his relative lack of power (20 homers would be awesome). Segura got off to a great start last year but tailed off in the second half. 50 steals are easily possible but another 10+ homer season would be a shock. He should hit for a good average and batting at #1 runs will be plentiful but RBI not so much. Andrus is a guy many people over look in drafts because he doesn’t have the upside the three previous guys in this tier have but he should put up a solid 90 runs with around 50 steals at a decent average around 280. Power and RBI’s are again the issue for him as he will bat #2 in that line up. The fact that Zobrist is in this tier for shortstop and a lower tier for second base should forewarn you about where this is going. Relatively good power (15-20) at a solid average batting #2 in the line-up means he should contribute a good number of runs and RBI but he won’t contribute many steals.

 

Solid: E.Cabrera (Steals), Simmons (HR’s/RBI)

Image courtesy of bravescountrybeat.com

A two man tier here pretty much ends what I consider to be the serious upside guys. In Cabrera you have a guy who will be sure to contribute in one category but if he can hit a decent average could give you value in runs to go with that average. Won’t offer you much in terms of power and RBI batting at the top of the line-up in a tough hitter’s park but could easily steal 50 bases. Simmons is more of an all-rounder across four categories but won’t offer you much in the way of steals. 15 homers with 80 runs is a definite possibility if he bat’s high in the order but if he slips down then he could easily trade some of those runs for more RBI. He should put up solid numbers.

 

Back Ups: Castro (Average), Hardy (Runs/HR’s/RBI), Ramirez (Steals/Average), A.Cabrera (RBI), Lowrie (RBI), Miller (Runs/Average)

All of a sudden it starts to get a bit messy. Castro was touted by many last year and combusted in spectacular style but the advantage of that is he may slip in your draft because the positives are still there they just come with more risk. He should be a 10/10 player with 60+ runs and RBI at a 265+ average but realistically could provide you with more. Hardy is the power man of the tier as the only man projected over 20 homers and of course naturally runs and RBI follow that power. His average and steals may suffer a little but for where you can get him the power is a huge temptation. We move from the power man of the tier to the steals man in Ramirez who could easily put up 25 steals at a 270+ average. Cabrera will bat at the back end of the Indians line up and that should mean there are some decent batsmen on base for him to drive in. Could hit 15 homers but won’t offer much in average or steals. Lowrie is projected to bat #3 in the Athletics line up meaning he should offer good run and RBI numbers by hitting around 15 homers. Miller seems to have got a grasp on the starting job for the Mariners and by being projected to bat #9 he actually ends up batting in front of a powerful line up that should see him score plenty of runs. A 270 average and 15 homers is nothing to be sniffed at either.

 

Fall backs: Rollins (Runs), Villar (Runs/Steals), Peralta (HR’s), Jeter (Runs/Average), Aybar (Average), Owings (Average), Drew (HR’s/RBI)

Here the position goes from a bit messy to extremely messy with a small hint of upside. Rollins and Jeter are well past their prime but in deep leagues they could be solid back-ups thanks to their runs scored, Jeter’s average and Rollins steals. Aybar will hit at a better average then Rollins but worse than Jeter and will steal more than Jeter but less than Rollins, other than that he won’t out match them in any category. Peralta is one of the two power guys in the tier and RBI’s will come with that but otherwise he doesn’t offer a great deal. Now to the upside part of the tier: Villar could easily steal 50 bases and late in a draft you wouldn’t turn your nose up at them even if three poor categories come with it; Drew could be a solid contributor and is the other power guy but the longer he stays unsigned is a worry; Owings is the big upside guy for me in this tier but he has to win the starting job first in Arizona. Iv calculated his projections over a 500 AB season (which you would expect at minimum if he earns the job outright) and he should give you decent average and steals numbers but will lack on power and the RBI that come with those.

Image courtesy of venomstrikes.com

Desperation: A.Escobar (Steals), Cozart (Runs/HR’s/RBI), Y.Escobar (Runs/RBI/Average), Mercer (HR’s/Average), Gordon (Steals), Aviles (HR’s), Furcal (Runs/Average), Florimon

If you’re getting this deep into the position then you’re shooting for one category upside in most cases. Furcal was touted by many before he got injured last year but is in a terrible park with a poor line up. Dee Gordon could easily get 40 steals if Alex Guerrero fails to nail down the starting job so may be worth a late flyer.

Shortstop is perhaps the weakest position in the infield with their being a real big drop off in sure things once you pass the solid tier so weighing up your options here is very important. Chances are most people are going to fill out their MI position with second baseman because of how poor this position is and that will put a lot of strain on another fairly shallow position. Be smart when considering shortstops and try and grab one of the top 9 if you can but don’t reach for them and sacrifice better hitting positions.

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