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Shortstops A Fantasy Prospective
The shortstop position in baseball is probably one of the most important jobs on the field. A shortstop must be an excellent fielder, because of skill of the position some teams let the players offense be less than stellar. Players like Cal Ripken and Ozzie Smith have shown that the shortstop position can have players that can hit and field. After Ripken and Simith, players like Derek Jeter arrived in the Majors and have helped to elevate the shortstop position even higher. From a fantasy baseball perspective the shortstop has also evolved. You can no longer ignore shortstops and and deal with the poor offensive output. A lot of shortstops are decent from an offensive standpoint, giving you a lot of choices on draft day.
Starling Castro maybe young but to this point in his career he is proving to be quite a talent. Last season he hit .292 in 134 games. His career batting average is .284, although the 2014 average is more of the norm. The young shortstop is not fast on the base paths as he only stole four bases, and legged out one triple. He will give you some decent hitting numbers, Castro hit thirty-three doubles, and fourteen home runs. Although a very good shortstop Castro might not be your first selection at the shortstop position on draft day. He plays for the Cubs, who struggle scoring runs, which means that there is a good chance that opposing pitchers will stay away from his bat. He's still a decent pick but not before the third round.
The biggest challenge drafting Jose Reyes is that he has a history of injury problems. He has played five full seasons during his twelve year career. The reason Reyes is so valuable is that he hits .287 for his career. He will give you some speed. During his career Reyes has averaged thirty-eight stolen bases per season, so you can expect him to repeat that in the future, as long as he stays healthy. Along with being a speedster Reyes did account for 145 runs, and he is part of a high powered Blue Jays team. If you think Reyes is a good fit for your team, be prepared, because he probably won't last past the third round. If he does last that long, it will be a bargain.
Alcides Escobar's career has been a roller coaster ride. The 2014 season may have been the highest point of his career, mainly because the Kansas City Royals made it to the World Series. From a statistical standpoint he was at his best. His success may have been from the roll that the rest of the team was on, or it may be signs of what is to come in Escobar's career. His numbers last year matched Jose Reyes', making him a top commodity at the shortstop position. He may not make it to the third round, but it may be worth it if he is able to put a season together like he did in 2014.
The last two seasons for Hanley Ramirez were difficult. The shortstop had injuries and was not as productive as he had been in previous years. The veteran shortstop signed with Boston in the off season. The move should help him return to the glory years of his past. The Red Sox have better players then the Dodgers. Besides some better players, the Red Sox also have a hitter friendly ball park. Ramirez will change positions this season, which will be a big challenge for him. The move is great for fantasy managers, because he can fit into multiple positions. Ramirez will probably be drafted in the late first round. Don't expect him to fall past the second round because he is still a very valuable player.
The good news for Erik Aybar, he plays on a playoff contending team that has plenty of talented hitters around him. Aybar's strongest asset for a fantasy manager is that he is consistent. He plays almost every game. He does not put up a decent amount of speed numbers, and he might hit double digit home runs. Another negative for Aybar is that the Angels signed Josh Rutledge in the off season, who is promising, but has not played a full season in the majors. Aybar is a waiver wire pick up at best, at least until the Angels have figured out what they are going to do at the shortstop position.
The shortstop position is vital, on the field and on any fantasy team. Some of the greatest baseball players have come from this position. Lucky for most fantasy owners the position is becoming deeper every year, giving you an opportunity to wait a little longer to draft a shortstop. Don't wait too long though because they will go on a run and all that will be left are players that you have to switch out on a weekly basis.
© 2015 Robert Beyer