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2013 Position Rankings: Shortstops

You know what I hate? Drafting a shortstop. When you go with a top quality guy, you're still getting a player with some kind of serious flaw. When you wait until late in the draft, you get someone who doesn't even have the bat for second base or catcher. My solution: create your own league, in which shortstops are disallowed. Until then, enjoy our tiered rankings.

Just as we've done previously, with Third BasemenSecond BasemenFirst BasemenOutfielders, and Catchers, these rankings come from a team discussion, featuring Tim Dierkes and the entire RotoAuthority staff; they go 30 players deep this time. They're divided into groups of similar value, and tiered by where they deserve to be drafted in a standard league. If you're bidding in an auction, consider players in the same tier to be of similar price. If a player has other positions in parentheses, that means you can draft and start him there. Since they're shortstops, at the very bottom of the position scarcity barrel, this ranking will reflect their real draft value. If you're taking, say, Ben Zobrist, as an OF, discount his price a little.

2nd Round

1. Troy Tulowitzki, COL

You know things are rough at the position when the top guy missed essentially all of last year. He's either a bargain, as a player with top-of-the-first-round value, or a huge overpay, thanks to another massive injury. Go for it.

3rd Round

2. Hanley Ramirez, LAD (3B)
3. Jose Reyes, TOR

Hanley could be in the middle of a long return to form, so I could see him improving to something near what we used to see with the Marlins. Reyes should be a three-category beast at the top of Toronto's lineup, but he'll be a liability in HR's and RBI's.

4th Round

4. Ben Zobrist, TBR (2B, OF)
5. Starlin Castro, CHC

Zobrist does a bit of everything and he can back you up at second and in the outfield, if you somehow need that. Castro is a very good player, and a little bit overrated. He could improve, but I'd rather pay for the guy he actually is: good average, good speed, a few homers, and a lousy lineup to keep down the Runs and RBI's.

5th-6th Rounds

6. Ian Desmond, WAS

Desmond broke out like crazy last year, placing himself with the top power hitters in the middle infield, while still stealing 21 bases. He's going in the 7th round in mock drafts, and I think it's worth the risk that he falls back to earth to get him on your team.

7th-8th Rounds

7. Jimmy Rollins, PHI
8. Danny Espinosa, WAS (2B)

Rollins, once among the shortstop elite, stole 30 bases and clubbed 23 homers last year. You'd think that would be enough for him to regain his former status, but a lousy batting average, increasing age, and the downward trend in his overall production are keeping his price down. Yes, I think he's going the wrong way, but I don't think that the end is here--he's got a lot of room to fall before he stops being useful. Espinosa is trending the other direction and he's still young, which is what keeps his value near that of Rollins. A 20-20 season is possible, and he'll benefit from hitting in a good lineup, if probably from the back of it.

12th-13th Rounds

9. Derek Jeter, NYY
10. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE

Jeter is old, yes. Jeter isn't the player he used to be, yes. And I'd still want the batting average and runs scored that he brings to the table over anything you'll see below him on this list. Cabrera doesn't hurt you anywhere--not even in home runs--but he doesn't really help, either. Pronunciation aside, is there any more boring name you can call out in your draft? A player like this shouldn't be reached for.

15th-16th Rounds

11. Elvis Andrus, TEX
12. Alcides Escobar, KCR

You know what you see here? The brand name and the generic version. No power, decent average, good steals and a place at the top of the order. Escobar was more valuable last year, but Andrus gets a slight nod for setting the table for better hitters.

17th-18th Rounds

13. J.J. Hardy, BAL
14. Everth Cabrera, SDP
15. Josh Rutledge, COL
16. Andrelton Simmons, ATL

Since the position's starters are presumably taken by the time you get to these guys, consider them the shortstops worth using at MI. Hardy has better power than most of the players above him, and Cabrera could be an impact base stealer, to the tune of 50 or more. Rutledge is a Colorado guy and he'll probably gain 2B eligibility. The chance that he hits more than a few homers isn't bad. Simmons is being given the keys to Atlanta's shortstop job, and he could end up being a speed and batting average type of player.

19th-20th Rounds

17. Marco Scutaro, SFG (2B)
18. Alexei Ramirez, CHW
19. Erick Aybar, LAA 

Scutaro will almost certainly regress next year. That's okay, though, because he still gets value from his versatility. Ramirez took a big step back last year, after being one of shortstop's more dependable players for the past couple years. His new level is still capable of backing up your starter. Aybar is a pleasantly harmless backup, but don't wait so long that you're starting him, event at middle infield.

21st-22nd Rounds

20. Jed Lowrie, OAK
21. Zack Cozart, CIN
22. Jhonny Peralta, DET
23. Stephen Drew, BOS

Lowrie may not get full playing time, and he isn't the healthiest kid in school, but he sure can hit. Cozart and Peralta don't do much, but you don't ask that much of a backup, which is strictly what you should be looking for with them. Drew is like Lowrie, but with less upside. Importantly, it isn't zero upside. As a side benefit, everyone in this tier but Lowrie should be able to enjoy the benefits of hitting in a powerful lineup.

23rd Round and Beyond

24. Jurickson Profar, TEX
25. Jean Segura, MIL
26. Hiroyuki Nakajima, OAK
27. Yunel Escobar, TBR
28. Cliff Pennington, ARI (2B) 
29. Jamey Carroll, MIN (2B, 3B)
30. Tyler Greene, HOU (2B)
 

If you're in a shallow league, I wouldn't bother with prospects with no job, like Profar or Billy Hamilton. If you're in a deep league, the time to take those guys is when all the shallow-leaguers are gone. If someone else wants to overpay, let 'em. Segura isn't a huge upside player, but he does have some, and he makes a good end-game play because he should have the starting job on Opening Day. Nakajima is in a similar vein, but even harder to predict, being from Japan and all. Escobar has a higher floor than most of the players out here. Pennington, Carroll, and Greene are only here because they can back up multiple positions, but even that's better than nothing. 

Shortstop is a rough place to be a fantasy drafter, but you can find some decent values throughout the draft. In some ways, I think it's actually a little easier to manage than second base, simply because your expectations are (fairly) set so low. Hits a few homers and does nothing else. Cool. Steals a ton of bases but kills my power categories. Great. Missed all of last season. All-Star.

There are four shortstops ranked as third or fourth-rounders, but if you can, I'd probably avoid all of them. The overall scarcity of power makes me prefer to go after a slugging outfielder or third baseman at that time. Instead, I'd probably want to be among the later teams to get a shortstop, but double up on players with disparate skill sets, like J.J. Hardy and Everth Cabrera, or Alcides Escobar and Josh Rutledge.




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