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RotoAuthority Rankings 2014: Shortstop

Shortstops are a pretty weak crew again (surprise!) Even the top options come with question marks, and the later guys, well. Ouch. The good news, though, is that this position does offer a lot of speed, so there's that. What's more, if you keep your expectations pretty low, there are a surprising number of interesting players who specialize in a category or have decent potential. So don't despair if you miss out  on the top options. In fact, maybe you should skip those top options altogether....

This is the last of our hitter rankings; in fact, all we have left to unveil are the Starting Pitchers, which will be coming out in two parts next week. Be excited. Be very excited. Then hurry up and draft.

Catch up on our whole series: OutfieldCatcher, First Base, Third Base, Second Base, and Closers.

As always, these rankings are the product of the entire team here at RotoAuthority.

Tier 1: Imperfect Superstars (Rounds 1-2)

1. Hanley Ramirez

2. Troy Tulowitzki

Ramirez came back with a bang last year, putting up the best half-season of any player in baseball. But this comes on the heels of back-to-back disappointing years. Tulowitzki gives you a first baseman-level bat at short whenever he's healthy...which isn't nearly often enough. Personally, I like either one in the second, and neither in the first. But these two are unquestionably the class of shortstop.

Tier 2: Very Good, Still Imperfect (Rounds 3-5

3. Jean Segura

4. Ian Desmond

5. Jose Reyes

Segura's splits and short-porch homers were cause for worry, but his season would still have been great without double-digit homers. And he's young enough for skill progression to even out luck regression. Desmond has some strikeout-related red flags, but you have to love his power-speed combo. Reyes isn't a good bet to be healthy, but he is a good bet to produce while he's on the field. A full season in Toronto, and we might be using the power-speed label on him too. If only he could play a full season....

Tier 3: Run, Run, Run (Rounds 6-8)

6. Everth Cabrera

7. Elvis Andrus

8. Ben Zobrist

Cabrera and Andrus are very similar, but Cabrera's stolen base history is actually more encouraging. You might not see them in this order in a lot of drafts, but I'd take Cabrera before Andrus goes off the board. Zobrist doesn't fit the category theme, but if you aren't looking for speed, he's your only good choice at this point.

Tier 4: Off a Cliff (Rounds 12-15)

9. Starlin Castro

10. Brad Miller

11. Andrelton Simmons

12. Jonathan Villar

13. Xander Bogaerts

14. J.J. Hardy

15. Jed Lowrie

16. Jurickson Profar

17. Alexei Ramirez

18. Brian Dozier.

The rankings take a nosedive here, but the names are still interesting--moreso than in years past. The order here could get controversial, so consider these guys to be options to pick from more than a list to run down. You've got young players with potential, speed, power, and possible rebound types. Pick your poison.

I can't bring myself to take a risk on Castro any earlier than this. Yeah, he'll probably bounce back, but he was...just...so...bad. Miller is a very interesting guy and could produce even more with Robinson Cano around. Simmons is getting plenty of hype, but he may not be a 20-homer guy just yet. Villar has crazy wheels, but won't do your batting average any favors. Bogaerts is brimming with potential and has more upside than anyone here but Castro. Hardy is a consistent source of power, though he doesn't offer anything else. Lowrie is a balanced hitter with a long medical record. Profar is as interesting at short as he was at second. Come to think of it, he's up there with Castro and Bogaerts for upside. If Ramirez reallyhas transformed from power to nothing to speed, then his 30-steal upside is very interesting. Dozier worth taking a chance on because anyone with a little power and a little speed is interesting at this point.

Tier 5: Old Reliables?

19. Asdrubal Cabrera

20. Jimmy Rollins

21. Jhonny Peralta

22. Erick Aybar

Cabrera doesn't offer any upside at this point, but his personal brand of mediocrity is pretty safe. Rollins is only this high because maybe he'll get another boost before sliding all the way into oblivion. Peralta shouldn't be a BABIP hero again next year, but he should deliver some counting runs and RBI in the Cardinals' lineup. Aybar is probably the last of the guys you should consider giving your starting MI job to, but his floor seems to come with a decent average.

Tier 6: Hopefully These Guys Are on Your Bench...Or Your Opponents' Teams

23. Derek Jeter

24. Nick Franklin

25. Alcides Escobar

26. Zack Cozart

27. Jordy Mercer

28. Stephen Drew

29. Yunel Escobar

30. Mike Aviles

Jeter probably doesn't have much left in the tank. But this late in deep leagues, it's worth a try. Franklin gets more valuable with a trade or surprise Spring Training takeover of short...right now he's a bench player. Last year, Alcides Escobar went from my speed target to the worst player in baseball. In retrospect, his batted ball profile says I shouldn't have been too surprised. He'll bounce back, yeah, but how far? Cozart and Mercer look to have double-digit power. Drew would be a tier above on a decent team...but he doesn't even have a bad team right now. Yunel Escobar...at least plays every day. Aviles offers positional flexibility and not much else. It's better than nothing, though, I guess.

Shortstops wraps up our hitter coverage; next week we roll out the starters. Also, keep an eye out for convenient list-only versions of these rankings and melded middle and corner infield lists. 

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