The advances in defensive metrics over the past few years have helped us gain a better understanding of just how valuable defense is, especially at positions like shortstop. Unfortunately for fantasy baseball fans, it has meant a return to mostly defense-first shortstops and a lack of quality options at the position. When looking for a shortstop, if you can get help in more than two categories, you’ve got yourself a winner.
1 – Jose Reyes – Even in a down year, he was still the best option thanks to all-around contribution. More is expected out of him this season in Toronto.
2 - Troy Tulowitzki – If Tulowitzki can stay healthy he could be number one on this list.
3 - Hanley Ramirez – Same as Reyes, but with a bigger drop off and a higher fantasy ceiling. Assuming he keeps his SS eligibility, he remains a top fantasy option even when he’s hitting around .250.
4 – Jimmy Rollins – He’s not the MVP candidate he once was, but he was still the only shortstop with more than 20 home runs and 30 steals—and was the only one to reach 100 runs.
A Notch Below
5 – Ian Desmond – Can he do it again? If so, he probably belongs in the top group.
6 – Starlin Castro – If he hit for a little more power, he’d be a stud. Without it, he’s still good.
7 – Asdrubal Cabrera – He doesn’t offer much speed, but he still has good power for a shortstop.
8 – Derek Jeter – How’s the leg? If it’s good, Jeter remains a viable fantasy option. Keep an eye on his ETA this spring.
You’ll Be OK
9 – J.J. Hardy – You’ll get those homers, but your batting average may take a hit.
10 – Alcides Escobar – Almost no power, but lots of steals, and a solid batting average if your league uses that. If you’re in an OBP league, he drops down a little.
11 – Elvis Andrus – Average, steals, and runs atop a strong Rangers lineup. Too bad defense doesn’t count.
12 – Everth Cabrera – Watch his playing time, but if he’s in there, he’ll steal you plenty of bases.
If You Have To
13 – Marco Scutaro – Batting average…and that’s about it.
14 – Jhonny Peralta – A little pop for a shortstop, but the batting average will hurt.
16 – Jed Lowrie – Decent pop but injury prone and not much support around him.
17 – Alexei Ramirez – Will the power come back?