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2010 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit: Shortstop Rankings

March 11, 2010 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Elvis Andrus had a solid rookie season for the Texas Rangers.
If you don’t land one of the big shortstops, Elvis Andrus could be a capable — and cheap — alternative.

By Tim McLeod, RotoRob and Herija Green

And the 2010 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit rages on, today with a look at the best shortstops in the game.

In 2010, the shortstop position is ugly, ugly, ugly. After the top five, you’ll experience a big thud with the fall off. So if you don’t get one of the big ones, feel free to wait until the mid to later rounds to get your SS. You’ll have to make the call whether it’s worth it to grab one early. But there are players available here like Elvis Andrus and Everth Cabrera that you don’t have to reach for or overspend to acquire, and they can help you.

San Diego Padres Gear

Previous rankings are in parenthesis.

1. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins (1): Ramirez spearheads a solid Marlin offense, and while Fantasy owners are probably a bit peeved that his homers and swipes slipped last year, he took his game to a new level. Ramirez enjoyed a career year, percentage-wise, jacking up his OBP and taking home his first batting title. He’s an MVP Award waiting to happen. — RR

2. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies (10): We called for Tulowitzki to rebound last year, and he sure as hell did. In fact, he had a big-time breakout season, flashing huge improvements in power with 66 extra-based hits including a team-leading 32 homers, and reaching double-digits (20) in steals for the first time. Tulowitzki’s batting eye regressed slightly, but that’s just nitpicking; he’s arrived as a major Fantasy force. — RR

3. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies (3): Prior to the 2009 season, we wondered whether Rollins’ power would return. Well, it did – slightly. Unfortunately, the rest of Rollins’ game went more or less south, and he’s really been in serious decline since his MVP performance in 2007. The good news is he stayed healthy enough to put up his fifth 100-run season in the last six years. The bad news is Rollins had his fewest triples ever, his strikeout rate was up and he endured his lowest BA since 2002. Yes, he’s still a key component of a championship team, but Rollins needs to reverse this downward slide, or his long-term Fantasy prospects will start to deteriorate. — RR

4. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees (9): Rumours of Jeter’s demise were greatly exaggerated. He capped a spectacular season (slightly improved K rate, massively improved base running that resulted in a fourth 30-SB season, power bounce back, and significantly improved D) – his best since 2006 – with another legendary playoff performance. Jeter will be a free agent after the 2010 season, but the Yankees have no plans to discuss an extension prior to the season. That could prove costly if Jeter can turn in another season like he did last year. — RR

5. Jose Reyes, New York Mets (2): A hamstring injury that limited him to 36 games and ultimately required surgery decimated Reyes’ season and made him a candidate for RotoRob Fantasy Baseball Dud of the Year. His pop fell off the table and his overall numbers were at their worst since 2005. However, Reyes was actually a tiny bit more productive when he was active, and he showed improvements in his batting eye. The Mets need him to rebound in a big way for them to have any hope, and the same goes for your Fantasy team. — RR

6. Jason Bartlett, Tampa Bay Rays (22): Bartlett earned a spot on the AL All Wire Troll Team after his major explosion in 2009. There was virtually no bigger surprise in Fantasy baseball as given a bit more action, Bartlett shattered his career highs in virtually every department. A .320 shortstop with 30 swipes and some pop? Okay…sign me up for that. Clearly, no one on the Rays had any idea what they were stealing from the Twins and Bartlett has now carved himself into team history with his Ray record .320 average last season. — RR

7. Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks (5): Drew was a big disappointment last year as he was unable to build on his fine 2008 campaign. Injury issues were a factor, which is a shame for had he stayed healthy, he surely would have set a new career high in RBI. Drew did a better job on the basepaths, but that’s not really a big part of his game, and the fact that his OBP plummeted was a concern. Like many Diamondbacks, he’s a big question mark heading into this year, and 2010 should tell us much about how Drew’s career will pan out. — RR

8. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers (26): Andrus put up an impressive rookie season, taking over the everyday shortstop job in Texas. He was fairly productive and had a decent walk rate which was in line with his minor league numbers. A premium defender, the 21-year-old Andrus has a ton of upside, so he’s definitely a kid to keep your eye on for the long term. — RR

9. Yunel Escobar, Atlanta Braves (17): Sometimes, we amaze ourselves with our genius. In last year’s Draft Kit, we said this about Escobar: “I see his upside this year as .300 or better with 15 homers and 75 RBI.” So what does Escobar do in 2009? He hits .299 with 14 homers and 76 RBI. Not too shabby! He swiped a couple more bases as well, but this has never been a big part of his game. Escobar’s declining walk rate is a tiny worry, but after a couple of seasons of being a useful Fantasy asset, I believe he’s ready to come into his own in a big way this year. Don’t sleep on this one. — RR

10. Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox (4): Most experts list Ramirez a little higher than this, but we’re being a tad cautious after he failed to deliver on his pre-season hype. Ramirez simply did not have as a good a season offensively in his sophomore effort – especially in the power department. He did a better job on the basepaths, and that’s promising, and he’s part of an improved White Sox infield defensively, but Fantasy owners couldn’t care less about his D – unless he struggles to the point of having to move from shortstop. I’m expecting Ramirez to bounce back somewhat, but he simply just may not be as great as everyone thought. — RR

11. Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels (21): Aybar earned his way onto our AL All Wire Troll Team for a breakout performance that included plenty of runs, improved power and better patience. It was perfect timing for the arbitration-eligible Aybar, who should continue to step up offensively this season. — RR

12. Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles Dodgers (7): Furcal struggled through a horribly inconsistent season in 2009. He heated up in mid-July, prompting us to recommend him, and that was a good call, until August came and he went back into the tank. He finished strong and did manage to stay healthy, but what happened to Furcal’s extra-base pop? He simply had an awful year and his walk rate dipped as well. Furcal’s fragile back is a also a worry, so use caution when drafting him. — RR

13. Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians (22 at 2B): We already discussed Cabrera in our 2B rankings. — RR

14. Ryan Theriot, Chicago Cubs (15): The diminutive Cubbies second sacker posted solid numbers for the third straight season in 2009. He’s the classic spray hitter with plus speed, but his success rate on the basepaths over the past two seasons (43-for-66, 65 per cent) is disappointing. Despite those struggles he appears to still have the green light, logging just four fewer attempts last season. Theriot won’t give you much in terms of home runs and RBI, though, and his batting average has fluctuated more than 20 points each season. He’s the kind of guy you draft as a low-risk insurance policy if you went young (Andrus) or injury prone (Furcal) with your starter. — HG

15. Jhonny Peralta, Cleveland Indians (6): Peralta had an awful first half, and while he was much better in July and August, he sucked horribly in September and October. Peralta is going around the 12th round of most drafts and while many are much more sour on him, we think he still has some value in a mixed league. Peralta’s extra-base pop really slipped last year while he struck out more often, and that’s never a pleasant combination. He is also listed in our 3B rankings. — RR

16. Miguel Tejada, Baltimore Orioles (12): Tejada ranked 12th on our SS cheat sheet last season, but he addressed our concerns about declining pop. In fact, he enjoyed a nice comeback season. Tejada stayed healthy in his two seasons in Houston, but he delivered far more return on the Astros’ investment in year two. While his speed slipped (honestly, he hasn’t been much of a threat on the basepaths since he left Oakland), Tejada’s OBP bounced back as did his power and batting eye. He parlayed a nice recovery into a free agent deal with Baltimore, however, he’ll be shifting to third base in his second go-round with the Orioles. — RR

17. J.J. Hardy, Minnesota Twins (8): An All-Star in 2007, Hardy came apart at the seams last year to the point that he earned a lengthy demotion in August. He was garbage with runners in scoring position and runs the bases like he has Pablo Sandoval strapped to his back. That being said, you cannot simply discount the fact that he averaged a .280-25-77 line during his previous two seasons. Hardy has very good power for the position, and when he’s hot he’s capable of carrying Fantasy teams for weeks at a time. Consider Hardy an ideal late-round flier with some serious bounce back potential — just don’t be afraid to keep him inactive when the streaky shortstop falls into one of his prolonged slumps. — HG

18. Marco Scutaro, Boston Red Sox (23): The former utilityman started more than 70 games at a position for just the second time in his career last year, getting the nod 143 times at short for the Blue Jays. He responded with his best season to date, easily outdistancing previous career highs in several categories, including home runs (12), steals (14) and runs (100). Scutaro showed improved patience at the plate as well, drawing 90 walks to 75 strikeouts, which falls in line with Boston’s offensive philosophy. It’s not unrealistic to think Scutaro could build on last season’s output, but the fact that he qualifies at only one spot after qualifying at three entering 2009 is a drawback. Like Theriot, he’s late-round insurance. – HG

19. Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres (NR): The speedy youngster was a breath of fresh air for the Padres last season when he took over for scrub Luis Rodriguez. Cabrera is still learning the game offensively, though, where his best asset by far is his speed. He posted a respectable .342 OBP last year, but his .255 average is a bitter pill for Fantasy owners when you already know he’s not bringing power to the table. Cabrera also strikes out far too often. It’s hard to make much of a case for him deserving a place on your roster outside of large leagues where you’re targeting a burner for your middle infield spot. — HG

20. Alcides Escobar, Milwaukee Brewers (NR): One of the early favourites for NL Rookie of the Year, Escobar has the kind of athleticism that makes scouts drool. He’s got incredible range at the position and a respectable amount of pop for someone with such a wiry frame. Of course, Escobar’s ceiling for home runs this year is probably less than 10, and he showed complete disdain for taking pitches during his late-season run in Milwaukee with only four walks in 134 plate appearances. Even as a rookie, however, Escobar has a chance to be a legitimate three category contributor with stolen bases being his signature skill — he swiped 80 bases over three levels the past two years. Upside is the name of the game with Escobar, but don’t expect much in home runs or RBI. — HG

21. Orlando Cabrera, Cincinnati Reds (13): The well-traveled Cabrera is headed back to the Senior Circuit for the first time since his days in Montreal as he’s set to take over as the Reds’ everyday shortstop. He’s as durable as they come and is one of those performers you can safely pencil in for a .280-8-70 line, though his speed is on the wane — his stolen base total has declined for three consecutive seasons. At the end of the day Cabrera is a steady veteran that does everything well, but nothing exceptionally, which makes him an ideal Fantasy backup for those that roll the dice on relative unknowns. — HG

22. Maicer Izturis, Los Angeles Angels (24 at 2B): We’ve already discussed Izturis in our 2B rankings. — RR

23. Edgar Renteria, San Francisco Giants (16): At one time Renteria was considered to be among the game’s elite shortstops, but that ship has clearly sailed. Never a power hitter even during his prime, Renteria’s speed has all but abandoned him as well, leaving someone that hits for a marginal average and doesn’t offer much in either the speed or power departments. Also working against Renteria is that he’s part of one of the league’s least formidable lineups, which should keep RBI opportunities sparse. If you end up with him on your roster outside of deep leagues then things have gone horribly wrong. – HG

24. Juan Uribe, San Francisco Giants (NR): We’ve already discussed Uribe in our 2B rankings. He’s also listed in our 3B rankings. — RR

25. Cliff Pennington, Oakland Athletics (NR): A first-round pick in 2005, Pennington enters his first full season in the majors already looking over his shoulder with top prospect Grant Green on the horizon. Green is at least a year away, though, and Pennington looked anything but overwhelmed during his two-month stint with the A’s last season. He’s primarily a line drive hitter, failing to reach double figures in home runs in any of his five professional seasons. Pennington has good speed, though, and has shown the ability to draw walks at every level. That’s not enough to instil a ton of confidence, but he wouldn’t be the worst backup as long as your starter was an upper tier talent.– HG

Others to Consider

26. Brendan Ryan, St. Louis Cardinals
27. Cristian Guzman, Washington Nationals
28. Tommy Manzella, Houston Astros
29. Cesar Izturis, Baltimore Orioles
30. Alex Gonzalez, Toronto Blue Jays
31. Luis Valbuena, Cleveland Indians (also listed in our 2B rankings)
32. Mike Aviles, Kansas City Royals
33. Jerry Hairston Jr., San Diego Padres (also listed in our 3B and OF rankings)
34. Willie Bloomquist, Kansas City Royals (also listed in our OF rankings)
35. Brendan Harris, Minnesota Twins (also listed in our 3B rankings)
36. Ronny Cedeno, Pittsburgh Pirates
37. Emilio Bonifacio, Florida Marlins (also listed in our 3B rankings)
38. Craig Counsell, Milwaukee Brewers (also listed in our 2B and 3B rankings)
39. Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals
40. Julio Lugo, St. Louis Cardinals (also qualifies at 2B)
41. Jack Wilson, Seattle Mariners
42. Yuniesky Betancourt, Kansas City Royals
43. Nick Punto, Minnesota Twins (also listed in our 2B rankings)
44. Adam Everett, Detroit Tigers
45. Reid Brignac, Tampa Bay Rays

Cheat Sheet Archives

2010 Preseason

First Base
Second Base


Third Base
Designated Hitter
Relief Pitchers
Starting Pitchers

2009 Preseason

First Base
Second Base



2008 Preseason

Starting Pitcher
Relief Pitcher


Third base
Second base
First base

2007 Preseason


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