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“Foster Your Roster” – 2013 MLFB SS Ranks

Updated on 3/22/13, after Hanley’s injury news:

Shortstop is an interesting position this season. Once you get past Rollins at number six, you really need to look at team need during your draft. Some players will offer stolen bases without much else, compared to others who may contribute moderately, but in more categories.

  1. Troy Tulowitzki: Everyone is aware of his potential if he plays a full season. I would take him in the second round, but I would probably also make a SS my first reserve pick; similar to handcuffing an RB in football.
  2. Jose Reyes: If the turf doesn’t cause leg injuries, it should help turn more ground balls into base hits. Plus, according to ESPN, Marlin’s park ranked 26th for HRs, and Toronto was 15th last season. Therefore, if he can avoid a long league adjustment period, he should put up 15 HRs.
  3. Starlin Castro: We haven’t seen his best season yet, and with moderate stat increases he’ll be one of the elite.
  4. Ben Zobrist: He gives you solid production in all categories, with the added bonus of position flexibility.
  5. Ian Desmond: His strikeout and walk percentages are a concern since they haven’t shown improvement. In spite of that, he still has the potential to improve, since he tallied multiple career highs in only 130 games. Even if he declines slightly, he will still provide value.
  6. Jimmy Rollins: He had a good season in 2012, and he’ll likely contribute this season too. At age 34, however, his decline can’t be far off. I’d rather bail on a player a season early, than have him on my roster during his decline.
  7. Elvis Andrus: He’ll steal bases, score runs, and hit for an adequate average.
  8. Asdrubal Cabrera: Expectations for Cabrera should be closer to 2012 than 2011. That’s not a negative, though. He’s a well rounded contributor.
  9. Hanley Ramirez: He was my top SS prior to his injury, but now you have to wait for him to come back and deal with a replacement.  Plus, you don’t know if there will be any lingering effects from the injury.  If the recover time is quick though, he can still help a lot once he starts playing.
  10. Josh Rutledge: He’ll play second base with Tulowitzki coming back, but still qualifies at SS. Based on his minor league numbers and last season, 15/15 is a reasonable expectation.
  11. Danny Espinosa: If you can make up for the low average, guessing .250-ish, take him. He’s been close to 20/20 for two years in a row and is only 25, so he should keep improving. As an added bonus, he’s eligible at SS.
  12. Alcides Escobar: Based on his BABIP, the second half of 2012, in which he had a .279 AVG, seems like a safe bet. Despite his lower second half AVG, he still had 22 SBs in that same half season.
  13. JJ Hardy: He’ll likely improve over his disappointing 2012, but your roster has to be constructed the right way to have him as a part of it. You’ll need to get SBs from other places, and be able to handle the AVG risk.
  14. Erik Aybar: Since 2009 his stats have been fairly consistent without much improvement, but the Angels should score plenty of runs.
  15. Derek Jeter: He was better than most thought in 2012. In 2013 I expect a high AVG, on the line of double digit HRs/RBIs and a good amount of Runs scored.
  16. Marco Scutaro: He doesn’t excel in any single area, but he’s stable enough not to hurt you. Consider him a solid reserve with eligibility at both middle infield spots, or a starter if you’re strong at other positions and want to avoid risk.
  17. Alexei Ramirez: At this point you know what he is: an AVG between .260-.280 with double digit HRs and SBs. At age 31, the breakout some expected when he defected is never going to happen.
  18. Andrelton Simmons: He’s an unknown at the major league level, but his potential makes him a worthwhile late option.
  19. Johnny Peralta: His BABIP dropped .50 from the previous season. Assuming he isn’t suspended, he should be able to split the difference and hit around .260, with about 15 HRs.
  20. Zack Cozart: An improvement to his AVG and a lower spot in the order would improve his all around numbers, but neither of those are guaranteed.
  21. Jed Lowrie: With 16 HRs in 97 games, he started to show some potential. Moving from HOU to OAK will suppress some of that power, however, and he’s never played over 100 games in a season.
  22. Yunel Escobar: He doesn’t provide anything to get excited about, but he does appear to have a starting job.
  23. Evereth Cabrera: Late option if you’re desperate for SBs.



  1. 65mustangs

    February 11, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Poor Derek Jeter. My boy has been written off for about 4 years now. Aside from his injury in the playoffs his season was arguably one of the top 5 of his career. Your own projection has him hitting for a high average, double digit HR and a good amount of RBI and Runs. I assume the double digit SB remain as well. If all that is true, wouldn’t that put him somewhere near Asdrubal Cabrera in 9th or 10th. I don’t think my keyboard/mouse/religion would allow me to pick anyone you have listed from #10 on ahead of Jeter if he was still on the board, perhaps at my peril. (Disclaimer: Died in the wool Yankee fan and have a 20 foot statue of Jeter in my driveway. Loved the rest of the article Marc, as always.)

    PS – To my leaguemates, don’t draft him thinking I will overpay in a trade. I may be crazy but I’m not stupid. 🙂 )

  2. Marc Foster

    February 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I totally hear what you’re saying. Honestly numbers 10 – 17 are incredibly close and really comes down to what your roster needs are at that time. For me, it really comes back to my point that I wrote about Rollins, I’d rather jump off the bandwagon early than be stuck with a player during a sharp decline. My argument is the other guys have the potential to improve at this point in their careers. It may be a bit unfair, but a broken ankle and age 38 sounds like a bad combination. Plus, the Yankees lineup looks worse than last season and while it’s hard to imagine, “IF” Ichiro and Gardner hit well it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Jeter winds up lower in the order, which would decrease his runs scored.

    • 65mustangs

      February 11, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      You’re probably right. That being said, if Jeter is on the board, there is not one guy from 10-17 I would pick over him. I’d rather go down with Jeter than, ughm, Marco Scutaro, who is a year older. Rutledge, Escobar and Espinosa and maybe even Aybar could top Jeter, but unless Jeter breaks the other ankle I can’t see the difference being much at all in overall value. You are right though that some of them will have more SB and some more HR. And, alas, intangibles are not a fantasy cat. I’m just a homer…..and a wannabe commedian.

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