If you don’t know who is pictured above then you probably have no business reading this article. In my opinion he is the greatest shortstop to ever play the game and I figured he deserves one last hurrah as a member of a top 30 list. You will truly be missed by all Jeter.
1. Troy Tulowitzki– Colorado Rockies
He is injured every season and you’re lucky if you get 120 games out of him, yet he’s still the most valuable shortstop in fantasy purely based on the production he gives you when he plays. He was on pace to be the National League MVP last season before getting hurt and plays in the most hitter friendly ball park in the MLB. If he played 162 games, he would be one of the top 3 players in the entire league.
2. Ian Desmond– Washington Nationals
His BA was much lower last season then what we are accustomed too, however, his 24 HR, 91 RBI and 24 SB are about as good as it gets at a position where offense is hard to come by. He is in a contract year and will be one of the better position players to hit the open market next off-season. Look for Desmond to have a career year in 2015 and cash in with a massive free agent contract in 2016.
3. Hanley Ramirez– Boston Red Sox
Hanley will be playing in the outfield in Boston but will have eligibility at shortstop this season. He has always been a phenomenal hitter with a great mix of power and speed. Right handed hitters with power typically have a lot of success in Boston and I expect much of the same from Hanley in 2015. He has had some injury problems in the past, yet moving to the outfield should help him stay healthier, with it being a much less physically demanding position than shortstop.
4. Jose Reyes– Toronto Blue Jays
Entering his 3rd season with the Jays, Reyes is going to be heavily relied upon to get the Jays back to the playoffs for the first time since 1993. He hits a top one of the most dangerous lineups in all of baseball and has the role of table setter. He won the batting title in 2011, and certainly has the ability to hit for a .300 BA, score 100 runs and steal 35 bases. Expect double-digit HR as well.
5. Alexei Ramirez– Chicago White Sox
Ramirez has been one of the better offensive shortstops in baseball over the last 3 seasons. He has always been an above average hitter at the position, but when he began to show his ability to steal bases in 2012, his value shot through the roof. With an improved lineup around him in 2015, Ramirez should hit double-digit HR, 70 RBI, 80 R, 20 SB.
6. Jhonny Peralta– St. Louis Cardinals
Most shortstops do not possess the ability to hit over 20 HR and 70 RBI. in 2014, that is exactly what Peralta did and he should do it again in 2015. He has never been to consistent with his BA so don’t count on him to hit .300 like he did in 2013 with the Tigers.
7. Erick Aybar– Los Angeles Angels
Aybar was named to his first all-star game in 2014 and will look to build off his successful season. He won’t impress in any category but will provide solid numbers across the board with the exception of HR. He hits in front of some of the top hitters in baseball and should be on base constantly. He’s a scrappy player and will be taken earlier than most people would expect.
8. Starlin Castro– Chicago Cubs
Castro bounced back in 2014 from a very disappointing 2013. It is hard to believe that he is only 24 years old, meaning his best years are still to come. The Cubs are on the rise and Castro should be a key cog moving forward. He is one of the most durable players around and has unlimited potential across the board. To all the keeper league owners out there, this should be one of your top targets at the position.
9. Alcides Escobar– Kansas City Royals
Speed, BA and durability are the best ways to describe the American League Champion Royals shortstop. He goes un noticed sometimes with all of the rising stars in KC, yet he has been as good as anyone could have hoped for when the Royals acquired him for Zack Greinke before the 2011 season.
10. Jimmy Rollins– Los Angeles Dodgers
The former National League MVP hit for a career low .243 BA in 2014, however, even at the age of 35 he managed to hit 17 HR and steal 28 bases. He did that for a dreadful Phillies team, he is now on the NL West Champion Dodgers and should at the very least repeat those same numbers in 2015. While his best years are behind him, Rollins is still very productive in fantasy.
A tribute to Derek Jeter- “One of the most unbelievable plays you will ever see by a shortstop”.
11. Jean Segura– Milwaukee Brewers
He is the 2nd shortstop on this list to be traded for Zack Greinke. Following the trade, he was one of the best players at the position in 2013 and the reason that I have him so low on my list is his awful 2014 campaign. He was going through off field issues which surely played a major role in his decline in production. He is capable of hitting .300, with 35 SB and double-digit home runs and I expect a bounce back in 2015.
12. Elvis Andrus– Texas Rangers
Andrus has had 2 straight down seasons for Texas ever since he signed a massive contract extension. To be fair, nothing went right for the Rangers last year so I am willing to give him 2015 to prove himself. He is a speedster who has the potential to hit for a high BA and score 90 plus runs. The Rangers have a few solid MI prospects rising through their minor league system, so unless Andrus turns it around, he may find himself playing for a new organization sooner rather than later.
13. J.J. Hardy– Baltimore Orioles
Hardy has established himself as one of the best overall shortstops in the game since arriving in Baltimore. The reason for him being so low on this list is that we don’t reward his great defense in fantasy and his power disappeared last season. He only hit 9 HR in 2014 which is surprising considering he was in a contract year. He did hit 25 HR in 2013, a major reason why the Orioles extended him before he could hit the open market. I expect him to hit at least 15 HR in 2015.
14. Danny Santana– Minnesota Twins
Santana had an outstanding rookie season for the Twins, hitting over .300 and stealing 20 bases. He plays both CF and SS which should give you a good indication of the type of athlete this young man is. It is difficult to say where Santana will go from here after exceeding all expectations in 2014. He will be given every day AB’s so if you are a believer in this kid, you can draft him knowing he will see tons of action.
15. Jed Lowrie– Houston Astros
After a career year in 2013 with Oakland, Lowrie followed it up with a lousy 2014 season. The A’s decided not to bring him back in 2015 so Lowrie opted to sign with the Astros. He is one of the only veterans in their starting lineup and should see a lot of playing time. He is a short-term solution for Houston and is simply keeping the position warm for top prospect Carlos Correa.
16. Jordy Mercer– Pittsburgh Pirates
His HR and RBI totals have steadily improved over his 3 seasons at the MLB level. His BA took a hit in 2014 after he hit .285 in 2013. His 12 HR are well above the average for players at the position and he continues to trend upwards, it is certainly worth taking a shot at him in the mid-late rounds. If it is any consolation, he was ranked in the top 10 in the MLB networks top 10 SS right now.
17. Chris Owings– Arizona Diamondbacks
Owings is a youngster with a lot potential after he was drafted out of high school in the first round back in 2009. He has yet to play a full season in the MLB and will finally get his opportunity in 2015. Look for him to hit .265 with 60 R, 50 RBI, 10 HR and 15 SB.
18. Xander Bogaerts– Boston Red Sox
The highly touted prospect was disappointing in 2014 as a rookie. Like most of the Red Sox offense, Bogaerts started slow and was never able to get it going. After being part of the 2013 championship run, expectations were high. He did hit 12 HR which shows me that as he ages his power production will rise. The biggest problem with Bogaerts was his .297 OBP.
19. Brandon Crawford– San Francisco Giants
His regular season numbers are nothing to write home about, yet at this point in the rankings, whose are? With Sandoval gone, Crawford may move up in the lineup as he has shown an ability to drive in runs. He hit 10 HR, 69 RBI with a .246 BA in 2014 and you can expect about the same in 2015.
20. Didi Gregorius– New York Yankees
The offseason trade to New York could be a career changer for Didi. He has massive shoes to fill, however, no one expects him to be the next Jeter. His left-handed swing gives him an advantage in Yankee stadium that he did not have in Arizona. Call me bias (I’m a Yankee fan), but I think this will be a break out season for him.
21. Andrelton Simmons– Atlanta Braves
Simmons is the best defensive shortstop in baseball but his offense needs some serious work. His OBP was below .300 for the 2nd straight season and in 2014 he saw all of his offensive numbers decline. The 25-year-old will look to live up to the hype in 2015 and there will be more pressure on him to do so after the departure of 3 of the Braves best hitters.
22. Jose Iglesias-Detroit Tigers
Iglesias was amazing for the Tigers when they acquired him from the Red Sox in 2013. His injury that forced him to miss all of 2014 really put the Tigers in a bind after they let Peralta walk in free agency. Iglesias is healthy heading into 2015, and beyond his incredible defense, the Tigers expect him to produce better than last years options did.
23. Brad Miller– Seattle Mariners
He is below average as an offensive shortstop but the numbers are a bit skewed. He had about half of the at bats that an everyday player does and still managed to hit 10 HR while playing half his games in a ballpark that is not kind to hitters. With more consistent at bats, Miller should see a rise in production.
24. Jose Ramirez– Cleveland Indians
Ramirez took over the shortstop duties for the Indians last year when they traded Asdrubal Cabrera to the Nationals. He was a career .300 hitter in the minors in over 1200 at bats and possesses great speed. In his short stint in the MLB, he only managed to hit .265, however, he stole 10 bases and was only caught twice. Over a full 162 game schedule with 600 or more at bats, Ramirez will steal between 25-30 bases making him worth a late round pick.
25. Adeiny Hechavarria– Miami Marlins
The once highly touted prospect finally showed from promise offensively in 2014. He hit for a .276 BA and had a .308 OBP. He was one of the key players in the blockbuster deal between the Marlins and Blue Jays prior to the 2013 season, a trade that is starting to look very good for the Marlins. They are one of the more improved teams in baseball heading into 2015, and with a solid club around him, Hechavarria should continue to improve and maybe even help the Marlins get one of the NL wild card spots in 2015.
26. Eduardo Escobar– Minnesota Twins
His 2014 season was by far the best of his MLB career. He hit for a .275 BA and has the ability to play SS, 2B and 3B. Players like Escobar can be very valuable in fantasy, even as a bench player. With an 162 game schedule, injuries occur constantly and the best teams typically have great depth. It is a luxury to have the option to plug-in a guy like Escobar rather than having to search the waiver wire.
27. Wilmer Flores– New York Mets
Flores is another player with multiple position eligibility. Unlike Escobar though, Flores has limited experience at the MLB level and will finally be given the opportunity to have every day at bats. His competition is Ruben Tejada who just hasn’t cut it at the MLB level. Flores should win the job at SS out of spring training and provide average production at the position.
28. Marcus Semien– Oakland Athletics
Semien is only 24 years old and has never been given a proper opportunity at the MLB level. His trade from the White Sox to the Athletics will finally give him the chance he’s been waiting for. In a full season as an every day player, Semien should have no problem hitting double-digit HR, while scoring 65 runs and driving in 50.
29. Zack Cozart– Cincinnati Reds
His 2014 season was dreadful, he declined in almost every offensive category. However, he was above average in the power department in both 2012 and 2013, so we may be able to chalk it up to an off-year. Almost every player has them, so I am willing to give Cozart the benefit of the doubt. He hits in a solid lineup (when they’re healthy) and should have no problem reaching double-digit HR again.
30. Freddy Galvis– Philadelphia Phillies
He has been blocked by Jimmy Rollins for the first 3 seasons of his career, never getting more than 222 AB’s in a single year. With Rollins now with the Dodgers, the 25-year-old will finally get his chance to play everyday and show the Phillies whether or not he will be their future SS. He hit under .200 last season but only got 128 plate appearances, not nearly enough for him to show what he is truly capable of.
Tune in next week for the last of my player rankings when I break down the top 30 players at the hot corner. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any baseball or fantasy baseball related questions. Till then, good morning, good afternoon and goodnight.
(Click the Blue link below to listen Live)
Major League Fantasy Sports Radio: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday February 22nd from 7pm-8:30pm EST for this week’s episode of Major League Fantasy Sports Radio sponsored by SportsPalooza Radio Network. We will be taking live callers at 646.915.8596 If we don’t get to right away just hang tight. A big component of our show is making the callers part of the discussions.