Here’s the first look at the 2013 LestersLegends shortstop rankings.
1. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
Despite being limited to 47 games last year, Tulo hangs on to the No. 1 spot in my preseason rankings for the third straight year. He still had a solid .846 OPS and projected to a .287-114-28-93-7 season if you extrapolated his numbers over a full season.
2. Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays
Reyes turned in an impressive .287-86-11-57-40 line with the Miami Marlins. Once again he finds himself entering the season with a new home. He should transition nicely to the American League and put up monster numbers in their potent offense. He’s really a 1-A because while he won’t match Tulo in home runs or RBI, he will likely hold a commanding lead in runs and stolen bases.
3. Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ramirez is a nice option because he also has third base eligibility. He has tailed off a bit in recent years, but his .257-79-24-92-21 line is not one to take lightly. He’s capable of even better numbers.
4. Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs
Castro will turn 23 in March and has already established that he can handle big league pitching. Last year he turned in a .283-78-14-78-25 line. He should only get better.
5. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays
Zobrist has a lot of versatility with second base, shortstop and outfield eligibility. Over the past four seasons he has averaged 88.8 runs, 19.3 HR, 82.8 RBI and 18.5 stolen bases. You’ll have to live with his .260 lifetime batting average.
6. Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals
Desmond showed a nice power-speed combination with 25 home runs and 21 stolen bases in 2012. He could stand to provide more runs (72) and RBI (73), but it’s hard to be upset with his overall numbers, which included a .292 batting average.
7. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies
J-Roll left plenty to be desired with his .250 batting average, but his 102 runs, 23 home runs, 68 RBI and 30 stolen bases were impressive. He’s 34, though, so it’s unlikely he can match that production.
8. Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians
Cabrera regressed as expected, but his .270-70-16-68-9 line was more than adequate for a low-end starting fantasy shortstop. If you miss out on the top crop, he’s not a bad option.
9. Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals
There are a number of ways to go at the bottom of the starting fantasy shortstop class. You can go with power with J.J. Hardy or all-around play like Derek Jeter or Alexei Ramirez. Escobar swiped 35 bases last year, and he gives you a solid jump in that category. He should also provide a solid amount of runs and decent average.
10. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
Jeter turned back the clock with a .316-99-15-58-9 line. He’ll turn 39 in June, but it’s hard to write him off when he just keeps producing.
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