Fantasy Baseball 2010: Top 30 Shortstops

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Fantasy Baseball 2010: Top 30 Shortstops
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The shortstop position in fantasy baseball was already shallower than a kiddie pool, and now a tricky thyroid might make it even harder to find a decent shortstop in drafts and auctions.

Shortstop does not have the talent, depth or power that second base does. Defense still dictates the position to a certain extent. There are plenty of shortstops who can hit .280 and steal 20 bases, which is nice, but there are far fewer franchise shortstops that can turn a fantasy contender into a championship squad, because there are not a lot of home-run hitters here except for the top couple of guys.

Here are the top 30 shortstops in fantasy baseball entering the 2010 campaign.

 

1. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins

The No. 1 player overall in fantasy baseball? Debatable. The No. 1 shortstop in fantasy baseball? No doubt. Ramirez is as valuable to fantasy owners as sandpaper was to Gaylord Perry. No other shortstop was able to get 20 HR, 20 SB, 100 R, and 100 RBI like Ramirez did in 2009—and he batted .342 on top of that.

 

2. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies

Turned out 2008 was an aberration for T2. Tulowitzki has Cal Ripken Jr.-like power and can definitely crank out 35 home runs and drive in 100 runs with a .300 average, especially when half of his at-bats happen at Coors Field.

 

3. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies

The power-speed mix and run production make Rollins one of the most valuable players in fantasy baseball. The only category where he failed fantasy owners last season was batting average, and it is highly doubtful he will hit as low as .250 again this year.

 

4. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

Like a fine wine or an expensive cheese, Jeter gets better with age. Credit girlfriend Minka Kelly for keeping him young.

 

5. Jose Reyes, New York Mets

Reyes should be the second-ranked player at the position, but an out-of-whack thyroid will probably land him on the disabled list next to teammate Carlos Beltran at the start of the season.

 

6. Jason Bartlett, Tampa Bay Rays

The most surprising shortstop of 2009, Bartlett will attempt to prove that last year was no fluke after he shocked the world with 14 homers, 30 steals, and 90 runs. He had only generated one homer, 20 steals, and 48 runs in 2008.

 

7. Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks

The most disappointing shortstop of 2009, Drew looks to rebound and become the 25-HR middle infielder everyone thought he would be when he was drafted out of Florida State.

 

8. Yunel Escobar, Atlanta Braves

His numbers keep steadily improving every season, but Escobar needs to drink more milk or ingest more vitamins to stave off the nagging injuries that constantly dog him.

 

9. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers

This Elvis never leaves the building until he scores a run and steals a base. He should be able to score 80 runs and steal 40 bases if he improves on his .329 on-base percentage from 2009.

 

10. Alcides Escobar, Milwaukee Brewers

This greyhound only showed flashes of what he can do on the base paths when he was called up late last season. He could very well steal 40 to 50 bags if he can get on base regularly.

 

11. Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox

Ramirez can qualify at second and short, hit homers and steal bases, plus hit for average. Strangely, though, he is not much for doubles (14 in 2009) or triples (one in 2009).

 

12. Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros

Tejada is not the home run monster he was in his prime, but he is still as durable as a heavy-duty diaper. He has played in at least 158 games in 10 of his last 11 seasons.

 

13. Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians

This Cabrera (there are many more to follow) projects to be a .315 hitter who can score 95 runs and steal 20 bases, and that could happen as quickly as this season.

 

14. Marco Scutaro, Boston Red Sox

Is Scutaro a late bloomer, or was he just a luck box last season when he set career-highs with 100 runs, 12 homers, 14 steals, and a .280 batting average? If he is just getting better with age like a fine wine, Scutaro should be in a for a bigger year batting in Boston’s lineup.

 

15. Orlando Cabrera, Cincinnati Reds

Cabrera is getting to be the Mike Morgan of shortstops with the way he bounces from team to team (five teams in three years), but hitting at the top of Cincy’s lineup should ensure him another solid season.

 

16. Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres

Back-to-back Cabreras and three of the last four! This one has more upside and more speed than Orlando but is not as steady. And Everth is not in Asdrubal’s class at this juncture.

 

17. Ryan Theriot, Chicago Cubs

The plucky backbone of the Cubs has stolen 20-plus bases and scored 80-plus runs in each of the past three seasons.

 

18. Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles Dodgers

Furcal’s legs are going on him like a boxer that just got punched in the jaw. His 12 stolen bases last year were his lowest total for a full season in his career.

 

19. Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels

I still get Erick confused with Tampa Bay’s Willy Aybar at least twice per season. Erick is the one who can hit .300 and steal 15 bases.

 

20. J.J. Hardy, Minnesota Twins

Twenty-six homers in 2007, 24 homers in 2008, 11 homers in 2009. Let’s hope this downswing does not continue or Hardy will be hitting like Rey Ordoñez in 2010.

 

21. Edgar Renteria, San Francisco Giants

Father Time has worn Renteria down to the point where he is only slightly better than 500-year-old Omar Vizquel at this point.

 

22. Cliff Pennington, Oakland Athletics

The rookie stole 27 bases in 99 games but did not show much power in Triple-A last year. He is the favorite to be Oakland’s starting shortstop.

 

23. Cristian Guzman, Washington Nationals

We will be hearing less about Guzman and more about hot shortstop prospect Ian Desmond before the end of the season.

 

24. Brendan Ryan, St. Louis Cardinals

With longtime fantasy helpers Julio Lugo and Felipe Lopez waiting in the wings, Ryan will be hard-pressed to get 400 at-bats if he does not well at the start of the season.

 

25. César Izturis, Baltimore Orioles

This veteran slap-hitter could swipe you a quiet 15 to 20 bases for a cheap price.

 

26. Bobby Crosby, Pittsburgh Pirates

Crosby hit 22 home runs in his rookie season, but has not hit 10 in any season since. He is injury-prone, inconsistent, and lucky to hit .240.

 

27. Alex Gonzalez, Toronto Blue Jays

Could hit 15 homers and drive in 55 runs if he stays healthy, which for him is a big "if."

 

28. Jack Wilson, Seattle Mariners

You normally do not want to have players on your fantasy team that are known more for their glove than their bat.

 

29. Yuniesky Betancourt, Kansas City Royals

Well, he has the longest name of anybody in the top 30. That’s kinder than talking about his .298 career on-base percentage.

 

30. Adam Everett, Detroit Tigers

You are scraping the bottom of the barrel here with this lifetime .245 hitter.

 

Next column—The top 30 third basemen.

 

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