Shortstop is a perennial black hole in fantasy baseball.
If you are not lucky enough to have one of the Top Five picks, then you will miss out on Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki in most leagues. These two are certifiable fantasy studs and they play shortstop on top of that. After these two players go, the position thins out and becomes an uncertain abyss.
Most fantasy owners have a hard time turning this position into a strength in category leagues. This can be done by careful planning and consideration. In certain situations, drafting is about getting the biggest bang for your buck.
The next three shortstops ranked on many sites and magazines are Jose Reyes, Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins. All of these players are clear risks but are still going in the Top Five rounds.
In those same rounds, players like Jayson Werth, Nelson Cruz and Matt Kemp are being drafted. These outfielders produce significant results in every category. All three players can hit 20 home runs, steal 20 bases, score 80 RBI and cross the plate 80 times.
As a baseline projection, these statistics are more helpful to a team than any of the stats that three shortstops should put up.
Risks are always taken in fantasy baseball but are not always necessary. If you forego one of the over-valued shortstops, you can fortify your lineup else where and minimize the risk.
To take Reyes, Jeter or Rollins is to risk injury, age and/or regression.
Elvis Andrus is a fine selection at short stop. Most fantasy players have been overlooking his value. He can still produce a .260 with 30 stolen bases and 90 runs even when he is not hitting well. Taken before the fifth round can be a miscalculation but after that could be a major steal. As a fantasy player, he provides a solid two-dimensional impact through runs and stolen bases.
Later in the draft, you can spend a pick on players like Asdrubal Cabrera, Ryan Theriot and Erick Aybar. These players will be eligible at shortstop and are a “solid” run scoring option at the elusive shortstop position. Each can produce between 80 to 100 runs scored. If guys like this are available late in the draft, why not select a five-tool outfielder high in the draft and then select a solid one-dimensional shortstop later on?
This is how to turn the shortstop position into a strength. Develop a draft strategy to work with your weakness and not fall into the trap of over valuing players.
It can be easy to jump the gun on a Derek Jeter early on, but relax your trigger finger and allow someone else to make the mistake.
Evaluate your needs!