Fantasy Baseball 2012: Grading the Top 15 Shortstops

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Fantasy Baseball 2012: Grading the Top 15 Shortstops
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Today we continue with our fantasy baseball series by taking a look at shortstops.

As usual, we will look at the top 15 guys using real offensive value (ROV), runs created (RC) and batting average on balls in play (BABIP). Rankings are based on a combination of ROV and RC. BABIP helps predict whether a player will improve or suffer a setback the following season.

15. Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks

ROV: .245

RC: 41

BABIP: .313

Drew missed most of the second half of 2011 due to injury, but he should be 100 percent going into next season. The Diamondbacks re-signed John McDonald, but that shouldn't cut into Drew's playing time too much. McDonald has already proven that he can't hit, so he will serve as a traditional utility infielder.

14. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

ROV: .246

RC: 78

BABIP: .338

Nick Laham/Getty Images

Jeter's power is gone, so he is essentially good for batting average and some on-base ability. Naturally, being in the Yankees lineup is always a good opportunity to score runs and drive some in as well.

13. Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox

ROV: .243

RC: 78

BABIP: .288

He ranks above Jeter simply because Jeter is getting older and is more likely to decline. To make matters more concrete, Ramirez's BABIP is due to improve, while Jeter's is due to decline, so Yankee fans can get off my back.

12. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers

ROV: .250

RC: 75

BABIP: .312

Andrus will probably go higher in most drafts simply because he offers stolen bases and plays in the best lineup in baseball. He is good for cheap runs scored at the very least, and likely a few extra RBIs.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

11. Marco Scutaro, Boston Red Sox

ROV: .262

RC: 59

BABIP: .312

Scutaro comes back and he should have a completely healthy 2012 season. Add about 20 runs created to his total, and that is where he should be. Being a member of that lineup probably doesn't hurt either.

10. Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs

ROV: .252

RC: 94

BABIP: .344

Some players' value is hidden. Castro's is in your face. Virtually all of his value is tied up in batting average. That should concern you when you see a .344 BABIP. He is a good value at this spot, but a lot of fantasy managers will take him too high.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

9. Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels

ROV: .260

RC: 76

BABIP: .301

Here is your American League Gold Glove winner at shortstop. Excuse me while I roll my eyes in disgust. Aybar is a solid fantasy contributor. If you wait to fill your shortstop hole, he's not a bad choice. He'll give you a little bit of everything.

8. Yunel Escobar, Toronto Blue Jays

ROV: .266

RC: 80

BABIP: .316

The Jays are quietly building a very good offense above the border. Escobar is a nice hitter in the one or two slot, so look for him to score some runs. He's not going to steal a lot of bases, but he will hit the occasional home run and get on base.

7. Hanley Ramirez, Miami Marlins, Sleeper

Nick Laham/Getty Images

ROV: .270

RC: 44

BABIP: .275

He is the No. 1 guy most seasons. He suffered through an injury-riddled season last year, but the Marlins are moving into a new ballpark, and Ozzie Guillen is coming to town. Something tells me the two are going to hit it off. Of course, it could end up being a disaster. I say roll the dice.

6. J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles

ROV: .275

RC: 79

BABIP: .273

Sit back and imagine Hardy in that Milwaukee Brewers lineup. I know Brewers fans don't want to think about that. The Orioles signed him long term, so he will be there every day. He likely won't hit 30 home runs again, but 20-plus is easily within reach.

5. Jimmy Rollins, Free Agent

ROV: .270

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

RC: 80

BABIP: .275

I'd be shocked if he didn't return to the Philadelphia Phillies. While the rest of his teammates were squeezing their bats into sawdust in the NLDS, Rollins hit over .400. He still has some left in the tank, but he is obviously on the downside of an excellent career.

4. Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers

ROV: .275

RC: 83

BABIP: .323

There is talk of the Tigers pursuing Jose Reyes. Dave Dombrowski denied it, and I don't blame him. Peralta is a perfectly adequate defensive shortstop, and he seems to hit better when he plays there. I say leave well enough alone.

3. Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians

ROV: .277

RC: 93

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

BABIP: .302

ESPN single-handedly trumped up his defensive reputation, but the offense is for real. He has good power for the position, and the Indians are only getting better from here on out.

2. Jose Reyes, Free Agent, Buyer Beware

ROV: .317

RC: 108

BABIP: .353

I get nervous when players play above their heads during a walk year. I run into my panic room when I see the same player post a .353 BABIP. Reyes has bust written all over him. He'll still offer stolen bases and runs scored, but don't draft him this high unless you want to lose your league.

1. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies

ROV: .335

RC: 106

BABIP: .305

The question with Tulo is not whether to take him as the first shortstop, but how high to take him overall. He has a significant lead on the other shortstops, so you could take him very early. However, there are other players on the board who might be better overall. It's a tough and interesting call.

Check out the previous series entries on 2012 fantasy catchers, first basemen, second basemen and third basemen.

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