Staff rankings: Shortstop

We’ve made it through the right side of the infield and have touched upon the catchers as well. Next up are the enigmatic shortstops, ranked up to 25, below. The staffers who ranked are Josh Shepardson, Ben Pritchett, Brad Johnson, and yours truly. We used to create our composite rankings, and if you follow the link provided in our rankings, you can see how ours compared with a slew of other experts’.

Assume a 12-team, mixed league, with standard 5×5 settings. Click on the links with our names to get to our Twitter accounts, where we’ll happily answer your baseball and fantasy questions year-round. A quick recap of the rankings we’ve already crossed off: Catcher, first base, and second base.

2012 Short Stops Rankings
Player Name Nick
Expert Consensus
Troy Tulowitzki 1 1 1 1 1 compare
Hanley Ramirez 2 2 2 3 2 compare
Jose Reyes 4 3 3 2 3 compare
Starlin Castro 5 4 4 4 4 compare
Asdrubal Cabrera 3 6 5 6 5 compare
Elvis Andrus 6 5 7 5 6 compare
Jimmy Rollins 7 7 6 8 7 compare
Alexei Ramirez 9 8 9 7 8 compare
Derek Jeter 10 11 8 9 9 compare
Dee Gordon 8 9 12 12 10 compare
J.J. Hardy 13 10 11 10 11 compare
Erick Aybar 11 12 13 14 12 compare
Jhonny Peralta 15 15 10 11 13 compare
Emilio Bonifacio 12 13 14 17 14 compare
Stephen Drew 16 14 16 13 15 compare
Yunel Escobar 14 21 15 15 16 compare
Ian Desmond 19 17 18 18 17 compare
Zack Cozart 21 18 19 20 18 compare
Alcides Escobar 18 19 21 21 19 compare
Jed Lowrie 20 16 20 26 20 compare
Marco Scutaro 17 24 22 19 21 compare
Rafael Furcal 23 26 23 16 22 compare
Cliff Pennington 25 27 17 25 23 compare
Tyler Pastornicky 22 22 25 24 compare
Sean Rodriguez 23 22 25 compare

Fantasy Baseball Rankings powered by FantasyPros, the leading aggregator of expert fantasy advice.

Tomorrow… Third base

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  1. Ben Pritchett said...

    @Brad- If the Braves don’t start Pastornicky over Jack Wilson I will storm that front office. The Braves chose not to address the shortstop position through trades or free agency so now they have to deal with the consequences. I’m not bitter at all!

  2. Nick Fleder said...

    Agreed wholeheartedly Ben. Oliver likes Pastornicky, Brad: 8 homers, 51 ribbies, 24 steals, .258… Bullish, maybe, but nothing to whiff at as the 24th ranked SS.

  3. Brad Johnson said...

    Oh, I don’t doubt Pastornicky will play most of the time, at least to start, I just expect him to be utterly overmatched at the plate. Which could mean more Jack Wilson down the line.

  4. Nick Fleder said...

    Unless he’s somehow worse than a 55 wRC+, he probably wont yield time to Wilson. Pastor would have to be incredibly inept in the field, too.

  5. Dave Shovein said...

    I like this list better than the 2B list overall, but I do have a few observations here as well.

    I think Andrus should be ranked ahead of Asdrubal, but that’s probably just a personal preference.

    I think that Bonifacio is too low, I’d bump him up ahead of Peralta, Aybar and Hardy.

    I’d probably also put Cozart a spot or two higher, ahead of Drew and Escobar

    I’d drop Pastornicky off the back end of the list and include Aviles or Alex Gonzalez

  6. Brad Johnson said...

    Two of us had Elvis ahead of Asdrubal, so consider team consensus to be split on that pick.

    I’m probably guilty of subconsciously considering OPS since my home league uses that instead of AVG. Bonifacio still strikes me as a steals only guy who could otherwise hurt you across the board. I’m only investing at the cheapest of costs. In an OPS league, he can be lethal – as can most baserunners.

  7. MH said...


    A bit surprised at your bullishness on Asdrubal following the discussion of Kendrick at 2B—it seems like a similar situation.  I’m more willing to buy into some of the power gains that Asdrubal made last year—he’s not nearly the ground ball machine Kendrick is, already had a 40 double season to his credit before last year, and didn’t see the same K% spike—but I don’t see him matching last year’s power output and his upside in AVG is more limited. 

    That might be nitpicking though, I don’t see a huge difference in value between Asdrubal and Starlin Castro.  I’d probably have Castro ahead by a nose, but that’s at least partly just because of the scarcity of AVG security, which he brings.  I see Rollins as pretty similar in value to these two also, with a bit more power-speed potential than Cabrera but the weakest in AVG. 

    I do think you’ve gotta be really worried about Reyes to rank any of these guys ahead of him though.  In a sense, I can see writing off the AVG as a fluke and thus view the single digit HR and less than 40 steals as a warning sign, but he did also have the best contact rate of his career by a solid margin (and it was very good already) while his ISO was above his career rate despite a HR/FB below his career rate.  The days of 60+ SB may be over, but I’m not ready to write off double digit homers for him yet, and the AVG boost looks less flukey than a lot of other cases of players having monster AVG years.  I have him at around .295-90-50-10-35 pretty comfortably, which is a pretty large jump ahead of anyone besides Tulo and potentially Hanley.  Injury is always a risk, but even in a year where he had a hamstring injury and a recurrence, the only marks on that line he didn’t best in 2011 were the HR and RBI.

  8. MH said...


    Agreed on Cozart, but less on Bonifacio.  Might have him ahead of Peralta, even Hardy maybe, but I prefer Aybar.  Saving those thoughts for another time at the moment though.

  9. Nick Fleder said...

    MH: Asdrubal experienced much of his regression to the mean in the second half of last year. He hit .266 in July, .239 in August, .234 in September; his BABIP ended up .21 lower than his career mark and he still hit .273. He was two batting average percentage points from being league average or above, per linear weights, in all five major categories. Sure, he probably won’t hit 25 homers again, but his runs/rbis are prettier.

    I like Castro, too, and considered him at 3 or 4. Don’t know, honestly, why I have Reyes that high. He has zero shot of hitting that well again, little chance at a clean bill of health, a fat contract to fall into laziness under. He’s a perpetual red flag and I never draft him. Agreed totally there.

  10. MH said...


    My bad, I think I worded that confusingly on Reyes, I meant to suggest I don’t see how you can rank Reyes lower than 3rd. 

    Again—career best contact profile (7% K%, 4.1% SwStrike, 90.2% Contact%, 1.05 BB/K, all elite marks, career bests, and much better than Castro) so even with a BABIP correction he should still be above .290 and likely in the .300 neighborhood.  His ISO was better than his career rate despite a HR/FB below so I don’t think you can write double-digit power off.  The only think I think you can write off is 60+ steals, but even in a year where he had two DL trips he stole 39 and scored more than 100 runs.  I’m not saying I crazy about drafting him at his price, but I think he’s a clear #3 at worst, possibly #2, and there’s a large dropoff after the Top 3.  I’d be all over him if he fell past the second round. 

    I would have Castro and Asdrubal and 4 and 5 though, but I don’t necessarily expect a big positive BABIP regression from Asdrubal.  His BABIP was below his career mark, but it was still .302, and his FB% was a career high as well, so you’d expect a slightly lower than typical BABIP.  Subtract a handful of home runs and the AVG is basically a wash even with a touch of BABIP improvement.  I see ~.275 as his true talent level.

  11. Brad Johnson said...

    Shortstop is a good position to demo how my actual draftboard differs from my theoretical board above.

    Y. Escobar

    If I don’t get one of those names at a reasonable price, then I’ll take care of SS at the end. The other 15 names above are just noise to me.

  12. Nick Fleder said...

    MH: I doubt Reyes will put up such an impressive average next year and his SB rate seems stuck between 30-40. So you’re buying 30+ games of injury as a baseline, and he was the #2 shortstop last year; #5 the year before; and wasn’t among the top 36 in 2009. He’s probably closer to the middle—of course 2009 was riddled by injury – and an average of 2010 and 2011 would be the upside for me at this point.

  13. Jeffrey Gross said...

    While our top 10 look similar, i feel my 10-20 rankings will be a bit controversial:

    Rank   Player Name   Team
    1   Troy Tulowitzki   COL
    2   Hanley Ramirez   MIA
    3   Jose Reyes   MIA
    4   Starlin Castro   CHC
    5   Asdrubal Cabrera   CLE
    6   Elvis Andrus   TEX
    7   Jimmy Rollins   PHI
    8   Derek Jeter   NYY
    9   Alexei Ramirez   CHW
    10   J.J. Hardy   BAL
    11   Dee Gordon   LAD
    12   Erick Aybar   ANA
    13   Jhonny Peralta   DET
    14   Emilio Bonifacio   MIA
    15   Stephen Drew   ARI
    16   Tyler Pastornicky   ATL
    17   Yunel Escobar   TOR
    18   Alcides Escobar   KCR
    19   Ian Desmond   WAS
    20   Zack Cozart   CIN
      Just missed: Cliff Pennington, Alex Gonzalez

  14. Brad Johnson said...

    I don’t see anything unusual aside from Pastornicky and Cozart. Isn’t Pastornicky’s upside supposed to be Cozart?

  15. Jeffrey Gross said...

    I personally see Cozart as a 10/15 guy, but Pastornicky as a 5-8/25 guy. Otherwise very similar. I just think Pastonicky has more overall upside. My issue with Cozart is that he looks like a Mike Aviles type with less speed.

    Speaking of which, if Aviles get regular playing time….

    Oh dont worry, i wont beat that drum again…

  16. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Brad, I also agree with you about Aviles. If he gets regular PT, I could seek him just barley cracking the top 15 among SS

  17. MH said...


    I hear what you’re saying, but I do think you’re underselling him a bit.  He doesn’t have to hit .340 again to be a positive contributor in AVG, and the projection systems buy into the AVG spike: 

    ZiPS:  .297-77-47-10-33 (499 AB, they don’t list PA)
    James: .303-92-51-10-36 (594 PA)
    Rotochamp:  .301-87-56-9-35 (599 PA)

    (Keep in mind, he’s fallen shy of 600 PAs just twice in his career, 2011, when he had 586, and 2009, when he missed most of the year, and his upside is over 700 PAs if you assume there’s a non-zero chance he plays in 150+ games).

    I don’t have the Oliver forecast (I know! I know!), but at least these three are buying the AVG gains, and all three of those are better than you’ll see for SS projections not next to the names Hanley or Tulo.  Its basically the same as Castro with about double the SB, or Andrus with more power and AVG, and while he likely won’t match Cabrera’s power or RBI, he’ll trump him by a decent margin in the other three cats.  The risk of injury and low replacement level of the position probably make him a poor investment at the prices he’s going at, but ignoring price, he’s in the top 3, and there’s a pretty big dropoff after that group.


    Flip Cozart and Pastornicky and I’d be on board with that 10-20.  Otherwise the only guys you’re substantially higher on than I am are Andrus and Alexei.

  18. Jeffrey Gross said...

    THT Forecast 2012 projection for Cozart:

    Period   Org   Lg   Age   PA   AB   R   H   2B   3B   HR   RBI   SB   CS   K   BB   HBP   GDP   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS   wOBA
    Year to Date   CIN   NL   26   0  
    Full Year   CIN   NL   26   623   571   67   141   28   2   14   65   10   3   115   38   4   12   .246   .296   .380   .676   .296

  19. Jeffrey Gross said...

    THT Forcast projection for Pastornicky

    Period   Org   Lg   Age   PA   AB   R   H   2B   3B   HR   RBI   SB   CS   K   BB   HBP   GDP   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS   wOBA
    Full Year   ATL   NL   22   623   561   70   144   19   5   8   51   24   9   85   39   2   12   .258   .301   .356   .657   .289

  20. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Over a rimilar PA forecast, Pastornicky is projected for -7 HR, +14 SB, and +.010 AVG.

    I’ll have to run the numbers on SB:HR scarcity, but if memory serves it’s something like a 2:3 relationship.

  21. Jeffrey Gross said...

    The problem with Andrus ahead of Cabrera, IMO, is two fold:
    1) Andrus has SB% issues and the Rangers have never been afraid to issue the red light. As a largely two, maybe 3, dimensional player, a red light on the basepaths is a serious looming risk

    2) Cabrera is more balanced. You won’t get 30 steals, but 15/15 seems pretty certain. I’ve always been a fan of Cabrera as a 15+/15/.270-.280 player (see last year’s preseason rankings), and that balance has a lot of value because if he falls short in any one category, he’s easier to supplement the loss with other players used strategically while still providing value in other categories.

    Speaking of cabrera, what the hell ever happened to everth cabrera?

  22. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Last year, 4552 home runs were hit, while 3279 bases were stolen. Tango’s old and rough auctions value formula essentially pegs a HR as being worth 5-6% more than a stolen bases.

    Take away from that all what you will

  23. MH said...


    I agree.  I’ve never understood the fantasy community’s infatuation with Andrus.  I get that he’s young and has some growth potential, but I’d love to see him steal more than 40 bases or have a GB% below 55% if he’s going to top his AVG out at .280 before I invested significantly in him.

  24. Jeffrey Gross said...

    That said, batting behind Kinsler and ahead of Hamilton/Young/Cruz/Napoli certainly has its benefits. I think a guy like Andrus certainly has top 10 SS value in the upper 6-10 range, but I prefer a little less overall value when the production line is relatively weak for a little more balance. I’d rather have a .280/10/10/70/70-capable SS over Andrus just because, even if he total value is lesser, his contribution is more spread out and diversified.

  25. Brad Johnson said...

    Keep in mind, a home run contributes to four categories while a steal contributes to one. That’s a very first order analysis, but it’s something to bear in mind as a general concept.

  26. MH said...


    Agreed, he does have more of a floor particularly in R than similar players.  It just feels despite how young he is he’s already been valued by the market as a Top 5 SS for years and I don’t see him as particularly close to that.

  27. Brad Johnson said...

    I don’t actually have too many thoughts on this list. My fellows who ranked Tyler Pastornicky are going to be unhappy if he’s their backup plan. He’s not going to hit enough for any but the deepest leagues.

    The sleeper here is Mike Aviles who could easily put up a season comparable in total value to Desmond under the right conditions.

  28. Greg Simons said...

    No keeper limit, I’ve converted our salary scale to the standard $260.  Traditional 23-player roto setup.

    My pitching keepers are: Latos ($6), Strasburg ($6), Josh Johnson ($4), Anibal Sanchez ($1), Bumgarner ($1), Luebke ($1), Wainwright ($1).  Yes, I like my starting staff.

    Hitting keeper are: Y. Molina ($3), Gaby Sanchez ($13), Freese ($1), Morse ($9).  Obviously, I need hitting.

    Alternatives to Drew are Dee Brown, Pastornicky, maybe Furcal and Cozart.

    There seem to be slim pickings on offense all around, but I have money to spend on the top guys available – J. Upton, McCutchen, Sandoval, McCann, etc.

  29. Greg Simons said...

    In an 8-team, NL-only, 5×5 league, would you keep Stephen Drew at $8?

    Tulo, Reyes and Castro all definitely will be kept by other owners, and Rollins, Bonifacio and Desmond might be, as well.

    Thanks, guys.

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