The top 20 shortstops for 2011 fantasy baseball are a shallow bowl of dung and ranked only ahead of the catchers for depth. All the 2011 fantasy baseball rankings can be found under that thing that says 2011 fantasy baseball rankings. (Don’t worry, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to link to things a little more seamlessly). Shortstops usually get the short end of the stick when I’m drafting. If I don’t get Hanley, I’ll probably just take a flier on some late round player. Yes, I don’t even really want to mess with Tulo. In leagues that play a middle infielder, then you might need two of these schmohawks. Hopefully, you can grab two decent 2nd basemen and only need one of these guys. As with the other top 20 rankings, I point out where I think tiers start and stop and my projections. Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2011 fantasy baseball:
1. Hanley Ramirez – In the top 10 for 2011 fantasy baseball post is Hanley’s projections.
2. Troy Tulowitzki – In the top 10 for 2011 fantasy baseball post is Tulowitzki’s projections.
3. Jose Reyes – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Andrus. I call this tier, “These are the last two shortstops you should draft for about eight rounds.” I would not under any circumstances draft a shortstop between Andrus and Desmond unless they fall about six rounds after where I think they should be drafted. As for Reyes, for those thinking Reyes had a poor 2010, consider he was the 3rd best shortstop on ESPN’s Player Rater. Sure, that has its flaws, but who was better? Jeter? Alexei? Elvis? Reyes hit 11 homers and stole 30 bases last year. Not to mention it was in only 133 games so if you filled him in halfway decently from your waiver wire, you had additional stats from his spot. 2011 Projections: 110/12/60/.290/40
4. Elvis Andrus – I already went over my Elvis Andrus fantasy for next year. At 22 years old, he might be still come in under my projections, but he’s capable of a huge fantasy-defining season. I’m willing to take the chance that it happens. 2011 Projections: 95/5/50/.270/45
5. Jimmy Rollins – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Furcal. I call this tier, “Holy crap, the shortstops are really shallow.” Seriously, Rollins is the 5th best shortstop? Rollins has been getting progressively worse the last three seasons and I don’t think he’s suddenly going to turn things around at the age of 32. Yeah, you really should punt at this point. Look at Drew or others later on. A few things on Rollins. In 2006, Rollins had 15 infield hits. That number has gone down every year. His line drive rates have fallen every year since 2008. His ground ball rate last year was a new career high. His speed was at an all-time low last year for his career. You know what happens when a guy gets older and hits the ball on the ground? He gets thrown out at first. 2011 Projections: 85/14/65/.260/20
6. Derek Jeter – So I’ve been watching the first season of Friday Night Lights. Great show. I’d say SPOILER ALERT! but the show’s like seven years old. Anyway, when Riggins was stealing Minka from Street, I kept imagining Street yelling, “So, Jeter, it’s okay to steal a cripple’s girlfriend, but you won’t fight a cripple?!” Maybe it’s just me. As for Jeter — eh, you know what you’re getting by this point. Light power, some steals, good runs. Plus, you can tell your lady friend that you drafted Jeter and watch how much tail you get. Unless you live in Boston. Then put on the Nomar jersey. “I’m dating Charlene, Ma. You gotta get used to it.” I love Mark Wahlberg. 2011 Projections: 105/12/65/.280/15
7. Alexei Ramirez – Here’s one of those borderline guys. If he hits 17-20 homers and steals 15 bases, you’re okay. Shave just a few off either and you have a 15/12 guy, i.e., a guy that steals 2 bases and hits less than 3 homers per month. That grows boring really fast during the course of the season. I don’t mind trading for Alexei on May 1st, but his first month makes his overall stats look just a’ight. BTW, we should have a glossary term for Latin players who don’t play well in the cold weather months. 2011 Projections: 80/17/70/.280/14
8. Rafael Furcal – Last year in only 97 games, he went 8/22, but I wouldn’t prorate that over a full season. Seems to actually play better when he plays an abbreviated season. Maybe because he’s 33 years old. If you’re in a shallow enough league where you can readily replace him when he’s hurt, I’d consider drafting him. In most leagues, I wouldn’t bother. 2011 Projections: 75/8/45/.280/17
9. Stephen Drew – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Escobar. I call this tier, “Okay, grab one quick because they get ugly again real fast.” (Note: All projections in this tier are optimistic, but whatevs.) Feels like we’ve been waiting forever for Drew’s big breakout. At 28 years old in 2011, this is the year. Or so my gut is telling me. He had a solid 2nd half — 11 homers, .281 in 267 ABs and that’s about as much positivity I can muster. He has so many major league ABs, he shouldn’t just explode for an incredible year, but I can’t help think he’s due. Hey, I said it was a gut call more than anything. His 2011 won’t be MVP-worthy, but it could be valuable and at shortstop you gotta take some upside fliers. 2011 Projections: 90/24/70/.275/7
10. Ian Desmond – Could be a cheap version of Alexei Ramirez. I know, that sounds about as enticing as walking in on your grandparents having sex. But if Desmond exceeds expectations and Alexei falls just short and if and but’s were dollar bills I’d be a millionaire. Okay, Desmond’s an upside flier, just go with it. 2011 Projections: 80/15/70/.280/20
11. Alcides Escobar – I already hit you up with an Alcides Escobar fantasy sleeper thing-a-woozie. 2011 Projections: 70/3/40/.275/30
12. Starlin Castro – This is a new tier. This tier goes until Tejada. I call this tier, “And they just got ugly again.” I almost put Castro in the above tier, because he does have yute on his side. In the end, I’m too worried Castro may get drafted as if he has this huge upside. I’d lower my expectations with him. He gets caught stealing way too much and he doesn’t have great power. 2011 Projections: 75/5/55/.305/12
13. Ryan Theriot – Wanna know the problem with the state of shortstops? How about this: Theriot was ranked 18th for 2nd basemen. That about covers it. Went over Theriot’s projections in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball post.
14. Cliff Pennington – What a butt ugly group we have here. Pennington is basically Theriot with a few more steals and homers and a potentially terrible average. Also, he looks good in plaid pants, if that’s a category in your league. 2011 Projections: 60/5/40/.245/30
14 1/2. Mike Aviles – Went over Aviles’ projections in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball post. (Note: Only has 13 games at shortstop so he got a half.)
15. Juan Uribe – Went over Juan Uribe’s projections in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball.
16. Jhonny Peralta – Member the days when Jhonny and Khalil Greene would go around putting silent H’s in people’s names? Charlos Lee got so mad! Ah, yes, and I have nothing to say about Jhonny Peralta. 2011 Projections: 65/17/80/.255
17. Jason Bartlett – Went over my Bartlett fantasy when the Padres got him. Go there to read the Bartlett blurb. Or Blurblett, if you’re into portmanteaus. 2011 Projections: 80/5/55/.270/17
18. Yunel Escobar – Um… Well… Uh… Wait, why is he being ranked? Oh, because he basically has the same projections as Mike Aviles. Yeah, shortstops are bad this year. Have I mentioned that before? 2011 Projections: 75/10/60/.290/7
19. Omar Infante – Infante’s 2010 reminds me of Zobrist’s 2009 on a much smaller scale. Utility man makes good, news at 11. I’m gonna move on before I bore us both any further. 2011 Projections: 65/5/40/.280/8 ( Note: Only has 19 games at shortstop.)
20. Miguel Tejada - Somewhere Sabean is twirling his mustache thinking about how much he’d love to sign Bartlett in three years. My Tejada projections are assuming he won’t start shooting up again. 2011 Projections: 65/13/75/.275/3
After the top 20 shortstops for 2011 fantasy baseball, there’s a bunch of names, but here’s two that stand out:
Reid Brignac – I just couldn’t end the top 20 shortstops with Miguel Tejada. The Rays have to play Brignac, right? I mean, they can’t let him just keep getting older and not give him a fair shake, can they? Yeah, I don’t know. If they give Brignac an everyday job, his fantasy value will drop him around 10th on this list. Since it’s the shortstops, I’d throw a flier Brignac’s way with or without a job and hope you get lucky and he starts. 2011 Projections: 60/15/75/75/.260/7
Asdrubal Cabrera – Consider Asdrubal above Starlin Castro on this list, but I wanted to highlight him. Gotta throw out 2010 with Asdrubal. He got injured, can’t hold his bad year against him. Plus, a bad year is so amorphous, how are you gonna hold that against anyone? At 25 years old, Asdrubal is still in his prime and can put together a decent season for a MIF — Middle Infielder Flier. 2011 Projections: 80/7/60/.295/20