Here is a look at the 2012 value of shortstops in OPS fantasy leagues. This is meant to help illustrate their relative value with OPS as a component. They are listed from highest to lowest OPS. Note that I only included players with at least 300 plate appearances in 2012. Click here for my review of catchers, first basemen, and second basemen.
The Least Horrific 11
Yes, I decided to stop at eleven when I saw that Willie Bloomquist would be number twelve.
Ben Zobrist – The only knock on him is that he’s probably a big fan of Creed. I already covered him in the second baseman review and said, “He’s one of the guys I value higher in OPS leagues compared to standard leagues. He is fairly consistent and is one of those players with limited upside, but also limited downside and a floor around an .800 OPS. That’s definitely valuable as a second baseman. He’s kind of like a poor man’s Dustin Pedroia.” The only thing I’ll add is that he is slightly more valuable at shortstop than second base, although he may not qualify there beyond 2013.
Ian Desmond – Desmond has a barrow in the market place, but who would’ve guessed he’d end up this high? Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, life goes on. I was expecting a collapse all season long, but he kept on slugging after a slow start in April. His .292/.335/.511 line is far better than either of his previous full seasons and, while I don’t think he’ll post the same HR/FB next year, he may be able to retain some of the improvement.
Derek Jeter – After posting a 1.000 OPS in April, I trashed the Captain. For the rest of the year he was close to his .743 OPS in 2011. I’ll admit that his end-of-season .316/.362/.429 line looks nice, but I still won’t project him to do any better in 2013 than he did in 2011.
Jose Reyes – His .287/.347/.433 line was roughly his career average, but had to be a disappointment for owners expecting anything close to his .877 OPS in 2011. Next year I could see slight improvement, but wouldn’t project much more than an .800 OPS.
Jed Lowrie – Next year let’s hope that he doesn’t get low low low low low low low low and get injured. Earlier this year, I thought he had the upside for an .800 OPS and I’ll stick with that for next year as well. However, he is certainly an injury risk and I wouldn’t draft him without having a back-up on my roster.
Asdrubal Cabrera – He had a substantial drop off in home runs, stolen bases, runs, and RBIs from 2011, but his 30 point OPS drop wasn’t as bad as it seemed to be. On the plus side, Cabrera posted a career-high line drive rate and had his highest walk rate in years, suggesting that he may be able to improve next year. I’d set his 2012 numbers as his baseline for next year, with slight upside from there.
Hanley Ramirez – Maybe I’ve had enough of Hanley. He’s still a lock for 20 homers and 20 stolen bases, but his .900+ OPS days are way behind him. Earlier this year I projected a .260/.340/.440 line and he fell a little short, with a .257/.322/.437 line. I’m comfortable projecting the same line I did this season for next season, with the potential to reach an .800 OPS if he regains form.
Starlin Castro – Starlin-Eyed Surprise posted a career-high in home runs, but his .283/.323/.430 line was very similar to his 2011 season. The good news is that he will only be 23 years old in 2013, so he still has room for upside. Earlier in the year, I optimistically projected a .290/.340/.450 line, which could be attainable next season.
Erick Aybar – Aybar’s been practically the same player over the past two seasons and I don’t see why that would change next year.
Elvis Andrus – Like Aybar, Andrus has been the same player the past two seasons and that should continue next year. He’s one of those guys that really takes a hit when adding OPS as a component.
Oh Yeah, That Guy
Troy Tulowitzki – Well, he trashed every team he was on this year. Obviously he has the potential to be the best fantasy shortstop by a mile, but he is growing increasingly harder to trust, given his injury history. Also, across his career he has been a much better second-half player, but that doesn’t help you when he’s on the DL. Another thing to consider is that his injury history may catch up to him at some point and hinder his performance. Still, despite all of these negatives, he should continue to be viewed as a top tier shortstop, but I probably won’t draft him as a top twenty hitter next year.