Top twenty catchers, 1st basemen and 2nd basemen are in the books as we throw it around the horn. Today, the top 20 Shortstops for 2010 fantasy baseball get to shine. Hmm… Actually, most of these won’t shine. They’re cloudy with a chance of crapballs. As I said in the beginning of the year, the shortstops are even shallower than the 2nd basemen. This held true. A good two weeks in the major leagues and you too can make the top twenty list for shortstops! Okay, enough of the hubbub on the tomfoolery. To recap, this final ranking is from ESPN Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason. Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2010 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:
1. Hanley Ramirez – Hanley doesn’t need to work on his swing in the offseason, he needs to go on Breakthrough with Tony Robbins or maybe a Biggest Loser spin-off show where people aren’t fat, just unmotivated. Let’s call it, Just Losers. Or get him a friggin’ motivational poster with a kitten climbing a mountain. Hanley was one of the few players in their prime that I actually lowered their power number projections and he ended up coming even below those projections. A shame isn’t it? Not a shame, a problem, Treach. Preseason Rank #1, 2010 Projections: 100/25/110/.320/25, Final Numbers: 92/21/76/76/.300/32
2. Troy Tulowitzki – See if this rings a bell for you, “Without a poor April and May, he’d be the top ranked shortstop. Yeah, he was that good.” That’s what I said after the 2009 season. This year he hit 1 homer in April and missed just about the whole month of July. If it wasn’t for an otherworldly September when he single-handedly won people H2H leagues, we’d be talking about Tulo’s busted season. Remember, he had only 12 homers going into September. That is not a good five months. Preseason Rank #2, 2010 Projections: 95/35/105/.280/12, Final Numbers: 89/27/95/.315/11
3. Jose Reyes – Not quite the bounce back I envisioned when I drafted him on all of my teams and told you to draft him, but it’s hard to fault a guy who is ranked 3rd overall and missed extended periods of time with injuries. He’s about the only Met I truly love and, at some point, the Mets will realize that Reyes is the key to their offense and that means him running like crazy. Especially in Metco. Preseason Rank #4, 2010 Projections: 105/11/55/.285/45, Final Numbers: 83/11/54/.282/30
4. Alexei Ramirez – Pretty pathetic that Alexei is ranked this high considering the year he had. They’re not middle infielders, they’re middling infielders. It’s so tough to own someone like Alexei who doesn’t ever really get hot. He just hits one homer every week and a half or so and steals a base every two weeks. That almost put me to sleep typing it out. Or am I asleep? I need to spin a top. Preseason Rank #9, 2010 Projections: 70/18/80/.280/15, Final Numbers: 83/18/70/.282/13
5. Derek Jeter – Here’s a theory. You know how once all the great filmmakers find happiness they start producing crap? Coppola’s Jack, Woody Allen’s 1990s, Oliver Stone post-Natural Born Killers… Maybe Jeter needed the motivation of not having a serious girlfriend. Once he committed to Minka he no longer cared how well he played since a long term piece of tail was in place. Or maybe it’s just age. Preseason Rank #5, 2010 Projections: 110/16/70/.315/20, Final Numbers: 111/10/67/.270/18
6. Rafael Furcal – I know it seems like I’m a total downer on all of these guys, but Furcal’s numbers are terrible for this ranking. Look at his Runs. That’s a top of the order guy? 66?! F(urcal) my life. Preseason Rank #10, 2010 Projections: 90/10/55/.275/20, Final Numbers: 66/8/43/.300/22
7. Stephen Drew – He hit 4 homers in the first 4 months. Yes, to get ranked this high all you needed was one good month. (His August: 8 homers, 19 RBIs, 25 Runs and a .310 average.) Preseason Rank #10, 2010 Projections: 85/22/75/.265/4, Final Numbers: 83/15/61/.278/10
8. Omar Infante – Went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2010 post.
9. Elvis Andrus – I had mad love for Elvis in the preseason and it’s not going to stop going into 2011. He’s still very young and this season was a good first step. Now if he can work on his first step on steal attempts, we’ll be all set. Preseason Rank #8, 2010 Projections: 75/8/50/.270/37, Final Numbers: 88/0/35/.265/32
10. Ian Desmond – Wanna hear something scary? In my Ian Desmond sleeper post, I had Desmond down for pretty much exactly what he ended doing. His projections really aren’t far off. Yet, he was kinda unownable for long stretches of the season. Preseason Rank #21, 2010 Projections: 85/10/60/.275/20, Final Numbers: 59/10/65/.269/17
11. Mike Aviles – Went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2010 post.
12. Marco Scutaro – Went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2010 post.
13. Alex Gonzalez – This list pretty sums up why I punt middle infield every year. You obviously could’ve drafted 12 of these 20 shortstops at any point in a draft. And, even better, you draft one then rotate from hot middle infielder to hot middle infielder. Why do I rotate my middle infielders and ‘Set It and Forget It’ with my catchers? Will have to be an offseason post. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 74/23/88/.250/1
14. Cliff Pennington – I call this middle infielder, a Puntington. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 64/6/46/.250/29
15. Miguel Tejada – The fact that he came pretty close to matching my projections, combined with the fact I wouldn’t own him anywhere should give you an idea of the state of shortstops and the state of offense, in general. It’s like Hamsterdam without the drugs. Preseason Rank #14 for Shortstops, 2010 Projections: 70/15/85/.295/4, Final Numbers: 71/15/71/.269/2
16. Juan Uribe – Went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2010 post.
17. Jeff Keppinger – Went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2010 post.
18. Starlin Castro – If you remove his first game in the big leagues, he doesn’t make this list. All you needed was one good game to make the top 20 shortstops! Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 53/3/41/.300/10
19. Yuniesky Betancourt – Yes, it’s comical that Betancourt is listed in these rankings. Wanna stop smiling? Jimmy Rollins didn’t even make the list. (Smile again if you didn’t draft Rollins.) Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 60/16/78/.259/2
20. Ryan Theriot – I just hope if you drafted this schmohawk, you heeded the Emergency Broadcasting System’s warning and got out of The Riot in time to save your team. Preseason Rank #20, 2010 Projections: 85/3/50/.285/22, Final Numbers: 72/2/29/.270/20