Top 20 catchers, 1st basemen, 2nd basemen and 3rd basemen are in the books. What a strange, glorious trip it’s been! Though not really. Today, the top 20 shortstops for 2011 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 2nd baseball recap post, the shortstops are almost exactly as shallow as the shortstops and 3rd basemen. Now it’s time to be a bit more specific. The top ten shortstops were better than the 2nd basemen and 3rd basemen. Yes, that is scary. Though if you were in a deeper league or if you used an MI, the fall off from the 13th to 20th ranked shortstops is not pretty, whereas the 2nd basemen held their value as you dropped down the rankings. 3rd base was as big a mess in the lower half of the rankings as 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 2011 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:
1. Jose Reyes – I’m a huge Reyes fan and he didn’t disappoint this year. He missed almost forty games and still was the top ranked shortstop. If you filled him in halfway decently while he was injured, you had huge production from his spot. He cut his K-rate by a solid margin, had a bit of luck on average but should’ve had more homers. Six of one yadda3. I kinda want to see him end up in Boston this offseason, but I’m also afraid his value will be inflated a’la Crawford and his injuries could resurface. As for that whole sitting out to win the batting title thing, it doesn’t matter for fantasy. It’s about as relevant as Miggy filling his jock strap with airplane bottles of liquor. Turn down the treble and eliminate the noise. On a side note, why is Jose Reyes freakin’ naked on the cover of ESPN, The Magazine? I have girls back to my house and they don’t understand. My moms sees this magazine and she’s questioning things. Not that there’s anything wrong with the questions. Preseason Rank #3, 2011 Projections: 110/12/60/.290/40, Final Numbers: 101/7/44/.337/39
2. Troy Tulowitzki – Imagine if I jumped out of DeLorean in March and told you Tulo would miss September, would you still have drafted him? I’m guessing no. I’m Guessing, II: The Return of I’m Guessing; you would’ve regretted not drafting him. I’m Guessing, III: I Didn’t See The 2nd I’m Guessing But They’re Making Another One?; if you were in a H2H league, you probably would’ve regretted not drafting him less. Preseason Rank #2, 2011 Projections: 95/30/105/.280/15, Final Numbers: 81/30/105/.302/9
3. Starlin Castro – Was one of those players that I wasn’t excited about in January when I did the rankings, then ended up with him on multiple teams because Rudy liked him a lot. Sometimes Rudy’s smart. (Sometimes last March Rudy told me he didn’t want Kemp on every team. Sometimes I shouldn’t have listened.) Preseason Rank #12, 2011 Projections: 75/5/55/.305/12, Final Numbers: 91/10/66/.307/22
4. Asdrubal Cabrera – He was ranked low by me in the preseason, but I did put him in a group of players you should take a flyer on at the end of the draft. I’ve had much love for Asdrubal from the moment he burst on the scene with his easy-to-giggle-at first name. Still, his power output this year is ridonkiculous. 25 homers? Really? Did Hanley and him urinate into a fountain as they made a wish at the same time? (I ranked Asdrubal 22nd overall, but I said in the preseason blurb I’m only doing that to highlight him and he’s actually above Castro, so, ya know, don’t hate the ranker, hate the game.) Preseason Rank #11, 2011 Projections: 80/7/60/.295/20, Final Numbers: 87/25/92/.273/17
5. Elvis Andrus – Came pretty close to performing exactly as I thought he would, but, for full disclosure purposes (or porpoises if dolphins are reading), I wanted more from Andrus. He reminds me of Brian McCann. I expect them to break out in a huge way, then they perform well and I’m still slightly disappointed. I’m telling you, one of these years Andrus is gonna give us a Reyes in his prime year. Preseason Rank #4, 2011 Projections: 95/5/50/.270/45, Final Numbers: 96/5/60/.279/37
6. Emilio Bonifacio – Went over him in the top 20 third basemen post.
7. Jimmy Rollins – Gave a much better season than I expected from him. And it might’ve been better if it wasn’t for Utley’s injury. While filling in the three hole (not like that!), Rollins’s line was 17/1/5/.271/5. And you thought Utley only hurt you directly. He’s giving you indirect reasons to dislike him. Preseason Rank #5, 2011 Projections: 85/14/65/.260/20, Final Numbers: 87/16/63/.268/30
8. Erick Aybar – Back on January 18th (which is my birthday, mark it down!), I left Aybar off my top 20 preseason ranking and commenter, Fanthead, said, “Doesn’t Erick Aybar (who is not ranked) have the wherewithal to match (Alcides’s) numbers (70/3/40/.275/30)?” Well, la di da! Maybe Fanthead should do his own rankings! And use words like wherewithal throughout! I keed. It was a good call by Fanthead. Aybar did have the wherewithal. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 71/10/59/.279/30
9. Derek Jeter – Here’s what I said back in the preseason, “So I’ve been watching the first season of Friday Night Lights. Great show. I’d say SPOILER ALERT! but that season’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?!’” That has nothing to do with anything, but it made me laugh when I was reviewing what I had said. Now Jeter’s on to the next one and Minka’s remaking a terrible show with an even worse show. As for Jeter, what can be said about him that hasn’t been said before? His power’s all but evaporated and he gets runs and average. Yay or who cares? Yay or who cares? YAY OR WHO CARES?! That’s what I’m asking you! Sorry, lost my shizz there for a second. Preseason Rank #6, 2011 Projections: 105/12/65/.280/15, Final Numbers: 84/6/61/.297/16
10. Jhonny Peralta – Went over him in the top 20 third basemen post.
11. J.J. Hardy – The real mystery with Hardy is why is he ranked so low. Maybe because he came so cheaply in drafts or off of waivers, but he seemed way more valuable than 11th overall. If I were ranking these guys, I’d put Hardy above Bonifacio. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 76/30/80/.269
12. Alexei Ramirez – In May and September, he hit around .300 and didn’t steal one base. Removing doubles, triples and homers, that’s fifty-eight times he was on first and just stood there like a cat stole his tongue… Well, that cliche doesn’t work, but you get my drift. Preseason Rank #7, 2011 Projections: 80/17/70/.280/14, Final Numbers: 81/15/70/.269/7
13. Yunel Escobar – I could be guaranteed Yunel’s final line in March and I wouldn’t draft him. I’d still prefer to draft someone who could actually be better with upside. Preseason Rank #18, 2011 Projections: 75/10/60/.290/7, Final Numbers: 77/11/48/.290/3
14. Ian Desmond – Was he all that and a bag of Funyuns? Nah, not exactly. But I think you could’ve done worse with your MI. And you put what I think in one of those 50′s supercomputers and it spits back at you, “So what?” Have I learned my lesson with Desmond for next year? He hit 8 homers and stole 25 bases, not sure what there is to learn. I’ll take it every day for my MI and twice on Muesday. Preseason Rank #10, 2011 Projections: 80/15/70/.280/20, Final Numbers: 65/8/49/.253/25
15. Alcides Escobar – If I may toot my own horn — though if I could actually toot my own horn, I’d never leave the house — I did really well with projections this year. January Grey was locked in. January Grey, “Funny you use that turn of a phrase cause I’m actually locked up in Guatemala. Look for me on Locked Up Abroad!” Preseason Rank #11, 2011 Projections: 70/3/40/.275/30, Final Numbers: 69/4/46/.254/26
16. Cliff Pennington – Now we’re at the point in this exercise where you really shouldn’t have owned any of these guys all year long. And, if you did, you’re not reading this anyway. You’re over in our fantasy football or fantasy hockey or fantasy basketball section talking about how Grey’s a dumbass. Preseason Rank #14, 2011 Projections: 60/5/40/.245/30, Final Numbers: 57/8/58/.264/14
17. Marco Scutaro – One good month and you too can get in the top 20 shortstops. 3 ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 shortstops! Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 59/7/54/.299/4
18. Hanley Ramirez – On top of him taping heroin to your back and pushing you through a Turkish checkpoint, his name value made everything much worse. I’ll explain. If you have someone like Scutaro and he’s not performing, you drop him for someone else. You have Hanley and you hold out hope until the bitter end. Or worse, you trade for him thinking he’s gonna bounce back. Yeah, Hanley killed some teams this year. We may forgive, we will never forget. Preseason Rank #1, 2011 Projections: 100/26/100/.310/25, Final Numbers: 55/10/45/.243/20
19. Darwin Barney – Went over him the top 20 2nd basemen post.
20. Yuniesky Betancourt – His name anagrams to Batter Nine You Sucky. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 51/13/68/.252/4