Like the 2nd basemen to target post, this is necessary. You want to take flyers on late middle infielders. I like a few top shortstops this year: Segura, Desmond and Andrus, but if you don’t get them, don’t sweat it and definitely don’t ‘panic reach’ for another shortstop just because you feel like you need one. This is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Lichtenstein) supplement to the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball. The players listed have a draft rank after 200 on other sites. Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2014 projections. Anyway, here’s some shortstops to target for 2014 fantasy baseball:
Jonathan Villar (ESPN 205, Yahoo 211) I thought for sure Villar would be ranked after where I put him (277). That’s what happens when you rank in January without a safety net. Could I still see a situation where he’s on one of my teams? Sure, A) I do auctions a lot of the time. B) Everyone I’ve ranked after 200 is basically a free-for-all. If I need a shortstop and not, say, a pitcher, it doesn’t matter if I’ve ranked 25 pitchers prior to Villar. C) Here’s Sky’s Jonathan Villar sleeper post. D) There was a C?!
Jimmy Rollins (ESPN 202) Well, here’s a fresh-faced guy! The only mention of him in the history of the world that I can find is in the Who’s Who Among American High School Students. Never heard anything about him other than that. He’s only here because he’s after 200 in ESPN, just making the cut. I don’t love Rollins anymore, but, at a certain point, his 10 HRs, 20 SBs, is too valuable to ignore. Though, I’m not even sure why he’s ranked at 202 at ESPN. Here’s one guy’s ESPN projected stats: 87/13/63/.285/19 and here’s another: 79/11/48/.258/22. First guy is Starlin Castro, who ranked they ranked at 71 overall (interrobang), the other is Rollins.
Brad Miller (Yahoo 212, ESPN 299) Not sure where I’ve heard his name before. Oh, I know, my sleeper post, my rankings where I mention his sleeper post, my 2nd basemen to target post where I mention his sleeper post and here. Weird how I even forgot all of that to begin with.
Jurickson Profar (MDC 212) I’m leaning towards not messing with Profar, but am going day-to-day with his health reports. Stay tuned. Or not. Your choice.
Zack Cozart (ESPN 272, Yahoo 282, MDC 323) All I will say is that I’m only going to mention his 30-steal season in Triple-A by saying I’m not going to mention that he had a 30-steal season in Triple-A. That is it! I won’t flat-out mention it!
Alcides Escobar (Yahoo 264, ESPN 285, MDC 274) And don’t even get me started that Alcides had a 30+ steal season in the major leagues. I’m perplexed by Alcides low rankings across the board. Perplexed, I tell ya! I’m going to look again at my projected stats and see what I might’ve missed. Stat-by-stat. Ready? Okay, go to the bathroom real fast, then hurry back. Okay, ready now? Good. I projected Alcides for 64 runs. He had 57 last year and hit .234 with a .264 BABIP. That’s obscenely low for a fast guy. Even ESPN projects his 2014 batting average to jump back to .253. He’ll probably bat ninth or 2nd, depending on how well he hits and Omar Infante. Even at the ninth spot in the order he had 16 runs last year in 149 at-bats. If he gets 447 at-bats in the ninth hole and hits .234 again, that’s 48 runs. 100 at-bats in the two-hole should net him 15 runs. That’s 63 runs, so one run off from where I projected. My projected runs seem okay. Next up, I projected him for 6 homers. He had four last year and a 2.5 HR/FB%. That’s even low for him so five homers should be totally doable. Six homers might be a tad optimistic, but we’re talking one homer. He’s 27 years old and I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt for one extra homer. Big whoop as a Jewish grandmother would say. Next up, I projected him for 60 RBIs. He had 52 last year and hit a lousy .234, and every projections system thinks he’ll hit at least .250. With .250, he would have to get 8 extra RBIs, right? Next, I projected him for .263. He won’t hit .293 again like in 2012, but he’s a fast guy that doesn’t strike out a lot. His line drive rate in his year he hit .293 was 23%, last year it was 23%. His K-rate in his good average year was 15.4%, last year 13.1%, so it actually got better. He did hit a few more lazy fly balls last year, instead of ground balls, but I’m not projecting him for .290. He can easily hit .263. It’s a matter of one extra base hit about every two weeks. Finally, I have him down for 32 steals. Less than his career year of 35, but he does have 40-steal speed and he’s on a team that led the majors in steals. If he gets on a few extra times, he will steal bases. I like him a lot and don’t think me ranking him 100 spots earlier than other sites is farfetched. I definitely didn’t just write this blurb to prove I could write 350 words on Alcides Escobar — a new world record, besting the previous record of 27 words which was held by his mom in an email when she was simply telling her sister, Gladys, that Alcides would be home for the holidays.
Josh Rutledge (Yahoo 293) See all I wrote about Rutledge this year? Multiply that by five and that’s how much I wrote about Rutledge last year. The shine’s off, but I still like him real late as a flyer to see if he can beat out DJ LeMahieu for a starting job.
Dee Gordon (ESPN unranked, Yahoo unranked, MDC unranked) Just wrote about Gordon in the 2nd basemen to target post. If he’s starting, he’s running and you’re yelling Dee’s nuts!
Jordy Mercer (MDC 378, ESPN unranked, Yahoo unranked) What do we know about Jordy? He has the worst name in the history of names. He sounds like the last kid picked on the playground, which is about right for where he’s being drafted. In Double-A, he hit 13 homers in 72 games. In Triple-A, he hit 6 homers in 60 games. Last year in the majors, he hit 8 homers in 103 games. Mercer, Mercer me, he’s got some pop. I’ve seen projected lineups where he’s batting 2nd between Marte and McCutchen. I’d eat the meat of that sandwich!
Oh, and because I just stumbled on this, I thought I’d share again the commercial Nick, our podcast host, made last year. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know what they’re doing when the screen goes to black and comes on back 12 minutes later. I’m not even sure if I should be writing ‘comes on back’ in that sentence. If you haven’t had the willies in a while, enjoy!