The top 20 shortstops for 2012 fantasy baseball are a shallow bowl of dung and even the catchers are ranked ahead of them for depth.  All the 2012 fantasy baseball rankings can be found under that thing that says 2012 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 a top guy from the first two rounds, I’ll probably just take a flyer on some late round player.  Honestly, I don’t even really want to mess with Tulo, Reyes and Ramirez.  So, to amend what I just said, I usually just take a late flyer on a shortstop.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I drafted a 1st or 2nd round shortstop, and I play in about ten leagues per year.  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 2012 fantasy baseball:

1. Troy Tulowitzki – His projections are found at the top 10 for 2012 fantasy baseball.

2. Jose Reyes – His projections are found at the top 20 for 2012 fantasy baseball.

3. Hanley Ramirez – His projections are found at the top 20 for 2012 fantasy baseball.

4. Elvis Andrus –  This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Asdrubal.  I call this tier, “Only four shortstops in and it’s your last chance for a decent one.  Yay.”  Maybe it’s Arlington, maybe it’s the lineup around him, but I still think he can hit 7 to 10 homers and be the new Reyes.  He’s still only 23 years old and he’s shown durability and speed.  All he needs is to find a little power stroke and we’re looking at a guy that is gonna shoot up a few rounds next year.  2012 Projections:  105/7/60/.285/40

5. Starlin Castro – Castro’s gonna be the Jeter of the Cubs.  Players on the Cubs are gonna come and go and Castro’s gonna be there, hitting .300, teen homers and steal 20-ish bases.  For a long time.  (Note #1:  I wrote the preceding then decided to use my Google machine to see if anyone’s made that comparison before.  Sure enough, yup.  Dozens of people.  There’s even a crappy Bleacher Report slideshow of Jeter and Castro that has five pictures total that are flip-flopped five times to drive up pageviews.)  (Note #2:  If you skipped the first note, let’s act like I invented the Castro/Jeter comparison.)  (Note #3:  There’s no note number three.)  I’m sure I’m the first person to think of the Jeter vs. Castro comparison.  Prescient isn’t just a word I can’t spell without a spellchecker!  (Note #4:  Thanks for ignoring the first note.)  2012 Projections:  100/12/70/.310/20

6. Jimmy Rollins – You know when you show up at a party early and no one else is there and you’re stuck talking to people you don’t know?  That’s like drafting a player the year before he breaks out.  “So, how do you know the host of the party?  You met him at AA?  Cool.  You know, I actually have another party I have to get to.”  It’s equally bad showing up sober to a party late and everyone is drunk and acting a fool.  That’s like drafting an older player who finally becomes useless.  “So, you put flash frames of Masonic imagery in your home movies?  Interesting… I think I’m gonna head home.” And before you know it you’re cleaning up vomit off your shoes because of the random guy who couldn’t resist the Jager.  No one wants to be the first or last person at the party.  I get it.  You’re running the risk of being last on Rollins and having to clean up his puke, but I think a car load of girls is about to show up and the party has one more rally left in it.  2012 Projections:  80/14/55/.270/24

7. Asdrubal Cabrera – Let’s put what I have to say aside for one second.  Bill James says Asdrubal should go 16/15/.273.  He gives Rollins 16/25/.262, Castro 8/21/.312 and Andrus 4/39/.281.  Those are relatively the same with Rollins getting the edge because of steals and power.  Rollins is obviously the most likely to get those numbers or get injured.  Castro doesn’t have huge power, but he’s better in steals and average.  Andrus is way better in steals and slightly better in average.  So why is Asdrubal last?  He never hit more than 6 homers in any other professional season.  He just pulled a 25 homer, “Hey, look I’m Ben Zobrist!” season out of his back pocket.  All of those other shortstops have done all of those numbers before.  Andrus easily has speed, Rollins has done those numbers for multiple seasons and Castro is five years Asdrubal’s junior and he just went 10/22 and hits .300 like it’s his job (which it is), i.e., I’m not drafting Asdrubal with his current price tag.  2012 Projections:  80/14/70/.270/15

8. Derek Jeter – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Bonifacio.  I call this tier, “Where’s all the freakin’ shortstops?”  What a mess this position is.  That’s it; only 7 shortstops?  For serious?  That’s ridiculous.  Fold the position and move everyone on the field thirty feet to their right.  Or count pitchers’ hitting for fantasy and forget about shortstops.  Last three years, Jeter’s homers have been 18, 10 and 6.  As we know from 3rd grade math problems, next year Jeter’s gonna hit a negative two homers.  Hey, Garrett Atkins, get out of Jeter’s earth skin?!  2012 Projections:  90/10/60/.275/15

9. Alexei Ramirez – I dislike this guy a shizzload.  His end of the year stats of 17-ish homers and 10-ish steals look all right, but to get there it’s, like, 3 homers and 1 and a half steals per month.  Who even steals half bags?  Fat and/or lazy guys, and Alexei isn’t fat the last time I checked.  Oh, and when you’re waiting for 3 homers and 1+ steal a month, it’s utterly yawnstipating.  2012 Projections:  75/17/80/.270/10

10. Erick Aybar – The best thing Aybar has going for him is Scioscia loves him like a fat kid loves cake.  When the best thing for you is when a Sciosciapath likes you, you’re in trouble.  He gave Jeff Mathis 2000 ABs!  2012 Projections:  80/6/50/.280/24

11. J.J. Hardy – You trusting J.J. Hardy as your shortstop?  Not rhetorical!  Seriously, are you?  He wasn’t even drafted last year and he’s ranked 11th, and it’s not like he was this prospect that suddenly emerged and that’s why he wasn’t drafted.  He’s 29 years old and has played 7 years in the majors.  You think he’s going to repeat last year or do you think he’s gonna disappoint like his other years?  Oh, God, this position is terrible.  2012 Projections:  60/19/75/.255

12. Emilio Bonifacio – A utility man who just had a career year isn’t my idea of a great draft pick.  Maybe I’m old fashioned!  Maybe when I curse I say drats!  Maybe I call my breeches knickerbockers!  Maybe I’m afraid of planes because I think they’re giant birds!  I don’t buy Bonifacio at all on the average.  That was bolstered by luck and a hitting streak where things were falling in for him…. Hmm, that’s sorta the same as luck.  I also don’t buy the power, even if it was only five homers last year.  The speed is real though, so if you can get him at a bargain and you need speed, go for it.  Remember, you’re drafting a guy that you will almost definitely want to drop two weeks into the season.  2012 Projections:  70/2/40/.260/30

13. Dee Gordon – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Alcides.  I call this tier, “Honestly, I don’t even think these guys are that great, but compared to what’s left after this, this is your last chance for exciting.”  If you don’t have a shortstop by the end of this tier, then you are punting shortstop and will end up with a waiver wire carousel of Cliff Pennington, Rafael Furcal and Jason Bartlett.  Otherwise known as Clafson Barcal, who only sounds like a character from The Wire.  Gordon is Juan Pierre at shortstop.  He’s so skinny if you put a sesame seed on his head he looks like a thumb tack.  I don’t think Gordon could hit a homer if they move the fences to standard Celebrity Softball regulation.  But he does have speed to burn, so there’s that.  2012 Projections:  80/0/30/.265/45

14. Ian Desmond – I feel like Desmond and Espinosa both get a bad rap.  Speaking of bad rap, imagine Nicki Minaj guest rapping on a Pitbull song.  Man, they are both terrible.  You’re not rhyming Kodak with Kodak, you are just repeating the same word!  Desmond was actually a bit lucky with his average last year and he strikes out a lot.  It’s not a great sign, but all the players this low have some drawbacks.  2012 Projections:  70/10/65/.250/22

15. Zack Cozart – I already went over my Zack Cozart fantasy.  I wrote it while defriending anyone that ruined Boardwalk Empire’s finale.  2012 Projections:  55/14/70/.245/20

16. Alcides Escobar – This is it.  No more upside at shortstop after this.  Unless you’re related to Everth Cabrera and you promised to draft him so he stops threatening to walk into traffic.  Alcides has the promise of 40 steal speed in those luscious gams of his.  Whether he ever wants to make good on that promise is up to him.  BTW, luscious is a totally normal adjective to describe another man’s legs.  Alcides looks like a poor man’s Aybar.  Or a Sawdust-On-The-Floor-bar.  2012 Projections:  75/5/50/.250/30

17. Jhonny Peralta – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until the end of the post.  I call this tier, “If you draft from here, you will rotate out your shortstop at least 5 times this year.”   I guess Peralta could be J.J. Hardy this year and bash 30 homers.  More than likely he’ll hit 17 homers and a .250 average.   I don’t buy the .299 average last year at all.  I think the God of Extra H’s came to him in April and bestowed on him his one wish — a pony that craps gold.  Then he got lucky and hit .299.  (You didn’t think he’d wish for a .299 average, did you?  I mean, wouldn’t he just wish for a .300 average?  C’mon, use your brain!)  2012 Projections:  60/17/75/.250

18. Yunel Escobar – I never know what to make of Yunel.  One year he hits 11 homers and another year he hits 14 and another year he hits 10 homers.  Will he hit 11 this year?  Maybe 12?  Or even 13?  So much to think about!  /sarcasm  2012 Projections:  70/12/45/.280/3

19. Jason Bartlett – I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bartlett traded to a team that uses him as a backup.  Luckily, that wouldn’t change his fantasy value.  Because to change values, you need value — snap!  2012 Projections:  50/3/35/.255/20

20. Rafael Furcal –  Member when Furcal was one of the top shortstops in the game?  Yeah, I don’t either.  I have a bad memory.  Who are we talking about anyway?  Ryan Klesko?  I love his sideburns!  2012 Projections:  60/7/35/.245/12

After the top 20 shortstops for 2012 fantasy baseball, there’s a lot of names but these standout:

Tyler Pastornicky – Since the Braves like to throw prospects to the fire (to nice success), I expect they’re going to give Pastornicky, who sounds like the clergyman that Carmela made out with, every chance to play.  In the minors, he’s shown decent power for a shortstop and 20-ish speed.  I wouldn’t expect much of an average.  He might be a very cheap Ian Desmond.  That sounded better in my head than it probably did in yours.  To read further on Tyler Pastornicky 2012 fantasy, click that link-a-ma-boob.  2012 Projections:  55/7/65/.250/17

Jed Lowrie – The fact that the top 20 2nd basemen for 2012 fantasy baseball and this post both have Astros in the upside flyer section at the end of the post speaks volumes.  I share very little enthusiasm for Lowrie that others have.  Best case scenario, he hits 15 homers and steals 3 bases.  Over the course of the season, you’re looking at a guy that hits about 2 homers per month.  That gets boring by April 7th.  2012 Projections:  60/12/65/.260/3

Stephen Drew – I usually like to highlight guys at the bottom of this list to look at late, but we’re talking about shortstops here.  If you couldn’t tell from the dozen or so times I said there’s no good shortstops, here’s another indication.  For the first time in a while, Stephen Drew will not disappoint because no one is expecting anything from him.  The Royal We is not even sure if he’ll be able to play when the season rolls around.  Think about all the time we would’ve saved from drafting the two Drew boys if Mother Drew never met Father Drew.  Could someone travel back in time and make sure they never meet?  2012 Projections:  60/12/55/.270/5

  1. Curt says:

    In a keeper league, Ian Desmond or Ryan Roberts at round 14???……I have no ss and have Kendrick at 2b….

  2. Big Mike says:

    @Grey got a stat projection for Scutaro in his new home?

  3. Big Mike says:

    (oh, and thanks in advance!)

  4. BigRedLatrine says:


    I’ve been cheating on you with fantasy football, but I’m back now. It got cold and she quit shaving her legs.

    I don’t really have anything of use to say other than SS looks turrible in the Charles Barkley sense, and I’m looking forward to another year of mustachioed fantasy baseball adventures!

  5. TheNewGuy says:

    Wow what a shizzy (shizzer?) position. It seems like there are no potential value picks for SS at all this year, how can that be!?

    You either grab a top guy, (im hoping for Tulo or Hanley this year) or you end up with one of the late schmohawks who perform like schmohawks. I guess Hanley is the only potential value pick, if he returns to his old self you get 1st round production in the 2nd round. Hanleys a sleeper folks!

  6. Eddy says:


    Wow, what a depressing spot this year. I don’t think I even caught someone you would take a flier on. Care to mention a couple of names?

    @Razzball Nation

    Last year, I had a subscription to MDC and would set up 12-team standard Razzmocks every week or so. Unfortunately I do not have a subscription this year as my bank account is even thinner than SS. Does anyone have one, and if so, can you start making drafts once a week? I havent even mock drafted once this season!

  7. AL KOHOLIC says:

    Oh Great Grey One,blame paulie for my absence,he got me into the basketball league,but i still read your daily wisdom and its awesome as usual.Did you see where yahoo,s home page had the best celeb mustache list?you need to go public with it,the chicks dig it.P.S tell fred to share some of his number crunching stats with us

  8. CL says:

    Sooooooo……… you don’t feel to great about my JJ Hardy / Dee Gordon platoon going into 2012?! Good thing it’s January…

    Happy new year!

  9. The Talented Mr. Dope Man says:

    No Eduardo Nunez sightings on the SS list? not even in the upside section!!! darn!

  10. sean says:

    Maybe I’ll just lock in Yunel in the 18th round and forget about this position. I just threw up.

  11. sean says:

    PS: Starlin hit .307 with a 4% walk rate. .300 becomes .250 in a hurry with that kind of eye and some bad luck.

  12. MH says:

    Your Andrus projection looks pretty optimistic to me. You’re giving him a HR, SB, R and AVG projection thath he’s never actually hit before and an RBI total matching his career best set last year. I understand being optimistic, but that seems pretty wacky to me, especially for a guy who preaches punting MI to some degree. I can’t give him better than 90-.280-55-5-35. I honestly don’t see a huge difference between he and Erick Aybar, who is 28, is coming off a 10 HR, 30 SB campaign, and gives you a similar AVG. He doesn’t have the same R floor because of the Sciosciopath and a more complicated lineup situation, but he should hit first or second most of the year with a pretty good lineup behind him too, especially now with Pujols in the fold. If I don’t wind up with a top 3 SS, Aybar is who I’m targeting, and I doubt Andrus will be on any of my teams.

    I also think unless you’re docking him some playing time, Dee Gordon’s SB floor is 50. Look at what Jose Reyes did in his first year with a poor OBP in a similar team situation–a decent offense but a club not quite ready to compete. If Gordon is leading off almost every day he should approach 700 PAs. If he gets at least 650 PAs and has an OBP even in the .290-.300 range, I can’t imagine he steals fewer than 50. He doesn’t have Reyes’s power, but that doesn’t effect the SB projection.

    IMO, all three of these guys, Andrus, Aybar, and Gordon are pretty similar total values. I have all three around where you have Aybar. I’d probably have all three above Ramirez and possibly Jeter but below Asdrubal.

  13. Curt says:

    Any thoughts on Jose Iglesias in Boston??

  14. The krukker says:

    Figured that SS would be a slow day in the comments and you’d rather talk about anything else, so here goes: 12 team keeper, we keep 16 and start 2 C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, IF, 5 OF, UTIL, 5 SP, 3 RP, 2 P, and have 3 BN spots. OPS and K/BB are non-standard additional categories.

    I’m keeping:
    Napoli, Mauer, Morse, Utley, Alvarez, Tulowitzki, Kemp, Jones, Heyward, Brown, Mesoraco, Hamels, Wainwright, (I’m also taking Darvish with the first pick in the 17th round)

    So, I need to take two from the following list:
    Trumbo (concerns about injury, ops, playing time and Mike Scioscia)
    Beckham (need a replacement for Utley, Ozzie is gone, but he’s been terrible)
    Joyce (second half of last year was rough)
    Tabata (I like to think that I coined “swing tabata bata bata” but you took it to the next level last year by referencing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This is why you get paid the big bucks and I live on a farm in Maine. Anyways, I’m not sold on Tabata anymore)
    Viciedo (He’s afraid of walks)
    Bard (Only has two pitches, tough division, not going to be CJ Wilson pt 2)
    Worley (A Happ regression is due)
    Walden (will provide saves, but could also give 4.00 era and 1.30 plus whip)
    Minor (love the K’s and potential, but it could be another rough year)
    Nathan (Texas and age do not a rp keeper make)
    Adams (was really hoping he’d be getting the saves in petco this year)
    Carpenter (I’m done. His arm is gonna fall off.)
    Pomeranz (Not in coors)
    H Bailey (This is the year he finally does it, but I can grab him in the draft)
    Niemann (I’d take a flyer in the draft)
    Young Jr. (unless he’s traded, there’s no point. Even then, his OPS is awful)

    What say you? Feel free to berate me about Alvarez and having 3 catchers. I’m looking to trade Napoli and Jones for what it’s worth. Also, I really messed up last year, got greedy about when I thought I could take Hosmer and missed out. Will haunt me for over a decade. Now whenever I start to think about my ex-girlfriend I go to youtube and watch videos of Hosmer hitting home runs in high school just to make myself feel worse. That’s normal, right?

  15. Mark says:

    Heyy…where’d my comment go? I know I can be a little long winded, but fer real? Hoping it was just a glitch…

  16. The Dude says:

    Hey Grey, long time no visit your site. Baseball is in the air finally (at least for me) and I’ve got a trade offer that I’d love your input on. 8 player keeper league Roto with TB/SB/Runs/RBI/OBP

    I give:
    Tulo and Howard

    I get:
    Andrus and Fielder


  17. Hardcore Midget says:

    So with the lack of depth at SS, would it make sense to keep Castro over Jay Bruce, even though Bruce has more potential upside?
    I’m already keeping two other OFs in Kemp and Jennings, so I’m leaning towards Castro already.

  18. The krukker says:

    Forgot to include Kenley Jansen amongst my keepers. His ratios will hide some of the sins of whichever sp’s I draft to round out my rotation and I think he becomes the closer by May at the latest. He’s this year’s Kimbrel. Feel free to berate me on this one too.

    Thanks for doing everything that you do. If you haven’t done so already, you should write a screenplay for the movie “Who is Grey Albright?”. All of your readers would go, even if it’s terrible.

  19. Captainpyper says:

    I want Tulo or Hanram. It is absolutely frightening that a handful of these guys could wind up in AAA let along be a top 20ish SS for 2012. (Looking right at you Dee Gordon)

  20. Derek in Utah says:

    Finally…after refreshing 1423 times…the shortstop rankings are out! :)

    Starlin #5 I like.

    Dee Gordon #13 and rising.

  21. Pops says:

    I’m thrilled that I’m keeping Castro and don’t have to worry about drafting from that group of has – beens and do – nothings.

    Keeper related question… along with Castro and CarGo, I am keeping the Nationals big three (Strasburg, Zimmermann and Gonzalez). In a ten team standard league, how long would you wait before drafting a starting pitcher?

  22. AntMan says:

    Standard 12 team 5×5 h2h keeper league. Can only keep 2 out of Texeira, Arod, Hamels, and Utley. Who gives best value for 2012 season?

  23. Clafson Barcal!! Funny stuff my friend.

    So, is Han-Ram being written off as a top 10 pick because of his sulky attitude, inconsistent effort and general assmunchery, or has his skill set began to slowly decline. I argue that Hanley is one of those headcases that could flip a switch and produce top 5 overall numbers again if he was happy or in the mood. With SS being silly shallow I may take hime earlier than most.
    Your thoughts: Hanley can still be a major, elite impact bat (top 10 overall), or his best days are behind him?

  24. I went back in time this morning and tried to stop the Drew parents but I just ended up making out with Lea Thompson instead.

  25. Nehocstu says:

    Grey; I’m shocked, shocked and amazed…
    With ss being so poor this year, I wanted to find any hidden clues in your descriptions to find someone you thought “highly” of that maybe you didn’t even realize yourself. Maybe a descriptor for a late round guy that showed promise.
    So, I looked at 2011 rankings for Castro, you said good things, and ranked him around 13 I believe…
    But what I found startled me! You plagarized yourself! Look at the ss rankings openning paragraph from 2011, it is nearly identical ss this year’s (only this year ss is slightly thinner than catcher, last year only catcher was thinner than ss…)
    Did you just copy your own term papers in high school from year-to-year?!
    Now I love hearing a good Rodney Dangerfield punchline over and over again (“… no respect, no respect at all.) because his delivery is that good. I must say, your writing is as fresh and your delivery is as entertaining as any sports writing journalist I’ve ever read!
    Baseball’s back! and Razzball is my gospel!

  26. Wake Up says:

    Do you think Hanley will qualify @ SS next year?

  27. birrrdy! says:

    @grey: just saw moneyball last night. What did you think of it?

  28. Derek in Utah says:

    Grey, do you have any league openings?

  29. @Wake Up – I am strangely OK with that.

  30. A2K says:

    Was that a recommendation for Rollins or just a description of a house party in Moraga?

  31. VinWins

    VinWins says:

    Right to the end of Boardwalk I never thought it would actually end that way.

    And, it would be very dangerous to use your wish for a .300 average. You know you’d start 3 for 10 and then have a season-ending injury.

  32. the grate one says:

    hey grey. i know the SP ranks arent out, but i have to respond to a trade request in my keeper league.

    is ian kennedy a top 20 SP? is he any better than brandon beachy? (the answer to that will gauge how i respond to the offer).


  33. A2K says:

    @Grey: Touché push broom

  34. Jake says:


    16-team H2H points league.

    I have Alcides as a keeper SS from last year. Do you think I should go after a higher SS or hope for upside and focus on strengthening other positions?


  35. sandles says:

    @Grey & the whole razzball community!
    I want to join the fun of rating mock drafts!
    12 teams roto 5*5 standard roster(2 catchers)
    5th pick
    C- Mesoraco
    C- Perez
    1B- Cabrera
    2B- Kendricks
    SS- Andrus
    3B- Lawrie
    OF- McCutchen, Bruce, Choo, Bourjos & Reimold
    CI- Cuddyer
    MI- K. Johnson
    UT- M. Reynolds
    SP- Yovani, Latos, Zimmerman, Morrow, Peacock, J Parker
    RP- Santos, Soria, J Johnson & Cashner
    Go ahead and mock away at this squad!

  36. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:

    It’s “unfriend,” not “defriend.” Oxford took the time to add it to the dictionary, the least you could do is use it. Sheesh…

  37. sandles says:

    Thanks Grey(for the feedback)! I’m just down right excited you like some part of my team. Maybe had I swap Stanton for McCutchen & V Wells for Bourjos. You would have like my offense a tad?

  38. sandles says:

    Oh and instead of drafting Cuddyer going with M Reynolds and then inturn drafting Adam Lind were I drafted Reynolds

  39. tim says:

    the next time jeter stands at ss with his glove off and a shit eating grin will be the first time. dont ever compare starlean astro with jeter.

  40. mike says:

    i have elite players at both 2b and ss with reyes and pedrioa… i also have alexei ramirez and tatman…. with beltre at 3b…. do i go and drop any of these players along with max sherzer for cozart, figgins,desmond, or furcal……

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