This is part three to my fantasy baseball special. I will be ranking the Top 10 players in each position and giving you one sleeper you should draft. The rankings will help in any league format. If you missed out on Part I (Catchers) click HERE and Part II (3rd base) click HERE.
Pending any injuries, this should be an accurate list of rankings.
2014 Shortstop Rankings
10. Andrelton Simmons
2013 Stats: .248 BA, 76 R, 17 HR, 59 RBI, 6 SB (658 PA)
After signing his $58 million dollar extension thanks to his glove, Simmons proved that he can get it done with the wood also. After hitting only 6 homers in more than 1,000 plate appearances in the minors, Simmons blasted 17 in 2013. He has proven that he has a sneaky power stroke but don’t expect him to hit more then 20 homers in a season. Simmons makes great contact, 55 strikeouts in 2013, so look for an increase in his batting average and runs.
9. Elvis Andrus
2013 Stats: .271 BA, 91 R, 4 HR, 67 RBI, 42 SB (698 PA)
Elvis Andrus is a very solid shortstop; great defensively, makes solid contact, speedster, and a great table setter. Even though he doesn’t have a power bat he makes up with that in plenty of other categories. He will give a solid batting average, plenty of runs, and a plethora of stolen bases. Batting second in another potent lineup, look for Andrus to set career highs in runs and batting average in 2014.
8. Ben Zobrist
2013 Stats: .275 BA, 77 R, 12 HR, 71 RBI, 11 SB (698 PA)
Fantasy owners love Ben Zobrist because of his all-over-the-place eligibility. Seriously, who else is eligible at second, short and outfield? Nobody, that’s who. Zobrist has a great discipline at the plate. He is able to reach base via the walk or slapping the ball into the gaps. Zobrist is one of the best switch-hitters in the MLB. He is able provide you with a great batting average, decent power numbers, and a solid number of stolen bases. Let’s not forget he is entering his age 33 season but is still able to produce great numbers.
7. J.J. Hardy
2013 Stats: .263 BA, 66 R, 25 HR, 76 RBI, 2 SB (644 PA)
As a 25-homer threat from shortstop, J.J. Hardy is a rarity in fantasy. In fact, he’s hit at least 22 homers in each of his three seasons with the O’s, including 25 exactly last year. His batting average is increasing every year in that scary Baltimore lineup. With batters like Chris Davis and Adam Jones in the lineup he will have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. Look for Hardy to blast another 20 homers and should approach 70-80 in both runs and RBIs.
6. Jose Reyes
2013 Stats: .296 BA, 58 R, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 15 SB (419 PA)
Reyes has always been a game changer with his good contact rate and speed. He has sneaky power from the left side. Only problem is that he is guaranteed to hit the DL at least once during the season. When healthy Reyes is able to hit around .300 with about 15 homers and 50 RBIs and is able to swipe 30 bags. He will be entering his 32 age season, so we may see a decline in his stolen bases, but he shall continue to produce in all other categories.
5. Jhonny Peralta
2013 Stats: .303 BA, 50 R, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 3 SB (448 PA)
Peralta had a good start to the season then got hit with a 50 game suspension. He was able to set a career high in batting average batting .303. He has proven that he can hit 10-15 homers in a season with a very reliable average. He has not joined the very balanced Cardinals lineup. Wherever he is placed in the lineup he will have plenty of chances to drive in runs and try to bat around .300 once again.
4. Jean Segura
2013 Stats: .294 BA, 74 R, 12 HR, 49 RBI, 44 SB (623 PA)
For Jean Segura, the 2013 season was the best of times and then the worst of times. He was tearing it up during the first half of the season then wore down after the All-Star break. His 12 home runs was a career high, 10 being the most when he was playing A ball. When you draft Segura you will be drafting him for his average, runs, and stolen bases. I believe he will surpass all his numbers from 2013 after he improved his conditioning during the off-season.
3. Troy Tulowitzki
2013 Stats: .312 BA, 72 R, 25 HR, 82 RBI, 1 SB (512 PA)
By now, safe to say, Troy Tulowitzki comes with at least one DL stint of varying yet concerning length built in. Prior to now, the 29-year-old has been a first-round selection for many years simply because he’s a beast at a premium position when he’s on the field. No other shortstop is a consistent threat to go .300-30-100. When healthy Tulo is one of the best players in all of baseball. He is able to crush balls over the fence will also maintaining a respectable average. Tulowitzki is a premium player at his position but due to his durability issues he may scare some fantasy owners.
2. Ian Desmond
2013 Stats: .280 BA, 77 R, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 21 SB (655 PA)
A shortstop with two consecutive 20-20 campaigns on his resume? Yes, please! Ian Desmond is the only player at this position at this stage who can reasonably be expected to tally 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in one fell swoop of a season. Even though he is a free-swinger; whiffing 145 times to only 43 walks in 2013, Desmond seems to make it work. He is a player that you will be able to slot into your shortstop position and feel comfortable knowing he will produce for you.
1. Hanley Ramirez
2013 Stats: .345 BA, 62 R, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 10 SB (336 PA)
One of the real shames of the 2013 fantasy season is that we’ll never get a chance to know just what Hanley Ramirez’s numbers might have looked like had he not missed half the year with injuries. Yes, that’s right: Ramirez pulled off all of those incredible 5×5 statistics above in just 86 games. It’s unlikely Ramirez will hit .345 for a full season, nor will he hit 40 homers with double the at bats. But you can lock him in for batting .280 with 20+ homers and 80+ RBIs in that potent Dodgers lineup.
Sleeper for 2014 Season
2013 Stats: .242 BA, 66 R, 14 HR, 64 RBI, 9 SB (562 PA)
Don’t expect him to reproduce his breakout 25-homer, 87-run, 92-RBI performance of 2011—probably ever—but Cabrera is in a contract year and still young enough to prove he can once again be a starting fantasy shortstop, or at worst a middle infielder.