RankingsMarch 5, 2009

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Positional Tiers: Shortstop

By Craig Gould

Today’s edition of the FBC’s Tier Rankings will be focus on shortstops. Shortstop is one of the more interesting positions this fantasy season. With the top three players gone within the first 15 picks, you may have to have a quick trigger finger to get a top-flight player. If not, you can wait several rounds as you will most likely not see a shortstop taken in between the second and fifth rounds. Value is an important concept when drafting, especially with this position.

Tier 1: Rounds 1-2

Hanley Ramirez1Yes.301125336735589
Jose Reyes5Yes.297113166856688
Jimmy Rollins11Yes.27776115947556

Ramirez, Reyes, and Rollins are the class of the shortstop position. Ramirez should provide you with a 30/30 season, while Reyes and Rollins will be in the upper echelon of steal producers and still should provide you with double digit home runs. Each of these guys should score 110+ runs and won’t hurt your average. These picks are easy. The next tier is where it gets a little dicey.

Tier 2: Rounds 5-10

Alexei Ramirez51No.29065217713480
Rafael Furcal72Yes.357345168143
Derek Jeter75Yes.30088116911596
Stephen Drew84Yes.2919121673611
Michael Young87Yes.284102128210645
Troy Tulowitzki93Yes.263488461377
J.J. Hardy107Yes.2837824742569
Jhonny Peralta110Yes.27610423893605

As you can see, the second tier is a lot deeper than the first. Alexei Ramirez tends to be the first player off the board from this list, mostly because of his 20/20 potential and second base (and depending on your league, outfield) eligibility. After Ramirez, I have never seen the same order of players go off the board. You have bounce-back players (Furcal and Tulowitzki), home run potential (Hardy and Peralta), and reliable veterans (Jeter and Young). The guy with the most potential to break out of this tier could be Stephen Drew though. At age 25, Drew put up a solid line in his first full big-league season. At age 26, he could do even better. The key in this tier is to not be the first person to start the run. It’s possible for there to be three or four rounds between Furcal and Peralta, even though their production should be much closer. It should be noted that two of these guys may lose their shortstop eligibilities for 2009. Michael Young and Jhonny Peralta are both slated to get the lion’s share of ABs at third base this year.

Tier 3: Rounds 12-18

Miguel Tejada138Yes.2839213667632
Mike Aviles151Yes.3256810518419
Ryan Theriot187Yes..3078513822580
Orlando Cabrera188Yes.2819385719661
Yunel Escobar201Yes.2887110602514

It’s a long drop from Tier 2 to Tier 3. These guys are borderline starters in a standard 12-team league. Aviles provides some upside while Tejada, Theriot, and Cabrera provide reliability. None of these guys will give you a 20-home run or 40-stolen base season, but you may be able to pilfer 30 steals from Theriot or 15 home runs from Escobar, Tejada, or Aviles. You can also land yourself a pretty good run scorer, as this group all should provide 70+ runs. Use these guys in a MI slot as opposed to your starting SS if possible.

Tier 4: Late Round Sleepers

There is a reason why I have not listed any players in the table format with their stats for last year. You’re not drafting these players based on last season. These players are “sleepers” or late round fodder for a reason. You won’t find anyone who hit 20 home runs or stole 30 bases last season here. But one or possibly more could produce that this season. Some of these guys are veterans on new teams, like Felipe Lopez (has hit 20 HRs or stole 20 bases on more than one occasion), Khalil Greene (hit 27 HRs two seasons ago), and Edgar Renteria (hit .332 two seasons ago) and others are youngsters looking for playing time. Clint Barmes, Jed Lowrie, Erick Aybar, and Elvis Andrus could all outproduce their MDP. Some other guys to think about: Jason Barlett, Yuniesky Betancourt, Asdrubal Cabrera, Christian Guzman, Marco Scutaro, Cesar Izturis, and Julio Lugo.

We’ve now covered catcher, first base, second base, and third base. Check in tomorrow for the outfield tiers!

Craig Gould is a journalist and one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Craig in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Snakes Gould.
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