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There was a time not so long ago when shortstops seemed to be the cornerstones of MLB franchises. Since 1980, it is easy to go down a list and pick out Hall-of-Fame shortstops or potential Hall-of-Famers at the position. From players like Ozzie Smith and Alan Trammell to one of the best of all-time, Cal Ripken Jr., the shortstop position has provided Fantasy owners with production for decades.
Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez (before he moved to 3B), and the great Derek Jeter were the faces of the position in the 1990s and early 2000s, but since that time finding a good quality Fantasy shortstop has been an extremely tall order.
Jeter, of course, remained the face of shortstops until his retirement at the end of last season, but even great ones can see their value dip towards the tail end of their careers. That is exactly what happened to the former New York Yankee in 2014, as he batted just .256 with 47 runs scored, four home runs, and 50 RBIs.
So, somebody needed to assume top dog duties among the shortstop position. While some have shown glimpses of superstardom, no shortstop has been able to maintain success for a prolonged period of time. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, this predicament has become very evident for the 2015 campaign.
At the moment, Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies is arguably the most well-known shortstop in baseball, and likely the one with the most talent. However, after entering the season as the 23rd-ranked overall player (per Yahoo) and second-ranked shortstop (Hanley Ramirez was No. 1 due to his eligibility from last season), Tulowiztki is barely a top-300 option (296).
Tulowitzki is easily one of the players who should have and still could takeover for Jeter as the face of shortstops, yet it has been a known thing that injuries have derailed his career. However, when healthy and the fact he is still just 30 years old, Fantasy owners expect Tulowitzki to hit around .300 with 25 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 90 runs.
While he has been able to stay healthy thus far in 2015, Tulowitzki has simply failed to produce enough for Fantasy owners at this point in the season (.274, 2 HRs, 18 RBIs, 19 runs).
Another shortstop who has shown flashes of brilliance is Jimmy Rollins of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is still weird to even say. Rollins was one of the faces the Philadelphia Phillies for over a decade, and when he declared his team the squad to beat in 2007, Rollins backed it up by winning the National League MVP that season.
Since 2007, it has been all downhill for Rollins though, and now in his first season with the Dodgers, he has been a borderline disaster. Rollins is barely batting over the “Mendoza Line” (.201 BA), and along with his four homers, 13 RBI, and 20 runs scored through 42 games, fantasy owners are most assuredly frustrated.
Rollins is currently the 371st-ranked Fantasy option, and is even available in 32 percent of leagues. Owners who feel he may bounce back can take a chance on him, but I would not recommend an aging shortstop clearly on the decline.
Believe it or not, one shortstop I would recommend for Fantasy owners is Rollins’ replacement in Philadelphia. Freddy Galvis was definitely not on many owners’ radars heading into the 2015 season, but now he needs to be. He is batting .309 with 19 runs, five stolen bases, and 11 RBIs. Those numbers may not overwhelm anyone, yet they are good enough for Galvis to currently be ranked as the No. 10 shortstop in Fantasy baseball.
He is owned in just 21 percent of leagues and should make for a solid contributor for the duration of the season. The fact that I even need to mention a player like Galvis shows how weak the position truly is. There is just one shortstop ranked among the Top 50 fantasy players and just four within the Top 100 (including Hanley Ramirez).
Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants is the top-ranked shortstop, yet he came into the season ranked outside the Top 300. Oh, and by the way, he is actually available in 22 percent of Fantasy leagues, which is no small amount.
Other shortstops ranked among the Top 10 at their position are also lesser known commodities, but need to be monitored by Fantasy owners as well. Adeiny Hechavarria of the Miami Marlins and Zack Cosart of the Cincinnati Reds are each owned in less than 50 percent of leagues, but are currently ranked as the No. 5 and No. 6 shortstops, respectively, showing they have value.
Yunel Escobar of the Washington Nationals has shortstop eligibility, and even when Anthony Rendon returns to the lineup, Escobar has done enough to stay in it. His numbers are very solid (.321 BA, 25 runs, 2 HRs, 14 RBIs), yet is owned in just 37 percent of leagues, making for another intriguing pickup.
It is truly fascinating to see how weak the position really is. Just one player with shortstop eligibility has over six home runs in 2015 (Ramirez), and he has not even lined up at the position once this season. Fantasy owners need to be aware that the shortstop position lacks extreme star power, so there is a great chance to take advantage there. It is not often that multiple players are ranked within the Top 10 at their position and also available in a large percentage of leagues.
Owners need to check their egos at the door, and realize if mistakes were made at selecting shortstops in their Fantasy drafts, that is not too late to fix it.