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2015 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Shortstop

Felipe Melecio ranks the top fantasy baseball shortstops heading into the 2015 season.

Troy Tulowitzki

Arguably the most important position in the baseball infield, shortstop is somewhat of a weak spot in fantasy this season. Regardless, owners still need to utilize a player at this spot and unearthing the hidden talent at this position might be the difference in fantasy glory for the upcoming campaign.

Be sure to check out our list of the top second basemen for the 2015 fantasy baseball season.

Because of the many formats that are out there in the fantasy baseball landscape, these rankings will attempt to consider both head-to-head and 5×5 roto leagues. Projections are based on Steamer projections, available at fangraphs.com.

BEST OF THE BEST

Let’s face it, there’s only one shortstop considered for the top spot at this position:

Troy Tulowitzki 2015 Projections
R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
85 28 92 3 0.303 0.396 0.224 0.72

Yes, we all know that Tulowitzki has a hard time staying healthy. But no other shortstop comes close to matching his production. Besides, the advantage of knowing that Tulowitzki will go down with an injury should have owners coming up with a strategy to ensure that they draft a backup to safeguard against that possibility.

As long as Tulo plays at Coors Field and stays somewhat healthy, even in limited action he should still be very productive, highly efficient player for your team, regardless of format.

SPEED KILLS

There’s a few guys that can rack up the stolen bases, but we will shed the spotlight on a player that is projected to lead the category:

Elvis Andrus
R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
76 4 53 28 0.269 0.303 0.076 0.56

Andrus had a disappointing season last year, but had value in fantasy because of his ability to steal bases in roto leagues and his ability to limit his strikeouts and put contact on the ball in points’ leagues (though on-base percentage (OBP) was horrid).

Just like last season, Andrus should be able to help roto leaguers in stolen bases and post a decent batting average to go with those steals (career .272 hitter). He also has posted much higher OBP in the past (career high .349) and hitting at the top of the Texas Rangers’ lineup should yield plenty of runs.

#POINTSME

For those in points’ leagues, you can continue to count on this player even though he’s moving to a pitcher-friendly ballpark:

Ben Zobrist
R HR RBI 2B AVG wOBA OBP BB:K
79 12 68 36 0.266 0.337 0.353 0.84

Zobrist is expected to lead the position in doubles which should have owners feeling more comfortable in owning him as he might never hit more than 15 home runs ever again. Aside from the doubles, Zobrist’s plate discipline is always a plus in points’ leagues that penalize against strikeouts and his high OBP would be much more appreciated in points’ leagues than in traditional roto.

THE STARTERS

1. Troy Tulowitzki, Age: 30, Position: Shortstop (SS)

2. Ian Desmond, 29

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
70 19 71 18 0.258 0.322 0.158 0.27

Desmond can easily be the number one shortstop entering 2015, except that his subpar batting average holds him back in roto, while his high strikeouts might be too much to ignore in points’ leagues. Nevertheless, we’re talking about a guy who at his best might contribute a 25/25 (home runs/steals) season and has proven to be very durable at a position full of guys with injury risks at the top.

3. Hanley Ramirez, 31

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
76 19 78 13 0.291 0.368 0.183 0.57

Ramirez still has the talent and capabilities to be a 25/25 guy at his best, but we never know which Ramirez we will be getting. Will it be the power-hitting shortstop with the great batting eye? Or the guy who will struggle to play half a season? If Ramirez can stay healthy, Fenway Park might prove to be the perfect setting for his hitting style.

 4. Jose Reyes, 31

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
84 11 59 22 0.284 0.328 0.126 0.65

Reyes is a bit of an injury risk too, but he can still provide some pop, a good approach at the plate, a good batting average, and 20+ stolen bases as he can contribute in both points and roto leagues.

5. Elvis Andrus, 26

6. Starlin Castro, 25

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
71 13 61 9 0.274 0.321 0.135 0.36

We’ve mentioned before the toxic environment former Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum had created for a young player like Castro, which ultimately led to his firing.  With a new manager, Castro had a rebound year of sorts in 2014. Things look to be even more promising with new manager Joe Maddon taking over the reins in the dugout. However, Castro’s days as a reliable source for steals might be gone and his plate discipline is a major concern. Nevertheless, hitting at the top of the order of an improving team should give him plenty of protection and opportunities to score a lot of runs.

6. Ben Zobrist, 33, 2B/SS/LF

7. Alexei Ramirez, 33

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
66 11 63 16 0.265 0.300 0.114 0.36

Ramirez is a free-swinging hitter who takes very few walks, but somehow, he makes enough contact to be a productive bat. His appeal is his ability to steal bases and display occasional pop. Points’ leaguers should note what he lacks in home runs, he can make up for in doubles.

8. Jimmy Rollins, 36

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
72 13 53 21 0.237 0.296 0.121 0.59

Rollins continues to find ways to be productive in the majors despite his advanced age. He still has a bit of pop left on that bat and he is still a good source of steals. However, batting average will drive owners crazy.

9. Danny Santana, 24, SS/CF

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
46 6 44 16 0.261 0.295 0.108 0.22

Though the projections are unimpressive, Santana has some upside to repeat his late season heroics from 2014, when he posted a slash line of .319/.353/.472. The reluctance comes from the fact that he is still a raw product and his 2014 campaign may have been a fluke. Nevertheless, with as weak as the position is this season, Santana would be worth the roll of the dice in the latter stages of the draft.

10. Javier Baez, 22, 2B/SS

We had mentioned Baez in our second base preview and just like Santana, he is a very raw product with suspect plate discipline, but loads and loads of talent and untapped potential.

11. Xander Bogaerts, 22, SS/3B

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
61 14 61 5 0.256 0.321 0.150 0.37

Yet another player with lots of potential, Bogaerts had gotten off to a good start in 2014 only to see his production disappear for the rest of the season. Bogaerts was one of the best prospects to come up in all of baseball just a couple of years ago so the pedigree is intriguing and he is supposed to provide power at a position that sorely needs it.

12. Erick Aybar, 31

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
69 8 58 15 0.256 0.271 0.107 0.48

Seems like every season, Aybar gets skipped in many drafts and is seen as an afterthought at short. And it seems as if every season, Aybar does enough things to be productive and continue to be relevant in fantasy.

FRINGE STARTERS

13. Jean Segura, 25

Good: Potential to be a reliable source of steals…has some pop…Hope he can repeat his 2013 season

Bad: Low Walk Rate…suspect batting average

14. Jhonny Peralta, 32

Good: Good source of power…good approach at the plate…run producing opportunities might be plentiful in 2015…durable

Bad: Batting average is too unpredictable to gauge…unlike others at this spot, does not steal bases…

15. Alcides Escobar, 28

Good: Great source for stolen bases…very durable…limits strikeouts

Bad: Too much of a free-swinger…low Walk Rate…low OBP…not much pop…low batting average

16. Jed Lowrie, 30

Good: Good batting eye…some pop (hits for lots of fly balls)…works the count well…will be hitting in Houston

Bad: Unimpressive batting average…OBP not as high despite good discipline…

17. Asdrubal Cabrera, 29, 2B/SS

Good: Can provide pop…decent Contact Rate keeps strikeouts from getting out-of-control

Bad: Batting average will suffer…poor on-base skills

18. Andrelton Simmons, 25

Good: Superb Contact Rate…has history of posting decent batting average in minors…Difficult to strike out

Bad: Too many pop ups…poor on-base skills…has yet to show consistent pop…does not steal bases

REST OF THE SCRAP

Brad Miller has some upside to move up the rankings, but has not shown much in the majors…J.J. Hardy, without the power, does not offer much of anything else…Chris Owings has a chance to be a 10/10 player, but is very raw at this stage of his career…Didi Gregorius will have a tough task to replace a legend at Yankee Stadium…There’s a competition in Pittsburgh between Jordy Mercer and Korean import, Jung Ho KangBrandon Crawford is more valuable with the glove than his bat. 

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