Top 25 Shortstops for 2015 Fantasy Baseball

*The order of these rankings are based on a valuation system for a 5×5 roto scoring league with 5 games played minimum for position eligibility.  This is not necessarily the order I would draft these players in, as different factors should impact which player to choose.

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  1. Hanley Ramirez – The number one spot could have easily gone to Troy Tulowitzki, but Hanley edges him out as I project him for 130 games and project Tulowitzki for 120 games. Both are injury risks and each have missed more than 200 games over the last five seasons combined.  He has been pretty inconsistent from year to year since 2011, so it is hard to know which Hanley will show up, but he moves back to the team that originally drafted him, the Red Sox, and gets inserted into a monstrous lineup.  2015 projection:  .296 AVG, 20 HR, 87 RBI, 79 R, 15 SB, 93 K, 54 BB in 503 AB
  2. Troy Tulowitzki – If I could project Tulo for even 5 SB then he would be at the top of this rankings list, but the guy stopped stealing bases in 2012 with his bum hip. I owned Tulo for a hot minute last year after I made a trade, and he is a stressful player to own as you never know when he may go down with an injury.  Thankfully I got rid of him before he did eventually hit the DL.  I am not sure owning Tulo is worth the headache.  2015 projection:  .308 AVG, 25 HR, 82 RBI, 81 R, 1 SB, 80 K, 58 BB in 454 AB
  3. Ian Desmond – Desmond isn’t too far off from the two guys ahead of him and he does not come with all the injury worry. Hard to say no to a 20/20 guy at shortstop, but his strikeout rate jumped all the way to 28.2% last year, which ultimately led to a big drop in his AVG to .255.  That right there may make him just as risky as Hanley or Tulo.  2015 projection:  .270 AVG, 24 HR, 90 RBI, 75 R, 21 SB, 148 K, 46 BB in 586 AB
  4. Starlin Castro – Castro’s career can be likened to Evan Longoria’s in a way. In my Top 25 Third Basemen, I pointed out how Longoria has seemed to have reached his peak in his first couple seasons.  It’s been the same way for Castro who has been a big disappointment the last two years.  He is still just 25 years old so there’s hope for improvement, and I am thinking that he will have a much better season than the last two.  The last two seasons he has failed to reach double digits in stolen bases, but I think with Joe Maddon as his new manager, Castro will be running more, and he is also a part of a much more dynamic lineup.  2015 projection:  .287 AVG, 16 HR, 66 RBI, 80 R, 15 SB, 110 K, 39 BB
  5. Jose Reyes – Reyes rounds at the top five at shortstop, and like the previous four guys, I would not feel all that comfortable with him either. Shortstop is such an uncertain position out of the top guys, which may make it easier to sit and wait for other shortstops.  2015 projection:  .284 AVG, 10 HR, 49 RBI, 93 R, 26 SB, 71 K, 44 BB in 591 AB
  6. Alcides Escobar – Despite an ugly .299 career OBP, Escobar looks like he might be utilized in the leadoff role for the Royals. It may be the best case scenario for his fantasy value, but it is certainly not the smartest option for the Royals, so it may not last very long.  Though, manager Ned Yost is known to do some silly things.  2015 projection:  .280 AVG, 5 HR, 47 RBI, 79 R, 33 SB, 89 K, 26 BB in 629 AB
  7. Elvis Andrus – Not much difference between Escobar and Andrus, and they even have the same initials but reversed, neat-o! 2015 projection:  .267 AVG, 3 HR, 50 RBI, 82 R, 32 SB, 95 K, 50 BB in 614 AB
  8. Xander Bogaerts – I went over Bogaerts in my Top 25 Third Basemen, and he actually can provide some serious value as a shortstop. 2015 projection:  .271 AVG, 17 HR, 70 RBI, 67 R, 5 SB, 123 K, 48 BB in 521 AB
  9. Ben Zobrist – I went over Zobrist in my Top 25 Second Basemen. 2015 projection:  .262 AVG, 10 HR, 63 RBI, 82 R, 10 SB, 88 K, 71 BB in 569 AB
  10. Jean Segura – Segura suffered a serious tragedy last year off the field. I would love to see him bounce back from it and get back to his 2013 performance level, but I wouldn’t count on it.  It looks like he is going to be batting toward the bottom of the order again, which is poo poo for his potential.  2015 projection:  .275 AVG, 8 HR, 48 RBI, 66 R, 26 SB, 75 K, 29 BB in 534 AB
  11. Alexei Ramirez – Last year, sexy Alexei had his sexiest season since his rookie season in 2008. Word on the street is that he wanted to show his fellow Cuban countryman Jose Abreu how sexy he was, so he pulled out all the stops.  And by word on the street I mean the voice inside my head.  2015 projection:  .265 AVG, 10 HR, 64 RBI, 62 R, 18 SB, 77 K, 23 BB in 585 AB
  12. Erick Aybar – Aybar has never played up to his offensive potential and he never will. But he is a fine role player.  Too bad there’s not much room for role players on fantasy teams.  2015 projection:  .270 AVG, 7 HR, 62 RBI, 67 R, 14 SB, 61 K, 28 BB in 540 AB
  13. Jhonny Peralta – Jhonny Peralta’s name is weird just like Dwyane Wade’s. It’s as if their parents accidentally misspelled their names wrong on each one’s birth certificate and then just tried to play it off as a “unique” spelling.  But no, they are just dumb spellings.  What’s interesting about Peralta’s 2014 season is that he was able to get back to the 20 HR mark after having been suspended for PED’s at the end of the previous season.  And other suspended players such as Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera also went on to have very good seasons.  Was there some carryover effect of the PED’s?  I wouldn’t be surprised to see all three of those guys be busts this year.  2015 projection:  .265 AVG, 16 HR, 69 RBI, 58 R, 2 SB, 109 K, 51 BB in 540 AB
  14. Asdrubal Cabrera – I went over Asdrubal in my Top 25 Second Basemen. 2015 projection:  .249 AVG, 14 HR, 63 RBI, 66 R, 9 SB, 108 K, 45 BB in 543 AB
  15. Chris Owings – I went over Owings in my Top 25 Second Basemen. 2015 projection:  .267 AVG, 11 HR, 50 RBI, 60 R, 14 SB, 115 K, 28 BB in 540 AB
  16. Jimmy Rollins – Rollins is clearly in the back end of his career as his strikeout rate has been on the steady increase and his batting average on a steady decline. Playing his home games at Dodger Stadium instead of Philly is also going to have a negative impact on him.  2015 projection:  .241 AVG, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 71 R, 23 SB, 98 K, 55 BB in 548 AB.
  17. Wilmer Flores – The 23-year old Met is a power sleeper at the position. He hit 19 HR combined between AAA and the Majors last year, and his solid ability to make contact also gives him some added sleeper appeal for deep leagues.  2015 projection:  .269 AVG, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 51 R, 3 SB, 71 K, 25 BB in 483 AB 
  18. Jed Lowrie – Lowrie showed some good power for a middle infielder when he hit 16 HR in 97 games in 2012 and 15 HR in 154 games in 2013. That type of power came to a screeching halt last year when he hit only 6 HR in 136 games.  At 31 years old and a player with a lot of injury history, his best days are likely behind him and he may not crack 10 HR again.  2015 projection:  .258 AVG, 9 HR, 54 RBI, 60 R, 1 SB, 80 K, 50 BB in 493 AB
  19. J.J Hardy – Hardy’s production fell off a cliff last year as he couldn’t even crack double digits in HR. I would expect some sort of bounce back, but he also is passed his prime.  2015 projection:  .246 AVG, 16 HR, 60 RBI, 53 R, 97 K, 30 BB in 529 AB
  20. Javier Baez – Baez’ career and fantasy outlook scares me a bit. He has amazing talent with the bat when he makes contact.  But when I have to add “when he makes contact” to that sentence, it is a rather ominous sign.  The Angels once had a prospect named Brandon Wood who you may have heard of.  He was one of the best hitting prospects in the game, but when he got opportunities in the Majors he was a complete bust as he struggled to make contact.  Baez may be the second coming of Wood, but as a Baez keeper owner, I will hold a little more hope for him.  2015 projection:  .222 AVG, 20 HR, 52 RBI, 46 R, 14 SB, 160 K, 29 BB in 424 AB
  21. Danny Santana – Santana hit .319 last year but that was thanks to a .404 BABIP. I don’t think that I need to tell you that a BABIP that high is not sustainable.  Remember when B.J. Upton hit .300 in 2007 thanks to a .393 BABIP?  Well, Upton’s highest batting average since then was .273 and then he has four seasons of hitting under .250, one season hitting barely over .200, and one season hitting under .200.  So I am not saying that will happen to Santana too, but I kind of am saying that I do not like him.  He is going to be given a chance to hit leadoff again this year for the Twins, but I can foresee a situation where he struggles to hit because he will see what it’s like to have a more normal BABIP and then he will either get moved to the bottom of the batting order or get benched and then his season will be deemed useless.  2015 projection:  .251 AVG, 7 HR, 40 RBI, 56 R, 20 SB, 128 K, 25 BB in 525 AB
  22. Brad Miller – Miller has a good power/speed combo. If he can cut his strikeout rate down closer to what it was in the Minors then he will have breakout potential.  He was competing with Chris Taylor for the starting shortstop gig in Seattle, but Miller has been appointed the starter by default as Taylor suffered an injury.  Perhaps the initial job security will give Miller the confidence to succeed as a Major League hitter.  2015 projection:  .250 AVG, 10 HR, 41 RBI, 54 R, 8 SB, 84 K, 33 BB in 396 AB
  23. Brandon Crawford – It saddens me that I even have to write about a guy like Crawford, so this is enough about him. 2015 projection:  .248 AVG, 9 HR, 54 RBI, 53 R, 113 K, 52 BB in 500 AB
  24. Andrelton Simmons – Simmons had never hit more than 6 HR in a single professional season before he belted 17 HR in 2013. That total dropped to 7 HR last year.  I’m pretty sure we know which number is the outlier here.  2015 projection:  .248 AVG, 8 HR, 56 RBI, 50 R, 5 SB, 58 K, 36 BB in 556 AB
  25. Yunel Escobar – See Brandon Crawford. 2015 projection:  .255 AVG, 7 HR, 46 RBI, 48 R, 3 SB, 63 K, 44 BB in 467 AB

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