Fantasy Baseball 2012: AL and NL Only Shortstop Rankings

Robert, Ray and I have completed our early 2012 fantasy baseball position rankings, and now we continue our rankings coverage with AL-only and NL-only Position Rankings. SS isn't a particularly deep position in mixed leagues, so it gets even worse when you play in a single league format. The National League has nearly all of the elite shortstops, with 5 of my top 6 from my mixed league rankings.

You can find our previous rankings below:

Catcher

First Basemen

Second Basemen

AL - Only Rankings

1. Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE)

2. J.J. Hardy (BAL)

3. Jhonny Peralta (DET)

4. Elvis Andrus (TEX)

5. Alexei Ramirez (CHW)

6. Erick Aybar (LAA)

7. Derek Jeter (NYY)

8. Yunel Escobar (TOR)

9. Alcides Escobar (KCR)

10. Sean Rodriguez (TAM)

11. Cliff Pennington (OAK)

12. Ryan Theriot (FA)

13. Marco Scutaro (BOS)

14. Robert Andino (BAL)

15. Maicer Izturis (LAA)

16. Jamey Carroll (MIN)

17. Eduardo Nunez (NYY)

18. Trevor Plouffe (MIN)

19. Yuniesky Betancourt (KCR)

20. Brendan Ryan (SEA)

  • Shortstop really seems like it is a bit of a black hole in the American League. Realistically, you have 2 shortstops who have shown top tier production, but both have warts. For Cabrera, I want to see him repeat his performance again in 2012. For Hardy, it's whether or not he can stay healthy for a second straight season.
  • After the next group of 5, it really starts coming down to specific category helpers. Alcides Escobar is probably not likely to help you much except in stolen bases and possibly in runs. Cliff Pennington and Marco Scutaro both can contribute in all 5 categories, but the level of production is much lower than the elite guys, and even the average guys.
  • Jamey Carroll seems like a good sleeper candidate. He's always seemed to be good for batting average, and should be good for some runs if the Twins can get Mauer and Morneau in the lineup for 130+ games each.
  • It will be interesting to see which Derek Jeter we see in 2012: the one who struggled until he got his 3000th hit, or the one who did well once he surpassed 3000.
  • Nunez becomes relevant to me if it appears he will get a solid amount of playing time with Jeter, Rodriguez, and Cano getting time at the DH spot. I could see him getting 3-4 starts a week most weeks if the team does not bring in a DH-only type like Carlos Pena or Johnny Damon. The stolen base upside is there for me, but it might be on only 350-400 AB if no one gets hurt.
My NL-only rankings and thoughts after the jump...

1. Troy Tulowitzki (COL)

2. Jose Reyes (MIA)

3. Hanley Ramirez (MIA)

4. Jimmy Rollins (PHI)

5. Starlin Castro (CHC)

6. Stephen Drew (ARI)

7. Dee Gordon (LAD)

8. Emilio Bonifacio (MIA)

9. Ian Desmond (WAS)

10. Zack Cozart (CIN)

11. Rafael Furcal (STL)

12. Jason Bartlett (SD)

13. Jed Lowrie (HOU)

14. Alex Gonzalez (MIL)

15. Willie Bloomquist (ARI)

16. Clint Barmes (PIT)

17. Ryan Theriot (FA)

18. Tyler Pastornicky (ATL)

19. Ruben Tejada (NYM)

20. Brandon Crawford (SF)

  • The position is extremely top heavy, as you have as many as 5 potential first round picks in NL-only leagues at the position. This is also likely to be the last year that Hanley will be eligible at shortstop with the addition of Jose Reyes in Miami.
  • Stephen Drew will be looking to return from a lost season in 2011, and could represent the highest upside outside of the top 3.
  • Dee Gordon could be good for 40 stolen bases this year if he can hit for a high enough batting average, but he's not going to provide any power at all.
  • I have been pretty well known at this point to be a big fan of Zack Cozart, and think he has the potential to be a 15 home run-15 stolen base type with an alright batting average.
  • Until further notice, Pastornicky, Tejada, and Crawford are the starters in Atlanta, New York, and San Francisco, respectively. I think Pastornicky has the best shot of providing offensive value of the three, but I'm really hoping that I don't need to rely on any of them at shortstop.

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