Jason Hunt reviews his preseason top 20 shortstop rankings.
We will be continuing on with our review position-by-position of our preseason 2012 rankings with shortstop today. Reviewing our predictions from the beginning of the season helps us see what went right and what went wrong, as ranking players continues to be a learning process each year.
When ranking, I try to look at how the production they provide plays not only as a total, but in comparison to both their position and to all players in general. Shortstop is generally a weaker position, at least at the top, and owners this year who went for a top shortstop in general were disappointed.
As with all rankings, there are going to be some great ones, and some terrible calls. It is just kind of the nature of the beast, and hopefully the logic that went into them was good at the time. With that, let's take a look back at my 2B rankings from the preseason.
1. Troy Tulowitzki (COL)
The health concerns are not new with Tulo, and this was the season where they finally cost more than half a season. Tulo will likely end up a value play next year, as he will be outside of the first couple rounds, but with first round upside if he can stay healthy all year. It just seems like that "If" gets bigger each year.
2. Jose Reyes (MIA)
Reyes had a very good year at shortstop, and as long as you weren't expecting him to hit .337 again this year, you were probably pretty happy with the results overall. His power even ticked up with the increased playing time, and the ballpark didn't appear to affect that at all.
3. Hanley Ramirez (MIA/LAD)
If you predicted that Ramirez would not be in Miami by season's end, good for you. The biggest issue to his value at this point seems to be his batting average, and heading to LA isn't likely to help that out much. There was a nice bonus in the fact that he still qualifies at shortstop for next year as well as third, which is extremely nice in terms of position flexibility.
4. Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE)
There was some question whether Cabrera could repeat the power numbers, and it turns out that the numbers came back to earth some. It was a bit more surprising to see the stolen base total drop with it. He remains a solid shortstop option, but may not be the up-and-coming elite one that we thought could happen after the 2011 season.
5. Jimmy Rollins (PHI)
Rollins' power returned to previous levels this year, as he hit 23 home runs and scored 100+ runs for the 6th time in his career. He remains one of the few threats for 20 homers and 30 stolen bases each year, and appears to not be showing any issues related to his age yet.
6. Starlin Castro (CHC)
Castro will be my top shortstop for next year after a 14 homer, 25 stolen base season. He provides production across all 5 categories, and if the rest of the lineup could help him out more next year, I don't see a reason why he couldn't be a 100 run scoring shortstop either.
7. J.J. Hardy (BAL)
Hardy's batting average dropped like a rock this year, while seeing a drop in the power (30 to 22 homers in 30 additional games). It remains to be seen what the Orioles will do with Hardy for next year, as Manny Machado has shown himself as very likely to be ready on Opening Day, and long-term they seem to want him back at SS.
8. Elvis Andrus (TEX)
2012 was the first season that Andrus did not steal at least 30 bases, nabbing just 21 in 31 attempts. He did show a bit more power overall (SLG% increase), but I want to see him try to steal more bases again next year, as a fair amount of his fantasy value is tied to that.
9. Alexei Ramirez (CHW)
Interestingly, Ramirez swapped his home run and steal totals from previous years, as he hit just 9 homers (down from a minimum of 15 each season), but stole a career high 20. His success rate was drastically better than in previous years, and I think we could see a slight increase in his home runs next year as well.
10. Jhonny Peralta (DET)
I think that if the Tigers had found someone else that could play shortstop for them, Peralta would likely have been relegated to the bench based on his offensive performance. Peralta saw a decrease in nearly every offensive statistic, and it seems more likely based on his career path that this is closer to his norm than his 2011 campaign.
11. Stephen Drew (ARI/OAK)
Drew missed most of the season, was subjected to comments from his team's ownership questioning his attempts to return, and ended up finishing the season with the Athletics. He could be interesting next year, but will likely be a late draftee between the health risk and the batting average risk he showed in Oakland this year.
12. Dee Gordon (LAD)
The future really seems murky for Gordon at this point, as he was not able to stay healthy this year and struggled to make enough contact to really put good use to his blazing speed. He could be a nice sleeper on draft day next year, but he won't be on any of my teams.
13. Erick Aybar (LAA)
Aybar's counting numbers dropped from 2011, but overall he still had a very solid season with 8 homers, 20 steals, and a .290 batting average. This is probably what he is going forward, which is still a nice play in leagues with MI.
14. Derek Jeter (NYY)
Jeter lead the league in hits, and posted a .316 batting average along with 15 home runs this year. The rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated, apparently.
15. Emilio Bonifacio (MIA)
Bonifacio's owners were very happy with the performance over the first month and a half, with 19 steals in his first 39 games. However, he missed nearly two months, returned in July, and was on the disabled list twice more before being shut down for the season. The biggest story with Bonifacio is the fact that he will be only outfield-eligible in most leagues to start next year, which could hurt his value for the first month of the season.
16. Yunel Escobar (TOR)
Not a particularly good year for Escobar on or off the field, as he hit a career low .253. Viewed as a reasonable replacement level shortstop coming into the season, it's hard to determine now what Escobar will be next year, and where that might even happen.
17. Ian Desmond (WAS)
Desmond had 25 home runs this year, more than double his previous career high, in large part due to a spike in HR/FB% along with an increase in FB% overall. While I don't think he will hit 25 homers again next year, I do think between 15 and 20 could be reasonable.
18. Alcides Escobar (KC)
So this is what the season we continued to be told about looked like. Escobar hit .293 with 35 stolen bases and even a career high 5 home runs in KC this year. He seems reasonable to put up a similar line next year, with even the potential for more runs scored (69) than this year.
19. Zack Cozart (CIN)
I was really high on Cozart coming into the year, as I thought he could be a nice power/speed sleeper. Interestingly, he provided the power, but the speed never really emerged (just 4 SB in 4 attempts). He will be similarly ranked by me going into next year, as it turned out that his batting average may be a concern for fantasy owners.
20. Jason Bartlett (SD)
I liked Bartlett prior to the season for the potential to provide stolen bases and maybe a tiny bit of power. However, Bartlett struggled in the first month of the season, was injured in mid May, and was looking for a job by August. Not exactly the way anyone involved had envisioned this going.