Fake Teams Staff Post: I Think I'll Pass - Shortstop

Man, they dragged you into this too, Ian? - Greg Fiume

Each of your favorite FT writers let you in on who the shortstop they will be avoiding at their current values.

Each week, when we cover a position here at Fake Teams, in addition to all of the content you've been seeing, we're going to be doing two staff posts where each of the writers will contribute a brief comment on a player they will personally be targeting in drafts and a player they will be avoiding. Yesterday we shared the optimistic side of this equation, but today is a day of reckoning. These are the players who we are weary of at their projected draft day values.

So without any further ado, I present the Fake Teams staff and their least favorite shortstop targets for 2013:

"Ian Desmond had a great 2012 season and no one can take that away from him. What I can say is that I'm not going to have him in any fantasy league next year. Too many people are going to buy into a player who had a career high HR/FB ratio last year. And when I say career high, I mean it was 18.2% when his previous career high (over 100 plate appearances) was 7.7%. That's an astonishing increase and one I think will likely regress in a big way next season. I looked at the list of players who had an 11% HR/FB (Desmond's career average including his insane 2012) to see who had the most home runs. The answer? Aaron Hill with 26 bombs. So it is possible Desmond could repeat his home run out burst even given his batted ball profile I suppose...but wait? What's that? Aaron Hill had a FB% of 44 while Desmond's was only 34.5? And that was a career high for Desmond? Look - it's possible that Desmond is just a straight up stud. I don't expect a big regression in average and I think he's a nice, solid hitter. But I do see those home runs dropping in a major way and for that reason, it's likely someone pops him before I'm willing." --Craig Goldstein

"Ian Desmond is coming off his best season as a major leaguer, as he hit .292-.335-.511 with 25 HRs, 72 runs, 73 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 2012. His batting average was bouyed by a .332 BABIP, as he experienced some luck at the plate, so we could see some regression in 2013. He hit more home runs last season than he did in 2+ years combined prior to 2012. Couple that with a tripling of his HR/FB rate from 6.0% to 18.2%, and we could see his home run totals cut in half along with a drop in his batting average. His plate discipline stats, via FanGraphs, indicate that he was a free swinger in 2012, as he swung at more pitches outside the zone (37.5% vs 30.8%), made less contact (78.2% vs 81.5%), saw more first pitch strikes (70.8% vs 61.2% - so he fell behind in the count more), and swung and missed more (11.8% vs 8.2%). Sounds like a recipe for a down year for Desmond in 2013." --Ray Guilfoyle

"Derek Jeter keeps doing his thing. In 2012, the 38-year old put together his best season since 2009, leading all shortstops in batting average (.316) and finishing second in runs (99). His season ended prematurely with a broken ankle in the ALCS, and while he shouldn't miss any time because of it, it could affect his ability to steal bases in 2013 (he had nine steals in 2012). Jeter turns 39 next season, and, sooner or later, age is going to catch up to the Yankees' captain. I wouldn't feel comfortable drafting Jeter as a top-10 option in 2013, as there are younger alternatives -- such as Asdrubal Cabrera and Ian Desmond -- capable of providing comparable stats." --Alex Kantecki

"Is this the year Derek Jeter finally shows his age? Well, a broken foot certainly won't help. Forget 38; Jeter looked just as spry as a 28-year-old in 2012, posting his best season in three years. There was no indication that he would fall off a cliff or cease to be valuable fantasy property until he broke his ankle in the ALCS against Detroit. Now the red flags are everywhere, as it's not clear that Jeter will be ready for Opening Day and ankle injuries can be tough to come back from if you're in your 20's, much less approaching 40. Jeter has been cheating father time for a few years, but with the injury and one more year under his belt, I think 2013 is the season he finally begins his ride into the sunset." --Paul Rice

"I can almost guarantee you that I will not be drafting J.J. Hardy on any of my teams this upcoming season. The reason for that has less to do with the fact that I think Hardy comes with huge downside risk (which he does), but more to do with what you need to get from your shortstop in 2013. I spoke in the State of the Position series about how if you don't get speed from your SS, you're going to have to get it back elsewhere -- and Hardy is one of the few guys you know won't give you SB (seriously, he has 1 since 2008). I don't believe Hardy will approach 30 HR again like he did in 2011, and you can get potential 20 HR players at any other position (well, besides 2B maybe). So don't overthink it from a categorical standpoint, make sure you get your speed at SS or you may find yourself reaching for a Peter Bourjos or Jordan Schafer type. And you may end up regretting that faster than a Cinnabon at a highway rest stop." --Bret Sayre

"The shortstop I'm avoiding in 2013 drafts is Hanley Ramirez. Over his last 942 at bats, HanRam's hit a pedestrian .252. Yikes. To put that into perspective, the league average in 2012 was .254. With that in mind, there is no way I'm spending a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a batter who is going to hurt me in batting average. His supporters will point to the 24 homeruns and 21 stolen bases, but I'm someone who likes to protect my team's batting average in the early rounds, especially in roto formats. In my opinion, Ramirez has a declining skill set, as evidenced by his 47.3% groundball rate, and career high O-Swing% of 30.5% (percentage of pitches outside the strike zone that a batter swings at). The O-Swing% hints at the possibility that Ramirez is starting to cheat at the plate, which can be a signal of decreased bat speed (see Rodriguez, Alex). I tend to follow the philosophy that I would rather jump ship a year too early than a year too late, and while Hanley could be useful in 2013, I'm not willing to spend a top pick to find out. Let someone else risk a serious case of the Dodger blues." --Jim Farley

"Which Hanley Ramirez will you be drafting? The Hanley that hit .342 and 24 HRs, drove in 106, stole 27, and scored 101, or the one who is hitting .270 and 21 HRs, driving in 71, stealing 20, and scoring 85? The first one is from the 2009 season. The next one is the average of the last three seasons. Mr. Ramirez is ranked #1 by Fake Teams. More than likely, he will be ranked in the top three to five at just about every site you visit. But, I'll pass; thanks. Don't get me wrong. Hanley will produce, but not at round one or round two levels and that is where you will have to draft him, if you want him, especially in a deep league. His last three seasons are averaged above, and the underlying stats that go with them do not indicate a rebound to anything close to 2009. And that does not even count the move to LA, and their less hitter friendly park for right handers, in addition to the fact that it yields less runs for all-handers. Will the underlying stats continue to decline, even slightly? If so, will that 20-20, .266 season I think he can have, turn from a reasonable projection to a wish and a prayer? Sorry. Not enough for me to recommend investing a first or second round draft pick." --Brad Dengler

"For me, passing on Elvis Andrus is really a matter of personal preference. Andrus is likely to provide solid performance in four categories (AVG, R, RBI, SB), and my issue stems more from where you will have to get him. Ray pegged him as likely to be drafted in the 10th round, and I believe in many leagues you might have to go sooner to get him. I feel like you can find performance that is similar at the position in later rounds, albeit with a bit more risk. I would much rather take a shot on someone like Josh Rutledge or Everth Cabrera much later than having to pay full price on a player like Andrus that early." --Jason Hunt

"I wrote yesterday about the perception surrounding Asdrubal Cabrera, and how that relates to him being a target for me in 2013. I want to double down on the perception theme this week, but this time as it relates to the young Starlin Castro, my short stop to avoid in 2013. Let me start by saying I am a big Starlin Castro fan and have been very impressed with what he's accomplished early on in his career. Castro provides production across all five scoring categories and at the age of 23 still has room to grow. That room to grow is where I believe some fantasy managers get overly optimistic when projecting next year's numbers. Just looking around the internet at early rankings I see him at 3, 7 & 1 at short stop, including the second overall short stop in our consensus rankings. I don't see Castro taking a huge step forward in the power department next year, in fact I see him hitting fewer homers in 2013. I'm not saying he won't hit 18 to even 20 down the road, but for my 2013 projections I have him at 11. I also am projecting a drop from the 25 stolen bases in 2012, to 20 next year. This is mainly due to his poor success rate (caught stealing 13 times last year) and the fact that 10 of his 25 stolen bases came in one month last year (April). We also know he'll hit between .285-.300 -- I have him projected at .293 this coming season. Personally I have Castro as the number 7 short stop in my personal rankings, behind Jimmy Rollins and ahead of Asdrubal Cabrera. So while I am not avoiding Castro from a performance standpoint, he'll more than likely be drafted earlier or for more money than I am willing to pay in 2013." --Dave Morris Jr.

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