Fantasy Baseball 2013 NL Only Rankings: Shortstop

Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Ray Guilfoyle ranks the Top 20 Shortstops in NL only leagues for 2013 and addresses some concerns about Troy Tulowitzki and Ian Desmond.

We are in the middle of our AL/NL only rankings, and thus far we have published our NL only and AL only catcher, first base and second base rankings, and here are links to each of them:

NL Only Catcher

AL Only Catcher

NL Only First Base

AL Only First Base

NL Only Second Base

AL Only Second Base

Today, I take a look at my Top 20 Shortstops for NL-Only leagues for 2013. The shortstop position gets thin after the top 7-8 shortstops in the National League, and like the NL First Base rankings, there are several shortstops with question marks heading into 2013 fantasy drafts. Chief among them is the # 1 ranked shortstop on this list: Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo was limited to just 181 at bats last season due to a groin injury that resulted in him playing in just 47 games for the Rockies. When healthy, he is probably the best fantasy shortstop in the game. Since 2007 he has had just three seasons where he has played more than 140 games. I think the Rockies would be wise to move him to either third base or first base if they want to keep his bat in the lineup within the next few seasons.

Let's take a look at my Top 20 NL-Only League Shortstops for 2013:

Rank

Player

Age

Tm

1

Troy Tulowitzki

27

COL

2

Hanley Ramirez

28

LAD

3

Starlin Castro

22

CHC

4

Jimmy Rollins

33

PHI

5

Ian Desmond

26

WSN

6

Danny Espinosa

25

WSN

7

Josh Rutledge

23

COL

8

Jean Segura

22

MIL

9

Marco Scutaro

36

COL

10

Zack Cozart

26

CIN

11

Yunel Escobar

29

MIA

12

Everth Cabrera

25

SDP

13

Andrelton Simmons

22

ATL

14

Ruben Tejada

22

NYM

15

Adeiny Hechavarria

23

MIA

16

Brandon Crawford

25

SFG

17

Cliff Pennington

28

ARI

18

Rafael Furcal

34

STL

19

Dee Gordon

24

LAD

20

Clint Barmes

33

PIT

Here are my thoughts on a few of the shortstops ranked above:

Hanley Ramirez, LAD

The power returned for the Dodgers shortstop last season, as he hit .257-.322-.437 with 24 HRs, 79 runs, 92 RBI and 21 stolen bases last season. Ramirez played winter ball this offseason, but left early due to a shoulder injury. He is slated to play shortstop this season, but I have a feeling he will end up at third base due to his poor defense at short. Hanley expanded his strike zone quite a bit last season, from 24% of pitches seen to 30.1%, and as a result, his strikeout rate also jumped, from 17.1% to 19.8%, the worst of his career. In addition, his walk rate was the lowest since 2007.

Ian Desmond, WAS

Desmond had a breakout season at the plate in 2012, and ranked second amongst qualified shortstops with his 5.4 WAR. Desmond hit .292-.335-.511 with 25 HRs, 72, runs, 73 RBI and 21 stolen bases, and was one of three shortstops to put up a 20-20 season last year, joining Hanley Ramirez and Jimmy Rollins. Coming into the 2012 season, he had hit 22 career home runs, so fantasy owners want to know if the 25 HR outburst is for real or not. One look at his 18.2% HR/FB rate, which tripled from the 6.0 HR/FB rate in 2011, and one has to question if the power breakout was real.

Zack Cozart, CIN

Cozart came into the 2012 season with much love and hype, as he was the favorite to win the National League Rookie of the Year award. He finished the season with an odd stat line, hitting .246-.288-.399 with 15 HRs, 72 runs, 35 RBI and 4 stolen bases. The things I found odd with his stat line was the low 35 RBI total and the fact that he stole just 4 bases after stealing 30 bases two years prior. He has the potential for a 15-15 season, and possibly more, but the thought of Dusty Baker not giving him the green light too often is fresh in the back of my mind, so I wonder if he will even get 15 stolen base opportunities.

Andrelton Simmons, ATL

Simmons is getting some hype this offseason, as Braves manager recently announced that Simmons would be his leadoff hitter to start the season. That could be the case, but I wouldn't count on him staying there all seasons. I recommend not buying the hype, as Simmons doesn't offer much fantasy value, other than a .260ish batting average and maybe 20 stolen bases. He has stolen 54 bases in around 940 at bats in the minors, so he doesn't run as much as you would like for a hitter with zero power.

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