3 UP / 3 DOWN: 2014 Shortstop Position

Andrelton Simmons - Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Let's take a look at some of the shortstops around the league that could see their fantasy value increase or decline during the 2014 season.

One of the most important elements of winning in fantasy baseball comes down to finding those players that take a step forward and outperform their draft positions by breaking out or having their career years. We will be reviewing certain players at each position and discussing whether their fantasy value will be on the rise or decline heading into the 2014 baseball season and if you should target or avoid them in your draft. Every Friday we will be reviewing a new position here at faketeams.com. The next position we will be taking a look at is shortstop, one of the more defensive minded positions in the game. Now, let’s take a look at the shortstops that could improve or hurt their fantasy value during the upcoming baseball season.

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Xander Bogaerts - The top prospect in the Red Sox organization got his call to the big leagues towards the end of the 2013 season. Bogaerts accumulated 44 AB’s while switching back and forth between SS and 3B to give Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks rest. The young prospect looked ready for the show as he helped his team throughout the playoffs, while earning his first World Series Championship ring right after his 21st birthday. Xander is not only the top shortstop prospect in baseball, he is one of the top prospects in all of baseball. His skill set will be on full display next year at Fenway Park, and if he develops quickly, Bogaerts has the potential to become one of the top SS options in fantasy leagues in the very near future.

Andrelton Simmons – This 24 year-old shortstop out of Curacao amassed 606 AB’s in 157 games during his first full big league season. Simmons batting average was down to .247 in 2013, after hitting .289 in the big leagues in 2012. The slick fielding shortstop also carried a high batting average throughout his career in the minor leagues, so there is hope for a rebound there. Another interesting note on Simmons, throughout his years in the minors, he was hitting just a few HR’s each year, while running up nice SB totals. But in 2013, Simmons hit 17 HR’s on the year, a huge step up from his minor league totals. He did only accumulate 6 SB’s, but the minor league track record suggests there is room for more. If Simmons continues to hit for the power he displayed last year, and he can get his batting average and stolen base totals back up, we might have a late round steal at the weak shortstop position.

Chris Owings – This shortstop was recently ranked the #3 prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league system by Baseball America. Owings got the call to the big leagues in September, and played well while splitting time with Didi Gregorius. Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers expects Chris Owings and Didi Gregorius to compete for the starting shortstop job in 2014. The D-Backs could also use one of their young shortstops as a trade chip before the season starts. We have seen what Gregorius can provide at the big league level, and the team should see if Owings can give them an upgrade at SS in 2014. Chris Owings was named the Triple-A Pacific Coast League MVP in 2013. The shortstop prospect won’t be drafted as a top 20 fantasy shortstop in most leagues, but he has a very realistic chance of being ranked there by the end of the 2014 season.

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Ian Desmond – This shortstop has joined the 20/20 club each of the past two seasons. But this comes after never totaling more than 10 HR’s in a season before 2012. Desmond is being ranked well inside the top 50 overall on many fantasy lists by many so far this off-season. If it costs a 3rd or 4th round pick to land Desmond, you could be taking a risk when some very consistent fantasy options will still be on the board. If Desmond regresses at all, I could see Andrelton Simmons recapturing his SB form from the minor leagues and putting up a similar stat line while costing a much later draft pick. The chances of passing over a much better option to draft Desmond where you would need to select him are too great, and it just isn’t worth the risk.

Jimmy Rollins – The wheels are slowing falling off the wagon for this 35 year-old shortstop. Rollins was one of the most valuable fantasy shortstops in 2012, when he totaled 23 HR’s and 30 SB’s. Needless to say, owners that spent and early draft pick hoping for a repeat in 2013 were left disappointed. Rollins’ fantasy value has always relied heavily on his stolen base totals, which have been declining over the past few years. The drop in homeruns to just 6 in 2013 also helped to kill his value. We are looking at a batter that provides a low batting average and is losing his power and speed at the same time. This is the wrong time to invest in Rollins. He could always have one more nice fantasy season left in the tank if he can remain healthy. But the signs are pointing in the wrong direction for Rollins. There is a certain point in your draft where you can settle on Rollins, but you shouldn’t be targeting the Phillies’ shortstop.

Derek Jeter – Name value alone will get this future hall of famer over-drafted in most leagues. Then there is the homer Yankee fan in your league that will take him way too early. Or the guy that doesn’t pay attention until the day of the draft and panics after the first 8 shortstops are off the board and reaches for the only familiar name left. Bottom line: Jeter will most likely be over-drafted in 2014. If you watched Jeter sustain the injury that ended his 2012 season, you felt for the Yankee captain as he endured the horrible injury. Then we watched him gimp around last year after his return that was continuously delayed. In early September, he was shut back down with ankle issues. Jeter was only able to hit for a .190 batting average in 2013. He will turn 40 year-old next year. He might not even be ready to start the season. Need another reason to stay away?

Which shortstops do you think could break-out next year?

Which shortstops will be over-drafted in 2014?

Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below...

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