Here is my early look at the shortstop rankings for 2011. There were 11 shortstops who hit .270 or higher, 9 who hit 15 or more HRs, and 8 who drove in 70 or more runs in 2010. Shortstop is very thin after Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes, but there are some guys who can provide some pop and decent BA.
Here are my 2011 shortstop rankings:
1. Hanley Ramirez, FLA-Hanley is one of the top overall picks in fantasy baseball, so he lands at #1 at the SS position for 2011, but he is losing his lead as Troy Tulowitzki proved he is the real deal in 2010. Hanley went 21/76/92/32/.300-.378-.475 in 2010, but his HR output dropped for the second consecutive year. He went 33-35 in 2008 and I am wondering if he can reach that again in the next few years. Fantasy owners can expect him to go 20-80-25-.300 in 2011, but I think he can increase his HR output to 25+ and maintain a solid SB total as well.
2. Troy Tulowitzki, COL-one can argue that Tulo could be the #1 SS in fantasy baseball, as he was able to almost duplicate his breakout 2009 season, and he did so in miraculous fashion. Tulo went 27/95/89/11/.315-.381-.568 with a 78-48 K/BB rate in 2010. But to accomplish these excellent stats, he went on a tear for the ages in September, hitting .303-.366-.754 with 15 HRs, 40 RBIs and 30 runs scored. So, he put up 3 months worth of stats in one month. I am not sure if the balls were taken out of the humidor too long, or he benefitted from hitting against inexperienced pitchers, but he had some power streak. He did this while playing in only 122 games in 2010.
3. Jose Reyes, NYM-Reyes re-etablished some of his fantasy value in 2010 by playing in 133 games, hitting 11/54/83/30/.282/.321-.428 with a 63-31 K/BB rate. Reyes may never be the 50+ SB hitter he once was, but he still provides solid stats across the board. There are rumors that the Mets may trade him in 2011, as he is a free agent after the 2011 season. With new GM Sandy Alderson on board, he may decide to dismantle the Mets core, and Carlos Beltran and Reyes will bring the most back, as I see the Mets rebuilding around David Wright.
4. Alexei Ramirez, CHW-Ramirez has put up solid numbers across the board for 3 consecutive seasons now, and he could move up to #3 in my rankings come spring training. Alexei hit 18/70/83/13/.282/.313/.431 in 2010, and should put up similar numbers in 2011, especially playing in the hitters park in Chicago's west side.
5. Stephen Drew, ARI-after a disappointing 2009 season, Drew stepped up in 2010 with a 15/61/83/10/ .278/.352/.458 season. He has increased his BB% and his K% the last two years, and stole double digit bags as well. He plays in a hitters ballpark and could be primed for a solid season in 2011. I can see him putting up a 18/75/85/12/.285 season next year.
More after the jump:
6. Derek Jeter, NYY-Jeter had one of his worst seasons in his free agent year in 2010 as he hit 10/67/111/18/.270/.340/.370. Jeter is on the downside of his career, but I have a feeling he will be out to prove he deserves the 3 year $51 million contract he received this offseason in 2011, and show that 2010 was a fluke. He will need to improve upon his 66% ground ball rate and hit a few more line drives in 2011 to do so.
7. Jimmy Rollins, PHI-Rollins is an injury risk as he had recurring leg problems last season. He could either put up a top 3 performance or drop out of the top 10 depending upon his health. This ranking could change come spring training should he not be healthy. Rollins hit just .243-.320-.371 with 8 HRs, 41 RBIs, 48 runs scored and 17 SBs-by far his worst season. Should he be healthy in 2011 I can see him going 15/70/90/25/.260.
8. Rafael Furcal. LAD-Furcal is another injury risk, but when healthy is a solid 3 category contributor for fantasy owners. With the addition of Davey Lopes as the Dodgers first base coach, I can see Furcal stealing more bases in 2011. He has only played 283 games in the past 3 years, but is in his walk year in 2011. Furcal stole 22 bases in 26 attempts in 2010 and I can see that number increasing in 2011. I project a 10/50/90/30/.285 season for Furcal in 2011.
9. MIguel Tejada, SFG-Tejada signed with the Giants to be their starting SS in 2011. He had a solid season in 2010 going 15/71/71/.269-.312/.381 while playing in Baltimore and San Diego. His stats in San Diego-8/32/31/.268-.317/.413 shows the guy can still hit even at the age of 37 come May 2011. I can see him repeating his 2010 season stats in 2011 should he stay healthy.
10. Jhonny Peralta, DET-Peralta has averaged 18 HRs and 76 RBIs over the past 6 seasons, although with a low BA. Then again, what SS hits for a high BA? Peralta has hit 20+ HRs and driven in 80+ runs in 3 of the last 6 seasons, so it is possible he could reach those levels in 2011, as he is hitting in a better lineup in Detroit than he did in Cleveland.
11. Jed Lowrie, BOS-it appears Lowrie will be the starting SS in the new version of the Big Red Machine in Boston. In 197 at bats in 2010, Lowrie hit .287-.381-.526 with 9 HRs, 24 RBIs and 31 runs scored. He has an excellent eye at the plate as he had a 14.6 K% and a 12.5% BB% in 2010. Bill James project him to go 17/75/75/.270/.361/467 in 2011.
12. Yuniesky Betancourt, KC-Betancourt had a solid season in the power categories with 16 HRs, 78 RBIs and scored 60 runs, but suffered from a .267 BABIP which lowered his BA to .259. Betancourt is not one to take a walk as he has BB% of 3.4%, but also does not strike out alot either as evidenced by his 9.6% career K%.