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2012 Tiered Positional Rankings: Shortstop

Commentary might be a little light, because thinking about shortstops makes me retch. If you missed the first base, second base, and third base rankings, be sure to catch up on those to read about the tiered ranking system used here, as well as check out the other positions and their rankings.

Five-Star ($30+)

Tulowitzki, Troy SS COL

Tulowitzki is the lone five-star shortstop, because he's the only one I feel like I can trust to get to $30 in value. Hanley Ramirez is capable, but after 2011's horrific campaign and persistent whispers about his lack of effort, I'm a little leery of dedicating the kind of money that will be necessary to get him.

Four-Star ($20-29)

Ramirez, Hanley SS FLO
Reyes, Jose SS FLO
Castro, Starlin SS CHN

That being said about Hanley, remember he will be third base eligible this year, too, and that four stars is nothing to sneeze at. I just feel like he needs to earn back his elite status in my head, given there are other guys available in the first round (or for first round-esque money at auction). Jose Reyes moves to a new park, and we aren't quite sure how the offense will go there. Citi Field cut into homers, but not other extra-base hits, so maybe Reyes takes a step back in some ways. That still leaves him as a great option at short, though. Starlin Castro is a borderline four, but the difference between where his development could take him in 2012 and the next wave is too large to leave him with the threes.

Three-Star ($10-19)

Ramirez, Alexei SS CHA
Andrus, Elvis SS TEX
Cabrera, Asdrubal SS CLE
Jeter, Derek SS NYA
Desmond, Ian SS WAS
Rollins, Jimmy SS PHI
Escobar, Yunel SS TOR
Aybar, Erick SS ANA
Peralta, Jhonny SS DET
Hardy, J.J. SS BAL

I'd like Ramirez more if the lineup around him was capable of something other than failing. Elvis Andrus is totally useful, even if he never develops power, thanks to steals. Players like Andrus are a perfect place to get steals, since their position is so terrible offensively anyway -- you aren't giving anything away by selecting him, like you might with a steals-first outfielder. Asdrubal Cabrera might be capable of four-star production, but I'd like to see him do it again, given the inconsistencies in his career.

Derek Jeter isn't a fantasy star anymore, but thanks to his position (and the fact defense doesn't count against him here), he keeps on being productive. Ian Desmond only has steals for now, but his bat projected to be a bit better than it has been. Like Andrus, though, he's a guy to target at a position that already has low expectations. He was a two-star guy last year, and worth that amount, but I think we'll see him add the last few bucks in value he needs to be in this tier. I'd have more love for Rollins if you could somehow block out the memories of the last few seasons, but I understand if you want to take him over the likes of Desmond, too.

Yunel Escobar doesn't excel anywhere, but he doesn't stink, either, making him a decent bet for around $10 of value. Aybar doesn't have a ton of pop, but he picks up some steals. Peralta needs to rely on the charity of R and RBI to be worth $10, even if he has power, but the Tigers' lineup he's in should be able to deliver. Hardy is another solid, good-but-not great option at the position.

Two-Star ($9 and under)

Bonifacio, Emilio 3B,SS,LF FLO
Cozart, Zack SS CIN
Barmes, Clint SS PIT
Drew, Stephen SS ARI
Lowrie, Jed 3B,SS HOU
Escobar, Alcides SS KCA
Furcal, Rafael SS SLN
Gonzalez, Alex SS MIL
Pennington, Cliff SS OAK
Scutaro, Marco SS COL
Bartlett, Jason SS SDN
Rodriguez, Sean 2B,3B,SS TBA
Gordon, Dee SS LAN
Casilla, Alexi 2B,SS MIN
Carroll, Jamey 2B,SS MIN

Debating the relative merits of this group is depressing. Much of the value lies with playing time. Stephen Drew is the one I could see easily busting out of this group, as he's a lot like Escobar in that he's all-around solid, but not a standout anywhere. Jed Lowrie, if healthy, is easy three-star material, but you can see how likely I find that to be given he's not in that tier. Marco Scutaro might surprise with some Coors-aided offense, but I don't see him being worth more than $8-9 even with that. Dee Gordon is a great steals target, but I'm less confident in his ability to hit than I am with Desmond or Andrus.

One-Star (AL/NL-only)

Pastornicky, Tyler SS ATL
Tejada, Ruben 2B,SS NYN
Ryan, Brendan SS SEA
Nunez, Eduardo 3B,SS NYA
Andino, Robert 2B,3B,SS BAL
Santiago, Ramon 2B,SS DET
Theriot, Ryan 2B,SS SFN
Cedeno, Ronny SS NYN
Crawford, Brandon SS SFN
Brignac, Reid SS TBA
Betancourt, Yuniesky SS KCA
Murphy, Donnie SS FLO
Fontenot, Mike SS SFN
Bloomquist, Willie SS,LF ARI
Izturis, Cesar SS MIL
Wilson, Jack 2B,SS ATL
Rosales, Adam SS OAK
McDonald, John 3B,SS ARI
Nishioka, Tsuyoshi SS MIN
Valdez, Wilson 2B,3B,SS CIN
Plouffe, Trevor SS MIN
Martinez, Osvaldo SS CHA
Gonzalez, Marwin SS HOU
Gonzalez, Alberto 2B,SS TEX
Iglesias, Jose SS BOS
Blanco, Andres SS WAS
Cabrera, Everth SS SDN
McCoy, Mike SS TOR
Sogard, Eric SS OAK
Janish, Paul SS CIN
Hicks, Brandon SS ATL
Rodriguez, Luis SS SEA
Sellers, Justin SS LAN

Don't even look here. It's too dangerous. You're at best hoping for someone who doesn't provide negative value, and the odds aren't in your favor. I feel bad about taking these players in AL- and NL-only, never mind mixed.