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.
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.
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.
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)|
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.
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.