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Fantasy Baseball: Early 2015 Top 30 Shortstop Rankings

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Ray offers an early look at his 2015 Top 30 shortstop rankings. Check out where I rank Xander Bogaerts, Javier Baez and Jimmy Rollins in my rankings.

Jamie Squire

Today, I continue with my early 2015 position rankings, ranking my Top 30 shortstops for next season. Sure, it is early for rankings, and we have yet to see any free agent signings or offseason trades, so my rankings may change as a result. But, for now, here are my 2015 shortstop rankings, assuming any offseason free agent signings or trades won't have a material impact on my rankings.

Before we get into my shortstop rankings, here is a link to my 2015 position rankings to date:

Top 30 Catchers for 2015

Top 30 First Baseman for 2015

Top 30 Second Baseman for 2015

With that said, here is a look at my early 2015 fantasy shortstop rankings.

Even with the injury history, I am sticking with Troy Tulowitzki as my top shortstop heading into the 2015 season. In the past, I have been burned by lowering my rankings on players coming off an injury, so unless we hear that Tulo's rehab is going slow, or that he will miss the beginning of the season, he is my #1 fantasy shortstop, as even with missing 71 games this season, he still hit 21home runs, scored 71 runs and drove in 52 runs, ranking in the top 11 in four of the five categories for shortstops with 300+ plate appearances in 2014.

I think many of us wrote off Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins heading into this season, but all he did was look like a much younger Rollins, hitting 17 home runs and stealing 28 bases. He won't hit for a high average, but he should once again put up double digit home runs and steal 20+ bases in 2015, assuming he stays healthy, which is a concern going forward.

The Cubs told shortstop Starlin Castro to stop being so conservative at the plate in 2014 and he responded with a bounce back season after attempting to change his approach at the plate to produce more walks. With that said, he has stopped running over the last two seasons, attempting just 23 stolen bases after stealing 20+ bases in 2011 and 2012. Castro is a candidate to be traded this offseason after the Cubs traded for top shortstop prospect Addison Russell. Where he ends up could affect his fantasy value, assuming he is eventually traded.

Cubs infield prospect JavIer Baez has a chance to be a top 2-3 fantasy shortstop/second baseman in 2015 if he can reduce the strikeout totals. He struck out 95 times in 229 plate appearances, or just under 42% of his appearances. If the whiffs continue at this rate, he could start the season in AAA to shorten his swing when he is behind in the count. He has 30+ home run potential in a full season of at bats, but that could be accompanied by a Mark Reynolds-like stat line - high strikeouts with a low batting average.

Below you will find my early 205 Top 30 shortstop rankings, along with 2014 player stats, courtesy of FanGraphs. Included in the rankings and stats provided below, I have included each players 2014 wRC+, which is defined below, courtesy of FanGraphs:

Weighted Runs Created (wRC) is an improved version of Bill James' Runs Created (RC) statistic, which attempted to quantify a player's total offensive value and measure it by runs.  In Runs Created, instead of looking at a player's line and listing out all the details (e.g. 23 2B, 15 HR, 55 BB, 110 K, 19 SB, 5 CS), the information is synthesized into one metric in order to say, "Player X was worth 24 runs to his team last year."

Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) measures how a player's wRC compares with league average after controlling for park effects.  League average for position players is 100, and every point above 100 is a percentage point above league average. For example, a 125 wRC+ means a player created 25% more runs than a league average hitter would have in the same number of plate appearances. Similarly, every point below 100 is a percentage point below league average, so a 80 wRC+ means a player created 20% fewer runs than league average.

For example, Jhonny Peralta's 120 wRC+ indicates he created 20% more runs than the league average hitter, or is 20% better than the league average hitter.

I included wRC+ because I think, along with others, that it is one of the single stats you can look at to tell you how good a hitter is vs all major league hitters, and it factors in park effects as well.

Rank

Name

Team

G

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

wRC+

1

Troy Tulowitzki

Rockies

91

375

21

71

52

1

171

2

Ian Desmond

Nationals

154

648

24

73

91

24

108

3

Hanley Ramirez

Dodgers

128

512

13

64

71

14

135

4

Jose Reyes

Blue Jays

143

655

9

94

51

30

102

5

Starlin Castro

Cubs

134

569

14

58

65

4

115

6

Jimmy Rollins

Phillies

138

609

17

78

55

28

102

7

Jhonny Peralta

Cardinals

157

628

21

61

75

3

120

8

Alexei Ramirez

White Sox

158

657

15

82

74

21

97

9

J.J. Hardy

Orioles

141

569

9

56

52

0

90

10

Xander Bogaerts

Red Sox

144

594

12

60

46

2

82

11

Javier Baez

Cubs

52

229

9

25

20

5

51

12

Asdrubal Cabrera

- - -

146

616

14

74

61

10

97

13

Erick Aybar

Angels

156

641

7

77

68

16

101

14

Alcides Escobar

Royals

162

620

3

74

50

31

94

15

Chris Owings

Diamondbacks

91

332

6

34

26

8

92

16

Brandon Crawford

Giants

153

564

10

54

69

5

102

17

Elvis Andrus

Rangers

157

685

2

72

41

27

79

18

Jean Segura

Brewers

146

557

5

61

31

20

67

19

Danny Santana

Twins

101

430

7

70

40

20

133

20

Jed Lowrie

Athletics

136

566

6

59

50

0

93

21

Jordy Mercer

Pirates

149

555

12

56

55

4

91

22

Brad Miller

Mariners

123

411

10

47

36

4

86

23

Wilmer Flores

Mets

78

274

6

28

29

1

88

24

Everth Cabrera

Padres

90

391

3

36

20

18

65

25

Chris Taylor

Mariners

47

151

0

16

9

5

103

26

Andrelton Simmons

Braves

146

576

7

44

46

4

71

27

Josh Rutledge

Rockies

105

342

4

44

33

2

88

28

Didi Gregorius

Diamondbacks

80

299

6

35

27

3

76

29

Adeiny Hechavarria

Marlins

146

574

1

53

34

7

82

30

Zack Cozart

Reds

147

543

4

48

38

7

56


Fantasy Rundown

If you are looking for more rankings, whether it be fantasy baseball, football or basketball, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one site on the 'net for all things fantasy.