I am in the middle of my review of our 2014 consensus position rankings, having completed analysis of the following position rankings:
Today, I will review our consensus shortstop rankings, a position that had several disappointments in our top 10 rankings. We ranked Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez as our #1 fantasy shortstop, but even though he had a good year at the plate, he wasn't the #1 fantasy shortstop at season's end. Troy Tulowitzki was enjoying a terrific year at the plate before a season ending hip injury that bares watching this offseason. He will more than likely be ready for spring training and Opening Day 2015, but I wonder how many more years we will see him playing the most demanding position on the field.
Here is another look at our 2014 fantasy shortstop rankings, ranked 1 - 15:
Here is another look at our 2014 fantasy shortstop rankings, ranked 16 - 30:
What we got right
Chris Owings, Diamondbacks
Owings was a preseason sleeper, with the potential of putting up a 15 home run, 15 stolen base season hitting in the friendly confines of Chase Field, but dealt with a shoulder injury for most of the season. He sat out the last few games of the season and will have offseason surgery on his left shoulder to repair the posterior labrum. The injury limited Owings to just 332 plate appearances, hitting .260-.300-.406 with 6 home runs, 34 runs scored, 26 RBI and 8 stolen bases in 9 attempts.
Looking ahead to the 2015 season, Owings, assuming good health, has the potential to put up the double digit home runs and stolen bases we expected from him in 2014.
Ian Desmond, Nationals
Desmond was our 3rd ranked fantasy shortstop heading into the 2014 season, and he did not disappoint, hitting .255-.313-.430 with 24 home runs, 73 runs scored, 91 RBI and 24 stolen bases in 29 attempts. 2014 was his third straight 20 home run, 20 stolen base season, and his fourth straight 20+ stolen base season. The 29 year old shortstop is entering his walk year, and there is a chance the Nationals decide to deal him this offseason as they have to consider signing Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper to long term contracts in the next few seasons, and the time is ripe to see what they can get for Desmond.
What we got wrong
Elvis Andrus, Rangers
We ranked Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus as our #6 ranked shortstop heading into the season, but Andrus endured his worst season as a big leaguer, hitting .264-.313-.333 with 2 home runs, 72 runs scored, 41 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 42 attempts. His walk rate is in a three year decline and his strikeout rate has increased in each of the last three years. The Rangers signed him to a long term contract and now have to live with a guy who had a bad offensive and defensive season in 2014.
Jean Segura, Brewers
We ranked Segura as our #5 ranked shortstop, and he disappointed fantasy owners as he continued the decline that started in the second half of the 2013 season. Segura hit just .246-.289-.346 with 5 home runs, 61 run scored, 31 RBI and just 20 stolen bases in 29 attempts. It appears his 2013 season may have been an aberration as it took pitchers a few months to learn what his weaknesses are. It is now Segura's turn to make the necessary adjustments. He was never a power hitter in the minors, so it is likely he won't sniff double digit home runs going forward. His stolen base total dropped from 44 in 2013 to just 20 in 2014, and he will drop in my 2015 rankings as a result.
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
We ranked Rollins as our # 17 fantasy shortstop, but he had a bounce back season at the plate after a sub-par 2013 season. Rollins hit .243-.323-.394 with 17 home runs, 78 runs scored, 55 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 2014. Among qualified shortstops, he ranked third in home runs, runs scored and stolen bases last season, but will probably be ranked in the lower half of the top 10 heading into the 2015 season. That would be a mistake.
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