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Equivalent Fantasy Average: Shortstops

The top shortstops haven't exactly been paragons of health in recent years. How does that reality alter their projected statline?

Tom Szczerbowski

Here's the thing about Equivalent Fantasy Average, and it is, in a way, a weakness of the metric: It doesn't know how many plate appearances you had. So long as you meet the 300 PA threshold to qualify, everything else is equal.

Of course, there are other ways to drag you down.

On a per-at-bat or per-plate-appearance basis, guys like Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Reyes, or (particularly) Hanley Ramirez have been and project to be incredibly good - not just at shortstop, but among all hitters. But they are three guys who don't tend to be super healthy. So their numbers - again, insanely good on a rate basis - get held back on an overall basis; you can only hit so many home runs or steal so many bases if you're missing 40, 50 games a season.

That's how EFA penalizes that sort of guy. Batting averages buoy the numbers (and that's a kink I'd like to fix when time allows), but if you hit 25 home runs in 300 at bats, that's great and all, and better per appearances than a guy who hits 30 in 600, but for fantasy purposes, it's just 25. Not 25 per X, just 25.

That's why the highest projected EFA for 2014 among shortstops doesn't even reach .290. Tulowitzki leads the way at .286. If EFA were based purely on rate stats (say, if it were calculated by HR/PA instead), someone like Tulo or Ramirez or Reyes - or all three - very well might shoot much higher, especially considering they're being judged against guys like Adeiny Hechavarria and Pedro Florimon and Didi Gregorius.

It's a big thing to think about when drafting a shortstop for fantasy in 2014. Of the big four at the position - the three above, plus Ian Desmond - only Desmond managed to avoid the disabled list last year. So drafting a Tulo or a Hanley means having to burn a pick on an Alcides Escobar or a Yunel Escobar later, because you can't very well expect those guys to play 162, or even close. On the other hand, taking Desmond - or Elvis Andrus, or Ben Zobrist, or a more reliably healthy guy - gives you slightly more freedom. No, no one is a lock for 162 games. But track records count, and some of the big names are rather fragile.

Below is the graph of projected 2014 EFAs (based on the stat projections from Rotobanter). If you didn't see, early in the week I published a modification of my EFA formula, correcting some of my process mistakes. The numbers below are based on my new calculations:

Rank Shortstop Team Projected 2014 EFA
1 Troy Tulowitzki COL .286
2 Ian Desmond WAS .283
Jose Reyes TOR .283
4 Hanley Ramirez LAD .281
5 Elvis Andrus TEX .280
Jean Segura MIL .280
7 Ben Zobrist TBR .275
8 Everth Cabrera SDP .274
9 Andrelton Simmons ATL .273
10 Starlin Castro CHC .272
11 Asdrubal Cabrera CLE .270
Jed Lowrie OAK .270
Brad Miller SEA .270
14 Xander Bogaerts BOS .268
Jonathan Villar HOU .268
16 Zack Cozart CIN .265
J.J. Hardy BAL .265
Alexei Ramirez CWS .265
19 Erick Aybar LAA .264
20 Alcides Escobar KCR .262
21 Jordy Mercer PIT .261
Jhonny Peralta SLC .261
23 Jimmy Rollins PHI .258
24 Yunel Escobar TB .254
Jose Iglesias DET .254
26 Stephen Drew FA .252
27 Adeiny Hechavarria MIA .251
28 Brandon Crawford SFG .249
29 Chris Owings ARI .248
30 Pedro Florimon MIN .247
31 Mike Aviles CLE .246
32 Derek Jeter NYY .245
33 Didi Gregorius ARI .244