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Fantasy Baseball: 2015 Consensus Shortstop Rankings - Part 1

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Here is part 1 of our consensus fantasy shortstop rankings for 2015. Check out our thoughts on the shortstops ranked 1-15, including Xander Bogaerts, Starlin Castro and Javier Baez.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Kantecki opened Shortstop week here at Fake Teams with the landscape of the position for fantasy purposes earlier this morning. Now we bring you our consensus fantasy shortstop rankings for 2015. We used a points system for each of the 30 shortstops ranked by each of the Fake Teams writers who participated in the consensus rankings series.

The writers who participated in this series are:

Ray Guilfoyle

Jason Hunt

Rob Parker

Brian Creagh

Timmy Kennedy

Daniel Kelley

Jack Cecil

Nick Doran

Alex Kantecki

Timothy Finnegan

We feel that providing you our consensus position rankings, you get an average ranking from the Fake Teams writers, rather than one writers' opinion, which inherently includes some biases. You will see some players ranked higher by one Fake Teams writer than the others, so this helps the reader see both sides of the argument for/against a certain player who might be getting too much love this offseason.

Each of the position rankings will be split into two parts, rankings and player profiles for shortstops  ranked 1 - 15 in part 1, and rankings and player profiles for shortstops  ranked 16 - 30 in part 2 to be published on Wednesday morning. Consensus rankings should bring about discussion amongst you, our readers, and the Fake Teams writers who participated in this series.

Digging deeper into the position shows that the shortstop position in 2014 yielded the following:

1. Last season, there were 57 hitters who hit 20 or more home runs. Three were shortstops, including Troy Tulowitzki, Jhonny Peralta and Ian Desmond. I think Xander Bogaerts and Starlin Castro can join them in 2015.

2. There were 38 hitters who stole 20 or more bases in 2014, seven were shortstops, led by Alcides Escobar with 31.

3. There were only five hitters to put up a 20 home run, 20 stolen base season in 2014. One was shortstop Ian Desmond, who accomplished that feat for the third consecutive season.

4. Ten shortstops hit 10 or more home runs in 2014. With shortstop prospects Addison Russell and Corey Seager on the cusp of being major league ready, and Carlos Correa a few years away, there is more power coming to the position in the next dew seasons.

5. 48 hitters hit .280 or higher in 2014, and four came from the shortstop position, led by Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro.

Now onto our Consensus Shortstop Rankings for 2015, for shortstops ranked 1 - 15..

Consensus Fantasy Shortstop Rankings for 2015

Rank Player Team Ranking Points Ray Jason Rob Brian Timmy Daniel Jack Alex Nick Timothy
1 Troy Tulowitzki COL 298 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1
2 Hanley Ramirez BOS 282 3 2 2 1 7 2 3 2 3 3
3 Ian Desmond WSN 281 2 3 3 6 3 3 2 3 2 2
4 Jose Reyes TOR 260 4 4 4 4 11 6 5 4 4 4
5 Starlin Castro CHC 255 5 5 7 3 9 7 4 5 5 5
6 Alexei Ramirez CHW 236 6 6 6 7 13 10 7 7 6 6
7 Jhonny Peralta STL 235 8 11 12 5 1 5 10 6 8 9
8 Jimmy Rollins LAD 211 7 10 11 10 4 22 11 10 7 7
9 Xander Bogaerts BOS 208 10 9 8 8 22 4 8 8 14 11
10 Elvis Andrus TEX 207 18 7 5 16 16 9 6 9 9 8
11 Ben Zobrist OAK 205 11 12 14 9 5 8 14 12 10 10
12 Erick Aybar LAA 197 13 15 9 14 6 13 9 11 11 12
13 J.J. Hardy BAL 172 9 8 15 17 12 15 16 17 16 13
14 Alcides Escobar KCR 167 12 13 17 15 8 23 13 13 15 14
15 Javier Baez CHC 140 20 16 14 18 27 11 12 18 18 16

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# 1. Troy Tulowitzki (COL)

Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.340 71 21 52 1
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
375 0.432 0.603 13.33% 15.20%

Tulowitzki is the consensus #1 fantasy shortstop, because when he is healthy, he is one of the best hitters in the game. Granted, he benefits from playing half of his games at Coors Field, but I am of the thought that playing at altitude might be the reason for some of his injuries. I can't prove it, but I have read it elsewhere as well.

He is coming off of surgery to his hip, and by recent reports, his rehab is going well. That's all well and good, but until we see him in spring training, running the bases, playing the toughest position on the field, and, more importantly, hitting for power, we can't go based on team reports. They will always sound rosy.

If he is healthy, I could see drafting him in the top 7-8 picks in mixed league drafts this season. He recently came off the board with the #15 pick in the 15 team LABR experts mixed league draft, taken by Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre from Baseball Prospectus, so if he is healthy, they got some early draft value at the #15 slot.

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# 2. Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.283 64 13 71 14
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
512 0.369 0.448 10.94% 16.41%

Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox

Hanley moves from Dodger Stadium to Fenway Park in 2015, after signing with the Red Sox for the next four years. But, he won't be playing shortstop, unless Xander Bogaerts gets injured, so this could be his last season where he eligible at the shortstop position. I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing, as we need more information as to how Hanley is going to hit in the American League, if he will need to make any adjustments, how he will hit in Fenway, and how he will handle the fans and media in Boston.

With that out of the way, I think there is a good chance that he hits well in the revamped Boston lineup. He has the power to hit 20+ home runs and drive in 80+ runs, maybe more, in Fenway. He is three years removed from his last 20-20 season, but still should be good for double digit steals once again in 2015.

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# 3. Ian Desmond (WSN)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.255 73 24 91 24
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
648 0.313 0.430 7.10% 28.24%

Desmond is coming off his third  consecutive 20 home run, 20 stolen base season in 2014, when he hit .255-.313-.430 with 24 home runs, 73 runs scored, 91 RBI and 24 stolen bases. His 24 stolen bases represented his fourth consecutive season with 20+ steals, and he was successful in 24 of 29 attempts, so he owns a solid success rate. He will be a free agent at the end of the season, so there might be some talk about him being more focused this season, to optimize the contract he gets this offseason.

Of concern for fantasy owners is the fact that with the power comes some strikeouts……lots of them. And his strikeout rate has increased every year in the big leagues:

2010: 19.0%

2011: 21.8%

2012: 20.7% (almost every year)

2013: 22.1%

2014: 28.2%

The increase from 2013 to 2014 is huge, as he struck out a total of 183 times. He will have to cut down on his strikeout totals to earn the huge contract he desires.

I ranked Desmond as my second ranked shortstop due to the multiple 20-20 seasons, and can see the argument to rank him at #1 due to Tulowtizki's injury risk and questions about his ability to return to be the Tulo we all know and love after hip surgery.

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# 4. Jose Reyes (TOR)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.287 94 9 51 30
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
655 0.328 0.398 5.80% 11.15%

After missing 69 games in 2013, Reyes quietly put up a solid season in 2014, hitting .287-.328-.398 with 9 home runs, 94 runs scored, 51 RBI and 30 stolen bases. Pretty good for a 31 year old shortstop, but there lies the rub. He's not getting younger, but will be hitting leadoff in a lineup that includes Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson in the middle of the Blue Jays lineup.

Heading into the 2015 season, one could argue that he could score 100 runs hitting atop that solid Blue Jays lineup. He could hit double digit home runs, but you're not drafting him for his power. The real question is how much longer will he steal 30 bases for his owners? Well, he stole 30 bases in 32 attempts last season, so we should expect at least one more season of 30+ steals.

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# 5. Starlin Castro (CHC)

Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.292 58 14 65 4
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
569 0.339 0.438 6.15% 17.57%

Castro is a guy I traded for in the UBA, 12 team, NL only league this offseason, as 1. I needed a shortstop, and 2. I think he hasn't reached his full potential at the plate. GM Jed Hoyer was quoted this offseason that he sees more power in Castro's bat, so he could improve on his low double digit home run total from last season. And judging by his HR/FB%, which jumped from 6.3% to 10.1%, maybe he is on the cusp of a power breakout.

Speaking of last season, Castro was on his way to his best season in the big leagues before suffering an ankle injiury. Last season, Castro hit .292-.339-.438 with 14 home runs, 33 doubles, 58 runs scored and 65 RBI in 569 plate appearances. Had he not injured the ankle, he could have put up a 17 home run, 80 RBI season, and the industry would probably be talking about him a bit more than they have this offseason.

He stopped running over the last two seasons, but under new manager Joe Maddon, I am curious if he could return to the double digit stolen base range once again. We ranked Castro at #5 in our SS rankings, but prior to last season, he had missed all of FIVE games in the previous three seasons. And he is still only 25 years of age.

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# 6. Alexei Ramirez (CHW)

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.273 82 15 74 21
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
657 0.305 0.408 3.65% 12.33%

Ramirez has been a volatile hitter at the shortstop position as he has gone from being a 15 home run, 15 stolen base hitter to a low home run, high stolen base hitter. Then last season, he put up probably his best all around season in the big leagues, hitting .273-.305-.408 with 15 home runs, 82 runs scored, 74 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 158 games, his fourth straight season he's done so.

Heading into the 2015 season, I am left to wonder if he will revert back to being a low home run, 20+ stolen base hitter, or his usual 15 home run, 15 stolen base hitter he was several seasons ago. He enters his age 33 season as a top 10 shortstop and nothing in his stat line, plate discipline or batted ball data indicate he will fall off a cliff, so I could see a repeat of his 2014 stat line.

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# 7. Jhonny Peralta (STL)

Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.263 61 21 75 3
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
628 0.336 0.443 9.24% 17.83%

Peralta put up the highest fWAR among all shortstops last season, hitting .263-.336-.443 with 21 home runs, 61 runs scored and 75 RBI in 157 games with the Cardinals. He was very good in 2014, hitting 20 or more home runs for the fifth time, and driving in 70 or more runs for the seventh time in his career.

If you are looking for a shortstop in the middle rounds of drafts this season, Peralta is a solid choice, as he will offer double digit home runs, with 60+ runs scored and 60+ RBI and an average in the .260-.270 range, although he has hit .290 or better in two of the last four seasons.

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# 8. Jimmy Rollins (LAD)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.243 78 17 55 28
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
609 0.323 0.394 10.51% 16.42%

Rollins moves from Philadelphia to Los Angeles after an offseason trade between the Dodgers and Phillies. The Phillies are beginning their rebuild, and Rollins is in the last year of his contract, so it made sense for the Phillies to deal him. That, and the fact that he is 36 years old, but he is still providing value to fantasy owners and playing solid defense as well.

Last season, Rollins hit just .243-.323-.393 with 17 home runs, 78 runs scored, 55 RBI and 28 stolen bases at the age of 35. He has stolen 20 or more bases in 13 of the last 14 years, and hit double digit home runs in 11 of those 14 seasons. I wouldn't bet on a repeat of 17 home runs in 2015, but I could see him hitting 10-13 long balls in LA, along with 20+ stolen bases.

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# 9. Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

Photo Credit: David Manning - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.240 60 12 46 2
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
594 0.297 0.362 6.57% 23.23%

I was very high on Bogaerts last year, ranking him in my top five shortstops, so that didn't work out too well. This season, I have ranked him  a few spots lower. I am of the belief I was a year too early on predicting a breakout season from Bogaerts, but am of the belief 2015 could be the year where things come together for him.

Last season, he hit just .240-.297-.362 with 12 home runs, 60 runs scored, and 46 RBI in 594 plate appearances. After walking at a double digit rate in the minors, his walk rate fell to 6.6%, while striking out at a 23.2% rate, so he will need to shore up his plate discipline to begin reaching his potential. He hit fly balls in 41% of his plate appearances, but only 7.1% of those fly balls landed over the outfield fence. Should he continue to hit fly balls at a 40%+ rate, we could see his home run output approach 20 as he matures at the plate and hits for more power.

He is still just 22 years old, so I would not be surprised we see a breakout performance from him in 2015.

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# 10. Elvis Andrus (TEX)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.263 72 2 41 27
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
685 0.314 0.333 6.72% 14.01%

Like the rest of the Rangers lineup, Andrus saw his numbers drop across the board last season, as he hit .263-.314-.333 with 2 home runs, 72 runs scored, 41 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 685 plate appearances. The Rangers 2014 season was just horrible as they endured injuries in their rotation all season.

Last season represented his sixth consecutive season with 20 or more stolen bases. The last time he stole less than 30 bases in a season, in 2012, Andrus stole 42 bases and scored 91 runs. Heading into the 2015 season, I expect a mild bounce back from Andrus, and he should be able to steal 30+ bases and score 80+ runs once again.

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# 11. Ben Zobrist (OAK)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.272 83 10 52 10
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
654 0.354 0.395 11.47% 12.84%

Zobrist brings his multi-position talents to Oakland after an offseason trade and will be playing for his next contract, as he will be a free agent after the 2015 season. Zobrist will be one of the many new faces in the A's lineup this season. Last season, Zobrist hit .272-.354-.395 with 10 home runs, 83 runs scored, 52 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 654 plate appearances. It was his sixth straight season with double digit home runs and stolen bases.

While his power is in decline, his plate discipline has improved, and he has put up double digit walk rates in each of his seven seasons in the majors, and his strikeout rate is in a three year decline. Maybe A's GM Billy Beane has changed his focus from power hitters to guys who can get on base again?

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# 12. Erick Aybar (LAA)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.278 77 7 68 16
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
642 0.321 0.379 5.61% 9.66%

Aybar is as steady as they come at the shortstop position. Last season, he hit .278-.321-.379 with 7 home runs, 77 runs scored, 68 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 641 plate appearances. It marked the sixth straight season where he has hit five home runs, scored 68 runs or stolen double digit bags. Granted the stolen base totals have dropped from 30 in 2011 to 16 last season.

He doesn't walk or strike out much, and doesn't hit for power, but he offers solid late round value for someone looking to till their shortstop position with a guy who will score 70 runs and steal 12-15 bags.

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# 13. J.J. Hardy (BAL)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.268 56 9 52 0
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
569 0.309 0.372 5.10% 18.28%

I like Hardy more than most, mainly due to the power bat and the fact that he calls Camden Yards home. He had a disappointing season at the plate in 2014, hitting .268-.309-.372 with 9 home runs, 56 runs scored and 52 RBI in 569 plate appearances. It marked the first time since 2010 that he failed to reach double digit home runs. I see a bounce back in 2015, and here is the reason:

Year ISO HR/FB%

2011 .222 15.7%

2012 .151 10.0%

2013 .170 12.4%

2014 .104 5.6%

Unless he was playing injured last season, I chalk his down year up to a down year, and see him returning to provide owners with 16-22 home runs with 130+ runs scored and RBI in 2015.

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# 14. Alcides Escobar (KCR)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.285 74 3 50 31
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
620 0.317 0.377 3.71% 13.39%

If you are looking for a guy to steal bases for your team, you have come to the right place. But, Escobar will help you in the batting average and runs scored categories as well. Last season, Escobar hit .285-.317-.377 with 3 home runs, 74 runs scored, 50 RBI (not bad) and 31 stolen bases in 37 attempts. He offers excellent value later in drafts as he offers value in three categories, and doesn't hurt in your the RBI category compared to his competition at the shortstop position.

It's a shame he doesn't walk more, as he has a stellar 83% success rate on the base paths, so he has the tools to steal 40+ bases, and he plays for a manager who likes to run. He just turned 28 so there is a chance we see a bump in steals, but the last time we saw him steal 40 or more bags was in 2009 in AAA. He was drafted in the 12th round of the recent LABR experts mixed league draft, so that goes to show how the experts value him in drafts this season.

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# 15. Javier Baez (CHC)

Photo Credit: Jake Roth - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.169 25 9 20 5
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
229 0.227 0.324 6.55% 41.48%

I wrote about Baez in part 1 of our Second Base rankings during second base week.

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