Shortstop is a tricky position in fantasy baseball with some decent talents available across the board. You might use one of your first picks to grab Hanley Ramirez or Troy Tulowitzki, play it safe with one of the other 10 SS ranked in the overall top 150, or wait to fill the position and play the waiver wire all season looking to the hot players. Either way, there are always sleepers at the position. This season, there are players whose draft status might be affected negatively by injury or a down 2013, or being a young hitter who might not be a guarantee, but can produce when given the chance. Here are the top sleepers at the Shortstop position for the 2014 fantasy season.
Fantasy Baseball Draft Sleepers for Shortstop
Starlin Castro – CHC (9th Ranked SS)
After a disappointing 2013 with only a .245 AVG, 10 HR, and 9 SB, it’s easy to write off Castro this season. However, given what he is capable of, if you take him as the 9th Shortstop overall, that could end up being a great steal for your team. While not necessarily a sleeper, he is undervalued with loads of potential. At just 24 years old as of March 24th, Castro has yet to hit his prime, and this could be his true breakout year after not fully living up to his hype.
Xander Bogaerts- BOS (15th Ranked SS)
After a solid 2013 postseason at Third Base, the current #2 overall prospect is primed and ready to be a fantasy breakout in 2014. He is ranked so low despite his talent because of his minimal experience at the Major League level, but the right fantasy mind can take advantage of that and grab him later on in the draft. Bogaerts is also 3B eligible which is a bonus. Boston is ready for this kid to be the new future of their team.
Jhonny Peralta- STL (17th Ranked SS)
If you take Peralta as the 17th overall SS, odds are he is going to be on your bench, and is a great backup option if you have an injury risk player like Troy Tulowitzki or Jose Reyes. He is going to be a solid addition to a Cardinals lineup which should give him chances to score and drive in runs. Peralta is a nice sleeper for deep leagues even after the Biogenesis scandal.
Javier Baez- CHC (24th Ranked SS)
But wait a minute, we already listed a Cubs Shortstop on this list. Yes we did, and that is the beauty of a word called eligibility. Baez impressed this spring to the tune of a .280 AVG with 5 HR and a .948 OPS, but Theo likes to take things slow and realistically there's no reason the Cubs will bring up Baez before June 1st. With Starlin Castro in firm control of his starting SS job, Baez could very well have duel position eligibility at 2B and SS when he eventually does get the call. In shallow leagues he's worth leaving for the waiver wire, but in deep leagues he's one of the best stashes for 2014.
Steven Drew - Free Agent (26th Ranked SS)
I will start by saying that you should not go out and grab Drew for your team today. In fact, he might not even be playing for anybody until after the Rule 5 Draft when Drew loses his Draft Pick compensation. However, odds are he is still on your league's waivers, and if/when he does sign and begin playing, he is far better than the 26th fantasy SS. If you play in one of those league with 8 bench slots and 15 teams, he might be worth stashing as an NA until he is signed. Given that he batted .253 with 13 HR and 67 RBI last year with Boston, his eventual whereabouts should be heavily on your radar.
My recommendation with grabbing these guys, or when going with any player deemed a sleeper, is to have another option available. I would hope you don’t have Peralta or Baez as your everyday starting SS, and it would suck to have to go waiver digging if Castro or Bogaerts don’t heat up right away. So if you already drafted, feel free to go out and add one of these guys or buy low for them, but as with any move you make, have other options in case the risk turns out to be too great.
That’s all for now, make sure to follow @JustBerglund and @Rotoballer for all your fantasy baseball updates leading into Opening Day.