Session 5! Look at what you’ve learned so far: Ike Davis doesn’t have eight hairy legs (1B Sleeper Keepers) and bite people while they sleep, Brandon Phillips is overrated (2B Sleeper Keepers) - did we talk about that? If not, we should have, Brett Lawrie is going to bust loose in 2014 (3B Sleeper Keepers), and the catcher position (Catcher Sleeper Keepers) has more available swingers than a country bar on payday Friday. It’s good to see you smile! After our next session, you’ll be completely fantasy baseball healed! I don’t want to use any counseling theories or techniques in our session today. Between you and me, I consider myself eclectic. Shhh! That’s a bad word in my profession. Our shortstops happen to share the same mindset. Many of them are transforming a formerly weak position.
Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Reyes and Ian Desmond are the cream of this crop. With the exception of Desmond, there are some major injury histories to consider with these guys. Age is creeping up on all of them, which means the time is ripe for a changing of the guard. The shortstops listed below, all of whom are 25 and under, will come at a much lower price. They’re all ready to stop being spoon fed.
Five Shortstops to Target in Keeper Leagues
The 24-year-old defensive whiz disappointed the Braves at the plate in 2013…..but only every other month. In between, especially in July and September, the kid known mostly for his glove pulled out his driver and nailed some tee shots. For the season, he hit .248 with a very surprising 17 HR (he hit only 6 in 930 minor league at-bats). Ten of those homers came in July and September. Simmons stole only 6 bases last year, but his 54 minor league swipes attest to his speed. He also struck out only 9% of the time, phenomenal for a young hitter. It would be a shame to miss out on this guy when his speed and power level out.
A scorekeeper’s nightmare, the soon-to-be 24-year-old Brewers shortstop managed to steal second base and be thrown out at second base in the span of about ten pitches. Click here to watch this oddity. Not nightmarish to fantasy owners, however, was Segura’s stat line during the ’13 season. He led his position with 42 SB and 10 triples, hit .294, and turned in a .752 OPS. That’s the good news. The bad news is he hit .325 with 11 HR prior to the All Star break and .241 with 1 HR afterward. He also batted .301 with 10 of his 12 HR coming when nobody was on base. No matter. This guy has the talent to hit near .300 and go 20/40 for years. Gimme Gimme.
The fantasy community is buzzing about this 24-year-old Mariner. Called up in June last year, he stroked 8 HR, scored 41 times, legged out 6 triples and stole 5 bases in 306 at bats. He also hit .265, which is very respectable for a rookie…especially one who contributes in all categories. A lefty batter, Miller held his own in 100 AB against southpaws (.270 BA). He’ll likely be the Mariners leadoff hitter. A great guy to keep on the cheap.
Red Sox players rarely escape the spotlight. The only hesitation with Bogaerts, as of this writing, is Stephen Drew. If the Sox re-sign Drew, Bogaerts will likely battle Will Middlebrooks for the 3B spot in Beantown, and find time when others site There’s a lot of talent here, but also a lot of questions as far as playing time. Regardless, Bogaerts is one of the top young talents in the game, so even if he doesn't become a mainstay in the lineup until later in the summer, he draft price makes him a fantastic value this year and in the future.
Extra Sleeper: Chris Owings
Chris Owings’s offense vs. Didi Gregorius’s defense is the dilemma in Arizona. Owings, who has power and speed, is clearly the best fantasy option. If the D-Backs go with him, you might want to jump in as well.
That’s it for today. Next, we’ll run through the outfield and then you’ll be good to fly on your own. What’s that? You want to know about pitchers? Remind me to refer you to Reid Contini for that specific need. I don’t mess with guys who only work once every five days. See you soon