As a follow up to RotoBaller.com's 2013 Shortstop Rankings, here is a little more info on the top 12 shortstops to be on the lookout for in 2013.
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1. Jose Reyes – It’s the first tier so we won’t get too hung up on who is actually the number one shortstop, but if we had our choice we would take Reyes. Reyes is coming off his first full season since 2008 and didn’t disappoint. He is excited to be in the Toronto offense and is already barking about the possibility of Jose Bautista knocking him in a record number of times.
2. Troy Tulowitzki – You won’t find any more power out of the shortstop position than Tulowitzki. From 2009-2011 he averaged almost 30 HR and almost 100 RBI. It’s important to note that Tulowitzki is almost as solid in Colorado as he is anywhere else. He missed most of 2012, which concerns people heading in to 2013. Consider the type of fantasy manager you are when deciding whether it’s a good time to draft him. If he somehow falls to the third round you should grab him immediately-- he will put up first-round numbers if healthy.
3. Hanley Ramirez – Ramirez's time spent at third base came to an abrupt end when he was shipped to Los Angeles. He retains the position eligibility for 2013 though, but this will be of limited value to you since SS is so much thinner than 3B. If his 64 games in LA are any indication of his 2013 season, look for a big year, especially with the offense that surrounds him.
4. Starlin Castro – Castro is still just 22 years old and entering his fourth season in the majors. He has steadily improved each season and we like him for continued improvement this year. Still to be determined is where Castro will be hitting. If he's in the two-hole, his RBI and Run totals will be robust. If he's in the six-hole as some expect, his Runs will suffer. He should steal close to 30 bases and hit 15 HR regardless of where he bats. We hope he gets off to a hot start and forces his way into a productive position. It's definitely something RotoBaller will be monitoring.
5. Ben Zobrist – Zobrist will be the Tampa's everyday RF, but that won’t remove his 2B and SS eligibility in 2013. He is a great player to own in fantasy, as he is a five-category guy with multiple position eligibility. While not a superstar, he gives you the opportunity to shuffle your roster around and provides very solid production across the board.
6. Jimmy Rollins – Over his past two seasons and 298 games, Rollins hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. He's a consistent 20-20 threat. While those signs could show up this year, this is the first time in quite a few years that the entire Phillies lineup is healthy and ready for the regular season. Expect Rollins to do what he always does: hit about 20 HR, steal 20 bases, score around 90 Runs and knock in 70 RBI with a .260 BA. Very solid production for a SS going near 100th overall.
7. Ian Desmond – Desmond was on an absolute tear for the whole season before going down with an injury. In 130 games he hit 25 HR and swiped 21 bags. His production is everything you want in a shortstop, especially while fantasy managers are snatching up the upper-tier guys. Desmond could be an absolute steal pending a healthy season.
8. Asdrubal Cabrera – Cabrera is another intriguing fantasy player currently being undervalued. He had an up-and-down season in 2012 and was relatively unproductive after the month of June. However, some of that could have been the locker room and the all-around negativity surrounding the 2012 Cleveland Indians, which has been addressed heading into 2013. While it’s not the best lineup in baseball, Cabrera will be batting third in the Indians' lineup which is huge for offensive production, and consequently for fantasy value.
9. Elvis Andrus – If you have a plethora of power in your draft, Andrus is a solid shortstop option. He won’t hurt you in BA, he consistently steals bases and scores runs, and considering his lack of power he will still get you solid RBI production batting second in the Rangers' lineup. While he is considered a One-Tool Fool, he shouldn’t be overlooked if you can afford the lack of power from your shortstop position.
10. Derek Jeter – His first major injury could not have come at a worse time for the Yankees, but fantasy managers had already reaped the rewards of Jeter's solid play. Jeter is Mr. Consistency: he puts up solid years like clockwork, and even with his injuries, RotoBaller likes him for another year with above-average runs and BA, decent RBI and SB, and a handful of HR.
11. Martin Prado – Prado has played his entire career in Atlanta, and that includes four productive
fantasy seasons. He is a career .295 hitter, will hit you 10+ HR, and he's coming off a career-high 17 SB. You will get similar production in his 2013 season, his first season in Arizona. Note that Prado has 2B, 3B and OF eligibility in 2013, which is a huge asset if deployed correctly. He lets you take a risky player or two at thin positions because he can always fill the gap.
12. Erick Aybar – Aybar was my sleeper heading in to 2012. He was very productive but I expected better numbers than his 2011 season. He is batting second, sandwiched by Mike Trout and Pujols. He will again be offered every opportunity to score 100 runs with plenty of opportunities for some RBI. Should Howie Kendrick or Peter Bourjos end up batting second, that would push Aybar to ninth, which would be a huge hit to his fantasy stock. However, I will go ahead and call Aybar a sleeper, for the second consecutive year.
If you've missed them, be sure to also check out RotoBaller.com's other pre-season 2013 fantasy baseball positional rankings for more in-depth analysis: