2015 Shortstop Preview
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Zach back with you,
Like second base, the shortstop position isn’t exactly full of ultra-appealing options this year, so I wouldn’t wait too long to fill the position. Go ahead and spend that extra dollar on Ian Desmond or Hanley Ramirez. I think it will be worth it. Troy Tulowitzki? He’s a top-5 fantasy player when healthy, but those last two words are key. Honestly, I’d let him be someone else’s problem.
Yeah, the 11 homers he launched in the first half of the 2013 season proved to be an anomaly, so don’t mistake Segura for a definite double-digit home run contributor. But his speed is legit, and I’m expecting better from him than what we saw last year. Segura dealt with injuries in addition to a family tragedy in 2014, so maybe that had something to do with his disappointing stat line. As he embarks upon his age-25 season, count on 30-plus steals, and it would not be surprising to see him improve in the other categories as well. If you miss out on the top-tier shortstops and are reluctant to invest in guys like Elvis Andrus and Alexei Ramirez, who carry some risk relative to their expected draft day price, there’s nothing wrong with settling for Segura and using the savings to address another position.
For quite some time now, Rollins has been a popular “fantasy bust” pick, but he just keeps putting together quality seasons, and he’s one of only a few shortstops who offers that all-important power/speed combination. Joining the Dodgers should be a good thing for his overall fantasy value. Maybe he loses a few home runs, but he will likely score more runs hitting atop a superior lineup, and age certainly hasn’t slowed him down on the basepaths. The batting average is unlikely to rebound much, but there’s still plenty of value in a shortstop who can post 15 homers, 25 steals and 80-plus runs, especially when you can draft him outside of the top-150 (current NFBC ADP is 164).
Is Castro a valuable fantasy commodity? Sure. But is he a top-5 option at the shortstop position? I’m not so sure. The 24-year-old is coming off a strong 2014 campaign in which he batted .292 with 14 home runs, but four steals? Really? That’s now two straight seasons of single-digit stolen bases, and prior to last year’s .292 average, Castro batted a measly .245 in 2013, so consistency hasn’t exactly been his thing. I wouldn’t particularly mind drafting Castro if he fell to me. I just wouldn’t reach for him assuming that he’s going to break out. Give me one of the lower-ranked shortstops (like the two discussed above) for a fraction of the cost.
The position versatility is nice, but the bottom line is that Zobrist has averaged just 11 homers, 62 RBI and 80 runs scored per year over the past two seasons and his stolen base production has steadily declined since he swiped 24 bags back in 2010. Too many owners seem to be drafting him based on what he has done as opposed to what he will do. Zobrist is currently ranked 154th overall in the NFBC ADP rankings, ahead of fellow shortstop-eligible players Xander Bogaerts, Jimmy Rollins, Alcides Escobar and Jhonny Peralta. In a non-OBP league, a case could be made for taking any one of those guys before Zobrist.