The shortstop position for 2015 is really top-heavy with proven producers, but there are also a ton of high-upside and great value picks as well. We can pretty much all agree that Troy Tulowitzki should be the first SS off the board. After that? It’s a matter of opinion. Let’s take a look at several over/underrated players, breakout candidates, and our top sleeper picks at the shortstop position.
Maybe I’m biased on Santana – he’s one of those guys who carried my teams to titles last year. But I’m all in on this guy once again for 2015. In only 430 AB (in his rookie season no less) Santana stole 20 bases, scored 70 runs, and managed to hit 7 HR. It seemed like every day that I played him, he did something excellent – maybe it was a 2-5 day, maybe a SB, maybe a couple of runs scored. He was just a stud, and to be honest I was expecting the 2015 price to be much, much higher. He’s not without risk – his BABIP in 2014 was a ridiculous and unsustainable .405, and he struck out over 20% of the time. It seems likely his .319 BA will drop a bit. But on a Twins team starved for legitimate major-league talent, I think Santana will be a catalyst and should play every day. I’m going to be trying to grab him everywhere and will be hoping for 10 / 30 / .275.
After lofty expectations and plenty of hype, Bogey struggled to a 12 / 60 / 46 line in 2014, hitting only .240 to boot. Basically, he was a disaster who spent the better part of the season on competitive league waiver wires. I’m giving him a pass here. The guy is just 22 and will be surrounded by an embarrassment of talent in Boston this year, a far cry from the miscreants on the Beantown roster of 2014. I think he could hit 15+ HR in 550 AB, and should end up in the .270 area for average. There’s plenty of room for profit with his current ADP, and value-seeking owners should certainly take notice.
Segura was totally brutal in 2014, and his price reflects that. I love the opportunity to grab him cheap, and I love the upside. At ADP 200+, he’s an absolute steal. It was a mere two years ago that he won fantasy championships with his out-of-nowhere 12 HR / 44 SB / .294 line. But in 2014, he tragically lost a child, was constantly nicked up, and generally sucked. He’s still the same player, and has reportedly been working on his swing and mechanics over the winter. At such a low price it’s going to be really hard for me not to pick him up almost everywhere hoping for a rebound.
For what I feel is the only exhibit as to why I’m not advising spending a high pick on Reyes, let’s examine these two sets of numbers from 2014: 74 / 3 / 51 / 31 / .287 compared to 94 / 9 / 51 / 30 / .289. They’re both SS’s. Any guesses? The second stat line is Reyes, who is going at ADP 46.0. The first stat line is Alcides Escobar, who can be had at ADP 191.3. You can agree or disagree on whether Escobar can repeat that line, but the fact is that Reyes is a over-valued speed guy at this point, and an injury-prone one (that plays on artificial turf at the Rogers Centre) at that. No thanks.
Everyone has guys that they simply don’t like, and Castro is one of those guys for me. He’s been so overhyped for so long that when he finally put together a decent season (.292 / 14 / 4) everyone wets themselves. I know the Cubs are the trendy pick to improve this year, and Castro has a big name, but I’m not buying it. I think he’s above average, but he’s not going to win anyone a fantasy title anytime soon. He’s currently the 7th SS off the board, and that means I won’t be investing.
I don’t really have much of an issue with Hanley’s potential offensive output in a loaded Boston lineup. Well, I have one: At pick 26, what are you hoping for offensively? 20 HR / 20 SB? 20 / 25? I think 15 / 15 is probably about what you should be expecting (He went for 13 HR / 14 SB last year in 500 AB in the loaded Dodgers lineup), and the third round seems like a pretty high price for that stat package. He’s also a constantly-injured 31 and won’t be able to be hidden at DH because of a certain David Ortiz character. I just don’t think there’s any huge upside at the price, but there’s certainly plenty of room for downside.
My man eCab had an extremely rough 2014 both on and off the field. He was hurt multiple times, got busted for marijuana and resisting arrest, and was shut down early. A free agent, he signed recently with the Orioles, who just happen to have a massive offense and a huge hole at 2B. He’s still among the fastest players in the league and if he wins the job out of spring training, could be a fantasy monster. He’s still just 28 years old.
Kang hit 40 HR and drove in 117 RBI in 117 games in the Korean league last year. The Pirates committed huge money to sign him, so they don’t intend to leave him on the bench. He has only to overtake Jordy Mercer to earn a starting job and you know the Pirates will give him every opportunity to do so. With his ADP so low and his upside so high, he’s well worth a look at the end of drafts.
Average draft position (ADP) information is courtesy of FantasyPros and is aggregated from Yahoo, CBS, and ESPN draft data.