The 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft season is officially upon us. As a part of our draft packet for this season, we’re going to examine the elite options at each position. Let’s take a look at our top 5 fantasy shortstops for 2014, and compare our rankings to their current ADP (average draft position) in mock drafts. As always, if your thoughts differ from these, please comment below or make use of our Fantasy Baseball Forum to share.
1. Hanley Ramirez
A myriad of injuries limited HanRam to 20 HR, 10 SB, and a .345 AVG in 304 AB’s in 2013. So, if he had kept that pace up all year, he would have gone 40/20 and run away with the NL MVP. He’s always had the pedigree and burgeoning talent, and now is finally surrounded by a lineup capable of both protecting and putting men on base in front of him. He’s a massive upside player with corresponding massive injury risk in the first round of fantasy drafts for 2014
2. Troy Tulowitzki
Speaking of SS’s with massive upside as well as injury risk…enter the Tulo He’s an elite player playing in an elite offensive park, at an offensively talent starved position, who has never failed to produce when healthy. The man’s career averages (per 162 games) are 29 HR, 100+ Runs and RBI, and near a .300 AVG. Unfortunately, the keywords of note for Troy are “when healthy”. Since his breakout year in 2007, he’s only once played more than 145 games, and his resume includes years of 101 and 47, with his average games played falling somewhere near 125. If you’re taking him this early, you had better invest in another SS as backup – it’s virtually a lock he’ll miss 25-30 games.
3. Jose Reyes
We’ve already detailed two top SS’s that were injury risks, so we might as well go for the full trifecta. When he’s on and healthy, Reyes could be the best of this group, as well as a top 25 player. He’s an absolute dynamo, hitting for AVG, a little power, while possessing a keen eye, and he’s a yearly threat for 50 SB. However, he’s logged one full season since 2008, logging 40 steals only once in that span. The power has come down as well, but the contact hitting and on-base skills remain. Reyes is 30 this year. He’s either due for a massive bounce-back, career revitalizing campaign, or just another bitter disappointment for fantasy owners hoping to capture one more year of his incredible potential.
4. Ian Desmond
Desmond is coming off an excellent season for the Nationals, clubbing 20 HR, stealing 21 bags, driving in 75+ Runs and RBI, and batting .280. That impressive line ranked him 50th overall last year, and with a third round tag this year, drafters are expecting another leap forward. 2013 was actually the second straight year Desmond has gone 20 / 20, and therefore he’s earned the label ‘consistent’, part of the reason his ADP is so high. We wouldn’t bet against him repeating – the Nats lineup is still stacked, he’s 28 and in his prime. Even as a third rounder pick, Desmond could end up being a total steal.
5. Jean Segura
I look at Jean Segura, and I see 23 year-old Jose Reyes. This kid can do it all – he has blazing speed (44 SB in 2013), a good batting eye (.294 AVG) and a little pop (12 HR). We had heard his name mentioned among various prospect reports, but very few could have predicted Segura’s massive breakout. There were a few detractors; He predictably hit the rookie wall and batted .241 in the second half, and his OBP (.329) leaves something to be desired from a leadoff / speed type guy. If he can manage to even out his splits and take a few more walks, he could end the season as a top 10 play, not to mention the #1 overall SS.
Elvis Andrus, Brad Miller, Starlin Castro, Andrelton Simmons, and Everth Cabrera round out our top 10 at the position. A lot can change during spring training, so be sure to check out our most up-to-date shortstop rankings.