Tag Archives: Stephen Drew

Season Preview – NL West


We’re up to the last division left to review with the NL West. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central, AL West,  NL East, and NL Central.

Last Year’s Records
San Francisco – 92-70
San Diego – 90-72
Colorado – 83-79
Los Angeles – 80-82
Arizona – 65-97

Notable Additions

Arizona – Xavier Nady, Russell Branyan, J.J. Putz, Melvin Mora, David Hernandez, Kam Mickolio

Colorado – Matt Lindstrom, John Maine, Jose Lopez, Ty Wigginton, Felipe Paulino

Los Angeles – Marcus Thames, Matt Guerrier, Jon Garland

San Diego – Brad Hawpe, Cameron Maybin, Jorge Cantu, Aaron Harang

San Francisco – Miguel Tejada

Notable Losses

Arizona – Ryan Church, Adam LaRoche, Mark Reynolds, Brandon Webb

Colorado – Miguel Olivo, Clint Barmes, Jeff Francis

Los Angeles – Russell Martin, Ryan Theriot, Scott Podsednik

San Diego – Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, Chris Young

San Francisco – Jose Guillen, Edgar Renteria

My Thoughts

Arizona – Under the leadership of new GM Kevin Towers, the Diamondbacks have already begun the process of rebuilding by trading away Mark Reynolds and letting Adam LaRoche and Brandon Webb leave via free agency.  They seem extremely unlikely to compete this season, but will look for improvements from Justin Upton and Stephen Drew.

Colorado – The Rockies spent their offseason spending money on contract extensions, as both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki were signed to long term contract extensions. The team also did well to re-sign some of their free agents, most notably Jorge de la Rosa. This really seems like a team to me that has the chance to compete for the division title, providing they get a few breaks to go their way. They will look for a repeat performance from Ubaldo Jimenez and improvements from Jhoulys Chacin and Dexter Fowler as well.

Los Angeles – With the ownership situation in a state of partial disarray, the Dodgers didn’t really go out and spend a lot of money this offseason. They did resign free agent starter Ted Lilly, but otherwise did not make any large acquisitions. The pitching staff is excellent, but they will look for a bounce back season from Jonathan Broxton as the closer. The Dodgers are another team that seems to me like they can compete, providing they catch a few breaks.

San Diego – The biggest news out of the Padres this offseason unfortunately was the trade of star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. They have cut payroll down to a very minimal amount at this point, and could look to move closer Heath Bell if they fall out of contention. I am not seeing a repeat of last year’s 90 win performance out of this group of players, but I don’t think they are necessarily going to be terrible either. They will look for Mat Latos to build on his excellent 2010 season and try to take another step forward, but there’s a lot of questions after him in the rotation.

San Francisco – The reigning World Champions only had one slightly major acquisition (Tejada), but did well to resign Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff. Their pitching could conceivably be better than last year, with Madison Bumgarner making a full season of starts this year. 2010 NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey will be up for the full season this year, and top prospect Brandon Belt is not likely to be in AAA for very long either. This is a team that could compete for the NL crown again.

Overall Thoughts

The NL West has the Giants at the top, and then a lot of question marks behind them. I honestly think that any of the teams at 2 through 4 could finish in any order in those spots.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. San Francisco
2. Colorado
3. Los Angeles
4. San Diego
5. Arizona

Fantasy Rankings in Review – Shortstop


Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it. Next up is the review of my SS rankings.

My Preseason Rankings
1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Jimmy Rollins
4. Ben Zobrist
5. Derek Jeter
6. Jose Reyes
7. Jason Bartlett
8. Elvis Andrus
9. Marco Scutaro
10. Alexei Ramirez
11. Ryan Theriot
12. Asdrubal Cabrera
13. Miguel Tejada
14. Alcides Escobar
15. Cliff Pennington

Yahoo’s Final Rankings (Top 15)
1. Troy Tulowitzki
2. Hanley Ramirez
3. Derek Jeter
4. Alexei Ramirez
5. Jose Reyes
6. Stephen Drew
7. Alex Gonzalez
8. Marco Scutaro
9. Rafael Furcal
10. Ben Zobrist
11. Omar Infante
12. Juan Uribe
13. Miguel Tejada
14. Elvis Andrus
15. Ian Desmond

I also mentioned J.J. Hardy, Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar, and Everth Cabrera as potential deep league plays, and specifically to avoid Rafael Furcal.
From my preseason rankings, Cliff Pennington (19), Ryan Theriot (21), and Jason Bartlett (23) all finished in the top 25. Jimmy Rollins, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Alcides Escobar all finished outside of the top 25.
Free Agents: Edgar Renteria, Miguel Tejada, Juan Uribe

What We Saw

  • Despite missing part of the season, Troy Tulowitzki pretty clearly had the best season of anyone with SS eligibility. His September was definitely one to remember as well. I imagine we might see some rankings next year with him ahead of Hanley Ramirez, but I’m not sure I could go that far yet. But I definitely wouldn’t fault people who do that.
  • Derek Jeter had what was widely considered to be a down year for himself in 201, and still finished 3rd in Yahoo’s rankings. While the batting average was definitely down, he still had double digit steals and home runs, and scored 111 runs. Still a lot of value there.
  • So much for my thought that the fantasy value of Rafael Furcal was less than zero. Oops. He would have been higher up in the final rankings had he played more games, but I’m not sold he would have kept up that production if he had.
  • Jimmy Rollins is going to be a very nice value pick to some people next year, but I definitely don’t trust him to either stay healthy or to be productive when he is healthy. It is telling that he fell outside the top 25 at a position as shallow as SS.
  • Ian Desmond and Starlin Castro both strike me as players who will be in the top 15 for 2011, if not potentially top 10 players. They should improve with a full season under their belts.
  • Overall, the position is probably at one of its most shallow points. It seems to fall off pretty quick once you get past the top 5 or so, and you kind of end up with a lot of players who do 1 or 2 things, but not all 5.

Preliminary 2011 Rankings (Very Raw)
1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Jose Reyes
4. Derek Jeter
5. Alexei Ramirez
6. Stephen Drew
7. Jimmy Rollins
8. Ian Desmond
9. Elvis Andrus
10. Starlin Castro

Original Draft Series: #2 – Arizona Diamondbacks


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #2: Arizona Diamondbacks

General Managers(since 1998)

Joe Garagiola Jr (1998-2005): 652-644
Josh Byrnes (2006-2010): 318-330
Jerry DiPoto (Current)

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Last
1 1 4 4 2 2 1 3

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Miguel Montero Int’l FA – 2001 9 364 gm, .270/.335/.446, 40 HR, 160 RBI Currently with Org.
1B Lyle Overbay 1999 – 18th Rd 5 98 gm, .271/.357/.391, 4 HR, 29 RBI Traded to MIL – 12/1/03
2B Dan Uggla
2001 – 11th Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Rule 5 Draft – FLA – 12/8/05
3B Mark Reynolds 2004 – 16th Rd 6 554 gm, .244/.335/.489, 121 HR, 345 RBI, 42 SB Currently with Org.
SS Stephen Drew
2004 – 1st Rd (15) 6 634 gm, .272/.331/.446, 62 HR, 269 RBI, 25 SB Currently with Org.
LF Carlos Quentin 2003 – 1st Rd (29) 4 138 gm, .230/.316/.425, 14 HR, 63 RBI, 3 SB Traded to CHW – 12/3/07
CF Carlos Gonzalez Int’l FA – 2002 5 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to OAK – 12/14/07
RF Justin Upton
2005 – 1st Rd (1) 5 1 All Star Appearance
421 gm, .272/.352/.471, 70 HR, 208 RBI, 40 SB
Currently with Org.
DH Conor Jackson 2003 – 1st Rd (19) 7 526 gm, .277/.358/.423, 46 HR, 247 RBI, 22 SB Traded to OAK – 6/15/10
SP Brandon Webb 2000 – 8th Rd 10 2006 NL Cy Young, 3 All Star Appearances
87-62, 3.27 ERA, 1319.2 IP, 1065 K, 435 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Brett Anderson
2006 – 2nd Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to OAK – 12/14/07
SP Max Scherzer 2006 – 1st Rd (11) 3 9-15, 3.86 ERA, 226.1 IP, 240 K, 84 BB Traded to DET – 12/8/09
SP Jorge de la Rosa
Int’l FA – 1998 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Purchased by Mexican League – 4/2/00
SP Brad Penny
1996 – 5th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to FLA – 7/8/99
RP Micah Owings
2005 – 3rd Rd 3 14-17, 4.97 ERA, 257.1 IP, 193 K, 91 BB Traded to CIN – 9/12/08
RP Javier Lopez 1998 – 4th Rd 4+1 1-1,9.42 ERA, 14.1 IP, 11 K, 11 BB Rule 5 Draft – BOS – 12/16/02
RP Lance Cormier 2002 – 4th Rd 3 8-7, 6.21 ERA, 124.2 IP,87 K, 68 BB Traded to ATL – 12/7/05
RP Brian Bruney 2000 – 12th Rd 5 4-7, 6.17 ERA, 12 SV, 77.1 IP, 85 K, 62 BB Released – 5/20/06
RP Tony Pena Int’l FA – 2002 7 16-13, 4.08 ERA, 7 SV, 222.2 IP, 162 K, 67 BB Traded to CHW – 7/7/09
CL Jose Valverde Int’l FA – 1997 10 9-14, 3.29 ERA, 98 SV, 260 IP, 331 K, 111 BB Traded to HOU – 12/14/07
BN Jack Cust
1997 – 1st Rd (30) 4 3 gm, 1-2 Traded to COL – 1/7/02
BN Scott Hairston 2001 – 3rd Rd 6 201 gm, .238/.293/.407, 16 HR, 47 RBI, 5 SB Traded to SD – 7/27/07
BN Rod Barajas Int’l FA – 1996 7 211 gm, .212/.257/.334, 11 HR, 66 RBI Left via Free Agency – 12/21/03
BN Chad Tracy 2001 – 7th Rd 8 704 gm, .280/.339/.453, 78 HR, 318 RBI, 11 SB Left via Free Agency – 11/5/09
BN Rusty Ryal
2005 – 14th Rd 5 129 gm, .265/.322/.407, 6 HR, 20 RBI Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

For a team who has only been drafting for less than 15 years, they have done very well in the draft, especially in the first round. Justin Upton, Stephen Drew, and Conor Jackson have all been cornerstones of the team at one point during the career, and they have clearly gotten solid Major League talent out of other picks, with Scherzer used to acquire Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy. There are a lot of players that were drafted by the organization who were turned into other players, with Brett Anderson probably providing the highest value (used to acquire Dan Haren). But they have also had some late round values as well, with Brandon Webb and Mark Reynolds being the best examples from that group. Overall, they have drafted very well.

International Free Agency

The Diamondbacks have also done very well int the international free agent market, signing future closer Jose Valverde and MVP candidate Carlos Gonzalez. But they have also had solid players, especially in catchers Rod Barajas and Miguel Montero. There were also a lot of other middling relievers that were originally signed by the Diamondbacks, but I felt weren’t as high of a quality as the ones I chose above.

Overall Grade

A. The Diamondbacks had one of the largest amounts of Major Leaguers who started in their system in all of baseball, and I was able to put together a very good roster of players who could compete with nearly anyone. There were at least another 15 players who I could have included on their roster that made the Majors and were productive for at least some length of time. They have also done well with trading a lot of these players (not all of them, clearly), as they were able to acquire the players they needed to make productive playoff pushes. I will be interested to see whether or not they retain interim GM Jerry DiPoto, or if they go get a more recognized GM to run their organization going forward.

Trade Deadline Thoughts


With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, I put out a call to some of the team-centric bloggers from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance with 3 questions each, dependent on whether or not they considered their team to be a contender or not. Below are the questions, along with each of the responses.

Note that most of these responses were received over the last week, so some may be a bit out of date with the information now known, but that has more with my inability to sit down and write it all down and not with the respondents themselves.

The Respondents

Bill Ivie from I-70 Baseball (Responses are for the Cardinals)
Daniel Shoptaw from C70 at the Bat (Cardinals)
Bee Hylinski from Contract Year (Athletics)

For Contending Teams:

1.  What would you say is your team’s most pressing need to help them get to (or stay in) the playoffs?

Ivie: I will take the opinion side of this.  I have said it for months now.  The Cardinals need some strong help in the middle infield.  When they get production and table setting from the 2b/SS position, they produce and win.  When those positions are quiet, the team loses.

Shoptaw: There are two glaring holes on this team–middle infield, most especially shortstop, and the back of the rotation.  With the hopeful emergence of Tyler Greene to replace Brendan Ryan‘s woeful production, getting another starter would seem to be the most pressing need.  The team can not continue to run out Jeff Suppan and Blake Hawksworth on a regular basis and expect to play in October.

Interesting to me is the fact that both writers agree that the Cardinals’ middle infield is pretty much a black hole in terms of offense. I’m also inclined to agree with Daniel about the fact that the Cardinals need something in their rotation, but I think they are going to have to either make a small acquisition or wait to find out if and when injured pitchers Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse will be able to return to the rotation.

2. What player(s) do you think would most effectively fit that need? Generally, these would only be players that actually have a decent chance of being traded, so no offers for Albert Pujols 🙂

Ivie: What if I want to offer for Albert…oh, wait…we got ’em.  Dan Uggla is always and intriguing name.  I also like the discussions that are suggesting Stephen Drew at SS.  Other than that, I think the market is kind of small for help, but hopefully they can find something out there.

Shoptaw: While the Cardinals would be well-suited to a Dan Haren or a Roy Oswalt, their contract situation most likely leaves them out of the crosshairs of GM John Mozeliak.  All moves must be filtered through the prism of the potential Albert Pujols extension.  Therefore, they’d much rather have someone that was a free agent after this season rather than someone taking up space in the next year or two.  You would think, in that case, they’d look for someone like a Jake Westbrook or perhaps a Kevin Millwood.

I actually really like the idea of the Cardinals acquiring Dan Uggla for a playoff run. While he is a bit expensive at $7.8 million for this season, he is under team control for next season as well, and could conceivably be moved during the offseason if they feel he will be too expensive. I actually really like the Stephen Drew thought as well, but he has more seasons under team control and would realistically cost more to acquire than Uggla. The Cardinals also seem like they would be a good team to take a risk on a Jake Westbrook/Kevin Millwood/Jeremy Guthrie type, and pair them up with Dave Duncan and let him do his magic.

3. What player(s) in your system are most likely to net you the player(s) for those needs?

Ivie: This probably is the biggest obstacle for the Cardinals.  I would say that Bryan Anderson (AAA Catcher), Mitchell Boggs (ML Reliever), and Brendan Ryan (ML Shorstop).  Brendan may be thrown in for a change of scenery and take a team that feels that is what he needs, but it will be hard to tell.

Shoptaw: What they can give up is another story.  Since they used a lot of their chips last year acquiring Mark DeRosa and then Matt Holliday, there’s not a lot on the farm.  There are potentially useful players such as Mark Hamilton and Joe Mather, along with current big leaguers Jon Jay and Allen Craig, that could be used as parts of a deal.  Most likely, St. Louis would have to take on payroll, something that ownership has said there is flexibility to do, and give away lesser quality prospects.  Expect that Brendan Ryan could be a part of a deal as well, especially if they do make a deal for a shortstop.

After looking at the Cardinals system myself, it’s pretty empty at the higher levels. The biggest name that I have heard for them is pitcher Shelby Miller, who I would assume would have to be included in a trade if they were to get themselves someone like Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren. The other thing to remember at this point is that if they acquire a player who has a longer term contract, they may start running into a problem with their payroll limits after 2011 when they will need to resign Albert Pujols.

For Non-Contenders:

1. Which player(s) on your team do you think are most likely to get moved before the deadline?

Hylinski: Pitcher Ben Sheets, notwithstanding Billy Beane’s comments that he doesn’t plan on moving anyone.  Sheets has pitched better with every start recently.  His fastball is up to the mid nineties and all his other pitchers are working more accurately.  He’s a veteran presence and great with the young pitchers.  Speaking of the latter,  if a team would give up a great player and need more than Sheets, the A’s have a plethora of young pitchers in the minors to sweeten the pot.

I really thought that they were going to move him, and that despite his veteran presence he could bring back a fair amount in return. Unfortunately, he was placed on the disabled list on Saturday, and could potentially miss the rest of the season.

2. What would you like to see the organization get in return (ie, a 3B prospect, starting pitching prospects, salary relief, etc)? Specific players aren’t necessarily a requirement, unless you see a specific good match.

Hylinski: A slugger, a 3 or 4 hole hitter who can also play in the field (not another Jack Cust, please)  Someone like Hanley Ramirez would be terrific: a young major league hitter (or major-league ready hitter) with substantial pop in his bat.

I agree that this is definitely what the Athletics need, because the lineup just isn’t good enough in terms of power. Even when Sheets was healthy, I’m not sure I saw a player on the A’s current roster that could have brought that in return. Maybe catcher Kurt Suzuki, but with him now signed to a contract extension, I don’t think he’s going anywhere for at least a couple of seasons.

3. Do you see a good fit for these players that you think could get a deal done?

Hylinski: I am not convinced that Billy Beane and the ownership will pay top dollar for a hot bat.  But that’s what the team needs.  The only 2 bats at top of the A’s minor league system (Sacramento River Cats) are Chris Carter who can only play 1st base, so unless something happens to Daric Barton who has been a hitting and field machine, he’s not coming up; and  Michael Taylor who is at least a year off.

Another possibility might be 2nd-baseman Mark Ellis (though I’d really hate to see him go).  I understand the Phillies and maybe the Red Sox are looking for a 2nd baseman.  Probably Kevin Kouzmanoff will not be traded unless the other end of the deal is too good to pass up.

I’m inclined to agree with these points also, unfortunately. With the stadium situation continuing to drag on in Oakland, and with the team possibly moving to parts unknown, San Jose, or half a dozen other places, they just seem extremely unlikely to pay to get someone like that. The two prospects Bee mentioned have unfortunately been disappointments at AAA to this point, and signs are pointing that they may actually have to repeat the level again next season.

Overall, I thought it was interesting to get the perspective of some writers who are clearly very knowledgeable about their teams, and see if their observations about their teams were similar to mine as someone who sees it a little more at arm’s length. Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions, and you should check out their blogs at the links above as well.

Also, Allen Teruel over at Prorumors.Com had a series of writeups regarding potential trade targets for each team and certain types of players as well. You can find these stories here:
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/national-league-west-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-west-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/nationals-league-central-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-central-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/national-league-east-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-east-buyers-and-sellers/

Here are a few Top 10 lists that can help you out too:
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-10-mlb-power-hitters-that-could-be-traded-by-july-31/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-10-mlb-starting-pitchers-that-could-be-traded-by-july-31/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-ten-prospects-that-could-get-traded-by-july-31/

Team Preview – Arizona Diamondbacks


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Miguel Montero SP 1 Dan Haren
1B Adam LaRoche SP 2 Brandon Webb
2B Kelly Johnson SP 3 Edwin Jackson
3B Mark Reynolds SP 4 Ian Kennedy
SS Stephen Drew SP 5 Billy Buckner
LF Conor Jackson Bullpen
CF Chris Young CL Chad Qualls
RF Justin Upton RP Juan Gutierrez
Bench RP Bobby Howry
IF Tony Abreu RP Aaron Heilman
OF Gerardo Parra RP Clay Zavada

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Edwin Jackson Trade (DET) SP Max Scherzer Trade (DET)
SP Ian Kennedy Trade (NYY) RP Daniel Schlereth Trade (DET)
1B Adam LaRoche Free Agency OF Eric Byrnes DFA

Top Prospects: Jarrod Parker (SP), Brandon Allen (1B), A.J. Pollock (OF), Bobby Borchering (3B)

2009 Review

The Diamondbacks’ 2009 season started off poorly, and never really got any better. Opening Day starter Brandon Webb threw only 4 innings prior to leaving with an injury. That would be the only appearance he would make for the entire year. With the exception of Dan Haren, the rest of the rotation didn’t do much better. SP Doug Davis and SP Max Scherzer both posted ERAs over 4 and only had 9 wins each for their efforts, despite combining for 64 starts between them. The team finished 70-92, last in their division, but there were a few bright spots. On offense, 3B Mark Reynolds (44 HR, 102 RBI, 24 SB), OF Justin Upton (.300, 26 HR, 86 RBI, 20 SB) and C Miguel Montero (.294, 16 HR, 59 RBI) all performed very well. The bright spot in the rotation remained SP Dan Haren, who went 14-10 with a 3.14 ERA and 223 strikeouts in 229 innings. Their poor performance led to the shopping of veterans as the trade deadline approached, and were able to move IF Felipe Lopez and SP Jon Garland for prospects.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Diamondbacks are looking to build around their young core of players. 3B Mark Reynolds and OF Justin Upton were both signed to extensions during the offseason which will buy out their arbitration years. The biggest move of the offseason has to be the trade of SP Max Scherzer and RP Daniel Schlereth to the Tigers as a part of a 3 team deal that brought back SPs Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy. The team also made some low level signings, bringing in 1B Adam LaRoche and 2B Kelly Johnson on 1 year contracts. Both of these could have some upside, and the potential to also be trade chips if they fall out of the race early.

Overall, I am not sure that they are ready to compete with the top teams in their division this year. Their starting pitching has a lot of questions, as Ian Kennedy has never pitched a full season in the Majors, and it remains to be seen when Brandon Webb will be making his first start of the year. They will need rebound efforts from Conor Jackson and Stephen Drew, among others for them to have a chance to compete.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

OF Justin Upton is a top 5 outfielder, with the potential to hit .300 and go 30-30. 3B Mark Reynolds will look to repeat his 40/20 season from last year, and SP Dan Haren is as consistent as it gets. C Miguel Montero is a top-10 catcher for sure, and has the upside to be top-5. For deeper leagues, I would look at OF Chris Young, who is not far removed from a 20-20 season of his own.

Prediction for 2010

The Diamondbacks are still building, but I don’t think that they have the pitching to compete effectively in their division. There are just too many question marks.

74-88, 4th in the NL West

Fantasy Preview – Shortstop


A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season.

My top 15 Shortstops for 2010

1. Hanley Ramirez – FLA
R HR RBI SB AVG
101 24 106 27 .342
Ramirez set career highs in batting average and runs batted in in 2009, and is still only 26 years old heading into the season. Ramirez provides excellent value in all 5 categories, and I could see him potentially getting back into 30-30 range this season as well. While I think that the batting average would suffer somewhat with an increase in power, he’s still far and away the best shortstop for fantasy purposes coming into the 2010 season.


2. Troy Tulowitzki – COL
R HR RBI SB AVG
101 32 92 20 .297
Tulowitzki has been a bit of a mixed bag the last few seasons, as I’m sure owners who had him in 2008 would attest. As a result, he fell on draft day last year, and 2009 owners got a great value out of Troy. Tulowitzki is also another young shortstop (still only 25), and could conceivably see more growth as both a power hitter and a run producer. I think he can very easily achieve numbers similar to his 2009 season again.


3. Jimmy Rollins – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
100 21 77 31 .250
Rollins will look to rebound this season, as he had a terrible first half of the season. Dragging down his average last season was his batting average on balls in play (.251), which if it regresses closer to the mean, should improve his average between 20 and 30 points. I think that the rest of the numbers are probably pretty close to spot on for a 2010 season as well, with potentially a few more steals due to being on base more often.


4. Ben Zobrist – TAM
Also qualifies at 2B and OF
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 27 91 17 .297
I talked about Zobrist in the 2B preview. I think that the positional flexibility puts him slightly ahead of players with similar numbers at this position. I also think he’s going to have to be drafted slightly higher than his stats would normally suggest.


5. Derek Jeter – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
107 18 66 30 .334
Jeter was a bit of a shocker last season, as he posted numbers that approached his career high in multiple categories, all at the age of 35. I think he was partially helped by the new Yankee Stadium, but I also think that Jeter can post similar numbers again this year. The power may drop slightly (think 15 instead of 18), but the average is not that far out of his normal range, and neither is the speed or runs. The Yankee lineup is going to create a lot of runs, and Jeter near the top of the order will be in line to score a lot of them as well.


6. Jose Reyes – NYM
R HR RBI SB AVG
18 2 15 11 .279
Nearly everyone who drafted Jose Reyes last year was hurt pretty badly as a result of it. Shut down by a leg injury, Reyes played in only 36 games last season, and posting reasonable stats for him in that time. All reports seem to indicate that Reyes is back to 100%, and if so, is a threat to steal 50 bases and hit 15 homers again. Watch for reports during spring training regarding his ability to run. If there are problems during spring training with that, I’d be extremely concerned. I have him ranked here because of the upside related to that speed.


7. Jason Bartlett – TAM
R HR RBI SB AVG
90 14 66 30 .320
Bartlett posted an excellent season for the Rays last year, posting career highs in all 5 categories. Of some concern to me are two peripheral statistics. His line-drive percentage spiked to 26%, from a career mark of around 20%. Also, his BABIP was a career high .364, up from his 2008 season mark of .330. The speed appears legitimate, although I would draft Bartlett with caution. If you expect him to post a similar season to 2009, you could be in for a rude awakening.


8. Elvis Andrus – TEX
R HR RBI SB AVG
72 6 40 33 .267
Andrus posted an excellent rookie season last year, and should see some growth potential this season. Andrus will enter the 2010 season at only 21 years old, but I think he will have the potential to score more runs, and even see a slight improvement in his steals and batting average as well. I don’t believe he has yet begun to approach his potential.


9. Marco Scutaro – BOS
R HR RBI SB AVG
100 12 60 14 .282
Scutaro improved on his 2008 campaign by cementing himself in the discussion for fantasy shortstops. He’s not likely to provide a huge amount of homers or steals, but will provide value in all 5 categories. I think that the move to Boston, with their better lineup and with the Green Monster in LF will help him, as he tended to pull most of his homeruns last year. I think that he could conceivably score more runs and have more RBI as well. Even at 34, I think there is still some upside in Scutaro.


10. Alexei Ramirez – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
71 15 68 14 .277
Ramirez improved on his plate discipline last season, and while it didn’t show in his batting average or power, it bodes well for him to continue to improve. I think that Ramirez has the potential to post a 20-20 season, although I am not 100% sure it will be this season. I’d be pretty happy with the season he posted last year. He’s probably going to fall closer to where he should be drafted this year, due to the loss of the positional flexibility he had coming into the 2009 season. But he’s still a solid value shortstop, and owners should be pretty happy with the results he provides.


11. Ryan Theriot – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
81 7 54 21 .284
The Riot posted a solid season last year, but there is something of some concern I noted in some of his other statistics. 2009 was the first season that his walk total was substantially lower than his strikeout total (51 BB/93 K). This was also easily the highest strikeout total he’s had as a Major Leaguer. I think that if he can cut down the strikeouts back toward the totals he has posted in the past (50, 58), his average could approach .300 again. Which would be really helpful, as I don’t believe he’s going to necessarily hit more than 5 homers this season.


12. Asdrubal Cabrera – CLE
Also qualifies at 2B
R HR RBI SB AVG
81 6 68 17 .308
I also wrote about Cabrera in my 2B rankings. I think he provides a good value at SS, and will provide some value in all 5 categories. He seems to be getting a lot of hype this offseason, so he may end up being drafted earlier than expected.


13. Miguel Tejada – BAL
Will qualify at 3B after 5 starts
R HR RBI SB AVG
83 14 86 5 .313
I actually didn’t write up Tejada at 3B, as I thought his value wasn’t that high compared to some of the other players at the position. Tejada seems unlikely to post more than about 15 homers at this point, but should be the beneficiary of more chances to score and drive in runs in the Orioles lineup. The average should stay similar, and the positional flexibility he will possess after the first week of the season will be a nice bonus as well. But I don’t think he’s going to approach the numbers he posted in his MVP season unless he starts counting other players’ stats as his own.


14. Alcides Escobar – MIL
R HR RBI SB AVG
20 1 11 4 .304
Escobar has been handed the starting SS job in Milwaukee after the trade of J.J. Hardy. He looks to be a speedster, who I could see stealing 30-40 bases with the playing time he’s going to receive. Do remember though that he is still a rookie, and will likely see some struggles as a result. Over the span of the season, he should approach 90 runs and a .290 batting average. There’s some upside here, but he’s probably not likely to become either Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins for a couple of years, if ever.


15. Cliff Pennington – OAK
R HR RBI SB AVG
27 4 21 7 .279
Another upside play, Pennington looks to me like a threat to steal 20+ bases in a full season. He’s unlikely to show a lot of power, as the 7 homeruns he hit last year between AAA and the Majors was his career high. Another thought of some concern would be the fact that the A’s aren’t exactly well known for producing a whole lot of runs. At this point in the rankings though, I’d rather have some upside, and Pennington does have some.


After my top 15, there’s still some potentially useful players. J.J Hardy of the Twins stands out as someone to monitor during spring training. This is a player who posted back to back 20+ homer seasons back in 2007-2008. If you’re still looking at this point for a shortstop, Stephen Drew and Yunel Escobar will provide some value in most categories without necessarily killing you in others. In the speed demon group, you’ve got Everth Cabrera, who is a cheap source of steals. You may have noticed a specific “name” player who I haven’t really mentioned at this point, and that’s Rafael Furcal of the Dodgers. Furcal, to me, looks like a player who has transitioned into a better real-life player than fantasy player. He does provide some value though, and is another player to keep an eye on during the season.

Tomorrow I will continue on with my team previews, as I review the American League Central this week, starting with the Chicago White Sox.