2011 Fantasy Ranking: Shortstop (SS)

When it comes to fantasy baseball, there might not be a tougher position to fill than shortstop.

What you'll see on draft day is that there are two top tier shortstops, three second tier veterans and everyone else.  The two guys at the top won't make it past the first round.  The next three will probably fall somewhere in the 3-5th round and then after that it's a crap shoot. 

So without further adieu, here are 2011 shortstop rankings.

First Round
1 . Troy Tulowitski - 4th in the NL in batting average and more HR and RBI than any other SS on our list.  What if he had not missed 6 weeks with a broken wrist?  An MVP trophy is within reach.
2. Hanley Ramirez - a down year for Hanley produced a triple slash line of .300/.378/.475 to go along with 32 steals and his third consecutive all-star appearance.  With a full year of protection from Mike Stanton, expect a bounceback season for Hanley (.315/.400/.500).  He might actually go before Tulo but I give Tulo the nod because of the power.

Rounds 3, 4 and 5
3. Derek Jeter - a beacon of consistency... go ahead an pencil him in for 105-110 R and 65-70 RBI.  His average dipped slightly in 2010 but he's a career .314 hitter and has won 4 out of the last 5 AL silver slugger awards at his position.
4. Jose Reyes - if the injury mystery is solved, Reyes could be very valuable here.  When healthy, he fills up a stat sheet and is going to produce in every area except HR (partially because he's not a home run hitter and partially because he plays at Citi Field which laughs at the size of other stadiums).
5. Jimmy Rollins - the perennial gold glove winner has seen his average decline in each of the past three seasons to a career low .246 in 2010.  Rollins is this high because he has the potential to score 125 R, while knocking in 80 RBI and stealing 35 bases. 

Rounds 6-8
6. Alexei Ramirez AKA "The Cuban Missile" -  the best nickname in the baseball and the 2010 silver slugger award winner in the AL.  Ramirez does a little bit of everything and is a decent option at shortstop.
7. Elvis Andrus - he's going to steal a lot of bases, score a lot of runs and he's only going to get better.

Remaining Rounds
8. Stephen Drew - he's got some pop and he even increased his stolen base total last year.  He's a solid pick in later rounds.
9. Ian Desmond - he's still learning how to play in the field (his 34 errors were the most committed by any player in the NL) but he seems to have it figured out with the bat.  Once he gets comfortable in the field, he could put up some nice numbers.
10. Yunel Escobar - after joining the Blue Jays, Yunel showed why he was once considered to be among the elite prospects in the game.  If a change of scenery gets his career back on track, he could be a steal here.
11. Alex Gonzalez - he hit a career high 23 HR last year.  His 17 first half HR prompted a trade the Braves who were in the mix for a division crown.  Unfortunately, that means Gonzalez only hit 7 HR after joining the Braves in mid-July.  Has to prove that he's worthy of playing every day and if he doesn't build on the power numbers, he's not going to give you much else.
12. Jhonny Peralta - he's going to give you little bit of everything minus the stolen bases.  He'll have the opportunity to score and knock in a lot of runs on the Tigers but it seems like Peralta has been regressing and at some point potential gives way to a lower ceiling.

Sleeper Picks:

Starlin Castro - the twenty-one year old rookie phenom burst onto the scene in 2010 and posted an eyebrow raising .300/.347/.408 triple slash line.  Make no mistake, he's going to be a good one.  It remains to be seen whether he can keep it together for a full season, but if things go well, Castro could have a very nice season.
Miguel Tejada - the 37 (ish) year old Tejada joined the defending World Champion SF Giants in the offseason and will move back to his natural position at shortstop, replacing Juan Uribe who left for LA (Dodgers).  Tejada had a down year in 2010 but he's one year removed from posting a .313/.340/.455 triple slash line.  Can he find that stroke or is he cooked?
Jed Lowrie - it looks like Lowrie will get a chance to win the starting job in Boston and he proved to be very valuable in his short stint with the Red Sox in 2010, posting a .287/.381/.526 triple slash to go along with 9 HR in only 55 games.  If things go right, Lowrie will be an impact fantasy shortstop.  If they don't he'll find himself in a time-share utility role.
Mike Aviles - what will he do in his first full season as a big league starter?  Aviles has potential but the Royals never seem to project well.  If things go right, I could see him scoring 80 runs and knocking in 70 RBI but even that might be a long shot.


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