Friday, January 09, 2009

Dealing with a weak Shortstop Position in 2009

Position Scarcity?? BAH!! If you're like me, your probably not worrying so much about the lack of depth at the shortstop position this season, and you shouldn't. Then again, I like to do the opposite of what most people like to do. Maybe I'm the George Costanza of fantasy baseball. Fact is, many people are crazy over the fact that SS is indeed the weakest position in the draft in 2009. I don't want to spew on pointless information, so here are the facts you need to know. Follow along....

Whether snake draft or auction, there are only 11 shortstops worth spending money or that make a solid pick on draft day and they are...
Hanley Ramirez
Jose Reyes
Jimmy Rollins
Derek Jeter
Stephen Drew
Rafael Furcal
Troy Tulowitzski
Michael Young

Miguel Tejada
J.J. Hardy
Jhonny Peralta

This is the order I rank these 1st and 2nd tier shortstops. After this group, the list drops off considerably. In snake drafts, the first 3 are obviously drafted by the early second round if Rollins falls. Then, no one touches a shortstop until approximately late round 5 or early round 6, in which I usually take Jeter personally. Say what you want about Jeter and his age and his decline, but you guys are fooling yourselves if you think he's finished. But, this post isn't about me. It's about helping you! Once Drew, Jeter or Furcal are drafted as the first 2nd tier SS choosen, then comes a shortstop run. If you miss out on one of these guys, forget it! Might as well get lucky and pluck a flier later. As it turns out, J.J. Hardy and Jhonny Peralta sometimes last into the 10th round, but never any later. If I were you, and you are scared you could end up with crap at the end of the draft, I'd pick the best available of this list above with your 9th round pick. As usual, I am talking about normal 12 team mixed league drafts. Obviously, you'd have to adjust these projections in leagues with more or less teams.

In Auctions, without going to crazy here, the idea is the same. Your going to have to pay in the $15-$20 range for the 2nd tier shortstops I mentioend above. Otherwise, just wait until th eend because anyone else you throw out there will probably be $5 or less.

The best of the next group.....and here you can see how weak SS is....
Yuneal Escobar - Always hurt, team stinks, but is young, has upside and .300+ potential
Orlando Cabrera - A consistent .280BA/20SB guy
Mike Aviles - There is .300+ potential here but he has Mike Moustakas in the minors who will push to make the team at some point in 2009 possibly, plus, sophomore year for Aviles could make or break him.
Jed Lowrie - Don't assume because he hits in the Boston lineup that he'll be great, he'll bat at the bottom of the order and doesn't have much power, but he does have upside.
Edgar Renteria - Back in the NL could help.
Christian Guzman - Might hit .300 again but injury prone.

Ryan Theriot - .280/20+SB potential
Khalil Greene - 25+HR power but he's a .200 hitter

So let's be honest here, there's some value late in the draft if it fits your team like if you need stolen bases, then Cabrera or Theroit make sense for example. However, you really want to get one of those 2nd tier shortstops if you miss out on one of the top 3. That's the bottom line. Personally, I'd grab two back to back if you are in a league with a middle infielder and hoard two of these guys. This will create panic among other owners and you may benefit from that later.

So looking at that list above, those are the only lower tiered players I'd think about. Cabrera, Escobar, Aviles are all gone before the 15th round usually. Lowrie sometime around the 16th and the other guys are fliers. This is what I am seeing. So draft your SS before it's too late!

To put this in perspective, I have drafted in about 10 expert mocks and 3 real expert leagues. In every one of these drafts, I produced Reyes, Rollins, Jeter, Drew, Tulowitzski or J.J. Hardy. Two of these three are represented on every documented draft I've done this year so far with the exception of one. I did one draft where I drafted Orlando Cabrera in the 14th I think. I believe that was the first live expert draft at MDC I did before Christmas. I drafted Jeter as my SS and Cabrera as my MI because I needed SB's at the time. I can guarantee from here on in that every other draft I do, mock or real, I am getting a solid SS and another one as an MI.

That leaves second base! This year I am sucking it up and drafting either Jose Lopez or Felipe Lopez at the end of the draft to take a flier. This is usally my weakest player. If you follow my work, you know I load up on power early, I get my SB's and I work on pitching throughout the entire draft, so it's okay if one of my last 3-4 picks is one of the Lopez' whom both have upside.

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