The FantasyMan’s declaration that Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins are bound for bigger seasons than Troy Tulowitzki sparked me to write into the website. I like his bold predictions on many of the other positions, but this one was a stretch.When it comes to the shortstop position this year, and in recent years, it is the weakest position due to its lack of young stars and players who can hit for power. With this in mind, the two best shortstops in fantasy are young and can hit for considerable power. I think we can all agree that Hanley Ramirez is the number 1 shortstop in fantasy, with major contributions in all 5 categories. The number 2 fantasy shortstop is the real debate here, and I think it’s no contest.....it's Troy Tulowitzki.
Take a look at each of their stat lines from 2010:
Reyes: 563 AB, .282 AVG, 83 R, 11 HR, 54 RBI, 30 SB
Rollins: 350 AB, .243 AVG, 48 R, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 17 SB
Tulowitzki: 470 AB, .315 AVG, 89 R, 27 HR, 95 RBI, 11 SB
What we can take from this is that Tulowitzki is clearly number 2, Reyes a clear 3, and Rollins a distance behind both of them. I’m not ashamed to say that coming into last year, I was high on both and Reyes and Rollins, as I thought they were under the radar players coming off injury filled seasons. In fact, I had all three of these shortstops last year, and I was burned by the inconsistence and amount of missed games from Reyes and Rollins, while Tulowitzki single handedly carried me to the fantasy championship (ultimately losing to Mark). The thing that most worries me about Jose Reyes is the injuries, because when he is at full strength he is a great fantasy contributer. I fell in love with his 2005-2008 outputs, where he averaged 113 R, .287 AVG, 14 HR, 66 RBI, 64 SB a year. His hamstring injury has limited his speed and therefore diminished his value as a fantasy star. Reyes can’t be trusted to play a full season at this point in his career.
Brady's Projection: .279, 90 R, 10 HR, 50 RBI, 30 SB
Jimmy Rollins is essentially Jose Reyes with about 5 years more mileage on his body. He was once a perennial all-star but injuries and old age have slowed him down considerably. It goes to show how woefully bad shortstop is this year when we are talking about a player past his prime, who batted .243 with 8 homers last year, as a realistic top 3 player in his respective position. C’mon .243!? What are you drafting him for? Steals? Yeah he will give you 20-30 steals, hopefully, but at the cost of having to start a player who doesn’t have power anymore and seriously hurts your team batting average. Since he’s not projected to bat leadoff this year for the Phillies, a job which has landed in the hands of the Flyin’ Hawaiin Shane Victorino, he will probably not have the same 100 run year owners have come to expect from him. Hope for a bounce back year from Rollins, but expect another decline in an aging star.
Brady's Projection: .250, 78 R, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 26 SB
Finally, the star of the article, Troy Tulowitzki. Rookie of the Year runner up in 2007, Tulo is this year’s second best fantasy shortstop. He may not have the speed that the other top shortstops possess, but he has far more power than any of them. Some may argue Hanley has just as much pop, but I think he’s more of a mid 20s homer guy than the mid 30s that he put up in 2008. The FantasyMan made a good point that Tulo put up the bulk of his numbers at the end of last season. At the beginning of the 2010 season, Tulowitzki struggled to hit homers and he spent some time on the DL. When he was heathly though, he rebounded in a major way and finished with 27 bombs in just 122 games. I think you have to take the season as whole, and not isolate one month as fluky. If you want to use this method, you could say that his first few months were fluky, and do not represent his actual level of talent. In the end, they both even out. Tulo will continue to improve as a hitter and don’t be surprised at the end of 2011 if he nudges his way past Hanley as the preeminent fantasy shortstop.
Brady's Projection: .307, 103 R, 35 HR, 110 RBI, 14 SB