In 2010 fantasy baseball, shortstop is a position rich in stolen bases. While only five shortstops eclipsed the .800 OPS mark in 2009, 17 finished with double digits in stolen bases. Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki are great run-producing shortstops, but after them, the ranks thin quickly and speed becomes the main commodity.
1. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez has spent his time in Florida establishing himself as the best offensive shortstop in the game. He has averaged 29 home runs and 38 stolen bases per year over the last three seasons. Ramirez scored 101 runs for the fourth consecutive season and eclipsed the 100 RBI mark for the first time in his career in 2009. Ramirez had a .954 OPS in 2009 – the highest among all shortstops – and he has eclipsed .940 in each of the last three seasons. The top 2010 fantasy baseball shortstop is Hanley Ramirez.
2. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
Troy Tulowitzki rebounded from a tough 2008 season with one of the best performances by a shortstop in 2009. Tulowitzki hit .297 with 32 home runs, 92 RBI, and 101 runs scored. Tulowitzki really hit his stride after the All-Star break, hitting .344 with a 1.043 OPS in the second half of the season. He stole 20 bases in 2009, but his rate was unimpressive as he was caught 11 times; he may not be given the green light as often in 2010. Troy Tulowitzki is a top 2010 fantasy baseball shortstop.
3. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies
Despite having a bad 2009 season by his standards, Jimmy Rollins still put up respectable fantasy numbers, particularly for a shortstop. Rollins hit 21 home runs and stole 31 bases in 2009 and despite getting on base at a brutal .296 clip, he scored 100 runs. Rollins remains a top tier 2010 fantasy baseball shortstop, but his year-to-year inconsistency is something to be mindful of when drafting.
4. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
The new Yankee Stadium has given Derek Jeter the opportunity to be a valuable fantasy baseball player again. Jeter saw his OPS jump by .100 points from 2008 to 2009 and increased his home run total from 11 to 18. Jeter had the fourth highest batting average in baseball at .334, he scored 107 runs which ranked eighth, and he drove in 66 RBI. Jeter even added 30 stolen bases, the third highest total of his career, but as he enters his age 36 season his speed numbers are likely to drop.
Tie-5. Jason Bartlett, Tampa Bay Rays
Jason Bartlett had a huge performance spike in 2009, shattering his previous career highs in every major category. Bartlett hit 14 home runs, drove in 66 RBI, and scored 90 runs last season. His combined home run total in his previous four seasons was 11. Bartlett hit .320 and had a .879 OPS, nearly .200 points higher than his previous two seasons. He added 30 stolen bases in 37 attempts. It’s not a safe bet to expect Bartlett’s power surge to continue, but his stolen base and run scoring numbers should be safe if he continues to hit leadoff for Tampa.
Tie-5. Marco Scutaro, Boston Red Sox
Like Bartlett, Marco Scutaro put together a breakout season in 2009, though the spike was less pronounced. Scutaro hit 12 home runs and scored 100 times, both career highs, though his 60 RBI actually matched his 2008 total. In his two seasons in Toronto, Scutaro did more running, combining for 21 stolen bases over two years. Scutaro will enjoy the advantage of playing in one of baseball’s deepest lineups and if he even comes close to his .379 on-base percentage from last year, he will have ample run scoring opportunities.