SHORTSTOP (SS) RANKINGS 2009
1. Hanley Ramirez – Florida Marlins (25)
At just age 25 for the 2009 season, Ramirez has completely taken over the fantasy baseball world. He is clearly a top 3 overall fantasy baseball draft pick heading into the 2009 season, and he is one of the few five scoring category players in all of fantasy baseball. 30 homeruns, 80 rbi, 40 stolen bases, 115 runs scored, and a solid .300 batting average can be expected from Hanley in 2009.
2. Jose Reyes – New York Mets (26)
Stolen bases and runs scored are obviously Reyes’ fantasy baseball game. If you draft Reyes you can put 60 stolen bases, 110 runs scored, 12 homeruns, 60 rbi, 12 triples, and a .290 batting average in the bank for the 2009 fantasy baseball season.
3. Jimmy Rollins – Philadelphia Phillies (30)
After coming off of his 2007 MVP campaign, fantasy baseball managers should have known better than to expect those type of stats again in 2008. However with expectations so high, Rollins clearly disappointed fantasy baseball teams last year. Yet it wasn’t his speed that was a problem, as he posted 47 steals in just 137 games, but rather his lack of power, as Rollins went from 30 homeruns and 94 rbi in 2007 to just 11 homeruns and 59 rbi in 2008. Entering the 2009 season, expecting 15-20 homeruns, 40 stolen bases, 100 runs scored, 65 rbi, and a batting average around .280 is likely for Rollins.
4. Johnny Peralta – Cleveland Indians (27)
Peralta will be entering the 2009 fantasy baseball season at the magically age of 27. However with three 20 plus homerun seasons already under his belt at the major league level, Peralta is already considered an excellent fantasy baseball shortstop. Peralta will qualify at shortstop in your fantasy baseball league for the 2009 season, but there is talk that the Indians may move him to third base this year. If Peralta does change positions, he will offer fantasy baseball teams added versatility and actually be more valuable from a fantasy baseball perspective. However a position change is all speculation as of now, so don’t bank on anything just yet. Peralta’s 2009 final stat line could include 25 homeruns, 80 rbi, 100 runs scored, and a .275 batting average.
5. Stephen Drew – Arizona Diamondbacks (26)
After posting a breakout year in 2008, Drew finally appears ready to take over the new and young wave of great fantasy baseball shortstops for the next five years. With 21 homeruns already under his belt from last year, an increase to 25 homeruns, 75 rbi, 100 runs scored, 5 stolen bases, and a .290 batting average is very possible for Drew during the 2009 season.
6. Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies (24)
Tulowitzki took fantasy baseball by storm after his 2007 playoff and World Series performance, however after being drafted extremely early in fantasy baseball drafts in 2008, Tulowitzki’s early season injury totally devastated fantasy baseball teams. With health back on his side, Tulowitzki has the potential to become a great fantasy baseball shortstop by the end of the 2009 season. His 2009 stats could include 25 homeruns, 100 rbi, 100 runs scored, 10 stolen bases, and a .290 batting average on the high end, or 15 homeruns, 75 rbi, 85 runs scored, 5 stolen bases, and a .275 batting average on the low end.
7. JJ Hardy – Milwaukee Brewers (26)
With back to back 20 plus homerun seasons in 2007 and 2008, Hardy is finally beginning to gain the trust of many fantasy baseball managers heading into the 2009 season. As of now, there is no reason why Hardy cannot repeat his success and post 25 homeruns, 80 rbi, 80 runs scored, and a .280 batting average in 2009.
8. Alexi Ramirez – Chicago White Sox (27) BUST
After last year’s breakout, Ramirez will be high in 2009 fantasy baseball rankings entering the season. However just remember that last year was Ramirez’s only major league experience, and it is possible that he regresses a bit in 2009. With that said, Ramirez still has plenty of potential to increase upon his 2008 numbers, but he clearly isn’t a safe bet. There are always ‘busts’ in fantasy baseball drafts, and Ramirez could very easily be one of them in 2009. On the other hand, if Ramirez isn’t a bust, 20 homeruns, 15 stolen bases, 70 rbi, 80 runs scored, and a batting average around .290 is possible.
9. Rafael Furcal – Los Angeles Dodgers (31)
Injuries have clearly gotten the best of Furcal over the past two seasons, however when he does stay healthy and can play, Furcal is one of the best shortstops in all of fantasy baseball. If Furcal can manage to play in just 130 games during the 2009 season, his final stat line could include 20-25 stolen bases, 5-10 homeruns, 80-90 runs scored, and batting average around .280-.290. If Furcal can manage to stay healthy and play more than 130 games, then an increase in stats across the board can be expected, with a total of 30-35 stolen bases possible for the 2009 season.
10. Derek Jeter – New York Yankees (35) BUST
At age 35 for the 2009 season, Jeter has already seen a steady decrease in production over the past two years. He is no longer a 20 homerun and 20 stolen base per season shortstop, but rather a 10 homerun and 10 stolen base shortstop. Yet Jeter’s steady batting average at .300 plus and the potential for 100 plus runs scored are still valuable assets for fantasy baseball teams in 2009. Jeter’s final stat line for the 2009 season could include 12 homeruns, 12 stolen bases, 70 rbi, 110 runs scored, and a .300 plus batting average.
11. Michael Young – Texas Rangers (32)
With the Rangers looking to move Young from shortstop to third base for the 2009 season, the only real cause for joy in 2009 fantasy baseball leagues will be Young’s duel eligibility. Otherwise the typical Michael Young stats of 10-15 homeruns, 80-100 rbi, 80-100 runs scored, 10 stolen bases, and a steady batting average around .300 seem likely for him during the 2009 season.
12. Mike Aviles – Kansas City Royals (28)
Even though he is the Royals starting shortstop, Aviles will still qualify at second base in fantasy baseball leagues in 2009. While Aviles is anything but a proven commodity, he offers way too much potential to pass up at this point in your rankings and draft. With 500 plus at bats possible for Aviles during the 2009 season, stats in the range of 15 homeruns, 12 stolen bases, 80 runs scored, 70 rbi, and a .300 batting average is all very likely.
13. Ryan Theriot – Chicago Cubs (29)
Even though Theriot doesn’t offer great all around fantasy baseball stats, he does offer solid production in the stolen bases category, as well as chipping him with a solid batting average around .300. With the starting shortstop job in hand to begin the 2009 season, Theriot has the potential to post 30 stolen bases, 90 runs scored, 3 homeruns, 40 rbi, and a batting average around .300.
14. Miguel Tejada – Houston Astros (35)
At age 35 for the 2009 season, Tejada has clearly lost his top 5 and even top 10 overall fantasy baseball shortstop ranking to begin the 2009 season. However because Tejada does play in a hitter friendly ballpark in Houston, he still has the potential to put up decent homerun numbers for a shortstop in 2009. Something in the range of 10-15 homeruns, 90 runs scored, 70-80 rbi, 5 stolen bases, and a batting average around .290 seems likely for Tejada in 2009.
15. Yunel Escobar – Atlanta Braves (26)
Escobar was a top sleeper pick for many fantasy baseball managers entering the 2008 fantasy baseball season, however due to injuries and a lack of Atlanta Braves offense surrounding him, Escobar didn’t have the breakout season many anticipated. While it is unlikely Escobar becomes a star fantasy baseball shortstop during the 2009 season, his stats should still be fantasy baseball roster spot worthy. Expecting 10 homeruns, 8-10 stolen bases, 80-90 runs scored, 70 rbi, and a batting average around .290 seem like realistic expectations from Escobar in 2009.
16. Jason Bartlett – Tampa Bay Rays (29) BREAKOUT
After posting back to back 20 stolen base seasons in 2007 and 2008, Bartlett will enter the 2009 fantasy baseball season as an excellent backup or second shortstop option on any and all fantasy baseball teams. If Bartlett can stay healthy and post 500-600 at bats, he could easily steal 30 plus bases, with 80 runs scored, 50 rbi, 5 homeruns, and a solid .290 batting average.
17. Khalil Greene – St. Louis Cardinals (29)
Homeruns and power potential has never been a problem for Greene, however staying healthy and maintaining a batting average over .250 has been nearly impossible for him throughout his career. If you can handle a batting average around .250, then Greene should give your team 20 homeruns, 5 stolen bases, 80 runs scored, and 80 rbi for the 2009 season.
18. Elvis Andrus – Texas Rangers (20) SLEEPER
With the news of Michael Young being moved over to third base to begin the 2009 season, everything is shaping up to give Andrus a huge opportunity to win the starting shortstop job for the Rangers by opening day 2009. If Andrus does in fact win the starting shortstop job to open the 2009 season, he could easily post 40 stolen bases, 100 runs scored, 5-10 homeruns, 50 rbi, and a batting average around .280.
19. Edgar Renteria – San Francisco Giants (33)
At age 33 for the 2009 season and coming off of a horrible 2008 season, Renteria could be on the decline permanently in fantasy baseball leagues. A move to the Giants may revitalize him, but don’t expect more than 10 homeruns, 10 stolen bases, 80 runs scored, 50 rbi, and a batting average around .280 for the 2009 season.
20. Jed Lowrie – Boston Red Sox (25) SLEEPER
Given a chance to play third base and shortstop last year because of injuries to Mike Lowell and Julio Lugo, Lowrie now seems poised to become the everyday starting shortstop for Boston by opening day 2009. If Lowrie does claim the starting job, he makes for an excellent late round sleeper pick in 2009 fantasy baseball drafts, as Lowrie has the ability to post 10 homeruns, 15 steals, a .280 batting average, and 100 runs scored in a high powered Boston offense.
21. Cesar Izturis – Baltimore Orioles (29)
After claiming the starting shortstop job in Baltimore last year, Izturis should remain in that role to begin the 2009 season. 20-30 stolen bases, 70 runs scored, 40 rbi, 3 homeruns, and a batting average around .275 is possible for Izturis in 2009.
22. Erick Aybar – Los Angeles Angels (25)
After failing to capitalized on taking over the starting shortstop job for the Angels in 2008, Aybar will once again be given every opportunity to win the starting shortstop job outright to begin the 2009 season. If Aybar plays as well as he his potential warrants, his speed is his best asset to fantasy baseball teams, as Aybar could easily post between 30-40 stolen bases during the 2009 season. Unfortunately Aybar doesn’t offer much power, so a homerun total around 5-8 is likely, with 50 rbi, 90 runs scored, and a solid batting average around .290 for the 2009 season.
23. Alberto Callaspo – Kansas City Royals (26) BREAKOUT
On a Royals team that needs talent at seemingly every position, Callaspo could finally get an everyday starting job at second base for the enter 2009 season. If Callaspo does manage to reel in a full time job, and he bats leadoff, then 20 plus stolen bases and close to 100 runs scored could be in store for him during the 2009 season.
24. Cliff Pennington – Oakland Athletics (25) SLEEPER
While Pennington is considered a shortstop, he can play third base and second base as well. With the injury prone and underachieving Bobby Crosby at shortstop and the injury prone Eric Chavez and Mark Ellis at third and second base, Pennington could very easily total over 500 at bats during the 2009 season. If Pennington does get to 500 at bats, he has the potential for 20 plus stolen bases, 70 runs scored, 60 rbi, 5 homeruns, and a .280 batting average for the 2009 season.
25. Orlando Cabrera – Free Agent (34) BUST
Cabrera is currently a free agent searching for a team willing to give him a chance. However at age 34 and batting skills and speed declining, it will likely be a challenge for Cabrera to earn a starting job on any team to begin the 2009 season. If Cabrera can post 500 at bats, then 10-15 stolen bases, 8 homeruns, 80 runs scored, 60 rbi, and a batting average around .280 is likely for the 2009 season.
26. Clint Barmes – Colorado Rockies (30)
A super utility man, Barmes should qualify at 2B, 3B, and SS in your fantasy baseball league for the 2009 season. With this type of versatility, the Rockies should definitely be able to find Barmes some playing time in 2009. Expect around 400 at bats with decent stats in every category, 10-15 homeruns, 10-15 steals, and a batting average around .290. Barmes is definitely a great backup option in nearly every fantasy baseball league, as he is excellent insurance to backup three positions, while just taking up one roster spot.
27. Yuniesky Betancourt – Seattle Mariners (27)
Betancourt doesn’t offer much of anything to fantasy baseball teams, however he is essentially a guaranteed starter for the Mariners, so if you want a shortstop who you know will play everyday, Betancourt makes for a decent backup shortstop. 5-10 homeruns, 5-10 stolen bases, 60-70 runs scored, 50-60 rbi, and a batting average around .280 seem likely for Betancourt in 2009.
28. Felipe Lopez – Arizona Diamondbacks (29)
If the Diamondbacks decide not to resign Orlando Hudson, then it looks like Lopez will open the 2009 season with the starting second base job in hand. 20 stolen bases is about all he is worth however, since Lopez does not possess very good batting average skills nor does he offer much homerun potential.
29. Anderson Hernandez – Washington Nationals (26)
The Nationals need young talent, and Hernandez at 26 years of age should be given ample time and opportunity to keep the starting second base job for the entire 2009 season. Hernandez doesn’t project to have much power or stolen base potential, however he does offers a decent batting average and the potential for a bunch of runs scored.
30. Nick Punto – Minnesota Twins (31)
Punto has a chance to open the 2009 season as the starting shortstop for the Twins, and if he can tally 500 plus at bats, Punto could post 20 stolen bases, 80 runs scored, 40 rbi, 3 homeruns, and a batting average around .285.
31. Christian Guzman – Washington Nationals (31)
Guzman is getting up there in age, and although he doesn’t offer anything great to fantasy baseball teams, he can still be a capable backup shortstop option in deeper fantasy baseball leagues for the 2009 season. Something in the range of 5-10 homeruns, 5-10 stolen bases, 70 run scored, 50 rbi, and a batting average around .300 seem like a good bet for Guzman in 2009.
32. Alcides Escobar – Milwaukee Brewers (22) SLEEPER
No one in the Brewers organization questions Escobar’s ability to play in the big leagues right now, however finding a place to play him is the real question. If Escobar plays well in spring training, he could make the opening day big league roster and take the starting second base job from Rickie Weeks, or he could push JJ Hardy to third and take over the shortstop job. Both are decent possibilities, it just depends on how Escobar fairs in spring training, to see if he is headed for the minors or staying in the majors to begin the 2009 season. If Escobar can post 400 at bats, he could easily steal 20-30 bases, and tally 80 runs scored, 40 rbi, 5-10 homeruns, and a batting average around .290-.300.
33. Brandon Wood – Los Angeles Angels (24) SLEEPER
Originally a shortstop converted to a third baseman and back again to shortstop, Wood has all the minor league credentials, but when he gets his chance in the big leagues, he fails miserably. Still Wood will be just 24 years old during the 2009 season, so maybe 2009 will finally be his breakout year.
34. Emmanuel Burriss – San Francisco Giants (24)
Speed is the name of the game for Burriss, and if the Giants wouldn’t have wasted money on signing free agent Edger Renteria in the off season, Burriss would enter the 2009 season as a top candidate to win the starting shortstop job. However as it stands, Burriss will now be competing for the starting second base job along with another speedster Eugenio Velez to begin the 2009 season. Right now it appears to be a 50-50 chance Burriss win the starting job. If he can get 400-500 at bats, Burriss has the ability to post 30-40 stolen bases, 75 runs scored, 40 rbi, 3-5 homeruns, and a solid .290 batting average in 2009.
35. Jack Wilson – Pittsburgh Pirates (31)
Injuries derailed Wilson’s 2008 season, but a return to health for the 2009 season could mean 10 homeruns, 5 stolen bases, 70 runs scored, 40-50 rbi, and a batting average around .280 for Wilson in 2009.
36. Julio Lugo – Boston Red Sox (33) BUST
Injuries, age, a lack of production, and a younger Jed Lowrie behind him at shortstop, will likely force Lugo to the bench and in a utility role for the Red Sox in 2009. If given 500 plus at bats, Lugo could surprise and notch 30 stolen bases, but it’s a long shot. Expecting something in the range of 3 homeruns, 15-20 stolen bases, 60 runs scored, 30-40 rbi, and a batting average around .270 seem likely for Lugo in 2009.
37. Bobby Crosby – Oakland Athletics (29) BUST
Crosby finally managed to stay fairly healthy throughout the 2008 season, however his stats were absolutely horrible. In 556 at bats Crosby posted just 7 homeruns, 7 stolen bases, 66 runs scored, 61 rbi, and a batting average at .237. So unless you are completely desperate, and I mean completely desperate, stay away from Crosby during your 2009 fantasy baseball draft, and take a chance on another shortstop with more potential.
38. Joaquin Arias – Texas Rangers (24)
With the Rangers likely to move Michael Young over to third base, Arias is the dark horse candidate that may claim the starting shortstop job if stud prospect Elvis Andrus isn’t ready to begin the 2009 season. As a fill in at second base when Ian Kinsler went down in 2008, Arias produced admirably with a .291 batting average, 4 steals, 3 triples, and 15 runs scored in just 32 games.
39. Reid Brignac – Tampa Bay Rays (23)
Now at age 23 for the 2009 season, Brignac and his power bat could easily make the Tampa Bay opening day roster this year. While Brignac played shortstop in the minors, he could move over and play some second base or even give it a try in the outfield during the 2009 season. And if Jason Bartlett would go down at shortstop, Brignac is the clear backup. With 300 at bats for Tampa Bay during the 2009 season, Brignac could post 15 homeruns, 5 stolen bases, 40-50 rbi, 40 runs scored, and a .280 batting average.
40. David Eckstein – San Diego Padres (34)
At age 34 for the 2009, it doesn’t look like Eckstein has much left in the tank, but if he is the starting shortstop or second basemen in San Diego for the 2009 season, he could post 8-10 stolen bases, 3 homeruns, 60-70 runs scored, 30 rbi, and a batting average around .280.