The always depth-challenged shortstops are next on the docket for examination in my continuing guys I Hate/Like More Than you feature. Let's get right into it and see who makes the cut this season.
Fantasy Baseball Shortstops I Like More Than You:
1. Starlin Castro: This kid could very well be the number 1 shortstop in fantasy baseball and it could come as soon as this season. At only 23 years old, Castro has hit like veteran from day 1 and is only getting better. A .300 average machine, Castro has also tapped into his power as he added four more home runs last season to top out at 14, to go along with his steals which reached 25 in 2012. It is scary that Castro is still so young and a 20/30 season seems like it is his calling.
2. Alicides Escobar: No one is watching now after Escobar washed out his first few MLB seasons after being a stolen base dynamo on the farm but he is finally figuring out this hitting thing against the pros. Escobar hit .293 last season and the steals were in line with what he did in the minors with 35. With the Royals being quite possibly the most aggressive stolen base team in the majors, 40 is not out of the question this season to go along with a a solid average and healthy dose of runs. I can almost guarantee he will be on at least one of my Experts Leagues and he should be on yours as well.
3. Josh Rutledge: He will shift to second base this season now that Troy Tulowitzki is back but the added eligibility only makes this power/speed dude more attractive. Hitting in Colorado is obviously a big draw and 8 home runs with 7 stolen bases in only 277 at-bats last season hint at what could be on the way.
Fantasy Baseball Shortstops I Hate More Than You
1. Jimmy Rollins: Yes I have been hard on Rollins for a few years now but for good reason up until 2012 when he got the most recent laugh with a shockingly good season at 33 with 23 home runs and 30 steals. The problem is that there is no way the guy will stay healthy again like that this season and at 34, the wheels will come off at a moment's notice. Also the average is sickly as it came in at .250 in 2012 despite all the other good he did. I won't be buying off his 2012 comeback and neither should you. Major bust potential.
2. Elvis Andrus: Among the most overrated hitters in all of baseball, Andrus is only a 2.5 category guy (steals, runs and sometimes average). In fact he wasn't even great in steals last season with only 21. All from a guy who gets picked on average in the sixth round. Madness. Check out Alicides Escobar's numbers and tell me who is the better buy. Yup.
3. Ian Desmond: Many will pay for his 2012 numbers and no doubt they were impressive with 25 home runs and 21 steals. The problem is that Desmond is a major advanced stat beneficiary as his BABIP was very lucky last season which caused his usually ugly average to hit the .292 mark and his fly ball rate was way out of whack as well which is the reason eh went from 8 home runs in 2011 to 25. You can't pay for stats that are compiled in the past and that is what his owners will be doing this spring.
There you have it. Let us hear your thoughts on this.