By Jeremy Tiermini
Before we get to my pick for the Bust of the Year at shortstop so far this season, I wanted to take a minute to encourage everyone to go see a game at Citizens Bank Ballpark, if you ever have the opportunity. I spent part of my vacation last week in Philadelphia for the National Meeting and Convention for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and I was able to take my family to see the Phillies play the Indians in the first game of their interleague series. Our seats were in the upper terrace of the left field stands and, despite being near the last rows of seats, the view was spectacular. I was hoping to see one of the Phillies’ big bats hit one out, but no such luck. Instead we got to see a pitchers’ duel between Jamie Moyer and Mitch Talbot. Really? That’s the game I got? Anyway, we got to see Chase Utley in one of his last games before he hit the DL with a sprained thumb.
In my last article I mentioned the idea of position scarcity and, at the start of 2010, one of the scarcest positions in fantasy baseball was at shortstop. If you drafted a SS early, trying to fill the spot with one of the top-level players, you have been disappointed this season. When looking for busts I used the player rater from Yahoo Sports, since I play in a 5X5 mixed league on that site. All of the statistics I listed are current as of the games completed by July 3, 2010.
|Player||Pre. Rank||Cur. Rank||AVG||HR||R||RBI||SB|
|Hanley Ramirez, Marlins||2||19||.298||13||46||52||15|
|Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies||12||89||.306||9||47||34||7|
|Jimmy Rollins, Phillies||29||965||.282||4||16||14||2|
|Derek Jeter, Yankees||35||78||.281||8||54||39||9|
|Jose Reyes, Mets||43||77||.277||6||51||32||19|
|Elvis Andrus, Rangers||109||83||.292||0||55||25||22|
|Jason Bartlett, Rays||112||919||.221||2||30||29||3|
|Yunel Escobar, Braves||116||961||.245||0||27||19||5|
|Alexei Ramirez, White Sox||131||341||.277||6||29||29||2|
|Rafael Furcal, Dodgers||163||112||.338||4||41||28||12|
|Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks||164||309||.267||4||36||28||5|
When looking at these shortstops, only two of them are providing value greater than expected, based on their preseason rankings: Elvis Andrus and Rafael Furcal. If you own either one of these two you have enjoyed their production. The Rangers have started to limit the stolen base opportunities for some of their players, so Andrus might run less in the second half. I also don’t expect to see Furcal’s average stay near .340 all season, since he is a career .286 hitter. If you have someone in your league looking to acquire a shortstop, sell high on both of these two players.
With players like Hanley Ramirez, Derek Jeter, and Jose Reyes, their current rankings are close to their preseason rankings so look for them to get their normal stats by season’s end. Alexei Ramirez and Stephen Drew were targeted by many fantasy owners as sleepers prior to this season. If you were able to draft them later in your draft their lack of production has not hurt you as much as it would if you reached for them on draft day.
Jason Bartlett and Yunel Escobar were also players that were projected to take “the leap” into the upper tiers of fantasy shortstops. Bartlett has been a disappointment in every statistical category while Escobar is struggling in every category except steals; it is also rumored that Escobar is falling out of favor in the Braves organization and he could be a candidate to be traded at the deadline or during the off-season. Again, these players were slated to for the middle rounds of a draft so their lack of production is not as costly for owners.
My shortstop Bust of the Year goes to two players: Troy Tulowitzki and Jimmy Rollins. Tulowitzki was drafted in the first round of many drafts and started slowly in 2010. He stats picked up recently then he suffered a broken wrist, which will keep him out until late August or early September. If you spent a first round pick on him you are certainly not getting your value for him this season.
Rollins’ owners are in a similar situation, drafting Rollins in the late second or early third rounds. He has been injured for most of this season, which has been part of the reason why the Phillies have struggled offensively this season. Fantasy owners that drafted Rollins to help fill all five roto categories are surely disappointed and hope that Rollins stays healthy enough in the second half to lead a second-half fantasy surge.