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Entries in Asdrubal Cabrera (2)

Saturday
Feb232013

Top 16 Fantasy Baseball Shortstops

Below are my pre-season top 16 shortstop rankings: 

  1. Troy Tulowitzki, COL
  2. Jose Reyes, TOR
  3. Hanley Ramirez, LAD
  4. Starlin Castro, CHC
  5. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
  6. Ben Zobrist, TB*
  7. Elvis Andrus, TEX
  8. Everth Cabrera, SD
  9. Ian Desmond, WSH
  10. Jimmy Rollins, PHI
  11. Alexei Ramirez, CHW
  12. Josh Rutledge, COL
  13. J.J. Hardy, BAL
  14. Danny Espinosa, WSH
  15. Jed Lowrie, OAK
  16. Alcides Escobar, KC

Honorable mention: Jean Segura, Yunel Escobar, Jhonny Peralta

Additional Information:

  1. With an average draft position of 6.7 in ESPN leagues last year, Tulowitzki was one of the biggest fantasy disappointments, playing in only 47 games due to elbow and groin injuries. The 30 home runs and .300+ batting average are still there, but 20+ stolen bases are no longer realistic. The biggest question about Tulowitzki is durability, only averaging 134 games the past five seasons prior to 2012. 
  2. 2012 marked the first time in three seasons Reyes was able to play a full year, playing in 160 games. His power upside is no longer in the 20s, but, instead, is now in the mid-teens. His stolen bases are no longer in the 60s, but in the 40s. He’ll bat leadoff for one of the best offenses in the game so expecting 115+ runs isn’t crazy.
  3. Ramirez provides 20/20 upside at a premium position and just came off a season where he played the second most games in his career. However, the .300+ batting average and 50+ stolen bases he used to provide are long gone; if he continues to strike out 20% of the time, be happy with a .260 batting average.
  4. Castro’s home run and stolen base totals have increased year over year since he’s been in majors. The biggest question is will his home run and stolen base totals continue to increase? If he can improve his stolen base success rate, he may give fantasy owners the same fantasy value of Jose Reyes.
  5. Even though Asdrubal Cabrera had a down year he was playing through various nagging injuries during the second half of the year. With Terry Francona joining the Indians in the off-season I wouldn’t be surprised if Cabrera is hitting in the middle of a surprising revamped offense and could quietly provide 20 home runs with 90+ RBI with a .270 batting average.
  6. Zobrist’s greatest value is his versatility, qualifying at shortstop, second base and outfield. Last season, not only did his stolen bases drop dramatically, but his stolen base success rate was only 61%; the days of 20 stolen bases are gone.
  7. Andrus’ batting average, OBP and SLG have increased year over year the past three years. With the loss of Josh Hamilton and his power production, the Rangers may be inclined to run more. I still believe in his 40+ stolen base potential.
  8. Even though Everth Cabrera only received 398 ABs in the majors, Cabrera finished third in the league with 44 stolen bases. He struck out nearly 25% of the time so his .246 batting average could be hard to repeat. If he plays a full season he has the opportunity to win you a category; he’s on a team that had the most stolen base attempts in the league last year.
  9. Desmond has 20/20 potential which is great, but he could be a batting average risk. Before last year his career batting average was .262, 30 points lower than the .292 average he put up last year. I don't trust guys who strikeout more than 20% of the time to maintain an abnormally high batting averages. He’ll continue to strikeout a lot so expect a .265 average with 14-18 home runs and 20 stolen bases. 
  10. I thought the 2012 season would be the start of Rollins’ decline, but I was proved wrong. His power numbers were aided a five year high in his HR/FB rate (15.6%). His strikeout percentage increased five percentage points compared to the last six seasons. The steals may taper off, but I don’t foresee a massive drop-off. 
  11. In 2012 Ramirez had a career high in stolen bases and a career low in home runs. The power outage could be due to an extremely low in HR/FB rate (6.6%). He’s an extremely reliable fantasy player who can easily provide 15/15 production. If he can increase the walk totals to his pre-2011 levels, he could steal 25+ stolen bases.
  12. Rutledge leaped from Double-A to the major leagues last year, hitting .274/.306/.469 with 8 home runs and 7 stolen bases. There are two reasons why I like him: A) he plays in Coors, which added 20 points to his batting average. B) his swing, which is short and simple, will allow him to make consistent contact at home and on the road. He’ll provide small contributions with the power but he’ll provide a nice average with 15+ stolen bases.
  13. In 2011 Hardy saw a career high in his HR/FB rate, which, not surprisingly, lead to a career high in home runs. Last year Hardy came back down to earth, hitting only 22 home runs with a .238 batting average. The 2012 season is more representational of Hardy’s fantasy value than 2011. Prepare for a .240 batting average and be delighted if he can hit .265.
  14. Espinosa loves to swing the bat and has a poor approach. Therefore it’s no surprise he strikes out a lot; last year was he had the highest strikeout percentage in his career (28.7%). His batting average could become a bigger liability in 2013, limiting his fantasy upside. However, he provides legit 20/20 upside and that’s hard to find. Also, he tore his left rotator cuff at the beginning of September and has decided to play with the injury instead of getting surgery.
  15. Lowrie has never played in more than 100 games. Last year, he missed two months of the season because of a freak injury suffered at a collision at second base. If he can play a full year, and that’s a big if, he could hit 20+ home runs.
  16. Entering the 2012 season Escobar was seen as a glove only shortstop, but he turned in one of the best fantasy seasons for shortstops. His primary asset is his stolen bases. His ability to steal bases is dependent on him getting on base. His .293 batting average could be a result of a high BABIP, which could lead to a regression to his batting average, which could lower his OBP. If his OBP decreases, his stolen base upside will be limited. 

Overall Draft Strategy

Other than Hanley Ramirez, Starlin Castro and Ben Zobrist there are huge question marks surrounding every player. Can Tulowitzki, Reyes and Lowrie get 580+ plate appearances? Can Hardy, Ramirez and Asdrubal Cabrera bounce back? You may be wondering why Derek Jeter is not on the list despite being the 3rd best fantasy shortstop last year. I’m concerned about his age and how good he'll be after recovering from a fractured ankle he suffered in Game 1 of the ALCS. 

Monday
Jul022012

My All Star Starters: AL SS

Voting has concluded and the starters are in, but I will continue to put forth my opinion on who should have been chosen for this year's Summer Classic. Up next is American League Shortstop. Voting from the last published tally can be found here.

Excellent shortstops are the best defenders in the infield, combining speed, quick hands, and a strong arm to patrol the depths of the left side of the field. the candidates being voted on were good, but not many American League Shortstops are having monster seasons. Lets take a look at how everything panned out.

 

#1. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees 4,407,982

Who says you can't get better with age. Jeter started this season off on a tear, and though he slowed down a bit, it was enough to propel him to another starting spot on an All Star squad. Let's go back to guess that player.

Player A: 36 G, 153 AB, 56 H, 9 2b, 5 HR, 13 BB, 19 K, 15 RBI, 2 SB, .366 AVG, .413 OBP, .523 SLG

Player B: 40 G, 175 AB, 42 H, 4 2b, 2 HR, 11 BB, 25 K, 10 RBI, 4 SB, .240 AVG, .293 OBP, .297 SLG

Player A is the Captain from before a mid-May off day on the 16th. At the time, Jeter led all of Major League Baseball in hits and was fourth in batting average. After that, the power numbers slipped dramatically, and he quite frankly stopped hitting. Much of this could be attributed to his batting average on balls in play. Below shows his BABIP from the first segment and then the second segment, respectively.

Player APlayer BIn the second quarter of the season, Jeter wasn't catching some of the breaks he was early on, which resulted in a significant drop in average. The Captain is still an integral part of a high powered New York Yankees offense, and his past pedigree may be what won him the starting nod over other qualified candidates. here are his numbers to this point. 

76 G, 328 AB, 41 R, 98 H, 13 2b, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 6 SB, 24 BB, 44 SO, .299 AVG, .349 OBP, .402 SLG

Overall, these numbers are good, but I believe the simple fact that his is a major household name helped him gather the vote numbers he did.

 

#2 Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers 2,764,888

Elvis Andrus has made the American League All Star team as a reserve, but I think that with a more rounded stat sheet than Jeter, he should have won the starting nod. While he is a baseball generation younger than Jeter at only 23 years old, he has shown poise and maturity as he has improved his offensive game, posting a .307 average to this point in the season to couple with his mastery of glovework at the position. Andrus has the potential to be a cornerstone in a potent Texas Rangers lineup for a long time. Andrus' success this season thus far has been capitalizing on mistake pitches, really hitting the ball well on fastballs up in the zone. his average against those particular pitches is .398, which is unreal.

He has only managed a .237 clip on balls down in the zone, which could be due to his high ground ball rate on balls low in the zone. Almost 56% of balls he connects with down there are being pounded into the ground and less than half of those have snuck through as seeing eye grounders.

Elvis has shown off his speed as well, connecting on five triples and swiping sixteen bases. Let's look at his overall numbers.

77 G, 306 AB, 51 R, 94 H, 19 2b, 5 3b, 1 HR, 32 RBI, 16 SB, 36 BB, 40 SO, .307 AVG, .383 OBP, .412 SLG

What stands out to me here is that Andrus leads Jeter in some pretty major categories, most importantly, strikeout to walk ratio. The fact that Andrus has received almost as many free passes as K's has allowed him more opportunities to steal and really shows how he has matured at the plate. While he may not he hitting HRs, the extra base hits are there and he leads Jeter in slugging as well. If we went purely by numbers (not including fan vote numbers), Andrus should be the guy starting the All Star game with Jeter coming off the bench. 

 

#3. J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles 1,331,927

I wish I knew how this guy garnered over a million votes this year. Per usual, the power numbers are there for Hardy, but the average is a putrid .232. In order to be considered an All Star, you need to be good in every facet of the game, not just one. Hardy has displayed some high caliber defense at times this season, which is a very welcome addition to his other talents. Lets look at what Hardy has done successfully.

Hardy is a pure pull hitter now, absolutely annihilating hard stuff on the inside of the plate that he manages to get his hands through the zone quickly on. 

That big red heat zone has resulted in a .400 AVG, .855 SLG, 1.255 OPS against the hard stuff. If you are a pitcher who thinks you can sneak one past Hardy on the inside, I would behoove you to reconsider. If you want to get him out, go with the soft stuff low and away, which seems to be Hardy's dead zone.

Offspeed pitches out here have resulted in a .140 AVG, .160 SLG, .333 OPS. Here are Hardy's stats to this point.

76 G, 326 AB, 39 R, 77 H, 15 2b, 2 3b, 12 HR, 32 RBI, 15 BB, 49 SO, .236 AVG, .270 OBP, .405 SLG

When you have an OBP under .300 for the first half, I don't think your name should even be in the conversation for an All Star appearance, but an admirable power output from Hardy, nonetheless. 

 

#4. Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians 1,063,137

Cabrera has been quietly building on a breakout 2011 campaign, and is well deserving of the All Star reserve spot he was given. He has been an offensive force for Cleveland and his fantasy baseball owners, ranking second among American League fantasy options at the year's thinnest position. 

Our switch hitter on this list, Asdrubal has had some pretty even splits. While he has hit for a slightly better average versus lefties, he has managed to hit for slightly more power versus righties, resulting in almost equivalent OPS's from either side of the plate (.874 from the right and .873 from the left). His most success has come in no strike counts, where he has hit .354. Once the count gets to two strikes, he drops down to .268. The images below show the heat maps, respectively.

No StrikesTwo Strikes

Cabrera's stats speak for themselves.

69 G, 277 AB, 41 R, 83 H, 19 2b, 1 3b, 11 HR, 40 RBI, 2 SB, 32 BB, 39 SO, .300 AVG, .379 OBP, .495 SLG

This is the highest slugging percentage of the group by far. Cabrera could have even been considered for the starting job, but I think he is just fine where he is right now. 

 

Wild Card: Mike Aviles, Boston Red Sox

I'm surprised Aviles wasn't even in the conversation for an All Star bid, considering he leads all AL shortstops in RBI while pounding out more extra base hits than Jeter and Andrus. The average isn't quite there, and neither is the plate discipline, but he should have at least been mentioned. I did a piece on the Sox shortstop before the season started; click here to read.

 

Results:

1. Elvis Andrus

2. Asdrubal Cabrera

3. Derek Jeter

4. Mike Aviles

In the end, I believe the right three were chosen to represent the AL SS's in the All Star game, but the starter could easily have been different as the three seasons each had their own strengths.