If you thought the second base position’s ADP was stagnant, just wait until you look at the shortstops. Not only is the order of players drafted relatively unchanged, but the ADP numbers really aren’t fluctuating too much either. There’s very little movement at the top end of the rankings and while there’s some ADP change near the bottom, the only fantasy owners who will likely be affected are the ones who are in the deepest of AL or NL-only leagues. Even deep mixed league owners won’t have too much change with which to be concerned as the position sits a little deeper than it has been in recent years and few people are forced to fish through the dregs at the bottom of the barrel.
It actually makes things quite easy for fantasy owners as drafting the position is, more or less, a piece of cake. You can choose to invest a high pick at the position, but if you don’t, you know exactly how long you can wait to grab one, depending on what level of player you desire. The middle tiers are chock full of steady plays and you can even find some passable options much later. But unlike some of the other positions like first or third base, the quality of the guy you get late isn’t really too far off the guy you could have drafted in the middle.
So let’s take a look at the position’s ADP trends and then we’ll talk about some of the risers and fallers you may consider watching as the spring moves along.
|Rank||Player||Team||Current ADP||1 Month Ago||Trend|
Addison Russell, OAK (+6.96%) – While Russell one day hopes to be fairly high on this list, the A’s shortstop of the future remains pretty far down in the current ADP ranks. He’s being drafted in dynasty leagues which is why we even see him here, but the likelihood of his arrival coming in 2014 seems low. Obviously things can always happen and you never say never though, because given the A’s second base shortcomings, there’s always the chance. Russell looked real good at High-A Stockton last year and the A’s brought him up to Triple-A Sacramento for a cup of coffee. Should he have a strong spring, they could conceivably start him off there again with the RiverCats and he can bypass Double-A altogether. If you’re in a keeper league, then make sure he stays on your radar. Re-draft league owners need only be concerned if/when he gets called up.
Jose Reyes, TOR (+6.83%) – Though the trend percentage is one of the higher ones, Reyes’ change only amounts to a small handful of picks. Depending on health, Reyes, who seems to be going on the turn between the second and third round in the NFBC, could prove to be a nice value. He’s got a year in the AL under his belt and Toronto is definitely a hitter-friendly park, so if he were to play even just 140 games, he is capable of plugging a dozen home runs and swiping 35-40 bases. That might be optimistic, but it’s certainly not out of the question. It all depends on how much risk you want to take. His ceiling isn’t where it once was, so you have to adjust for that when determining your desired risk/reward ratio. Personally, I tend to drift away from guys like Reyes because of the risk, but you might be more of a gambler.
Dee Gordon, LAD (+4.85%) – Now here’s an interesting option to watch this spring as Gordon is currently competing with Cuban rookie Alex Guerrero for the Dodgers’ starting second base position. With Hanley Ramirez entrenched at short, Gordon will get a chance to play at second if he can out-hit Guerrero at the keystone. Defensively, Gordon should be just fine over there, so there’s little concern from that end, but his struggles against major league pitching in the past are still prominent in everyone’s mind. But it’s not like Guerrero is some can’t-miss guy, so watch the battle closely. If Gordon were to win the job and prove that he can be competent with the bat, he’ll be a fantastic late-round choice for some great speed. There's also some talk of moving him to center field with Matt Kemp on the shelf. That would certainly help his value, having eligibility at short, second and the outfield.
Javier Baez, CHC (+4.15%) – Similarly to Russell, Baez’ path to the majors might be a little clearer based on what happens at other positions and potentially his ability to switch positions. Starlin Castro, for now, holds the job at short, but both second and third base are potential question marks given the personnel they have right now – Luis Valbuena, Darwin Barney, Donnie Murphy, Logan Watkins, Mitchell Friedman (?). Should Baez prove himself in his first season at Triple-A, then the Cubs could make a move and slide him over to one of the other spots, most likely second. It’s a bit of a longshot, but come the second half when the Cubs are most likely out of contention, we could see him at Wrigley.
Troy Tulowitzki, COL (-7.94%) – While the actual decrease in ADP only amounts to a pick or two, there are few people who would be surprised to see Tulo in this section. While he’s the best power-hitting shortstop in the game right now, the injury risk is just crazy. A little risk is one thing, but Tulo hasn’t appeared in 150 games in a season since 2009. And while he’s posted great numbers in the years where he’s played in more than 120 games, the problem is that you just never know the degree of the injury. He’s getting hurt, no question about that, but for how long will he be out is always the question. If you’re willing to take that much risk with your second round pick, well then good luck to you, but having to fish on the waiver wire for some under-performing shortstop, knowing that you just lost production from your second round pick, is not the best way to win your league.
Jed Lowrie, OAK (-7.77%) – Here’s another “when healthy” guy who seems to be slipping in drafts. Last season, Lowrie managed to stay relatively healthy, though he did miss some time with a few minor bumps and bruises, and posted solid numbers for a shortstop as he batted .290 with 15 homers and 75 RBI. But just like Tulo, when drafting Lowrie, you have to expect some missed time and while it could just be a handful of games like last year, it could also be half the season like the year before. He does propose less of a risk than Tulo given the investment you need to make to acquire him though. It’s much more tolerable when you’re drafting Lowrie in the 10th or 11th round than drafting Tulo in the second.
Jean Segura, MIL (-6.65%) – The Brewers shortstop is hovering right around the turn between the second and third round in the NFBC as the premium stolen bases at the shortstop position are highly coveted. But given Segura’s power display at the start of the season last year, there is hope that it will continue more this season now that he has worked on his conditioning and understands the rigors of playing a full year at the major league level. Not everyone is sold, of course, but the prospect of it will keep him from falling any further.
Jhonny Peralta, STL (-4.85%) – The drop for Peralta might be close to a full round, but given where he is going in drafts, it’s more a matter of who needs to fill what position at that point in time. Peralta is one of those guys you can obviously wait on and still get you some decent production. People may be down on him, thinking that the Biogenesis scandal and clean living will reduce his production, but he’s still 12-15 home run power in a rock-solid Cardinals lineup.