|There's no doubting his ability, but can Tulo stay healthy for a full season?|
(photo courtesy of Mike McCann's Field of Fotos)
GREEN=Currently on my keeper team.
1. Troy Tulowitzki: His ability is never in question; it's his health that seems to be a problem. Projected OPS alone puts him way ahead of everybody else at the position.
2. Ben Zobrist: Just like in our 2B list, Zobrist's projections and position versatility are too good to pass up and ignore for 2013.
3. Jose Reyes: New team, new league; it will be interesting to see how Reyes responds to a totally new environment. High contact rate, respectable on-base%, and stolen bases, presumably, will streamline very well.
4. Starlin Castro: I'm really not sold on Castro, but his career numbers at this stage of his career seem to be comparable to some pretty good, Hall of Famers when they were Castro's age (22). However, he needs to improve on his plate discipline and petty, in-game distractions on defense, but youth is definitely on his side.
5. Hanley Ramirez: What a miserable year it must have been to be a Hanley owner. He can still be a 20-20 player and he's projected to improve his plate discipline, but it's hard for me to take a risk on a guy who might be more of a headache than he's worth.
6. Ian Desmond: Came on strong late in 2012 as he was more aggressive at the plate. Nevertheless, I find it hard to imagine him repeating Slash Lines of .292/.335/.511 with a terrible batting approach. However, he's still projected to be a 20/20 player.
7. Jimmy Rollins: J-Roll is approaching that time in a player's career where diminished skills are too hard to overcome. An impressive contact rate was his saving grace as it helped him hit 23 HRs and garner 30 stolen bases, but a paltry OPS of .743 is not going to cut it. He needs to turn that contact rate into a higher batting average to help out Roto owners, but his projected low OPS for 2013 might hurt head2head owners.
8. Elvis Andrus: Decent contact rate and patience at the plate is how Andrus generates his most important attribute in fantasy: the ability to steal bases. That combination also helps with batting average.
9. Erick Aybar: Never thought I would see the day that Aybar would make a top 10 in anything, but here we are. Aybar has proven to be somewhat of a tough out and that's basically how he gets on base. Might hit 10 homeruns and is good for 25 stolen bases and his ability to make contact with the ball will help with batting average.
10. Asdrubal Cabrera: If "defensive wizardry" was aggregated in fantasy leagues, Cabrera's stock would be rising on this list. However, it's an offensive-minded game. He brings 15/15 potential and a respectable on-base%. He does strikeout a lot so if you're in a head2head league that takes away points for that stat, you might want to look elsewhere for a more stable alternative.
11. Alcides Escobar: A recurring theme with shortstops, Escobar comes with a decent contact rate. However, unlike the last few players listed, Escobar is very impatient at the plate. Escobar comes with 30 steals potential and that's why he's on a lot of publications' top 15 list, but I, personally, would look elsewhere to fill out the position.
12. Marco Scutaro: There's that man again! We explained Scutaro's 2013 outlook in our 2B projections. Basically, impressive contact rate and patience, but advanced age is a factor.
13. Derek Jeter: Speaking of age: Jeter should be ready to go for 2013, barring more grotesque injuries. Just like Scutaro, Jeter is an age risk (39). Good contact rate, impressive on-base numbers, and ability to hit for a high average make him an attractive choice in fantasy, but power has been pretty much sapped out of him and stolen bases are declining. He's still a 10/10 player.
The rest of the field:
- Danny Espinosa (if he were more patient at the plate, he would definitely be a higher ranked middle infielder).
- J.J. Hardy
- Alexei Ramirez
- Andrelton Simmons
- Everth Cabrera
- Jed Lowrie (talk about your deep sleepers)
Keep an eye on: