Saturday, 16 July 2011

On the Short List: Fantasy Baseball Shortstops in the Second Half of the 2011 Season

Are you wondering about your fantasy baseball options at the shortstop position for the second half of the 2011 season? If so, there are many options to consider. Some players are over-achieving, some are under-achieving and some are just noteworthy. I recently looked at fantasy baseball third basemen in the second half, now let’s consider some options for filling your shortstop position for the rest of 2011.

Playing the game with gusto, Cabrera has really turned his game up a notch. He battled through an injury-plagued 2010 season in which he put up less-than-spectacular numbers but 2011 has been a different ballgame altogether. Free from injury, he has been nothing short of fantastic so far this season. He got off to a hot start before fading, but with HRs in back-to-back games after the All Star break, Cabrera is shaping up to be a tier 1 fantasy shortstop for the remainder of the season.

J.J. Hardy (BAL)
Injuries have cut into Hardy’s production the past 2 seasons and the first half of 2011 was no exception. Shortstops with pop in their bat are rare indeed and Hardy has hit 25 HR as recently as 2008, so he qualifies as a source of power from the SS position to be sure. When healthy in the first half, Hardy has delivered. Not a prototypical leadoff hitter, Hardy has hit well out of the #1 spot this season. With no speed and an uninspiring OBP, he may be the Orioles only option at present. If he drops to the middle of the order, his fantasy numbers could get even better.

Dee Gordon (LAD)
After showing some decent speed atop the Dodgers batting order, Gordon struggled in June. With Rafael Furcal back from injury, Gordon was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque to get regular playing time and work on his swing. However, with Furcal a possibility to be traded (or go down with injury again), Gordon could find himself the regular shortstop at some point in the second half of the season. Keep an eye on the Dodgers SS situation and consider adding Gordon if he gets recalled as he could offer some help in the stolen base department to your fantasy team.

Alexei Ramirez (CHW)
From May through August last season, there was no more valuable shortstop in the game than Ramirez. Particularly prized in AL-only leagues where there is such a dearth of talent at SS, Ramirez looks to be a stud in the second half of 2011. Although his steals are down, manager Ozzie Guillen should be looking to kick-start the White Sox running game in the second half, so expect Ramirez’ SB numbers to increase.  His career lows in the 5x5 categories are .277-15-68 with 65 runs and 13 SB. You’ll take that kind of production from the SS position any time.

Elvis Andrus (TEX)
After wearing down in the second half of 2010, the Rangers have taken to giving Andrus a little more time off this season and it seems to be working. With 26 SB (second in the AL) and only having been caught 4 times, Andrus adds a lot to the Texas batting order. He has been working on his walk rate recently, trying to get on base more. He realizes the value he brings to the team on the base paths and should continue to be a great source of speed and runs for your fantasy line up in the second half. Keep in mind that Andrus is young (only 22 years old) and the best is yet to come.

ESPN’s Fantasy Focus podcast has a running bit called “Bona Fide or Bonifacio” where the hosts decide whether a player is good (“Bona Fide”) or bad (“Bonifacio”). Although not bona fide, Bonifacio has been pretty darn good this year. Finally sticking as an everyday big leaguer, he has found a home at the top of the Marlins batting order. He could be a nice source of speed for your fantasy roster in the second half of 2011. His eligibility at multiple positions only adds to his value.

Whether you are looking for power, speed, average or runs scored, there are many options at the shortstop position to consider. Good luck in the second half and make sure to keep a close eye on the ‘short list’ at the position.


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