A list of the top shortstops to draft for 2015 fantasy baseball.
1. Troy Tulowitzki Colorado Rockies
The star-crossed Tulowitzki certainly justified his high-round sticker price through mid-July, as he led the majors with a Bondsian 1.035 OPS to accompany his usual slick defense at shortstop. Even on a Rockies squad headed for a losing season, he was still a leading MVP candidate behind what was shaping up to be a career year, but such talk would come to an end by early August. A supposedly minor thigh injury was viewed as a temporary setback for Tulowitzki, but he was later diagnosed with a torn labrum in his left hip, ending his season after 91 games. Tulowitzki is expected to be at full strength for the spring, but given that he’s missed at least 30 games three seasons in a row, those who invest in him certainly need a reliable insurance option on hand. Furthermore, the Rockies’ acknowledgement this offseason that they would entertain trade offers for the shortstop adds a wrinkle into Tulowitzki’s valuation in the event he lands in a more hitter-neutral park, as an unconscionable .417/.497/.748 line at Coors Field weighed heavier than normal into his numbers in 2014.
2. Ian Desmond Washington Nationals
Once again, Desmond ranked among the elite in terms of fantasy production from a middle infielder, turning in his third straight 20-20 season while racking up a career-high 91 RBI, but it was actually a bit of a down year for him. An ugly strikeout total (183, another career-high), driven primarily by more swings and misses on pitches outside the strike zone, led to a big drop in his batting average even as the rest of his batting profile remained relatively consistent. Desmond turns 30 in September and isn't likely to become more selective at the plate, so his days of making a positive contribution in batting average could be behind him, but hitting in the middle of a potent Nationals lineup should continue to supply him with plenty of offensive opportunities. If you're a believer in the big-contract-year theory, note that Desmond will become a free agent after 2015, although with no one ready in the system behind him, expect the Nats to make a big push to get him signed.
3. Hanley Ramirez Boston Red Sox
A laundry list of injuries -- shoulder, calf, oblique, and hand -- limited Ramirez to 128 games in 2014, and it's fair to wonder just how many of his 512 plate appearances came at a level close to 100 percent health. With free agency on the horizon, Ramirez had every incentive to try and tough it out and prove that his injury-riddled seasons in 2011 and 2013 were truly behind him. Instead, his defense at shortstop regressed further, and he slugged just .411 in the second half. Overall, his performance at the plate was acceptable, as he led qualified shortstops in OPS (.817) and wOBA (.362) while providing double-digit home runs (13) and steals (14) for the ninth consecutive season. Ramirez has struggled to stay healthy over the better part of the past four seasons, but he'll remain shortstop eligible despite the expected move to left field with Boston, and there is some justifiable optimism about his power returning as he just one year removed from a career-high .293 ISO in 2013.
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2015 Fantasy Rankings
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