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AL Shortstops: Day Three
by Tim Polko

Today's Fantasy Rx

American League Shortstop without Positive Draft Value

Quick Key to the tables:
AB = At-bats.  H = Hits.  BA = Batting Average.  HR= Home Runs.
RBI = Runs Batted In.  SB = Stolen Bases.  R = Runs.  B = Bats.  T = Throws.
Pos = Position qualification based on 20 appearances or max. # of games in 2005.
Age = Player's Age as of October 2, 2005.
4x4 = BA, HR, RBI, and SB in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters in 2005.
5x5 = BA, HR, RBI, SB, and R in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters in 2005.
RAR = Runs Above Replacement in 2005; Adjusted RAR = RAR modified to
consider a player's 2005 defensive rating in Scoresheet fantasy baseball.

We ranked players in order from the highest draft value in a 4x4 league to the lowest. As the majority of fantasy leagues allow you to keep anyone traded to the other league, we listed each player in the league where he started the season.

Rey Sanchez4312.2790207S
NY Yankees4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 37B:R    T:R0-1-1.4-1.3

Back problems forced Sanchez to the DL in June. The journeyman reserve never returned and now seems set to find no more than an NRI this year. Of course, given his atrocious patience, power, and speed, he remains among the half-dozen least valuable fantasy players, only meriting any attention due to his occasionally respectable BA as roster filler.

Felix Escalona144.2860200S
NY Yankees4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 26B:R    T:R-1-100

Recently adding Miguel Cairo virtually eliminates any need for Escalona on the 2006 Yankees, though he remains on the 40-man roster. While Escalona registered a respectable .274/.363/.394 performance with 7 HR, 45 RBI, and a 28:58 BB:K in 307 AB for AAA Columbus(IL), he appears extremely unlikely to develop into more than a capable reserve. Since I do not see him receiving a longer look in New York, he should not help your squad this summer.

Pedro Lopez72.2860201S2
CH White Sox4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 21B:R    T:R-1-1-0.2-0.3

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Chicago(A) for my comments on Lopez.

Hanley Ramirez20.0000000S
BOS Red Sox4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 21B:R    T:R-1-2-0.3-0.3

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Boston for my comments on Ramirez.

Ramon Santiago81.1250002S2
SEA Mariners4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 26B:S    T:R-1-2-0.9-0.9

Santiago's September recall apparently only proved to the Mariners his uselessness to the organization. The primary yield for Carlos Guillen merely two years ago, the former prospect returned to the minors this summer, posting an unimpressive .251/.327/.382 line with 10 HR, 50 RBI, an 18/25 SB%, and a 38:62 BB:K in 442 AB for AAA Tacoma(PCL). With several youngsters emerging as viable middle infield options, Seattle cut Santiago in November, and barring rather immediate skill improvement, he may remain at the AAAA level indefinitely due to his limited upside.

Jason Smith5811.1900224S
DET Tigers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 28B:L    T:R-2-2-4.8-4.7

Smith struck out sixteen times in fifty-eight at-bats last spring and failed to walk even once. While he possesses some power and defensive flexibility, Smith combines those skills with some of the worst plate discipline in the majors. Do not expect him to post positive value any time soon

Marshall McDougall183.1670003S
TEX Rangers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 26B:R    T:R-2-2-1.8-1.8

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Texas for my comments on McDougall.

Tony Giarratano426.1431414S
DET Tigers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 22B:S    T:R-2-2-3.6-3.6

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Detroit for my comments on Giarratano.

Ramon Vazquez8518.2120507S
Age: 29B:L    T:R-2-2-5-5.6

Exchanged for Alex Cora midseason in one of the year's best challenge trades, Vazquez performed poorly during a month at AAA Buffalo(IL) before adding relatively little to the Indians' playoff run. Although he should rejoin Jose Hernandez to form Cleveland's team of reserve infielders this summer, his diminished speed skills and plate discipline render him useless to fantasy teams. You cannot risk rostering Vazquez until he reverses his declining big league averages.

Wilson Valdez13928.2010929S
Age: 27B:R    T:R-3-3-9.5-9.5

A rather intriguing shortstop prospect merely one year ago due to his SB upside, Valdez lost his bench job to Pablo Ozuna during spring training and headed to the Mets on waivers. Three days with New York only resulted in another waiver claim, but the Mariners kept Valdez in the majors, even starting him at shortstop for the first two months of the season. His defensive prowess unfortunately did not compensate for this atrocious hitting performance as he did not even contribute on the basepaths, earning a June demotion. Valdez lasted only a week with AAA Tacoma before Seattle dumped him to San Diego for minor league pitchers R.D. Spiehs and Mike Bumstead. While his speed reemerged with AAA Portland, he did not impress during a two-week August audition with the Padres, earning a return to the minors in September and a move to Kansas City this fall. Now Valdez faces severe competition for playing time in an organization already fairly loaded with young middle infielders lacking obvious offensive skills, so although his SB potential remains intriguing, you should not risk rostering Valdez until he begins echoing his AAA stats in the majors.

Shortstop Week continues tomorrow.

Today's Fantasy Rx: Everyone worth targeting here retains rookie status and a general need for more experience. McDougall could contribute if given the opportunity as he only needs to break camp in the majors to merit a MIF job in standard leagues. I also expect Hanley Ramirez to enjoy a lengthy big league career, but like almost all of his fellow shortstops discussed above, he appears mostly in need of a return to the minors this summer.

Click here to read the previous article.

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