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NL Shortstops: Day Four
by Tim Polko

Today's Fantasy Rx

National 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.

Ronny Cedeno8024.30016113S
CH Cubs4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 22B:R    T:R0-12.92.9

Cedeno rocked PCL pitching this summer, unexpectedly compiling a .351/.399/.514 performance for AAA Iowa with 8 HR, 36 RBI, an 11/14 SB%, and a 20:31 BB:K. He somehow maintained that production in the majors, even demonstrating decent patience despite a weak 2.00 G-F. In spite of a missed opportunity to secure a starting job due to a September broken hand, Cedeno still should open the year as a starting middle infielder, most likely as Chicago's shortstop but potentially at second base or somewhere like Baltimore. The biggest obstacle he faces remains Dusty Baker's insistence on developing young hitters slowly, so since Cedeno seems no sure bet to accrue more at-bats than Neifi Perez, Todd Walker, and Jerry Hairston, anteing more than a few bucks makes little sense unless you are primarily securing Cedeno for his trade value.

Jamey Carroll30376.251022344S2
WAS Nationals4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 30B:R    T:R-10-3.4-7.9

Reaching a career-high in at-bats resulted in the worst performance of Carroll's career. Now he needs an outstanding camp just to remain in the majors with more than a half-dozen infielders competing for no more than three bench spots on the Nationals. Growing contact problems and negligible quantitative upside already render him useless to fantasy teams, so unless you see Carroll's plate discipline rebound, do not risk rostering him anywhere.

Geoff Blum31973.229625332S23
Age: 32B:S    T:R-3-2-1.9-6.3

One of Chicago's many playoff heroes, Blum re-signed with San Diego and might steal a surprising amount of playing time as the only veteran shortstop and third baseman on the Padres' bench. Good power and surprising plate discipline suggest a pending rebound after a poor second half with the White Sox. Teams looking for a HR/RBI boost accompanied by useful defensive flexibility should consider Blum during Dollar Days.

Alfredo Amezaga61.1670012S3
Age: 27B:S    T:R-3-4-0.2-0.2

Pittsburgh successfully sent Amezaga to the minors after claiming him off waivers from the Rockies. He registered an impressive .335/.393/.438 output with 1 HR, 12 RBI, a 14/21 SB%, and a 17:27 BB:K in 185 AB for AAA Indianapolis(IL) before a foot problem ended his season early. Now Amezaga should build on those numbers in a return to the majors following his agreement to a one-year guaranteed deal with Florida, where he is the most experienced middle infielder on the roster. While he does not deserve more than a couple bucks in any draft even if he breaks camp as a starter, monitor Amezaga's progress to see if he finally can carry a solid BA to the majors and therefore ride his SB potential toward double-digit value.

Mike Mordecai20.0000000S2
FLO Marlins4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 37B:R    T:R-4-4-0.3-0.3

Spending the summer managing Jamestown in the New York-Penn League did not prevent Mordecai from joining the Marlins in September, following the expected plan to accrue the ten days of service time he required to obtain his full pension. Given he essentially stopped playing this year, expect Mordecai to return to retirement and the continuation of his managerial career.

Danny Sandoval20.0000001S
PHI Phillies4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 26B:S    T:R-4-4-0.3-0.3

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Philadelphia for my comments on Sandoval.

Desi Relaford21047.224116324S3
COL Rockies4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 32B:S    T:R-4-3-2.8-5.2

Knee problems led to a delayed start to the season for Relaford, who gradually entered a severe slump upon assuming the starting shortstop job from the injured Clint Barmes. Colorado cut the veteran scant days after he ended a 0-for-33 drought, and a move to Toronto's AAA affiliate in Syracuse resulted in equally poor numbers. He now should return to the Jays this year and certainly could break camp in the majors, but given his problems in Coors, wait until Relaford begins producing before rostering him anywhere.

Jesse Garcia366.1672404S
SD Padres4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 32B:R    T:R-4-5-1.3-1.4

Do not expect a return to the majors any time soon for this aging journeyman, who slipped all the way back to the AA Southern League following this terrible performance with the Padres and a .200/.220/.295 output in 210 AB for AAA Portland(PCL). The slight chance of Garcia producing useful stats completely fails to outweigh the downside of his generally terrible BA, rendering him effectively irrelevant to fantasy owners.

Josh Wilson101.1000002S
FLO Marlins4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 24B:R    T:R-4-5-1-1

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Florida for my comments on Wilson.

Omar Quintanilla12828.21907216S
COL Rockies4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 23B:L    T:R-4-4-5.1-5.1

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Colorado for my comments on Quintanilla.

Anderson Machado120.0000201S
Age: 24B:S    T:R-5-5-1.6-1.6

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Colorado for my comments on Machado.

Cristian Guzman456100.219431739S
WAS Nationals4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 27B:S    T:R-5-3-11.4-20.3

With well over $10M still due Guzman and no logical alternative at shortstop due to the surprising decisions to keep Ryan Zimmerman at third base and Brendan Harris on the bench, Guzman returns to the Nationals' lineup after one of the worst offensive seasons in baseball. He registered skill ratios near the worst marks of his career in most categories and even failed to contribute on the bases. However, Guzman also suffered from knee and hamstring problems much of the first half, rebounding once healthy to a .325/.369/.481 September performance that featured a 5:9 BB:K in 77 AB and three steals. Given his age and historical skills, Guzman easily should rebound into double-digit value, so although he should scare many owners due to this downside, he conversely warrants bids of no less than several dollars in any standard league.

Robert Andino447.1590114S
FLO Marlins4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 21B:R    T:R-5-5-2.1-2.3

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Florida for my comments on Andino.

Second Base Week begins tomorrow.

Today's Fantasy Rx: With the Marlins and Cubs both looking likely to rotate shortstops at will, consider targeting Cristian Guzman if the bidding stalls on him. Despite his poor overall skill set, he should reemerge as a fantasy asset while potentially remaining a pariah on draft day in leagues filled with sabermetrically-savvy owners.

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