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January
6th
2007
Your Daily Fantasy Rx
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NL Shortstops: Day Three
by Tim Polko

Today's Fantasy Rx

National League Shortstops without Positive Draft Value

Quick Key to the tables:
B = Bats.  T = Throws.  Age = Player's Age as of October 1, 2006.
Proj. = Rotohelp's projected 2006 stats and fantasy values for each player.
2006 = Each player's final 2006 stat line and fantasy values.
AB = At-bats.  H = Hits.  BA = Batting Average.  HR= Home Runs.
RBI = Runs Batted In.  SB = Stolen Bases.  R = Runs.
Pos = Position qualification based on 20 appearances or max. # of games in 2006.
4x4 = BA, HR, RBI, and SB in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters.
5x5 = BA, HR, RBI, SB, and R in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters.
RAR = Runs Above Replacement; aRAR = RAR adjusted to
consider a player's 2006 defensive rating in Scoresheet fantasy baseball.

We ranked players by position 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 all players in the league where they began the season.


22.  Geoff BlumSD PadresAge: 33B:S   T:R
ABHBAHRRBISBRPos  4x45x5RARaRAR
Proj.30076.253731235S23225.81.8
200627670.254434027S301-1-4.7

Khalil Greene's finger issues thrust Blum into the starting lineup for much of the second half, and although at least his power production improved, his woeful OBP created another offensive hole for the Padres. However, he still re-upped with the Padres in December, so if Greene hits the DL once again, Blum could see regular at-bats. You probably don't want to own him under any circumstances, but if you need a little extra pop from your short-term roster filler, Blum provides more consistent numbers than most alternatives.


23.  Damion EasleyARI DiamondbacksAge: 36B:R   T:R
ABHBAHRRBISBRPos  4x45x5RARaRAR
Proj.22553.236727227S2-103.71.3
200618944.233928124S3002.60.3

Signed by the Mets as Chris Woodward's replacement, Easley turned 37 in November and now appears merely adequate as a bench player. Posting a mere .010 OPS increase upon moving from Florida to Arizona indicates bigger underlying problems, specifically the rapid deterioration of his power over the last few years. While I see some signs of improved plate discipline, he hasn't possessed much value the last few years due to his BA, and with his quantitative stats likely to decline even further in New York, don't risk owning him in any league.


24.  J.J. HardyMIL BrewersAge: 24B:R   T:R
ABHBAHRRBISBRPos  4x45x5RARaRAR
Proj.525138.2631464175S81017.512.5
200612831.242514113S-1-10.4-0.9

A torn labrum ended Hardy's 2004 AAA campaign after five weeks. Still promoted to the Brewers' starting lineup the following season, he avoided the DL but posted a pedestrian .247/.327/.384 performance in 372 AB. Last summer he spent six weeks flailing at pitches before missing the rest of the year with a sprained ankle, which finally required surgery in July. Now he enters a third season as the starting shortstop, though with Craig Counsell and Tony Graffanino both aboard on the bench and Bill Hall merely a hundred feet away in left field, Hardy appears on a surprisingly short leash. He only turned 24 in August, and given his limited AAA experience, perhaps spending several more weeks at the minors to refine his hitting skills isn't a bad plan after missing the majority of the last three seasons. I really like his long-term future, but unless you can grab him for a couple bucks, let someone else overspend in the hope that both Hardy's BA and power skills unexpectedly blossom in 2007.


25.  Troy TulowitzkiCOL RockiesAge: 21B:R   T:R
ABHBAHRRBISBRPos  4x45x5RARaRAR
Proj.
20069623.24016315S-1-1-1.6-1.6

Please refer to our Post-2006 Prospect Review: Colorado for my comments on Tulowitzki.


26.  Cesar IzturisLAD/CHCAge: 26B:S   T:R
ABHBAHRRBISBRPos  4x45x5RARaRAR
Proj.30073.243012728S-10-7-4.9
200619247.245118114S3-2-1-5.5-4.1

Tommy John surgery in September of 2005 sidelined Izturis until mid-June. He mostly played third base until a deadline deal that sent him to Chicago as the shocking sole return for Greg Maddux despite the $4.15 owed Izturis this year. While he at least stabilizes the Cubs' often porous infield defense, he adds little offensively and likely won't contribute too much out of the #8 hole for Lou Piniella. However, Izturis also demonstrated decent plate discipline upon his return, and given his past flashes of speed, he just might push double-digit value. The low likelihood of that occurrence is what prevents me from recommending him as more than an endgame pick for teams merely looking for a starter with some quantitative upside.


27.  Tomas de la RosaSF GiantsAge: 28B:R   T:R
ABHBAHRRBISBRPos  4x45x5RARaRAR
Proj.
2006165.3130101S-2-20.10.1

After more than five years out of the majors, De Rosa returned to The Show as an injury replacement for Kevin Frandsen. De la Rosa earned his promotion after registering a solid .293/.352/.457 performance with 8 HR, 42 RBI, and a 23:45 BB:K in 300 AB for AAA Fresno(PCL). Of course, while he acquitted himself respectably with the Giants, he needs a superb spring training to remain an option for any club this year. I see no reason to roster him in any league.


28.  Neifi PerezCHC/DETAge: 33B:S   T:R
ABHBAHRRBISBRPos  4x45x5RARaRAR
Proj.35090.257527522S2330.58.5
200630173.243229131S2-2-1-9.2-3.2

Still a superb defender yet otherwise incapable of contributing to a team on the field, Perez headed to Detroit in August for minor league catcher Chris Robinson in a nice dump deal by Jim Hendry. Perez now returns as the veteran among the Tigers' generally inept reserve infielders, performing better than Ramon Santiago but offering far less upside than the surprisingly young Omar Infante. He still could see plenty of work given the fragile health of Carlos Guillen and Placido Polanco, but with Perez's speed seemingly gone and no reason to expect an acceptable BA, you simply must not risk rostering him in any league.


29.  Alberto CallaspoARI DiamondbacksAge: 23B:S   T:R
ABHBAHRRBISBRPos  4x45x5RARaRAR
Proj.5014.28015152-1-20.70.7
20064210.2380602S-2-3-1.2-1.6

Please refer to our Post-2006 Prospect Review: Arizona for my comments on Callaspo.


30.  Tony Pena, Jr.ATL BravesAge: 25B:R   T:R
ABHBAHRRBISBRPos  4x45x5RARaRAR
Proj.256.2400212S-3-3-1-1
20064410.22713012S-2-2-1.1-1.1

While Pena enjoyed regular work as a defensive replacement for the Braves in April, August, and September, the recent signing of Chris Woodward effectively returns the youngster to Triple-A, where he should share the middle infield with Yunel Escobar. As Kelly Johnson, Willy Aybar, Martin Prado, and even Pete Orr all seemingly rank ahead of Pena in the competition for the second base job, Pena also won't see many at-bats even if he somehow breaks camp in the majors. His .282/.312/.359 performance in 298 AB for AAA Richmond(IL) qualified as an improvement on his previous averages, but with Pena's plate discipline still horrible, I don't envision him contributing to a competitive fantasy team any time soon.


Shortstop Week concludes tomorrow.


Today's Fantasy Rx: Defensive replacements, declining veterans, and unproven rookies generally comprise this tier of shortstops. Obviously Troy Tulowitzki possesses plenty of upside, but given his lack of experience above Double-A, bidding into double digits leaves you little margin for error. Nominal starters J.J. Hardy and Cesar Izturis barely deserve minimal bids given their BA downsides, and almost everyone else here qualifies as roster filler at best. Alberto Callaspo looks like the one exception. Qualifying at shortstop for 2007 makes him an intriguing option in most drafts, especially given his probable role as the Diamondbacks' primary utilityman, a history of high batting averages supported by strong plate discipline, and double-digit SB potential. Nabbing him for anything less than $5 will look like a steal by the beginning of summer, and if you see cost-efficient second baseman available instead of shortstops, feel free to slot Callaspo as your starting shortstop while stocking safer power bats at 2B/MIF.


Click here to read the previous article.

Please e-mail your comments to tim@rotohelp.com.
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