There are few combinations more popular than peanut butter and jelly … especially when spread over bread and smacked together into one sandwich. Imagine where we’d be without PB&Js. In fact, Wikipedia allegedly found a 2002 survey that suggests that the average American will have eaten approximately 1,500 PB&J sandwiches by the time that he/she has graduated high school.
In the realm of fantasy baseball, composite rankings are like a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. They’re like smacking together several tasty flavors into one winning combination.
The following composite top 20 shortstops blends together rankings from ESPN, CNNSI, CBS, Yahoo and MLB.com. Be sure to check out the sortable table at the bottom of the post.
Don’t miss my early shortstop rankings, ep’s top 20 ADP for shortstop and my sleepers/value players at the position. Also, be sure to check out the other composite rankings: Top 50 | C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP
1. Hanley Ramirez, FLA. No brainer was consensus top shortstop across the board. More about him here.
2. Troy Tulowitzki, COL. Only think keeping Tulo from being a high first-round pick at a shallow position is his injury track record.
3. Jose Reyes, NYM. Struggles over the past two seasons have tempered many towards Reyes. However, every site utilized feel he’s the third best option at the position this season.
4. Derek Jeter, NYY. Older, yes. Declining? Yes. Still in a killer lineup in a hitter-friendly stadium? Yes.
5. Jimmy Rollins, PHI. Just one point behind Jeter, both guys are looking for the fountain of youth. Rollins has shown us what he can do. It is a matter of figuring out what he will do in 2011.
6. Elvis Andrus, TEX. Two seasons of MLB action tells us exactly what to expect from Andrus. Average between .260 to .270. Thirty steals. No power.
7. Alexei Ramirez, CWS. One of my value shortstops. Should hit 20 homers, steal 20 bases and have a healthy batting average to boot. Only thing holding him back in improved lineup is that he will start season batting eighth.
8. Stephen Drew, ARI. Once upon a time, we expected Drew to mature into an elite option at this position. Nowadays, we know to temper expectations. Not a horrible option, but wouldn’t be this high if the position was deeper.
9. Rafael Furcal, LAD. For the past five seasons, Furcal alternated a .300 batting average with a .270 average every other year. If that pattern holds, this will be a down year again.
10. Ian Desmond, WAS. Difference between Drew, Furcal and Desmond is that Ian is much younger. Meaning there’s still a chance he capitalizes on his potential to improve.
11. Starlin Castro, CHC. Another young shortstop with upside, Castro has been hot all spring and provides a batting average no one else in this part of the list will touch. Good value.
12. Yunel Escobar, TOR. The power has dried up, steals are fairly miniscule and he’s been battling back soreness this spring. I won’t be owning Yunel in many leagues this year … if I can help it.
13. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE. A guy I expected much better things from last season, I still wonder if Cabrera has some potential upside if you can snag him late enough. Emphasis on late.
14. Marco Scutaro, BOS. Here’s where composite rankings get interesting. Not ranked at all in the top 20 by MLB.com or Yahoo, Scutaro is buoyed up to 14th overall by CBS Sports’ seventh overall ranking of him. Sports Illustrated have him 10th at the position.
15 (tie). Jhonny Peralta, DET. The power potential is always there for Peralta. However, his batting average has consistently dropped the past three consecutive seasons. With a new club, surrounded by better offensive weapons, perhaps Peralta has more value than first meets the eye?
15 (tie). Miguel Tejada, SF. Declining skill set. Double-digit power is still within reach. Batting average hitting .300 again is probably not. Giants plan to provide Tejada plenty of rest throughout the season, too.
17. Alcides Escobar, KC. With a new club that may do a better job of utilizing his speed potential, Escobar could be an OK late value guy. Ranked as high as 13th by ESPN and not in the top 20 at the position at all by CBS and SI.
18. Cliff Pennington, OAK. Shoulder woes have hampered Pennington this spring. He won’t do muich in the power department, but 30 steals are within reach if he stays healthy. Don’t expect much help in batting average, though.
19. Erick Aybar, LAA. With numbers that have been all over the place during his MLB career, it is hard to peg what Aybar will bring to the table. He could steal 25 bases with a .270ish average if healthy, or he could totally disappear in stretches.
20 (tie). Mike Aviles, KC. A late-round sleeper possibility, Aviles is now penciled into the Royals’ leadoff spot for the start of the season after a hot spring has driven up his stock. He can hit for average, steal double digit bases and hit double digit homers. I still wonder when/if Alcides Escobar usurps the leadoff gig at some point.
20 (tie). Juan Uribe, LAD. Increasing power numbers the past two seasons led to a cushy contract this offseason with the Dodgers. His average is mediocre to bad and steals are basically nonexistent.
20 (tie). Jason Bartlett, SD. Those who were expecting Bartlett to follow up on his 2009 breakout were sorely mistaken in 2010. Considering the 2009 power came out of nowhere, I suppose that isn’t a surprise. Don’t expect that to drastically change in pitcher-friendly San Diego.
Others who received top-2o rankings from other sites but not enough to warrant a place on the composite top 20 include Alex Gonzalez, JJ Hardy, Reid Brignac, Yuniesky Betancourt, Ryan Theriot, Omar Infante and Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
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