FANFOOD FB’13 – Shortstops


There is no need to focus early on shortstops. Gone are the times when Ramirez and Tulo are first round talents. These are the times of good but not great double s’s, and there are plenty of them. Here, I will attempt to guide you through the huge pile of average and provide you with another great recipe for smoked beef short ribs, Asian style.



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FANFOOD FB’13 Shortstops


Like the second base position, there is one player that stands out but is not head and shoulders over the rest of his peers. That player is once again Derek Jeter. Ok just kidding, it’s Troy Tulowitzki. He does come with a concern of injuries so I wouldn’t blame you if you passed on him giving the chance. If you do, you can look at the next best things in Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, and Ben Zobrist.

Hanley Ramirez is now a shortstop again as he went back to the position after he was traded from the Marlins to the Dodgers last season. He is not the player he used to be but has the upside of being a 25/25 player. His recent batting average is concerning but not to me. Can’t tell you why but I’m buying…Jose Reyes is a boom or bust right now. I am a gambling man and saying he could be booming atop the order in Toronto, but they play half their games on fake grass. Ben Zobrist’s eligibility makes him a great addition to your team, you can expect 20 bombs and close to 100 RBIs.

Many people would have included Starlin Castro in this group and maybe he should be, I just like the flexibility that Zobrist gives you instead. I am going to group him with the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Ian Desmond, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Elvis Andrus.

Sure Jimmy Rollins came back strong last season but he is not getting any younger and always seems to land on the DL…there is something about Ian Desmond I am not sure about. I guess you could worse like someone called Elvis. Andrus‘s average has risen steadily each of the past three years, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to expect growth from last year’s .286. Andrus’ jump from 2010-11 was the result of a markedly increased line-drive rate (19.3 percent to 23.1 percent) and a reduction in his infield pop-ups. Both of those numbers took steps back last season, but his average leapt again based on his .332 BABIP. That’s a healthy jump from the .312 mark he carried into last season. Andrus’ stolen base total dropped to 21, and it did so thanks to a paltry 67.7 percent success rate in 31 attempts. Since going 33-for-39 (84.6 percent) in his rookie season, Andrus has gone 90-for-127 (70.8 percent) from 2010-12. While he runs a lot, he’s not exactly a great base stealer, and last season was the worst of them all. He’ll also lose the added benefit of Josh Hamilton driving him in. Mike Napoli, too, is gone. The Rangers’ lineup in general doesn’t look as threatening as it once did, given Hamilton’s departure and an aging Nelson Cruz. It’s still solid, but it’s fair to expect a decrease in runs for Andrus given the changes. Elvis is still just 24 years old, so he could surprise with some power, but over four years he’s basically been a steals-and-runs shortstop, and there’s plenty of reason to believe he’ll disappoint in both of those categories in 2013… Indians manager Terry Francona indicated that he might bat Asdrubal Cabrera second this season. The idea would be to split up left-handed hitters Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis. “Cabrera is certainly a candidate for something like that,” Francona said. “Just because we want to split it up and balance the lineup.” Cabrera spent most of his time in the two-hole last season (88 starts) but also batted third often (52 starts).


If you don’t get one of these players, it’s not the end of the world. If you are in a 12 team league, most everyone has their shortstop position filled and we still haven’t talked Derek Jeter, Alexei Ramirez, Stephen Drew and Jurickson Profar. Plus I bet you didn’t know about Josh Rutledge until I talked about him in my second base article.

DJ turns 39 in June, expects to be ready by opening day after breaking his ankle in the championship. He had a nice season last year and I am surprised that I have him ranked as low as I do. Hitting leadoff will bolster his runs column, but that 16.1 percent HR/FB will erode via his 60-plus grounder percentage. As if statistical regression weren’t enough, recovery from an ankle fracture often saps plate and bag-taking potency. It’s on his front hitting foot, which may hinder him upon planting early on in, if not throughout, his return…This year, Stephen Drew, 30 in March, also has health concerns. He took his time recovering from his own broken ankle in July 2011, and he wasn’t at full strength until sometime after last season’s All-Star break. In the campaign’s final month-plus, for the Oakland Athletics, he scored a .263/.331/.421 slash line. Drew is also playing for a nicer payday next winter, and Beantown isn’t a bad place for that showcase…Josh Rutledge made an immediate impact within fantasy lineups when he was added to the team. He ripped 33 extra-base hits in 277 at-bats while driving in 37 runs with seven stolen bases. Rutledge offered fantasy owners a fantastic .341 BABIP. Of course, there is still a gaping hole in his game. Rutledge’s power output is accompanied by a troubling strikeout rate. He fanned once in every 5.1 at-bats and drew few walks (nine). He will be playing second base, but his dual edibility makes for a late round flyer…Jurickson Profar is undoubtedly baseball’s top prospect who everyone is talking about. He has the kind of ability that would allow him to succeed in the majors, even at age 20, as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper did last season. Profar batted .281 with 14 home runs and 16 stolen bases in the Double-A Texas League, where he was one of the youngest players on any roster. The Rangers aren’t in a rush to make room for their prized middle infielder, however. An injury to Elvis Andrus or, likelier, Ian Kinsler would obviously clear the way, but the more probable scenario involves an eventual trade of or position switch by Kinsler, whose deal expires at the end of this season.


If you decided to punt the position, you can fill your position at the back end of your draft with a steals specialist like Alcides Escobar or Everth Cabrera, a risk-reward types like Andrelton Simmons, J.J. Hardy, Jed Lowrie, or Eric Aybar and Danny Espinosa.

Out of this group, the ones I really like are Escobar and Cabrera. Escobar is looks to be the Royals’ projected No. 2 hitter in 2013. After spending the first three months of the year primarily in the 7, 8 and 9 spots for Kansas City, Escobar jumped to the two-hole and never looked back on July 1. He scored 39 of his 68 runs in those 81 games (58 percent) and picked up 32 of his 52 RBIs (62 percent). Escobar is an 81.3 percent base stealer since being traded to Kansas City (61-for-75), and last season’s 35-for-40 (87.5 percent) effort was remarkable. It’s fair to expect a step back in last year’s 23 percent line-drive rate, which would lower his .344 BABIP and .293 average… Cabrera is primarily a one-trick pony in his own right, but it’s quite the trick. The 25-year-old led the National League in stolen bases last season despite playing in just 115 games. Cabrera swiped 44 bases in 48 attempts. Cabrera only hit .246 last season, but he did so with a solid enough 9.6 percent walk rate that he got on base at a .324 clip. Even if he repeats his ho-hum batting average, he’ll reach enough to burn up the base paths and set the table for Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and possibly Jedd Gyorko. There’s reason for optimism with Cabrera’s average, though. He’s a strict line-drive (19.1 percent) and ground-ball (60.7 percent) hitter. Cabrera only hit fly balls 20.2 percent of the time — an excellent trait for someone with his skill set. Cabrera’s .702 batting average on liners last season was below the league average. If he can raise that number and cut down on his strikeouts as he did in Triple-A (17.3 percent K-rate vs. 24.5 percent in the Majors), there’s room for him to improve his average. His main problem is that he simply needs to be more aggressive. Cabrera doesn’t swing outside the zone because he simply doesn’t swing much at all. He swung at just 41.2 percent of the league’s offerings (46 is average). With a full season near the top of the order, Cabrera could surpass 70 runs and 50 steals…. Andrelton Simmons will be a big part of a revamped Atlanta squad that now boasts both Justin and B.J. Upton. He batted .289 in his 49-game introduction to the Braves in 2012, producing 13 extra-base hits (eight doubles) with 19 RBI. You need only look to his 2011 minor league season in the Carolina League to witness Simmons’ gap power and speed potential. He slammed 35 doubles in 517 at-bats with 26 stolen bases (44 attempts) while striking out just 43 times….The last time Jed Lowrie played more than 100 games in a season was 2007. He missed two months last season with the Astros due to ankle and thumb injuries. Now a member of the A’s following an early-February trade, Lowrie becomes an interesting option for owners in search of position flexibility with their shortstop. Reports say he’ll play primarily at SS, but Billy Beane stressed Lowrie could see time at other positions around the infield including second and third. Despite all the time missed due to injury, his 16 home runs ranked fourth among fellow shorstops….One solid but unspectacular player is Eric Aybar, hitting in front of Albert Pujols is pretty good too. Expect a decent batting average, 20-30 steals and a bunch or runs scored.

You should be able to find a starting shortstop from all the ones mentioned here.




Top 25 Shortstops (extra eligibility)

Troy Tulowitzki
Jose Reyes
Hanley Ramirez (3B)
Ben Zobrist (2B,RF)
Starlin Castro
Jimmy Rollins
Ian Desmond
Elvis Andrus
Asdrubal Cabrera
Erick Aybar
Derek Jeter
Martin Prado (2B,3B,LF)
Alcides Escobar
Josh Rutledge (2B)
Danny Espinosa (2B)
Alexei Ramirez
J.J. Hardy
Andrelton Simmons
Marco Scutaro (2B,3B)
Andrelton Simmons
Everth Cabrera (2B)
Jed Lowrie
Stephen Drew
Hiroyuki Nakajima
Jurickson Profar

Others to keep an eye on: Jean Segura, Zack Cozart, Yunel Escobar, Jhonny Peralta, Dee Gordon

quick links:

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Asian Beef Short Ribs

5-6 pound bone-in beef short ribs, cut between the bones


Asian Paste:

1/2 cup chopped scallions

2 chunks fresh ginger, peeled

1 Tbs Asian Chili-garlic paste

3 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice

2 Tbs soy sauce

1 Tbs Asian fish sauce

Asian Mop:

2 Tbs soy sauce

2 Tbs rice wine vinegar

2 Tbs vegetable oil

Plum Sauce:

16 ounce can of plums in heavy syrup, undrained

1/4 cup scallions, minced

1 Tbs Yellow mustard

1 tsp molasses

1/2 tsp ground red chili, ancho

1/4 tsp salt

Dash of Worcestershire sauce


The night before you plan on smoking, combine the paste ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. once a puree forms, apply the paste evenly to the ribs, reserving 1 tablespoon.  Place the ribs in a freezer bag and put in the fridge.

Prepare your smoker bringing the temperature to 200°F to 220°F.

Remove the ribs and let sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.

Combine the mop ingredients with 1 cup of warm water in a small saucepan and warm over low heat.

Transfer the meat to the smoker fatty side up and cook for 4-5 hours depending on the size of the ribs until well done.

While your meat is cooking, mix all sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook until it thickens, approx 20 minutes. stir often.

Mop the meat once an hour, and glaze the ribs once or twice during the last hour of cooking.

Remove the ribs from the smoker and let stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Trim the fat and serve with remaining sauce.


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