Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
With the World Series over, those of us who play fantasy baseball are already looking ahead to next year's draft. And the best way to get ready is by analyzing last year's results.
In the fifth part of a series, we will evaluate the shortstop position.
The position as a whole, struggled in 2010 pretty much across the board.
The first shortstop selected in almost every league was Hanley Ramirez, who while still finishing second in our rankings, slipped in every category, except stolen bases, and didn't "earn" his No.2 overall selection. To top it off, he played in his fewest games since coming to Florida. Unfortunately, it appears as if the batting trends will continue unless he returns to the leadoff spot where his career numbers are higher in both slugging percentage (.538 versus .502) and OPS (.925 versus .890).
Ramirez wasn't the only disappointment for fantasy owners. Jimmy Rollins couldn't stay healthy and spent more time on the disabled list than in the field, playing just 88 games.
Derek Jeter posted his worst batting average since becoming an everyday player in 1996, Stephen Drew still can't replicate his 2008 season and Rafael Furcal can't stay healthy enough to be a full-time fantasy starter anymore.
It was nice to see Jose Reyes back on the field, after playing just 36 games in 2009, but 30 stolen bases just isn't enough, particularly when he won't be able to hit 19 home runs like he did back in 2006 in the "grand canyon" they call Citi Field.
One who didn't disappoint was Troy Tulowitzki, who turned in the most productive job of any shortstop. But even "Tulo" saw his home run, runs scored and stolen base totals dip from 2009 because of a wrist injury in June which kept him out of 40 games.
Third in our season-ending rankings was White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who overcame a slow start (batted .221 in April). As a 10th-round selection in most leagues (ADP 128), Ramirez captured the "Best Bargain" award for shortstops, edging out a couple of free agent fantasy pickups, Alex Gonzalez and Juan Uribe, who made a surprise appearance on the top-10 list by hitting the long ball.
Uribe blasted a career-high 24 while Gonzalez tied his career best with 23 home runs. Neither should be expected to duplicate their power numbers in 2011.
On the other hand, watch for Washington Nationals young shortstop Ian Desmond and the Cubs' Starlin Castro to break into the top-10 rankings for 2011.
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