Remember the good old days of Little League? When the shortstop was the coach’s son and by far the team’s best player? When you could scout out your opposition’s hitting ability simply by looking at their defensive lineup? (For those of you who never played when you were little, they usually stuck the…shall we say…less motivated kids in the outfield blanton’s full set.)
Heck, remember the 90s? Wasn’t every great player in the majors a shortstop back then? Even A-Rod was still playing that infield lynchpin position back then. Weird now that A-Rod is just another power hitting veteran. But I digress.
These days, there are two types of shortstops. There are the glorified second-basemen who are put out there to steal a few bases and try to hit for a high average, and then there are the old-school, best-player-on-the-team, power-hitting, five-tool superstars.
Well, if you’re looking for value in a daily fantasy baseball league or trying to shore up the position in a longer league, there are limited options that won’t break the bank. Still, here are some of your best bets if you’re looking to save salary cap money or make a solid free-agent pickup for your fantasy team at shortstop.
Rafael Furcal, Dodgers. When Furcal is at his best, he’s actually a surprisingly efficient power hitter. When he’s at his worst, he can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Fortunately for you, fantasy guru, Furcal is white-hot right about now.
Since the beginning of June, Furcal has hit all six of his homers, and has failed to reach base in just four games. That includes a seven game multi-hit game streak at the end of last month. If you’re not convinced, he’s raised his average from .292 on June 6th to .336 on July 6th.
Furcal picks up his game in a big way after the All-Star break every year, so jump on him now if you can still get him for a reasonable price. Jayson Nix, Cleveland. What a couple of weeks this guy has had. In just 12 games since Cleveland picked him up off waivers, Nix has played like a man possessed.
Last week alone, Nix hit .333 with five home runs (FIVE! LAST WEEK!) 7 RBI and 3 walks. Are you kidding me? He’s eligible for 2B,3B, and SS depending on your league, but if you play in a one-day league, you have to have this guy on your roster at one of those positions.
At least for the next week or so. He hasn’t exactly wowed anyone in his baseball career up to this point, so don’t make a silly move to get him…but if he’s available for pickup or you have only a little salary cap left, do it without hesitation.
Felipe Lopez, St. Louis. Another hot infield utility man from the Midwest, Lopez plays more like a second baseman than a shortstop…but if you’ve got your steals and home runs coming from other places, Lopez is worth a look. He’s hitting .440 for the month of July.
He won’t provide a ton of stats other than his consistent hitting, but he’d complement someone like Mark Reynolds nicely. If these numbers keep up, look to see him near the top of the St. Louis lineup soon…which means some pretty serious protection behind him and easier pitches to hit.