Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/8/13
There aren’t many people threatening Tulo atop the SS position in 2014. He could still be #1 even if he gets hurt.10 Questi While the late 90s-2000s shortstop triumvirate (Miguel Tejada, Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez) is gone, guys like Ian Desmond, Troy Tulowitzki, and Jose Reyes have emerged as some of the most complete shortstops for fantasy purposes. Tulo is one of the best, if not the best, options, but Desmond and Reyes are real close when healthy. New guys like Jean Segura, Andrelton Simmons, and Brad Miller might be the next in a wave of talented infielders. What will 2014 hold for the shortstops? Read Matt’s 12 Open Questions at 2B! Can Segura and Simmons continue their impressive 2013s into 2014? Segura slumped hard in August but regained a little bit of swagger to end the season. Simmons went from undrafted to a top 10 SS, but most people expected any value he had would be due to his legs. Instead, he popped 17 HR, double what he did in 1,224 career professional plate appearances entering 2013, and swiped just 5 bags. Will Starlin Castro suck beyond all suck again in next season? He went from a top 5 SS to someone who shouldn’t have even been drafted based on his numbers (10 HR, 44 RBI, .245 BA). I expect a rebound after an aggressive off-season by the Cubs, but there have also been rumors that Castro could be on the move. Who will be the top SS? If Tulowitzki and Reyes both stay healthy all season (a colossal if), who will be the top SS? With his power and lineup, I think it’ll be Tulo, but Reyes can be a 5-tool guy when healthy. Is there anyone else who could threaten for the top spot? Desmond is a 20/20 guy, but he’s probably not Number 1 material. Beyond them, it would be a real shocker if anyone else prevails. Can Xander Bogaerts be as impressive as a full-time starter as he was in the playoffs? If he mans SS with Stephen Drew gone (please, oh please), he could score a ton of runs with the patience he displayed in the postseason. There’s also an increasingly likely scenario where Drew returns and Bogaerts moves to 3B a la Manny Machado. If that happens, people will probably start raving about his power potential since he won’t have to worry about remaining flexible, and bendy, and all that good SS stuff. In truth, he’s still young and the power probably won’t develop right away regardless of what position he plays. Essentially, this is what we saw from Machado last season. Does Billy Hamilton supplant Shin-Soo Choo in Cincy? On the surface, this seems like an outfield question, but there’s a chance that Hamilton retains SS eligibility this season and maybe even beyond 2014 if he fills in part time. Check out our Billy Hamilton 2014 Fantasy Impact and our updated 2014 Fantasy Rankings Methodology. How does Everth Cabrera respond after his 50-game suspension? Does he regress to Bruce Banner mode or does he regain some resemblance of the pre-suspension guy and Hulk up (no pun intended) as the guy who pilfered 37 bags? He’s young enough to rebound, but he isn’t on the best team. Where does Brad Miller finish over the course of a full season? I think if he’s healthy all year, a top 10 finish isn’t out of the question after his limited success (81 hits, 41 runs, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 5 steals in 306 at bats) as Seattle’s leadoff man. That said, Seattle has a poor history of developing hitting prospects, so it’s probably better to expect the worst and hope for the best. How will Derek Jeter produce in what might be his Swan song? He needs to keep them hammies fresh if he wants to regain all-star status. Come to think of it, will fresh hammies even be enough? I’m fascinated to see where Jeter goes in early mock drafts seeing as he’s way up there in age and he completely lost last season. What can Jonathan Villar do with more playing time? Let’s face it, he only needs to be productive enough to outplay Marwin Gonzalez, which really isn’t a tall order. Carlos Correia is the future, but they have no reason to rush him and start his service clock, so it’s Villar’s job to lose. He could provide a lot of steals, but the rest is likely going to be downright terrible. When do we see Francisco Lindor (MIN), Javier Baez (CHC), and Alen Hanson (PIT)? Like in Houston, Minnesota and Chicago have zero reason to rush their top prospects. They might be September call-ups, but anything earlier than that would be very surprising to me. Hanson plays for a contender who doesn’t have a good in-house option but does have a limited spending budget, but he seems more like a 2015 option than a 2014 one. Still, I think he has the best chance of this trio having an impact this season.
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