This article is going to cover the top 5 shortstop battles (with emphasis on offense) to look at for your 2009 fantasy team. This covers which shortstops are fighting against each other for the position and which team they are on. This list could possibly change due to free agency and trades that take place in the off-season.
1. Anthony Hewitt was a big name that the Phillies drafted in the summer of 2008. Anthony Hewitt does not have any major league statistics from 2008 but expect him to challenge Jimmy Rollins for the shortstop position. Rollins has been a good player for the Phillis but lately he has been over-rated. Rollins had a .277 batting average for 2008 (according to http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/rolliji01.shtml). If Anthony Hewitt can bring a big bat to the line-up then he might be able to contest Rollins for the starting position.
2. The Washington Nationals have a pretty good starter with Christian Guzman but Pete Orr may have other ideas. Pete Orr played on the AAA Richmond Braves team and has been discovered by the Nationals. If the Nationals take a good look at Orr, he can give Guzman a run for his money. Guzman had a batting average of .316 in 2008 (according to http://www.baseball-reference.com/g/guzmacr01.shtml), which is decent for a shortstop but it is by no means the best. Orr has shown that he has a great glove. It will be interesting to watch who comes out on top during spring training.
3. Bobby Crosby has tried to fill the shoes that Miguel Tejada left. Cliff Pennington’s name has been popping up on a few different sites (AssociatedContent.com, Baseball-Intellect.com, and fantasyPlayers.com). He is not one of the biggest prospects but he is what we would call a “sleeper”. that means that he will sneak up on you because he is incredible reliable and solid. If Pennington has agood turn-out in spring training then he might have a good shot at knocking Crosby from the starting position. Pennington is also had a few games with Oakland last season, he even averaged at batting with a .242 in 2008 (according to http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/P/cliff-pennington.shtml), which is really good for only playing 99 games.
4. It has been said that J.J. Hardy will be the Brewers shorstop going into 2009 but that is completely overlooking Alcides Escobar (Also rated one of the Tops 5 Rookie Shortstops of 2009 http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1407248/top_5_rookie_shortstops_fantasy_baseball.html?cat=14). J.J. Hardy had a batting average of .283 during the 2008 season (according to http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/hardyjj01.shtml). Escobar has had a great showing in the minors and the Brewers brought him up for 9 games in 2008. Excobar might be one of the only people who could challenge Hardy this coming season.
5. Michael Young and Elvis Andrus should be a good battle of the shortstops for the Texas Rangers. Michael Young has not had the best bat out of shortstops. He had a batting average of .284 for the 2008 season (according to http://www.baseball-reference.com/y/youngmi02.shtml). Andrus has a better batting average but is in AA for Texas at the moment. If the coaches pull him up for the spring trainging, then expect him to give Young a run for his money. The Rangers seem to be pretty pleased with Young, so they might not even bat an eye at Andrus. ANdrus is a great prospect and the Rangers would be really dumb to pass him up.
This list is a general idea of the battles for the shortstop position. Essentially, every team is having a battle in every position. These are the top 5 battles for shortstop because these shortstops could make or break the ofensive line-ups for these teams. Good luck with your fantasy teams and enjoy the 2009 season!