Finding bargains in daily fantasy baseball salary cap games is paramount to your success and there’s no better place to save money than over in the shortstops. Troy Tulowitzki is the top dog and should be worth his price, but some of the other, more expensive shortstops such as Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes have been a little less reliable lately due to injury. Therefore, a strategy that involves spending big bucks on more reliable players at other positions and finding cheaper bargains at shortstop seems like a sensible move.
Daily fantasy MLB advice columns will point out a variety of different shortstops to use throughout the year, but for now, we’ll start off with five sleepers at the position to help start your season on the right foot.
Dee Gordon, LAD (2011 Pts Total: 200) – If you’re looking for a real burner at a discounted price in the infield, then look no further than Gordon. He made his first appearance on the big league level in June of last season and while he struggled with his initial call-up and was subsequently demoted, his return later on in the year proved positive as he batted .304 with 24 stolen bases in just 233 plate appearances. It would be nice if he could learn to draw a walk, but he doesn’t strike out very often and his high contact rates help keep his OBP up. He’s the Dodgers starting shortstop this season and will bat leadoff, so expect plenty of runs scored and stolen bases at a bargain cost.
Zack Cozart, CIN (29) – With just 29 total points in daily salary cap games last year, Cozart is on nobody’s radar right now. Elbow surgery last season put him on the shelf and now that he’s healthy, he’s ready to handle starting shortstop duties and should probably hit second in a strong Reds lineup. At 26 years old, you’d like to see a little more major league experience, but Cozart still has plus speed and decent power capabilities. His struggles with batting average aren’t much of a concern in daily games like this, so don’t let that deter you. He is still able to knock you 15 home runs with 20-odd doubles and double digit steals totals.
Tyler Greene, STL (101) – While Greene won’t see much time at short unless Rafael Furcal goes down with an injury, he’s still going to play regularly as the Cardinals second baseman this year. Technically, the job isn’t quite his just yet as he continues to battle Daniel Descalso this spring, but manager Mike matheny is a big fan of Greene and has already stated publicly that he likes him over at the keystone. He hasn’t quite made the most of his opportunities in recent years, but he is certainly capable of producing roughly 8 home runs while swiping 10-15 bags this season. He’s knocked 20-plus doubles in each of the last two seasons, so perhaps there’s a bit more power on the way. For what he’ll cost you though in a daily fantasy game, he’s more than passable.
Clint Barmes, PIT (303) – Barmes is just the type of guy you’re looking for in daily salary cap games as he has a tendency to be streaky, so when he’s hot…he’s really hot. He’ll never be the player he once was thanks to Todd Helton and the deer meat fiasco, but Barmes is capable of banging close to 20 home runs with 20-plus doubles in a given season. His last two seasons have been marred by injuries and a lack of playing time, but that shouldn’t be the case this season. Well, you can’t predict injuries, but he’s healthy now and the Pirates have him locked in as their everyday shortstop. So long as you catch him while he’s on one of his patented streaks, he should easily out-earn what you’ll pay for him.
Alcides Escobar, KC (438) – Escobar took a nice step forward last year in his first season with the Royals swiping 26 bases and hopefully he can continue to build on that total this season. He doesn’t strike out very much, but could stand to take more walks and increase his contact rate which would, obviously help raise his on-base percentage. While his overall stats in 2011 may not have been all that impressive, he was still the #14 shortstop for points in daily salary cap games, so should he continue in his development – remember, he’s still just 25 years old – he should put up some solid point totals at a very reasonable cost this year.