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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Reyes update and top 20 shortstops

Thursday, the drama that has been the Jose Reyes he-said, the-Mets-said situation featured a new twist.

Reyes — who has been diagnosed with an overactive thyroid and had insisted he was fine, despite the Mets’ claims he wasn’t — was told to rest and refrain from athletic activity for 2 to 8 weeks.

The range of the timetable obviously makes a huge difference on draft day, since two weeks at this time of year means nothing, but eight could signify playing five or six weeks of the regular season without your top shortstop.

The Mets said Reyes likely will begin the season on the disabled list, and the uncertainty drops the former top-three overall fantasy pick a couple spots in the position rankings that follow.

From 2006 to ’08, Reyes batted .292 and averaged 118 runs scored, 16 home runs, 69 RBI, 66 steals, 34 doubles and 16 triples per season. Last season, he was limited to 36 games by a hamstring injury, and he now he has a thyroid condition his agent said is “a completely treatable, curable situation.”

If on draft day Reyes’ return is still undecided, I would be willing to gamble on selecting him in the fifth or sixth round of a 12-team draft. He’s no longer a better option than Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins, but I would take him over the Rays’ Jason Bartlett.

Reyes is only 26 and should still be viewed as an elite fantasy player. If you’re desperate for steals and runs scored, he’s among the best around if healthy.

Your definition of said value should determine how much you’re willing to spend, or in which round you’re willing to take a chance, on a stud whose luck seems to have gone the way of his team’s.

On to the rankings:

Rank, player: R-HR-RBI-SB-Avg.
1. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins: 101-24-106-27-.342
2. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 101-32-92-20-.297
3. Derek Jeter, Yankees: 107-18-66-30-.334
4. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies: 100-21-77-31-.250
5. Jose Reyes, Mets: 18-2-15-11-.279
6. Jason Bartlett, Rays: 90-14-66-30-.320
7. Yunel Escobar, Braves: 89-14-76-5-.299
8. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: 81-6-68-17-.308
9. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox: 71-15-68-14-.277
10. Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks: 71-12-65-5-.261
11. Elvis Andrus, Rangers: 72-6-40-33-.267
12. Rafael Furcal, Dodgers: 92-9-47-12-.269
13. Alcides Escobar, Brewers: 20-1-11-4-.304
14. Ryan Theriot, Cubs: 81-7-54-21-.284
15. Erick Aybar, Angels: 70-5-58-14-.312
16. Marco Scutaro, Red Sox: 100-12-60-14-.282
17. Everth Cabrera, Padres: 59-2-31-25-.255
18. J.J. Hardy, Twins: 53-11-47-0-.229
19. Orlando Cabrera, Reds: 83-9-77-13-.284
20. Brendan Ryan, Cardinals: 55-3-37-14-.292

Preseason top 100 players (6):
Ramirez (2), Tulowitzki (23), Reyes (24), Jeter (32), Rollins (41), Bartlett (99). NOTE: The top 100 was compiled prior to spring training. Reyes will drop significantly in the pre-draft top 100 we’ll run in the next two weeks.

Short hops
Ramirez has averaged 29 homers, 117 runs, 38 steals and a .325 batting average the last three seasons. ... Jeter, a career .317 hitter, recorded his highest stolen-base total since 2006 by swiping 30 bags last year. ... Rollins, who has norms of 16 homers and 68 RBI the last two seasons, averaged 28 homers and 89 RBI in 2006 and ’07. ... The Tribe’s Cabrera had a combined four stolen bases in 159 games in 2007 and ’08, but was 17-for-21 in steals last season. ... The 32-year-old Furcal hasn’t had a big season since 2006. ... The Cubs’ Theriot won’t help you in home runs or RBI, but he has stolen 71 bases the last three seasons. ... A possible sleeper: the Twins’ Hardy, who had norms of 25 homers and 77 RBI from 2007 to ’08. ... A name to watch outside the top 20: the Nationals’ Cristian Guzman, who batted .328 and .316 in 2007 and ’08, respectively.

NOTE: Statistics are from the 2009 season. ... Positions listed are according to the depth charts at

Third basemen, Monday; designated hitters, Tuesday; shortstops, today

LAST WEEK: Catchers, March 2; first baseman, March 4; second baseman, March 5

NEXT WEEK: Outfielders, starting pitchers and relievers

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