It wasn’t that long ago when J.J. Hardy was one of the better fantasy shortstops available. In 2013 he had 25 HR and 76 RBI and provided even more consistency and productivity with his Gold Glove-caliber defense. His glove is expected to keep him in the Baltimore lineup heading into the 2016 slate, but his days as a full-time starter and a viable fantasy option are numbered. An ailing back hampered Hardy in 2014 before shoulder and groin injuries landed him on the disabled list on two occasions last season. As a result, he has failed to reach double digits in HR in each of the past two campaigns and is coming off a career-worst .219 BA with a career-high strikeout rate of 20.1 percent.
If Hardy can stay healthy at the age of 34 and maintain some semblance of consistency at the plate, he should remain a fixture in Buck Showalter’s lineup. But given his recent trends and possibility of Manny Machado making the move from third to short, Hardy looks to be little more than a fantasy backup in AL-only leagues.