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Diamond Depth: Fantasy Baseball Second Base Preview

Second base is a position that has had some depth fluctuations over the past several years, but there has been no change at the top. Perennial all-star Robinson Cano is the class of the group with potental 30/30 threat Ian Kinsler not far behind. For us, Ben Zobrist and Dustin Pedroia also belong in this group as well, but its really tier two that keeps me from feeling the need to reach for one of these guys on draft day. Sure, if Zobrist, Pedroia or Kinsler fall to me in round 3, I’ll take ’em. The real value, however, is in the seven players that make up the second tier. A couple of guys who have been there time and time again (Phillips, Uggla, Weeks, Utley), a few who jumped into the elite tier for the first time in 2013 (Kipnis, Hill) and one guy with enough speed to leaf the league in steals. Typically, I like to leave the draft table with at least one of the top-11 second baseman.

Tier One

Robinson Cano spablab - Flickr

Robinson Cano
spablab – Flickr

1. Robinson Cano – Cano’s teammates may be dropping like flies, but there  little reason to expect that the stud second baseman can’t still post a strong season. Perhaps ramp your expectations in the counting categories just a bit, but a three-year average of .311/.370/.529 is most certainly worth a first round pick.

2. Ian Kinsler – Just a year removed from his second 30/30 season, Kinsler looks to have shaken the “injury prone” tag while averaging 156 games played per season over the past two years. Not many infielders or players anywhere on the diamond can claim the type of power/speed impact that the Rangers’ second baseman can have on your fantasy team. A diminished walk-rate as well as a increase in strikeouts is enough to bump Kinsler down a round or two compared to his 2012 stock, but he’ll continue to hold plenty of value batting towards the top of a Texas lineup that remains strong even without the presence of Josh Hamilton.

3. Ben Zobrist

4. Dustin Pedroia

Tier Two

5. Jason Kipnis

6. Aaron Hill

7. Rickie Weeks – Injuries and strikeouts have long plagued Rickie Weeks. Though he was able to play in 157 games last season, Rickie struck out in 25% of his plate appearance. Still, he managed a solid 21 home runs, 85 runs scored and 63 RBI including a rock-solid .261/.343/.457 slash line after the all-star break.

8. Dan Uggla – Uggla’s ugly 2012 saw the slugging second baseman post the lowest home run total of his seven year career. In fact, the 19 long balls Uggla knocked last season represent the first time he has hit less than 27 bombs in a season during his time in the majors. The batting average is always a risk, but even during a down 2012, Danny scored 86 runs and drove in 78 RBI, fine counting totals from your second base position. IF he can hit .240 next years, he’ll easily be in the top-10 in 2013, and coming off a season in which he lead the NL in walks, there is certainly upside ofr a bit more.

9. Chase Utley

10. Brandon Phillips – Phillips is no-where near the 30/30 threat he was in his youth, but the veteran second-sacker has stabilized into a very dependable fantasy commodity. Phillips has slugged exactly 18 homers in each of the past three seasons while averaging 93 runs scored, 73 RBI and 15 steals per season over that time. Expect more of the same in 2013 from the rock-solid veteran.

11. Emilio Bonifacio

Tier Three

12. Jose Altuve

13. Danny Espinosa – Espinosa made an appearance on our Fantasy Wildcard team (published over at Rotoinfo.com) and the fact remains despite the holes in his game, Danny has average 21 homers and 18 steals per 152 games since 2010. Very tasty.

14. Neil Walker

15. Josh Rutledge

16. Jedd Gyorko

Tier Four

17. Daniel Murphy

18. Michael Young

19. Marco Scutaro – There was perhaps no more impactful acquisition at last year’s trade deadline than that of Marco Scutaro by the World champion San Francisco Giants. After coming over from division-rival Colorado, Scutaro batted a scorching .362/.385/.473 over 243 at-bats in the Bay City, adding 40 runs score and 44 RBI in just 61 games. Scutaro averaged 0.72 RBI/game over that span, a number that nearly doubles his previous career high in that metric over a full season (0.42 RBI/game in 2009). We’ve seen this high-contact, high-average game before from Marco, making him a steady if unexciting bench player to keep around, should your regular middle infielders be absent from the lineup, but he’s proven to be very no more than that over a consistently mediocre 11-year career. Entering his age-36 season, you can pretty much ignore Scutaro as anything more than a bench option.

20. Jurickson Profar

21. Kelly Johnson

22. Dustin Ackley

Tier Five

23. Jemile Weeks

24. Jeff Keppinger

25. Ryan Roberts

26. Howie Kendrick – Coming off yet another ho-hum season, Howie Kendrick remains a truly underwhelming fantasy option at second base. His .287 average in 2012 was a solid number once again, but the counting stats just aren’t there. After Howie has put up exactly 14 steals in each of the past three years while averaging meager 12 home runs a year over that time period, we are a bit perplexed by anyone thinking this kid still has room to go. The round-16 ADP during early mock drafts isn’t that steep a price to take a shot on the once-touted prospect, but with the likes of Ricky Weeks and Chase Utley available at a similar cost on draft day, there is just no chance that we’ll be rolling the dice on Howie.

27. Omar Infante

28. Maicer Izturis

29. Gordon Beckham

30. Tyler Greene

 

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