Much has changed at the keystone position just a little over two months into the season, Robby Cano dominates at the top, but there’s been significant shuffle to the tiers behind the Yankees’ stud. As we continue to with the fantasy baseball season, we are going to go through position-by-position and highlight some of the biggest movers as well as update our tiered rankings at each spot. The rankings are can be considered a cheat sheet of shorts for if you were drafting today for the rest of the season. Early returns are certainly considered, but we are focused on what these guys will do and not necessarily what he have done. The prime utility of this tiered list will most likely be for making waiver wire and trade decisions, and while the players in each tier are arranged in the order that we’d prefer them, they are essentially equal values when considering the trade market..
Today, our attention shifts to second base, a spot that really has very little “safety” from a fantasy perspective. Two of the perennial top options, Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia, have trouble staying on the field, and sure enough, Kinsler is currently on the DL with a rib injury. We’ve have a couple of stars on the rise–Jason Kipnis, Jedd Gyorko–but have seen ups-and-downs in their development thus far. Chase Utley and Aaron Hill have struggled to stay on the field while Kelly Johnson has seen a resurgence in Tampa, well of course, until you consider the 3-for-34 stretch he’s been on over his last eigth games.
All told, second base is a position that is very light on reliable options. If you can, pay a premium for one of the top-tier guys, and if that fails, you are likely forced to pick from an expansive tier-3. It’s a mixed bag outside of the top-4 second baseman, with both young and old, injury risks and unproven talents. There is no doubt that a couple of these tier-3 guys can and will finish in the top-5 at the position, but your guess is as good mine picking out who that will be.
1. Robinson Cano
The top power option at the position brings it year after year and is currently pacing towards 37 home runs and 100 RBI. As that .277 BABIP begins to rise, so will his batting average.
2. Jason Kipnis
Kipnis shrugged aside a sluggish April (.200/.369/.286) with seven homers and eight steals since May 1.
3. Dustin Pedroia
Perhaps some nagging injuries are to blame for the early season power outage, but Dusty is solid across the board with a .333-109-11-89-21 5×5 pace.
4. Brandon Phillips
When you hit behind Shin-Soo Choo (.436 OBP) and Joey Votto (.455 OBP) it’s not a surprise that your 46 RBI through 57 games played leads all second baseman.
5. Ben Zobrist
The walk rate and run production remain elite and he’d be in tier two if the power and speed would show up. Even at his diminished paces, there is value.
6. Jedd Gyorko
Hopefully his recent groin injury does not derail Gyorko’s warming trend. Since the start of May, he’s put up an awesome .309/.358/.554 slash with 29 runs, eight homers and 17 RBI in 35 games.
7. Kyle Seager
Continues to impress with across-the-board production. On pace for a very Prado-like .290-80-10-75-6 line while showing that 2012 was no fluke.
8. Martin Prado
Hugely dissapointing over the season first two months, Prado has a .300 average over his last 16 games. The juice has not arrived but at least he’s trending in the right direction.
9. Ian Kinsler
Kinsler posseses top-tier upside, but his frequent trips to the DL have become a concern. His current rib injury could linger…
10. Chase Utley
Utley was having a fine bounce-back season prior to the oblique injury. He’s targeting a mid-June return and when on the field, expect chase to produce like a 20/20 player.
11. Aaron Hill
Like Utley, Hill is hopeful that he will make a return to the lineup sooner than later. With hand injuries, we always worry about the power stroke being impacted, making Hill third in this short group of DL’ed players.
12. Jose Altuve
Altuve is a two-trick pony (BA, SB)… but they are two solid tricks.
13. Matt Carpenter
Developing into an on-base machine, Carpenter’s 50 runs scored leads the way at the position.
14. Kelly Johnson
Johnson has hit a rough 3-for-35 stretch, but his power and speed pace has us hanging on.
15. Howie Kendrick
Kendrick is finally putting it all together, batting .322 over his first 63 games while already matching his home run total from last year (8). He’s also striking out at his lowest rate since 2010.
16. Jurickson Profar
Could Mitch Moreland‘s hamstring injury be the break Profar has been waiting for? Regardless, he’ll need to trim down the strikeout rate (15 Ks in 16 games) to force the Rangers’ hand.
17. Dan Uggla
Uggla’s 13 home runs are second to only Robinson Cano and his 36 walks are tied for tops at the position with Dustin Pedroia. His .193 average, however, is simply pathetic.
18. Anthony Rendon*
Possesses enticing talent with a good approach at the plate. Upside is evident with the .293/.383/.390 start to the season, but he’ll need to hit, and stay healthy, to make an impact.
19. Marco Scutaro
Superb May (.420 average with 19 runs scored) looked alot like his stretch run in 2012, but with little power or speed to offer, the upside is limited.
20. Neil Walker
Walker’s steady .282/..41/.429 over the past three seasons will play in an MI spot, but if you are relying on this guy as a starter, perhaps its time to consider a trade.
21. Daniel Murphy
Murphy puts the ball in play and, despite limited power and speed, can give you some decent run production with a solid average.
22. Michael Young
Young spent about a month as the Phillies’ primary three-hole hitter and drove in a pathetic 5 RBI over those 27 games, an embarrassing total for a middle-of-the-lineup bat. The Phils have adjusted by once-again miscasting Young in the lead-off role, an experiment that will not end well. He’s a shell of the productive bat we remember.
23. Rickie Weeks
Has actually put together some more productive at-bats since falling into a platoon role, it should only be a matter of time until Weeks’ bat wakes up and he retakes his starting job.
24. Josh Rutledge
Batting .317/.414/.550 in the minors since being sent down, Rutledge figures to be back with the Rox, and back to fantasy relevance, before long.
25. Emilio Bonifacio
Slowly, the speedster is coming around – .269 average and four steals in his last 20 games.
26. Omar Infante
Never been much a fan of the empty batting average, but he’s batting .296 again this year.
27. Danny Espinosa
Love the power/speed upside, but Espy is clearly not healthy. It will be interesting to see if he’s able to bounce back once the wrist heals or if his shoulder injury is playing a larger role than first let on.
28. Gordon Beckham
Batting .308 in his first seven games back from injury, Beckham has been active on the base paths with a pair of steals and another unsuccessful attempt.
29. Derek Dietrich
His pop can help if he keeps the everyday role after Donovan Solano returns from an oblique injury.
30. Brain Dozier
With an everyday job, Dozier brings a touch of speed to your lineup.
*expected to gain second base eligibility in the near future