When looking at the 2nd base position this year, it appears to be in a transition period. It doesn’t even know who it is anymore…Sigh. The top players over the past few seasons are still around, but are in steady decline. The big question heading into the season at the position is whether or not its top player, Robinson Cano, will continue as the undisputed #1. As always, the rankings to follow are our composite rankings for the site. Please check out my ranks here, and Steven’s are here as well. @RyNoonan grounded one to second and will bust his butt down the line to first!
|2||Dustin Pedroia||Red Sox|
|28||Gordon Beckham||White Sox|
|34||Maicer Izturis||Blue Jays|
It’s clear that from a run production stand point, Robinson Cano is moving to a less hitter-friendly park, especially for HRs, but I believe his power will translate to Seattle, and the lineup around him will support his counting stats (runs/rbis) enough to make him worth a 1st round pick, and the top at his position. The position overall is top heavy, with a good mix of young talent and guys that contribute really well in a stat or two. You should always be trying to add across the board producers, but when constructing your roster, you’ll find value in what the middle of the pack guys can give you here. Let’s take a look at how I tier them out for drafts.
|Dustin Pedroia||Red Sox|
We’ve gone over Robinson Cano, so let’s take a look at the last 2 ‘sure things’ at the position. Dustin Pedroia played hurt last season. ALL season. He played through a UCL sprain and a thumb that he jammed on opening day. You hold the bat with your hand. Your thumb is a part of said hand. It’s safe to say that he was affected by the injuries, his GB rate spiked, he had the lowest FB % of his career, and his HR/FB ratio was his lowest since his rookie season. Pedroia did all this while continuing his ‘Lasershow’ moniker, he hit line drives at an elite rate and he still managed a top 5 finish at the position. This is a bounce back season, people. We’re just 2 seasons removed from a fantasy line of .307/102/21/91/26. Analyzing 1st/2nd half splits can be overrated at times, but we’ve had back to back seasons of huge 2nd half dips in production from Jason Kipnis. I think he’s the clear #3 at the position, and his end of the year numbers have been strong the past 2 season, but I think he’s more of a .270 hitter than the .284 we saw last season. It’s easy to think, ‘young guy, getting better, he’ll jump that .284 to .290’, but you didn’t do your homework. I did it for you. He won’t, you’re welcome.
This is a big tier, and you definitely want your starting 2nd basemen to come from either Tier 1 or 2. If you play with a middle infield spot as well, you’ll want to know what your roster needs at that time, statistically speaking. The ballpark in which you play matters, and Ian Kinsler is going from one of the best hitters parks in Texas, to one in Detroit that’s neutral at best. His FB% is in a 4 year decline, and he was just +4 in SBs last year (15 steals in 26 attempts). That’s….that’s not good. They’ll stop letting him run. Pass. Aaron Hill is a player that I think gets overlooked too often. Yes, he misses time, he missed nearly half the season last year, but he’s still a solid producer when he’s in the lineup, with elite power at the position; with power down, he should be moved up your list. Jedd Gyorko is sexy. Not as a man, but as a name in fantasy. Maybe as a man, I don’t know. Not my thing. I do know that if he’s everyone’s ‘sleeper’, then he’s awake. Jedd at his best is Aaron Hill, with 15-20 points less in BA. Jose Altuve is a limited player, but valuable nonetheless. His stolen base production is tops at the position and he gets on base at a decent enough clip to help your run total. He needs to be on a fantasy team that started real strong with HRs/RBIs in the first few rounds. Matt Carpenter had a fantastic 2013. He’s a much better baseball player for the Cardinals, than fantasy player for you. He went 11/3 last year. We like 20/20 guys. Sure, they’re rare, but I don’t think the 11 HRs are repeatable. His average and runs were elite last year, but a little less luck in batted balls (.359 BABIP is a bit high) and he’s .290/90 instead of last year’s .318/126. Ben Zobrist has been valuable to not only his team, but to fantasy owners over the past 5 years. His multi position eligibility is useful, but his bat might not be for much longer. He was way off his career HR/FB%, so a return to plus power is possible, but I think the days of 20/15 are a thing of the past. Martin Prado struggled to begin the season, but finished strong. I see him being more consistent, but in the same ballpark for end of year numbers. YAWN. Brandon Philips is a familiar name, and his RBI total will look great if you see it on draft day. 103! Cool! Friends don’t let friends draft Brandon Philips. Everything in his advanced profile says ‘jump off this ship’. I’d rather be a year early than a year late. Jump! Brad Miller had a nice debut in Seattle last year. He’s eligible at both 2nd/SS and I see solid all around numbers hitting in a much improved lineup. Chase Utley can; A) repeat last year’s numbers, or B) play 150 games and be at the top of this tier. I’d go with A. He just isn’t what he was, and he struggles to stay on the field.
There’s a lot to like about Daniel Murphy‘s game, and he could very well be in the tier above. He won’t hurt you anywhere statistically, he stole 23 bases in 25 attempts last year, and a healthy and improved lineup will help him sustain his counting stats. Howie Kendrick was going to win batting titles, so we were told. He’ll be 31 this season. I wouldn’t expect improvement anywhere, but his lineup spot will really impact his final stat line. Jed Lowrie is another guy that’s fun to own when he’s healthy, last season’s 154 games was the first time he’s been over 100 in his career. It’s hard to pencil him in for 120 games, so he’s hard to draft, but at this point he’s more of a MI start, and not your 2nd basemen. Brian Dozier had a nice power/speed mix, and could be a good MI play if he can keep his average about .250. Neil Walker isn’t sexy (remember, that’s Gyroko) but he is steady. He also is capable of decent power and that’s rare. He’s worth a look as a MI. Jurickson Profar is a much hyped prospect, and will get his first full season to translate the tools that had scouts rank him as the top minor leaguer in the game before last season. He’s worth a flier in the later rounds.
|Gordon Beckham||White Sox|
|Tommy La Stella||Braves|
The last tier for 2nd base, guys for deeper or AL/NL only leagues here. Kolten Wong is an interesting prospect and will be valuable if he’s hitting near the top of the Cardinals lineup come March. Alexander Guerrero has talent, but let’s see how that plays itself out into a starting role. Dan Uggla still hit 22 HRs last year. More than you thought, right? Oh but he hit .179. He’s hit .233, .220, and .179 in his 3 seasons in Atlanta. Woof. He’ll be lucky to hold on to his job, because I think Tommy La Stella is starting at 2nd for Atlanta sooner rather than later.