Now we shift away from the power to position to the generally more speed based positions in second base. That’s not to say there isn’t power to be found throughout this position but it is less in abundance than it is at the corner positions of the infield.
Again I will be outlining the categories people excel in compared to those players I’ve tiered them with because in a roto draft you need to have a balance of categories in order to take home the prize. Winning steals by 70 but finishing last in every other batting category scores you just 14 points in a 10 team league but finishing 5th in all five categories nets you 30 points and that really outlines the need for balance across your roster.
Within each tier players are ranked according to ADP taken from fantasypros.com
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Different Class: Cano
Image courtesy of sportsillustrated
Yes he’s moved to a much worse hitters park and no he isn’t as good as Trout, Miggy or even Goldschmidt who have all got their own tiers but he is the only second baseman you are considering in the first round (and the top half of the round at that). Should put up the best numbers at the position in homeruns (hint: there is one guy I feel can match him), RBI and average but even in runs where he is a little lower he should still be top 5. Steals is not something I really expect but 5-10 is realistic with 10 being a bonus.
Elite: Kipnis (HR’s/Steals), Pedroia (Runs/Average)
Behind Cano Pedroia has been one of the most consistent top end fantasy performers at second base and I see no reason for that to change in 2014. He will likely bat 3rd in a really nice line up which should lead to good Run and RBI totals to go with a fantastic average. His big downside is theres a lack of power AND speed with 15/20 being his upside this year. Kipnis will also bat three this year in a Cleveland line up which is not at all shabby. RBI is where most of his production lies out of Runs and RBI as he follows two decent on base guys while there isn’t a lot of power behind him. His average will be around the 260 mark which is good enough but doesn’t really compare to Pedroia and Cano who should both be +290. However, where he shines over Pedroia is power (he will be nearer 20) and steals (25+) and that is something to think about if you are going to take a second baseman in the top three rounds.
Step Below: Carpenter (Runs/Average), Kinsler (Runs/Steals), Gyorko (HR/RBI)
If this was a points article Carpenter would be up with Pedroia and Kipnis because of his great average (300ish) and run production (100+) batting at the top of that Cardinal line up. Of course batting at the top of the line-up limits his RBI as he will follow the worst hitter in the side and the pitcher to the plate regularly. Add in his limited home run upside (15 would be a bonus) and complete lack of steals (3-5 at most) and you can see why I wouldn’t take him around Pedroia and Kipnis. An ageing Kinsler has moved away from one of the best hitting parks following a relatively down year so his upside is limited. However, batting either 1st or 2nd in that line up in front of Miggy means if he can get on base he should get knocked in plenty (and Miggy at the plate should help him steal). His power will be a little better than Carpenters (20ish) but his average will be 260ish and batting 1st will limit his RBI potential. Now to the guy many people will be surprised to see in this tier because he is currently being drafted 100 at the earliest but Jedd Gyorko has great potential to put up a fantastic year. Ok he plays in a poor hitter’s park but 20 homers is an absolute floor and 30 are more realistic. His average will be similar to Kinsler, he will steal about as many bases as Carpenter and he will be the worst run scorer of the three. However, the extra home runs should give him an advantage in RBI and if he gets off to a hot start he could easily move up the order (especially if Headley struggles) and that will boost his run numbers. The great thing is you can wait on him and get potential top 50 numbers from a post 100 pick.
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Solid: Zobrist, Altuve (Steals/Average), Phillips (RBI), Hill (Runs/HR’s/RBI), Prado (RBI/Average), Murphy (Runs/Average), Dozier (HR’s)
Image courtesy of zimbio
I’ve already referenced Zobrist in my 3B article when I said about over rating guys with multi position eligibility (especially when those positions are weak) but he should still be a solid producer across four categories (10 steals likely) for you at second if not spectacular. You look at Altuve’s average (290ish) and steals potential (40ish) and you think RUNS but batting behind him are Castro and Carter and there’s your problem, he could regularly get on base, steal second or third only to watch his line up flame out behind him because it’s that bad. Add in no power and limited RBI batting atop that order and there is enough concern to stop him being in the tier above. Phillips put up fantastic RBI numbers batting clean-up last year but rumours he could bat #2 behind an unknown in Hamilton initially limits that to nearer 80 than 100. Batting in front of Votto is no sure thing for runs because he walks so often and with a 15 homer, 7 steal expectations at a 260 average he is nothing special unless it is confirmed he bats #4. Hill is probably the most likely of these guys to jump a tier as he has 25+ homers upside at a 280 average in a decent hitter’s park. Won’t offer you much in steals but batting second he should give you decent run and RBI numbers. Prado is the guy I referenced in the third base article as being over rated because of eligibility but his numbers 80/15/80 at a 300 average is a nice number for a second baseman, 10 steals max. Now we get to the two interesting players of tier; first Murphy who was a top 5 second baseman last year and with the potential for 85/10/75 at 280-290 average with 20 steals in the 12-13th round of a draft he could be a fantastic value again this year. Much like Gyorko you may have raised your eyebrow to see Dozier in this tier but a post 200th pick with a projected 20 homers/15 steals at a 260 average batting second in a decent line up is something worth considering on draft day. Has potential Daniel Murphy from last season upside.
Back Ups: Utley (RBI), Profar (Runs/Steals), Lowrie (Runs/RBI), Kendrick (Average), Walker (Runs/RBI), Infante (Average), Wong (Steals), Johnson (HR’s/Steals)
And now it gets messy! Utley should give you decent four category production but he’s ageing at a tough position to age gracefully. Profar has the best chance of putting up numbers of people two tiers ahead if he gets the regular playing time we expect with 10/10 being his floor in a great line up. Lowrie plays in a tough park, is in a hit and miss line up but has decent power which should provide good run and RBI numbers. Kendrick may well hit for a 290 average but may be doing it low in the order limiting the numbers that come with that. If he could get himself up the line-up he could put up a decent run totals. Walker is another who will give you four category production but at a limited upside. Infante plays in a tough park and won’t contribute power or steals but should hit at a 290 average. Wong is another exciting guy who could put up numbers beyond his tier if he nails down the 2B job in STL. A decent average backed with decent speed could see him climb the order and become a threat for 80-90 runs. Johnson is the best power speed combination of this tier with a potential 20+ homers with 10+ steals and playing in Yankee stadium may be worth a flyer even with a terrible average (230ish).
Fall backs: Rendon (Average), Uggla (HR’s/RBI), Ackley (Runs), Scutaro (Average)
Image courtesy of cbssports
Rendon needs to win the 2B job outright before you’re looking at him too keenly but 10 homer potential at a 270 average would be nice late in a draft. Uggla will barely hit 210 but could easily hit 20+ homers which is valuable if you have sacrificed power early. Ackley plays in a power sapping park but could bat high in a power heavy line up. Scutaro has no power, no speed and injury concerns but a 290 potential average means a decent run total could be in reach.
Desperation: Guerrero (HR’s), Beckham (RBI), Bonifacio (Runs/Steals), Rutledge (HR’s), Franklin (HR’s/RBI), LeMahieu (Steals/Average), La Stella (Average), Barney (Runs), Getz (Steals), Flaherty (HR’s/RBI), Weeks, Goins, Casilla (Steals)
I have literally just listed everyone at the position who could see 250 AB’s and it’s a messy group. If Rutledge can prove he can hit and play defence then he could have 20/20 upside at a 260+ average but that’s a huge IF. Guerrero can barely hit in spring training so could lose his job to Dee Gordon (not listed here as only SS eligible but could gain 2B eligible early! Steal specialist) but if he turns it around there is good power potential here. Flaherty could hit 15+ homers in a time share. Barney could score plenty of runs but is in danger of losing his job to Bonifacio (big steals guy if he gets the job). A poor start from Uggla could see La Stella get the job giving him 15 steal potential at a 270 average. Getz, Casilla and LeMahieu are all 15 steal potential guys even in limited AB’s.
So what is the take away message from second base you ask? If you’re in a league where you only need one then you’re probably fine as you could get Gyorko, Murphy or Dozier latish and be perfectly happy. However, if you play in a deeper league or have a MI slot to fill then you don’t want two guys from the backups but you also don’t want to reach for players that will be worse than those drafted around them. To say the least it’s a tough position to judge and if you think oh that’s ok I’ll fill my MI spot with a SS then you could be in for a nightmare when you see my SS tiers later in the week!