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2013 Position Rankings: Second Base

Position rankings hit the real infield today, with second basemen. Traditionally a thin position for fantasy production; the keystone isn't an exception this year. Maybe the best you can say for it is that it's still richer ground than shortstop, as the top of the field is pretty talented and decent options are present until near the middle rounds. The bad news is that it drops off really far after that. The worse news is that you're probably going to need two second sackers, because you really don't want to fill your MI slot with a shortstop.

Last week, we looked at First Basemen and Catchers. Before that, we led off with the Outfield. This round of rankings goes 30 players deep; they're divided into groups of similar value, and tiered by where they deserve to be drafted in a standard league. If you're bidding in an auction, consider players in the same tier to be of similar price. If a player has other positions in parentheses, that means you can draft and start him there. For most such players, second base is probably the position at which you'll be drafting them.

1st Round

1. Robinson Cano, NYY

Yup. He's going among the upper picks this year and he's worth it.

3rd-4th Rounds

2. Dustin Pedroia, BOS
3. Ian Kinsler, TEX
4. Ben Zobrist, TBR (SS, OF)
5. Aaron Hill, ARI

The second tier at second base has slipped a little, with (relatively) down seasons from Pedroia and Kinsler flattening their value out a little. As Mark put it some time ago, Kinsler has the higher ceiling and the lower floor, but his overall direction isn't promising. The good news is that Zobrist continues his quiet brand of goodness and super-flexibility. The better news is that Hill put up a great year, with 26 homers that bested everyone at the position not named Robinson. In context, it looks to me like his lousy 2011 was the outlier year.

5th-6th Rounds

6. Jason Kipnis, CLE
7. Brandon Phillips, CIN

Kipnis really cooled off in the second half, so I have minor doubts for next year. But only minor ones, as his speed is good and he was expected to proved even more power, so he could grow into increased homer totals. Phillips does a little--but not a lot--of everything, and should benefit from a powerful Reds lineup.

7th-8th Rounds

8. Jose Altuve, HOU

Altuve gives good speed and he hit for average last year. I tend not to trust anyone for whom batting average is a primary skill, because a little bad luck can go a long way when it comes to hurting a guy like Altuve's value. Also, who will hit him in? That said, if you took him, be glad: you just reached the end of the second basemen you're happy you drafted.

10th-11th Rounds

9. Danny Espinosa, WAS (SS)
10. Rickie Weeks, MIL

Espinosa has a little power and a little speed, but he's got a good chance to be a liability in batting average. He reminds me of a less-proven Brandon Phillips. He's worth taking a round or two earlier as a shortstop. Weeks should bounce back, right? There's a good chance he won't spend most of next season under the Mendoza line, and a healthier BABIP would make him significantly more productive. Unfortunately, his history of injury still affects his value. After this, the second basemen take another significant turn downward.

15th-16th Rounds

10.5 Kyle Seager, SEA (3B--18 games at 2B)
11. Dan Uggla, ATL
12. Chase Utley, PHI
13. Neil Walker, PIT
14. Howie Kendrick, LAA

I told you there would be a long drop. If he's eligible in your league, Seager could be a sneaky-good choice for second. Uggla lost just about everything last year, but before that he was so good that all he has to do is get a little back and you get great return for this kind of inpvestment. Cross your fingers and hope for a little more BABIP and a few more balls over the fence. Can Utley keep his body together? He was pretty good in 77 games last year, but you better have a backup. Better yet, make him the backup. Walker and Kendrick are similarly unexciting, relatively solid plays at this point. Especially if you're looking for a starter at second.

18th-19th Rounds

15. Jedd Gyorko, SDP
16. Dustin Ackley, SEA

If Gyorko gets the official starting job from San Diego, go ahead and bump him into the next tier. He's an interesting prospect, who could have some real pop in his bat. Ackley has some presumed upside, but with two seasons under his belt he hasn't shown much of it.

20th-22nd Rounds

17. Chris Nelson, COL (3B)
18. Omar Infante, DET
19. Marco Scutaro, SFG (SS)
20. Daniel Murphy, NYM
20.5 Michael Young, PHI (3B/1B--16 games at 2B)
21. Jeff Keppinger, CHW (3B, 1B)
21.5. Emilio Bonifacio, TOR (OF--15 games at 2B)
22. Kelly Johnson, TBR

Nelson has some pop and plays for Colorado, always a nice mix. Remember how Phillips did a little of everything, and then Espinosa did even less? Well Infante does less than him, but at least he does it in all five categories. Scutaro is a better than average bet in batting average, and he makes a useful MI selection because he can play second and short. Murphy hit 40 doubles to go with an average near .300, which means he should be in good position to take advantage of whatever scoring opportunities happen for the Mets. Young has descended into mediocrity, but that's better than what anyone below him can say for themselves. If your league has 15-game eligiblity or less, he could be a decent MI; Bonifacio could net you some steals under the same circumstances. Keppinger might put up an acceptable average but won't do much else. Johnson is caught in the Tampa Bay mix-and-match, but if he gets regular playing time he could be useful at MI.

23rd Round and Beyond

23. Brian Roberts, BAL
24. Gordon Beckham, CHW
25. Johnny Giavotella, KCR
26. Logan Forsythe, SDP
27. Darwin Barney, CHC
28. Maicer Izturis, TOR
29. Jemile Weeks, OAK
30. Cliff Pennington, ARI (SS)

Let's face it, these guys are warm-bodied injury replacements for deep leagues. Technically, there is some upside to be found here, but not enough to consider betting on for more than a bench role.

Things start breaking down quickly at second base, with all the options after number ten or so having low upside, low chance of reaching their upside or both. Not only that, but two of the top nine will probably be drafted as shortstops, thinning things out even more. Moral of the story: don't be the last team to take a second baseman. In fact, the overall weakness of the position makes me readier than usual to grab one of the top players, even though several of them come with serious question marks. No wonder Robinson Cano is getting drafted as high as third overall.

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