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The Market Report: Second Basemen

The Market Report is a weekly analysis of player valuations in the fantasy marketplace in an effort to find undervalued commodities.

Let's continue our look at the market for each position entering 2014, analyzing second basemen this week. As usual, ADP values are provided in parentheses.

Tier One

1. Robinson Cano (6)

2. Jason Kipnis (19)

3. Dustin Pedroia (22)

Tier Two

4. Matt Carpenter (41)

5. Ian Kinsler (47)

Tier Three

6. Aaron Hill (65)

7. Ben Zobrist (75)

8. Brandon Phillips  (76)

9. Jose Altuve (77)

Tier Four

10. Jedd Gyorko (93)

11. Martin Prado (100)

12. Daniel Murphy (109)

13. Jed Lowrie (113)

14. Chase Utley (126)

15. Jurickson Profar (132)

Tier Five

16. Anthony Rendon (153)

17. Neil Walker (181)

18. Howie Kendrick (191)

19. Brian Dozier (203)

20. Kolten Wong (209)

21. Scooter Gennett (214)

22. Omar Infante (217)

Undervalued

Martin Prado (ADP 100)

Let me start by saying I don't see a ton of profit to be gained at second base. I'm mostly on board with how the market values players at the position, so I'll have to take what the draft gives me. I'm also going to cheat here in a sense and select a player who isn't actually the second baseman for his team. Penciled in as the everyday third baseman and projected to hit second for the Diamondbacks, Prado certainly has the skills to return a profit on his current ADP. Over the past five seasons, he's been rather consistent in posting low strikeout rates with slightly below league-average power. While he's hit for a wide range of AVGs, it's mostly just due to some wild swings in BABIP. It's interesting that he had 17 SB in 2012, but that looks like an outlier in retrospect, as he's never had as many as five in any other season. Ultimately then, you're drafting him mainly for the runs and AVG. Beyond those statistical contributions, however, there are additional benefits to owning Prado. For one, he qualifies all over the place, eligible at 2B, 3B, and OF. That positional flexibility can do wonders for a roster when unforeseen injuries take place. In addition, this is a stable stock here. Given that he puts the ball in play so frequently and will rack up a ton of at-bats hitting second, he's unlikely to be a bust. You know what you're getting in Prado, and there's value in reliability.

Howie Kendrick (ADP 191)

I find it a tad strange that the asking price for Kendrick is so cheap as we head into draft season. I'm not here to argue that he's anything spectacular. Even so, this is still a player with a career .292 AVG, so he's a good bet to be a positive contributor in that category. The power is league-average at best, but he can approach 15 HR. Yes, he had just six SB last year, but that was his first full season failing to reach double digits. He'll never score many runs due to consistently low walk rates, and he only can get so many RBI hitting near the bottom of the lineup (even though the Angels offense has nowhere to go but up). I think it's safe to say I'm damning with faint praise here, so why do I think Kendrick is undervalued? Well a Roto line of 70 / 12 / 70 / 12 / .290 is actually quite valuable at second base. Last year Zobrtist put up a virtually identical line of 70 / 12 / 71 / 11 / .275 and finished 11th on the ESPN Player Rater at the position. In short, I view Kendrick as a player who lacks the upside to finish among the elite at second base but has a fair chance to wind up in the top ten.

Overvalued

Ian Kinsler (ADP 47)

I assumed Kinsler's draft stock would take a steep hit this offseason with the move from Texas to Detroit, but he's still viewed as a top-50 fantasy player. When Kinsler used to go inside the top 20 in drafts a couple years ago, I felt the fantasy community was failing to fully factor in his injury history. Well, he's reached 600 plate appearances in four of the past five seasons, so I actually don't worry about that much anymore.

Now I just think he's overpriced based on the expected on-field production. Since going 30/30 in 2011, we've seen consecutive seasons of marked decline in power and speed. This past season his average flyball distance was a measly 265 feet. Meanwhile, he was only 15 for 26 in SB attempts last year, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him run less frequently going forward. In fact, I'd take the under on 20 for HR or SB in 2014. In three of the past five years, he's also hit below .260, so he isn't a good bet to help there either. Ultimately, I see Kinsler as a player who can still be helpful, but the fantasy community is making a mistake in viewing him as a star at this point in his career. Just last week the folks at ESPN ranked him 32nd overall, ahead of stud hitters like Buster Posey and Shin-Soo Choo as well as aces like Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. I'm sorry, but that's just crazy to me.  


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