Second Basemen

Second Baseman Rankings

Our catcher and first baseman rankings are up; now it's time to look at second base.  As always, my dollar values reflect a 12-team mixed league with 23-man active rosters (C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, DH).  Everything here is subject to change and open to suggestion.  Average draft round is in parentheses, courtesy of Mock Draft Central.

  1. Chase Utley (2) - $20.62
  2. Dustin Pedroia (3) - $18.97
  3. Robinson Cano (1) - $17.85
  4. Rickie Weeks (4) - $16.78
  5. Ian Kinsler (5) - $16.56
  6. Dan Uggla (5) - $14.75
  7. Tsuyoshi Nishioka (38) - $14.27
  8. Brian Roberts (11) - $11.28
  9. Sean Rodriguez (39) - $10.56
  10. Brandon Phillips (4) - $9.93
  11. Kelly Johnson (10) - $9.66
  12. Ben Zobrist (11) - $9.64
  13. Danny Espinosa (42) - $8.94
  14. Howie Kendrick (20) - $8.55
  15. Martin Prado (7) - $7.70
  16. Neil Walker (33) - $7.28
  17. Gordon Beckham (20) - $5.56
  18. Chone Figgins (8) - $5.56
  19. Aaron Hill (15) - $3.84
  20. Omar Infante (27) - $3.34
  21. Bill Hall (Not drafted) - $1.68
  22. Alexi Casilla (Not drafted) - $1.45
  23. Juan Uribe (28) - $0.95
  24. Mike Aviles (15) - $0.41

Let me start by saying that I am aggressive in my playing time projections.  I don't like to hedge and average Brian Roberts' last two seasons' AB totals and put him down for 431 in 2011.  I generally project as if the player is healthy, so Roberts gets 600 ABs from me.  So these dollar values don't really reflect injury risk, but I think that's necessary to make good rankings.  Last year if you put Rickie Weeks down for 400 ABs you might have not realized what he would do with 650.

With that in mind, Cano does not carry the injury risk of Utley or Pedroia.  Cano has the first-round ADP and I think that's justified.  But, a healthy Utley or Pedroia ought to be right there with him in value.  Kinsler in the fifth round strikes me as early given his health issues.  Then again, 600 ABs and he's literally my top-ranked second baseman.

This is a position that will win leagues, with potential massive bargains like Nishioka, Rodriguez, Espinosa, Walker, and Beckham.  I sprung for Beckham in the eighth round last year and I'm not convinced he's all that different of a player a year later.  There is a surprising number of second basemen capable of double digit home runs and steals.    There are too many steals at this position to go for a Uribe or even a Prado, in my opinion.  Prado, Phillips, Figgins are going too early for me.

Clearly to draft Nishioka over Phillips as your primary second baseman (assuming Nishioka qualifies at the position) is a risky move.  Nishioka has yet to play in the Majors and Phillips is a perennial 20/20 guy.  But if there is ever a year to pass on the big names at second base and stock up on two or three late-draft gambles, this is it.

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2010 Sleepers: Second Basemen

Thanks to Baseball Monster, here are 2010's top mixed league first basemen.  I've also added the round in which they were drafted in March, using data from Mock Draft Central.

  1. Robinson Cano (4)
  2. Dan Uggla (8)
  3. Rickie Weeks (17)
  4. Brandon Phillips (3)
  5. Martin Prado (19)
  6. Kelly Johnson (26)
  7. Ben Zobrist (5)
  8. Howie Kendrick (12)
  9. Placido Polanco (20)
  10. Dustin Pedroia (4)
  11. Omar Infante (not drafted)
  12. Alberto Callaspo (28)
  13. Ian Kinsler (2)
  14. Orlando Hudson (16)
  15. Chase Utley (1)
  16. Sean Rodriguez (not drafted)
  17. Skip Schumaker (28)
  18. Aaron Hill (5)

There's been a lot of good value at second base this year: Cano, Uggla, Weeks, Prado, Johnson, Kendrick, Polanco, and Infante must be considered.  Why were they underrated?

  • Cano: Projected to regress from a strong 2009 season; lack of steals.  When I say projected to regress, I mean I had Cano at .303-21-87-87-3.  Very respectable, but instead he's held last year's batting average while adding HR and RBI.  I guess the lesson here is that a big season is occasionally followed by an even better one instead of the usual regression.
  • Uggla: Batting average concerns, lack of steals.  Uggla's biggest flaw was his projected .250 AVG, but he's at .286 in 2010.  Baseball HQ has his expected AVG at .264, so this may be a fluke.
  • Weeks: Batting average, health concerns.  Though Weeks hit .272 last year in 37 games, I was expecting something closer to his career norm and projected .254.  The current .273 AVG is probably a little over his head.  The bigger point is that Weeks was not necessarily undervalued...he was a major health risk and was drafted as such.  He traded some speed for power this year, a formula that's worked just fine.
  • Prado: Playing time concerns.  I ranked Prado 14th among 2Bs, expecting a solid year given 600 ABs.  He's provided more power and AVG than expected, but he was mainly undervalued because he wasn't a full-time player for all of '09.
  • Johnson: Had experienced success, but disappointed in previous season.  I have always been a big KJ fan, ranking him 13th among 2Bs.  He was a candidate for double digit power and speed with regular playing time, and the move to Arizona didn't hurt.  It's weird he was drafted so late.
  • Kendrick: Health concerns.  Kendrick, like Weeks, is having his healthiest season.  His customary AVG isn't there, but he's provided value in the other categories.
  • Polanco: Had experienced success, but disappointed in previous season.  Joining the top of the Phillies' lineup and moving back to the NL didn't hurt.
  • Infante: Playing time concerns.  He's hit for AVG in years past, but no one predicted .349.  He may not even reach 400 ABs, but that gaudy AVG still helps plenty.

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Second Baseman Rankings

Time for RotoAuthority's second baseman rankings for 5x5 12-team mixed leagues using 14 hitters (including a 2B, SS, and MI) and 9 pitchers.  These are subject to change.  Average draft round in parentheses.

  1. Chase Utley (1) - $22.83
  2. Ian Kinsler (2) - $20.29
  3. Dustin Pedroia (4) - $16.64
  4. Brandon Phillips (3) - $16.08
  5. Brian Roberts (4) - $14.50
  6. Ben Zobrist (5) - $14.25
  7. Robinson Cano (4) - $13.16
  8. Asdrubal Cabrera (13) - $12.63
  9. Aaron Hill (5) - $10.46
  10. Dan Uggla (8) - $9.70
  11. Ian Stewart (11) - $9.55
  12. Jose Lopez (11) - $7.61
  13. Kelly Johnson (28) - $7.28
  14. Martin Prado (23) - $6.00
  15. Howie Kendrick (12) - $5.29
  16. Rickie Weeks (17) - $5.03
  17. Placido Polanco (22) - $4.12
  18. Clint Barmes (26) - $3.49
  19. Akinori Iwamura (28) - $0.83
  20. Orlando Hudson (17) - $0.38
  21. Adam Kennedy (28) - $0.18

Zobrist lacks the track record, but he could be a bargain in round five.  That's with a .273-26-80-91-15 projection.  We're projecting Cabrera at 600 ABs currently, and if he gets there he could be a 13th-round steal.  If Hill comes back to Earth and hits a respectable 25 HR, you may regret making him a fifth-round pick.

Stewart could be a poor man's Uggla, and I'd add $5 to his projection if he gets 600 ABs.  Former teammates Johnson and Prado look like bargains, with Johnson getting a 530 AB projection for the D'Backs and Prado 600 ABs for the Braves.  Kendrick and Weeks are both in the 450-460 AB range, and they'd jump up the list with healthy 600 AB seasons.  Both still have top five potential, and you can get Weeks pretty late.

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Replacing Rickie Weeks

So, you just lost Rickie Weeks for the season.  It's a bummer, and you aren't going to find anyone who can match his numbers on the waiver wire.  But don't spend too much time sulking - you knew Weeks was injury-prone when you drafted him.  Let's get on with the matter of replacing him.

  • Orlando Cabrera has been lousy in every way this year.  He is getting acclimated to a new team again, and he supplied value last year in the form of a .281 AVG, 93 R, and 19 SB.  And that was despite a few really bad months last year.  So O-Cab is worth considering if you can take the hit in power.  Akinori Iwamura is another who can give you AVG, R, and SB.
  • Mike Fontenot hit 4 HR in April, but he's been M.I.A. in May.  The Cubs want his left-handed power and infield glove, so they'll keep hoping he breaks out of the slump.
  • Sometimes, like with Rick Porcello, you have to ignore the projections and pay attention to the talent.  Maybe Elvis Andrus is the same way?  He's only 20, and he's having a decent May.  He sometimes bats second in the Rangers' high-powered lineup and has the potential to steal 30.
  • Edgar Renteria, once he returns to the lineup later this week, could be a guy like O-Cab who at least gives you OK counting stats.
  • Alberto Callaspo never strikes out, so he really may be able to hit .300.  But he doesn't do much else.  Cristian Guzman is available in some shallower leagues; he is the more proven version of Callaspo.
  • Ben Zobrist's numbers are quite good, assuming he finds playing time.
  • I have a league where Kelly Johnson and Placido Polanco are available (I dropped KJ for Guzman).  I liked both 2Bs in the preseason and the season is only 1/4 over.

Second Base Rankings

Using 20 games for eligibility, here are our tentative rankings for second basemen.  These are based on a standard 12 team 5x5 mixed league (categories: AVG, HR, RBI, R, SB).  Draft round is in parentheses.

  1. Ian Kinsler - $22.12 (1)
  2. Chase Utley - $20.16 (2)
  3. Dustin Pedroia - $18.38 (3)
  4. Brian Roberts - $16.31 (4)
  5. Brandon Phillips - $14.92 (3)
  6. Alexei Ramirez - $14.90 (5)
  7. Dan Uggla - $12.53 (6)
  8. Robinson Cano - $9.98 (7)
  9. Rickie Weeks - $9.58 (20)
  10. Kelly Johnson - $9.19 (19)
  11. Howie Kendrick - $8.50 (11)
  12. Mark DeRosa - $7.33 (16)
  13. Placido Polanco - $6.84 (20)
  14. Jose Lopez - $5.76 (14)
  15. Felipe Lopez - $5.54 (27)
  16. Mike Aviles - $5.50 (13)
  17. Asdrubal Cabrera - $2.04 (28)
  18. Aaron Hill - $1.70 (28)
  19. Alexi Casilla - $1.00 (28)

A few on the fringes, some of whom could jump up with more ABs: Mark Ellis, Kaz Matsui, Akinori Iwamura, Freddy Sanchez, and Orlando HudsonMike Fontenot could be a $6-7 sleeper if he can find 550 ABs despite Aaron Miles' presence.

I like to try to get Kinsler, Utley, or Ramirez as my starting 2B.  Failing that, Weeks and Johnson are decent guys who could turn a profit.

As far as the aggressive draft positions on Cano, Kendrick, and Jose Lopez, does anyone think they're justified?

Second Baseman Ranking Comparison

My second baseman rankings back in March, including round drafted on average:

Name $ VAL Round
Chase Utley 22.37 1
Brian Roberts 18.84 3
B.J. Upton 16.35 2
Brandon Phillips 14.99 2
Robinson Cano 12.58 6
Ian Kinsler 9.23 6
Kelly Johnson 8.91 14
Dan Uggla 6.41 8
Placido Polanco 5.67 15
Howie Kendrick 5.42 10
Rickie Weeks 5.40 11
Dustin Pedroia 4.32 14
Freddy Sanchez 3.27 17
Orlando Hudson 3.05 14
Luis Castillo 2.36 19
Jeff Kent 2.34 17
Ty Wigginton 2.27 18
Kaz Matsui 2.24 16
Yunel Escobar 1.74 17
Asdrubal Cabrera 1.23 17
Ryan Theriot 1.09 19
Aaron Hill 0.51 18
Mark Ellis 0.38 19

As you might expect, I often ended up with Roberts and Johnson based on these rankings.  Here are the actual 2008 ratings, based on ESPN's player rater (which uses AVG, HR, RBI, R, and SB):

Name Round
Dustin Pedroia 14
Chase Utley 1
Ian Kinsler 6
Brian Roberts 3
B.J. Upton 2
Mark DeRosa 21
Jose Lopez 24
Brandon Phillips 2
Dan Uggla 8
Alexei Ramirez N/A
Ryan Theriot 19
Placido Polanco 15
Kelly Johnson 14
Mike Aviles N/A
Ty Wigginton 18
Kaz Matsui 16
Clint Barmes N/A
Yunel Escobar 17
Robinson Cano 6
Akinori Iwamura 18
Rickie Weeks 11
Orlando Hudson 14
Ray Durham 30
Marco Scutaro 54

Busts: Phillips, Cano, Weeks,Kendrick.  Phillips didn't provide second round value, though we here at RotoAuthority didn't expect him to.  Cano was just an out and out flop.  As a sixth-round pick, owners were probably reluctant to give up on him.

Surprises: Pedroia, DeRosa, Lopez, Ramirez, Theriot, Aviles.  If you had a problem at second base, there were plenty of opportunities to upgrade via free agency.  Ramirez and Aviles will get ROY votes for sure.  Pedroia might win the MVP.  And you have to love DeRo's flexibility, as he's eligible at 3B and OF as well.  All these surprises just underscore the importance of free agency in your typical 12-team mixed league.

Possibly sleepers for '09: Wigginton, Alexei, and Lopez.

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Weeks' Stock Dropping

Rickie Weeks' hand is hurting, and he's had a terrible spring.  This is a breakout pick that's gotten a bit too trendy.  He's going in the tenth round, but I've seen people reach for him much earlier. 

Los Genius snagged him in the sixth round in the RotoAuthority League (not to question Los Genius' genius).  But picked that early, Weeks really needs to deliver.  I'd rather have Aaron Harang, Robinson Cano, Matt Kemp, or Javier Vazquez, who all went later than Weeks in our league.   I have Weeks hitting .261-16-49-90-22 in 445 ABs.  That's an AB level that Weeks has yet to approach in the bigs for various reasons.  He is a pretty risky pick right now.

Here's what's going to happen.  You grab my boy Kelly Johnson in the 14th instead of Weeks (unless that jerk Santa's Magic Janitor takes him in the tenth).  You get a five category leadoff hitter in KJ.  Weeks has a craptastic month or two in '08, and people start dropping him in droves.  Then you think about picking him up and letting him hang on your bench until he starts hitting.  Weeks might have that tantalizing 30/30 ability, but he can't hit for average or stay healthy.

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2008 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Second Basemen

Sleepers, undervalued, profitable players, call 'em what you will.  In general, some guys who may not be getting enough respect in your mixed league.

  • Unless Brian Roberts slips to the fifth round, I often find myself taking Kelly Johnson as my second baseman this year.  Johnson is going 164th, tenth among 2Bs.  He's seventh in my rankings and a possible five-category guy.
  • Rickie Weeks is a popular breakout pick (again).  I have him at .261-16-49-90-22 in 445 ABs.  If you think he's likely to beat that, then perhaps his ninth round ADP doesn't look so bad.  It's not a risk I'm keen on taking though.  I have a similar opinion of Howie Kendrick, though I do own him in my keeper league for $4.
  • I've been quick to dismiss Aaron Hill, giving him a $0.63 value with a .283-12-65-73-3 projection.  Zachary of Sportszilla got me to think a little more about Hill, and I found myself agreeing that he's a nice sleeper.  Even if he just replicates his '07 he's right there with Johnson in value.  Mark Ellis is interesting to me as a poor man's Hill in a contract year.  Orlando Hudson is also playing for his next deal; could he muscle up for 20 HR?  All should be found in the 15th round or later.
  • Freddy Sanchez is intriguing given his nine second half home runs and tendency to hit .300.

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