Second base is an intriguing position going in to the 2013 season. There are some consistent performers at the top, some aging veterans with serious question marks in the middle, and a bunch of possible sleepers/rebound candidates for the later rounds of your draft.
Really, it’s fairly thin though, and the jump from tier 2 to tier 3 represents a substantial increase in risk.
Let’s dive in to the RotoBaller rankings and break it down a little more:
TIER 1: Cano is just an absolute beast. If you have an opportunity to grab him after pick #3, do it.
TIER 2: I really think Pedroia is going to bring a full season of the Laser Show to Red Sox Nation. His second-half 2012 pace projects out to 20 HR and 30 SB. If he’s healthy after his off-season pinky surgery, look for him to easily return second-round value at a thin position. Bid with confidence as long as his bill of health is clean.
Brandon Phillips is the very picture of fantasy consistency, coming in just under 20 HR and .275-.290 range in BA. Barring injury, there’s no reason not to expect about the same. Be wary of any skills erosion due to aging, as he is entering his age-31 season. That said, any slowdown could be offset by the infusion of Shin-Soo Choo at the top and and an extra month of a healthy Votto behind him in the Reds lineup.
With Aaron hill, you can bank on the power – but the BA? Much less so. If HR/FB% stays up, though, that means a lot fewer fly-ball outs. I think you can confidently grab him, but be cognizant of the BA, and celebrate if he can top .280. Be sure to also check out RotoBaller’s deeper analysis on Aaron Hill.
TIER 3: Health and production are the key factors with this group. If Utley can stay upright, he will produce, but you should probably expect him to sit about as often as a veteran catcher, if not more. Read more on Utley in our RotoBaller Player Profile.
RotoBaller’s analysis of Jason Kipnis doubts that he can reproduce his 2012 luck, but he could still return good value…provided he drops far below his current ADP.
Rickie Weeks could be an intriguing option for a bounce-back, especially considering his 2012 second half, but you’ll have to balance the intrigue of power/speed against both injury concerns and the painful memory of prolonged slump. Those latter considerations might lead other owners to pass on Weeks, but I would certainly take the chance if he’s still around in the 12th round.
TIER 4: The later tiers are much more volatile based on playing time, and in tier 4, the PT will depend on production, pure and simple. Uggla looks like an example of the classic aging slugger who should probably be coming off the bench. First his BA dipped in 2011, and then his power production followed suit in 2012. Stay away, though he could be an intriguing MI option if he starts hot. Infante, on the other hand, could pleasantly reproduce his 2012 season, though he will be challenged to hit for that kind of power in Detroit. Still, for some decent pop and speed upside, he’s a serviceable option as a late-draft play. To round out the discussion of former Braves here, notice that Kelly Johnson can’t hit lefties, and he really can’t hit righties that well either, so improving the BA is going to be a challenge. He’s also on a three-year power decline. Avoid him.
TIER 5: Again, there’s some volatility here based on playing time, but this is where the sleeper action lies. Tyler Green, for example, could be an absolute monster if he can earn 75+% of the 2B ABs in Houston, which could happen only if he can figure out RHP. There aren’t necessarily any indications that he will, but keep an eye on that in the first half and be ready to pounce on this intriguing power/speed combo should he show signs of growth. For super-cheap speed, Chris Getz is a perennial waiver-wire guy who you can slot in if you need a SB boost. He likely won’t contribute much else, though. Keep an eye on Gordon Beckham. The one-time top prospect is pretty much fighting to prove that he really is a major-league caliber player, and maybe that can light a fire under him. His BABIP was very low in 2012, so you can expect some upward regression in BA. The dimensions of U.S. Cellular could work in his favor – if he could just develop a little more power, he could be an intriguing player, possibly an early-May waiver-wire snag.
All in all, second base is kind of a tough position to draft for, since the relative values of the players largely depend on where the other managers are willing to draft a given player or some of the guys ahead of him. In most of my mocks to this point, I’ve been grabbing one of those tier-3 guys and one of the tier-5 guys, usually around the 12th and 22nd rounds, respectively.
Look for more of RotoBaller‘s in-depth 2B preseason profiles to be posted in the next few days. Looking forward to some comments!
And if you’ve missed them, be sure to also check out RotoBaller.com’s other pre-season 2013 fantasy baseball positional rankings for more in-depth analysis:
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