The first four months of the 2013 fantasy baseball season are complete, and we've gotten a good look at which players are establishing themselves as contributors and which guys are struggling. Every month, RotoBaller updates our original preseason rankings at every position. Today, we’re going to look at second basemen, a position where we’ve seen some significant changes in value, like Jason Kipnis solidifying his grasp as a top performer and Ian Kinsler beginning his slow downfall.
All the ranks below are compared to the FantasyPros ECR (Expert Consensus Rank), which will show you where RotoBaller differs with the expert community and by how much. Check out our tier-by-tier analysis below the rankings, and let us know where you agree or disagree with us!
TIER 1: Robinson Cano continues to be the top 2B based on overall numbers, but has competition right on his heels. His power and run-production put him squarely on pace for a 30/100 year, but the BA and runs scored are a bit below what you'd expect but he’s still a top-20 overall player.
TIER 2: Jason Kipnis has been phenomenal since May 1, and an absolute stud in all five categories. 15 HR/ 68 RBI/ 21SB and a .295 BA put him slightly above Dustin Pedroia, who has struggled with a .194 BA over the last month. Despite the low BA, Pedroia still put up 3 HR and 16 RBI and will have many more RBI opportunities in the 3-hole in front of Ellsbury and Victorino. Matt Carpenter just edges into Tier Two due to his prolific 82 runs, which lead all of MLB. The Cards’ lineup is among the most productive in baseball and is a great fit for him.
TIER 3: This tier has a number of quality players who in other down years would easily slide up into Tier Two, but the depth this year at 2B keeps them sitting here. Kyle Seager, who's really a 3B but has 2B eligibility this year, has had a breakout year with 17 HR, 51 RBI, 63 R and a .295 BA, including a scorching .330 BA in the last month. Ian Kinsler, a perpetual top 2B, has played through injuries this year and has seen a drop in his HR/RBI production. Kinsler has also stopped stealing bases as much as in the past, which diminishes his value. Howie Kendrick started the year very strong, but has tailed off a bit recently, going for a .241 BA with just two HR and seven RBI in July. Be warned that Kendrick's recent and gruesome hyper-extended knee injury may yet lead to a DL stint, but if he remains active, he's been a very nice option for fantasy purposes. Jose Altuve has performed precisely to his draft value, running up 29 SB and a .283 BA with low HR/RBI output. Aaron Hill was sidelined for all of May and June and has started to regain his form. Look for him to put up decent power and BA numbers over the final two months.
TIER 4: Nick Franklin had an odd last 30 days—he tore the cover off the ball in July hitting six HR and 14 RBI, but began August with a rough 0-14 streak. He’s a nice low-end option who can be had on the cheap, especially now. Kelly Johnson’s streakiness is enough to drive even the most patient fantasy owner crazy. When’s on, he’s great; when’s he cold, he’s terrible. He batted an abysmal .116 in June and then hit .333 in July. Through several games in August he’s right in the middle with a .250 BA. Chase Utley is still healthy which a feat unto itself is. He’s been a solid contributor with four HR, 10 RBI and 13 runs in the last month and 15 HR, 40 RBI, 47 R and a .269 BA overall.
Tier 5: Poor performers along with waiver wire pickups here, and Dan Uggla who is one of the most frustrating fantasy players ever. His power is as good as it’s ever been, with 21 HR and 52 RBI on the year. He could easily go for 30 HR and 80 RBI at this pace. That said, the .192 BA is also a new low, nearly 30 points behind his .220 BA from 2012.