Today I'll be taking a look at the top 2nd base keepers for the 2014 season. Like with my last article about first base keepers, I'll be assuming a 10-team league for simplicity's sake, in which keeping a player requires the owner to forfeit a pick in the upcoming draft in the round in which the keeper was originally drafted the previous year. For example, if Mike Trout was drafted in the 1st round in 2013, keeping him would require a owner to forfeit their first round draft pick in the 2014 draft.
Second Base (2B) Keepers – Dynasty Leagues
2013 ESPN ADP: 4 (1st round)
2013 Stat-line: .314/.383/.516, 27 HR, 81 Runs, 107 RBIs, 7 SB
2014 (Predicted) ADP: 4-5 (1st round)
A good fantasy owner looks to keep a player for one of two reasons: either the player presents a good 'value' in terms of his draft cost or because the player is such a stud that not keeping him will mean not owning him the next year. Robinson Cano falls into the latter category. The kind of steady, reliable, elite production Cano offers every week is a huge luxury in the daily grind of fantasy baseball. Unlike some I'm not worried that his production will suffer playing in Seattle instead of New York. Safeco Field does have a reputation for being a place where offense goes to die, however it's notable that the Mariners had the outfield fences taken in prior to the start of the 2013 season. In that season they hit the second most home runs as a team of any team in MLB. Good hitters can still hit at SAFECO, even if it isn’t exactly Coors Field. Cano will be fine.
2013 ESPN ADP: 250 (undrafted)
2013 Stat-line: .318/.392/.481, 11 HR, 126 Runs, 78 RBI, 3 SB
2014 (Predicted) ADP: 63-68 (7th round)
Keeping Matt Carpenter will cost you a 25th round pick. Let me just say that again as slowly as I can so it can really sink in. Matt Carpenter, the 2nd baseman with 3rd base eligibility, the man who led the NL in hits, doubles, and runs, the player who's only 28 years old and is hitting at the top of one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball, will only cost you a 25th round pick. Sure he's unlikely to repeat the heights of his 2013 breakout season and will probably regress somewhat this coming season. That's fine with you; he only costs you a 25th round pick. Do a little dance and be happy. You're the proud owner of one of the biggest steals of the season.
3) Jason Kipnis
2013 ESPN ADP: 68 (7th round)
2013 stat-line: .284/.366/.452, 17 HR, 86 Runs, 84 RBI, 30 SB
2014 (Predicted) ADP: 23-26 (3rd round)
The first number your eye is probably drawn to when looking at Kipnis' stats is that 30 SB benchmark. Stolen bases are a premium commodity in fantasy circles and Kipnis looks to be establishing himself as a consistent supplier of them, having stolen at least 30 bases in each of the previous two seasons. Speed isn’t the only aspect of his game however. He's no Chris Davis, but 15 home runs from a 2nd baseman is nothing to scoff at, especially when it comes with an above-average batting average. And that’s what Kipnis is, solidly above-average across the board. It makes him a safer play than some, because if he starts slumping in one area, he has other skills to provide fantasy owners value with. He's a top 3 2nd baseman who will cost you a 7th round pick. That's the definition of a must-keep player.
2013 ESPN ADP: 27 (3rd round)
2013 Stat-line: .301/.372 /.415, 9 HR, 91 Runs, 84 RBI, 17 SB
2014 (Predicted) ADP: 28-32 (3rd-4th round)
Having dropped a couple spots in ADP, you might be tempted to discount Dustin Pedroia as a good keeper, but that would be a mistake. It's important to remember that due to players being kept out of the draft in keeper leagues, the draft itself is much more shallow. A 5th round talent in a standard league (which is what ADP values are based off of), might well be a 3rd round talent in a keeper league. As a top 3 2nd baseman, I don't think there's any way Pedroia makes it into the 3rd round. He's too good a player. He offers an above-average batting average along with good speed and a little bit of power, all at one of the thinnest positions in the majors. Not only is he a second base stud, he is in fact a value pick in keeper leagues, and that is why he makes this list.
5) Jedd Gyorko
2013 ESPN ADP: 250 (undrafted)
2013 stat-line: .249/.301/.444, 23 HR, 62 Runs, 63 RBI, 1 SB
2014 (Predicted) ADP: 160-165 (17th round)
There are a lot of question marks still surrounding Jedd Gyorko, I won't lie about that. He's still very young, very raw, and he does hit in the most pitcher friendly park in MLB. But you can't deny the power. In only 125 games last year, he hit 23 home runs, the second most home runs hit by any 2nd baseman in MLB. His batting average isn't anything flashy, but he showed glimpses last year of the plus hitter tools he exhibited in the minors and I think you can reasonably expect to see some improvement next year. He won't hit .300, but .260 with the potential for .275 is reasonable for him. That's a player definitely worth the 25th round cost.