Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy Baseball 2014 Second Base Preview

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Position Previews C 1B 2B 3B SS OF SP RP

I feel like the second base position this year is very top heavy. Of course the overall number one second baseman is still Robinson Cano, but after a few others it is definitely a crapshoot this year. Who saw Matt Carpenter having the season that he did last year? To be honest when a guy picked him in my draft last year, I said “thank you” and I really should have been saying “oh no or nice pick.” Here is a sneak peak of some players that you should be interested in at the second base position.

1. After Robinson Cano, whom should you pick? Jason Kipnis or Dustin Pedroia?
Dustin PedroiaIs someone really going to ask me this question? I have already taken a look at a few mock drafts that have taken place this year and have seen both Kipnis and Pedroia being picked after Cano. It is pretty much split down the middle on which one is going first though. Let’s compare their numbers from last year first. Kipnis batted .284 with an OBP of .366, 17 HRs, 86 Rs, 84 RBIs and 30 SBs on 658 plate appearances. While Pedroia batted .301 with an OBP of .372, 9 HRs, 91 Rs, 84 RBIs and 17 SBs on 724 plate appearances. This is a great argument to have. Kipnis has slightly better power where Pedroia has a better overall Avg. There is one underlining factor that really stands out to me through all of the numbers. Pedroia was playing the majority of the season with an injury to his thumb. By the way, he did have surgery on November 12th to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb. He should be 100% for the beginning of the season. As many ball players can attest to hitting a ball with any type of injury to your hands makes the challenge even harder. This probably explains why his power was down for the year. As a right-handed batter, the left hand is Pedroia’s directional hand when he swings. I may be biased, but I would choose Pedroia as the next second baseman in this year’s draft. This was a hard argument for me because of the good numbers that Kipnis did put up, so I would not argue picking him first. If it were my decision though go with the “Laser Show.”

2. Will the move to Detroit help or hurt Ian Kinsler?
I can tell you one thing. This move for Detroit helps them tremendously on the defensive side of the ball game. The Fielder/Kinsler trade more than likely puts Miguel Cabrera back at first. More importantly where will Kinsler be batting in the Tigers’ lineup. The Tigers are getting a leadoff batter with tremendous power for a second baseman. Austin Jackson already secures the role of the leadoff man. If I had to guess, Ian Kinsler will be batting second and moving Torii Hunter (hurting his value) to the fourth or fifth hole. I have always liked Ian Kinsler as a player, but do not be surprised if there are a few drops in his numbers. Kinsler is a career .273-hitter and had one of his better averages last year at .277. When things heat up down in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, so do most of the bats. Kinsler will not have the luxury of this type of heat in the Detroit area. Plus as a second hitter look for him to have a different role as a batter. Kinsler does not strike out that much (9.6% K rate last year); which will help him put the ball in play as what is usually asked for the second hitter. I believe his RBIs exceed 80 this year; which is a boost from 72 last year. Kinsler did lose a little power, but I do attribute this to him missing quit a few games in 2013. Overall, I believe this move for both the Rangers and Tigers helps them both. I like the move a little better for the Tigers. Kinsler will see a little overall decline but not much to take him out of my top-five second baseman for this year. You should still have confidence in drafting Kinsler as he joins the Motor City.


3. Jurickson Profar was regarded as one of the highest prospects in the Rangers system. Now that Ian Kinsler is gone, what can we expect from Profar as the everyday 2B? After the Fielder/Kinsler trade, Jurickson Profar became an instant winner. It was a three headed monster (Profar, Kinsler and Andrus) that now allows for Profar to get more playing time. There was plenty of hype when Profar was first introduced into the majors. He will be turning 21 years old in February and has plenty of room to grow, but I am not too confident in what I see so far. When playing in the league last year, he hit .234 with 6 HRs and 2 SBs. Profar would normally make contact with the ball in the minors and had better plate discipline. This transition has not worked out so well for Profar this far. Ha! And when he did make contact with the ball he had a line drive rate of 23.4%. With Profar being a switch hitter, do not be alarmed with the numbers. They are not too different on both sides of the plate. For his first full season as the starting second baseman, I believe we only see average numbers put up by Profar. By average, I say around a .250 Avg, 12 HRs, 70 RBIs and 15 SBs. He will learn a lot in the next couple years in the league. I see him currently between the tenth and fifteenth ranked second baseman in the league.

Player(s) on the Rise
Aaron-HillAaron Hill
 (ARI) – Hill has seemed to resurrect his career when making the move to Arizona in the early beginning. He probably liked getting out of the AL East and moving to a hot young Arizona Diamondbacks team. He went from having a .246 Avg and a .268 BABIP in 2011 to having a .302 Avg and a .317 BABIP in 2012. This past offseason Hill was supposedly going to be shopped elsewhere because he will probably be looking for bigger money after this season. Money that in all likelihood the Diamondbacks cannot afford. While Hill did bat .302 and .291 his last few seasons, these are with minimal plate appearances. He suffered a broken hand early in the 2013 season; which limited a lot of his appearances. He still put up decent numbers considering the injury. This one was a really tough call for me because when healthy, Hill is a prolific hitter. However, the injury bug has always seemed to hurt Hill’s value. I still consider Hill a top-ten hitter in the second baseman category. If drafted too early I see Hill being a Risk/Reward pick for your team. I see him hitting in the .280s with 20 HRs, 75 RBIs and close to 20 steals.

Anthony Rendon (WAS) – Want a second baseman that you can get cheap and don’t have to waste an early pick on? Well here he is. On average I see this guy going in the 15th round or later in most mixed leagues. I consider this a bargain. He is known to be a lousy defender, but he has enough offensive potential to make him a worthy pick. Because of Danny Espinosa fracturing his wrist last year, the Nationals promoted their top prospect Rendon to take his role. In 394 plate appearances, he had 7 HRs, 40 RBIs and a .265 Avg. Rendon was a hot Waiver Wire pick up during his second call up in the majors in 2013. If his defensive stays at par, then I could see this kid hitting Matt Carpenter-like numbers in 2014.

Player(s) on the Decline
Chase Utley (PHI) – This seems to be a reoccurring theme with the Phillies and I, but it is so true. I do not know what Ruben Amaro, Jr. is doing with this team anymore. In my opinion, he needs to go and this team needs to start over. Utley, although loved by the Philadelphia fan base, is on the decline of his career. It seems like a century ago that you more than likely would have kept this player in a keeper league from 2005 to 2009. I see this pick as a risk early in your draft. If he happens to fall way late then take him as a bargain pick. He is not the player he used to be anymore. I see him hitting at best .260, with 15 HRs and 70 RBIs. All these numbers obviously depend on if he can stay healthy all year long.

 


Omar Infante (KC) – Defensively, I thought that the Tigers should have kept this guy, but will now be the new Royals 2B. I like the solid move for the Royals, but only in the real world. Infante is only good for average in the fantasy world, but I see this part of his game starting to decline. The luster of Infante is over and I probably would only draft him as a deep back up second baseman.

Player(s) on the Horizon
Kolten WongKolten Wong (STL) –As of right now, Wong seems to be the starting second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals this year. He is one of my favorites on the horizon. As a Red Sox fan, Kolton Wong was picked off first base to end the game. Thank you Kolten! There is a lot of hype surrounding this guy as we enter the 2014 season. Currently, Wong is ranked as the #1 overall best second base prospects in 2014. Wong was called up in mid-August of 2013. In 59 at bats, he only hit .153 and added 3 SBs. His minor league statistics of 2013 (.303 Avg., 10 HRs, 20 SBs) overshadow his major league statistics so far. I would compare him to the likes of Jose Altuve. He has very high potential and should be drafted in all formats this year.

Jonathan Schoop (BAL) – Schoop is the 4th best prospect in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization. He is their best hitting prospect by far. As of now he will most likely start the season in Triple-A, but since the absence of Brian Roberts the Orioles have a lot of question marks at the second base position. Jemile Weeks and Ryan Flaherty are slotted as the play a platoon system to start the season. Keep an eye on the waiver wire market this year, when they call Schoop up. You could be looking at a Machado- Schoop tandum for years to come.

Player(s) to Avoid
Dan Uggla (ATL) – Uggla, more like an Ugly performance. Since 2010, Uggla’s average has decreased each and every year (.287, .233, .220, .179). He will more than likely throw up about 20 HRs this year once again, but you cannot count on this guy. He has hit rock bottom and is a second baseman that should not be on your radar at all. Last year’s BABIP was .225; which was second worst for those that had qualified amount at bats. His swing is not capable of putting up decent numbers. It is feast or famine with this guy at the plate.

Marco Scutaro (SF) – Although Scutaro is a very useful player for the San Francisco Giants, he is one of those players that has marginal fantasy value. Most rankings have him behind players that do not even play on a regular basis (i.e. Mike Aviles). To go along with this he is 38 and you can’t expect a full healthy season. Surprisingly, Scutaro leads all of baseball in contact rate over the past five years. While its great to hit the ball, when you lack power and speed you will not be fantasy relevant.

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In conclusion, the second base position seems to be very wide open for me. As Joe Morgan once said when entering the Hall of Fame, “I take my vote as a salute to the little guy, the one who doesn’t hit 500 home runs. I was one of the guys that did all they could to win.” The second base position is not noted as a power type position in the fantasy world, but make sure your “little guy” can have a power impact on your team this year.

You can follow me on Twitter @RedSox_SF49ers for more fantasy baseball news and advice. Also be sure to like us on Facebook and Google+ for all updates from FantasySixPack.

About Tyler Gettmann

You can follow me on Twitter @RedSox_SF49ers for more fantasy news and advice. Also be sure to like us on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram for all updates from Fantasy Six Pack.

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