In our third segment of rankings, we will rank the small scrawny guys. The position where you put your worst players in tee ball since nobody hits it to the right side. From tee ball on, this position slowly becomes a destination for the sure-handed defenseman that can’t really help at the plate. That is still kind of true in the Major Leagues which is why any offense production from second base is huge. Here they are:
*The number is paranthesis is how each of us ranked the players individually.
Top 12 Fantasy Second Basemen for 2013
1. Robinson Cano, 30, Yankees
Hill Says: (1) This is one of the clearer positions to pick the number 1. Cano has been consistently great without any injury issues. He’s as close as a draft and forget player as you can get.
Culp Says: (1) Four straight years of at least 100 R, 25 HR, 85 RBI and 300 average. You’re just being dumb if you draft another 2-bagger before Robbie Canz.
2. Dustin Pedroia, 29, Red Sox
Hill Says: (3) With Pedroia’s hand injuries finally behind him, we should see a return to the 20/20 potential he routinely displayed prior to last year. If he is moved further down in the lineup he also could see increased opportunities to drive in runs.
Culp Says: (2) I think a good basement projection for DP this year is 90/15/75/10 and anything you get after that is gravy.
3. Ian Kinsler, 30, Rangers
Hill Says: (2) Kinsler has shed his injury prone label the last few years. While he underproduced a bit last year, he still is capable of a 30 HR or 30 steal season which isn’t easy to find at 2B. He also continues to call Texas his home, which doesn’t hurt either.
Culp Says: (5) History always finds a way to repeat itself which is why I’m really weery of Kinsler. He’s played in less than 130 games in four of his seven MLB seasons. He may have been healthy the last two years but doesn’t that just mean he’s due for an inury? Maybe. Maybe not, but I’m going to let someone else find out.
4. Ben Zobrist, 31, Rays
Hill Says: (4) This might be a bit of a surprise to some, but in Zobrist’s 4 seasons as a starter in Tampa Bay he has averaged 89 runs, 19 HRs, 83 RBI and 18 SB to go with a .268 avg. That’s pretty solid and I think the Rays offense will be better this year with experience to young players and some key new contributors. Oh, did I mention Zobrist also qualifies at SS and OF?
Culp Says: (4) Zobrist is the ultimate utility player, eligibile at 2B, SS and OF certainly helps his stock but we are just talking about Second Baseman right now. Read what Hill says above to see how valuable Zobrist has been since becoming a starter.
5. Jason Kipnis, 25, Indians
Hill Says: (5) I think Kipnis’ potential is closer to his 2012 1st half and 2011 debut than what he put out during last season’s 2nd half. That was the definition of an adjustment period for a young player. While I don’t know if Kipnis will reach 30 SBs again, his power should go up with 25 SBs or so with a batting average somewhere in the .270s.
Culp Says: (3) This is all about potential here. Kipnis is only 25 years old and is about to reach the 1,000 Plate Appearance plateau which is often when hitters start to “get it”. The Indians lost Choo but overall they should be even better at the plate this year with additions like Swisher, Reynolds, Bourn, and Stubbs. As long as Kipnis stays in the top five in the batting order, he will remain a top 5 second baseman.
6. Brandon Phillips, 31, Reds
Hill Says: (6) Phillips is the model of consistency in fantasy baseball. Since he decided to actually start playing baseball in 2006 he has one once had a: batting average under .275, HR total under 18, RBI total under 75 and SB total under 15 in a season. Granted, the last few years his totals have hovered closer to those lows, that is still plenty valuable.
Culp Says: (6) Pretty average numbers lately and is on the wrong side of 30. If you end up with Phillips as your 2B then you may want to handcuff with a nice sleeper as well.
7. Aaron Hill, 31, Diamondbacks
Hill Says: (7) Ok, here’s the deal. Hill definitely carried a lot of teams last year to the tune of a .302-26-85-14 line. He even has had an amazing season like this once before (2009 in Toronto). But, my hang up with him is that his production is all over the place. His average could go .300 or .200. He could hit 30 HRs or he could hit 8. If you’re a believer, obviously he should go higher than this. I’m just shying away for now.
Culp Says: (7) If Phillips is Mr. Consistent, then we can dub Hill as Mr. Inconsistent. Hill started stealing bases back when he was slumping hardcore in 2011, and that carried over to 2012. We can’t really be surprised if he goes back to sub-10 stolen bases, though.
8. Neil Walker, 27, Pirates
Hill Says: (11) Walker is not great in anything, but he won’t kill you anywhere either. He’s the definition of a “defensive” pick. In picking Walker you’re playing not to lose. There are worse options though.
Culp Says: (9) I was expecting a bigger year out of Walker last year but I may have been a year early. Only 27 years old, Walker could be in for the best year of his career in 2013. The Pirates are no longer the laughing stock of the National League.
9. Rickie Weeks, 30, Brewers
Hill Says: (10) Weeks was absolutely horrid last year for the first half. I was one of the owners who rode him over his resurgent last month or so where he somewhat salvaged his season. I think he’ll get closer to his previous form, but there is legitimate concern as to if he’s started his decline phase.
Culp Says: (12) Just like Kinsler, Weeks is slowly earning back the faith of fantasy owners as he’s been healthy two of the last three seasons. Just like Kinsler, I am not buying it. He doesn’t drive in runs or hit for average. If I missed out on the top tier 2B, I would rather try my luck at one of the many sleepers, like Rutledge or Gyorko, than own the headache known as Rickie Weeks.
10. Chase Utley, 34, Phillies
Hill Says: (9) Here is where 2B starts to really get sketchy. Utley is a major injury risk and is far from the perennial top-3 2B he was in his prime. He still makes plenty of contact though, has some pop and is an efficient baserunner. Still, from here on out you’ll probably want to make sure you have two options at 2B.
Culp Says: (12) Hasn’t played more than 115 games since 2009 but has always hit when he’s healthy. If you have the luxury to platoon him when he’s hurt then Utley could be a great value pick.
11. Dan Uggla, 33, Braves
Hill Says: (14) I was one who thought Uggla’s move to Atlanta would pay off with huge production. He is a liability in the average department and won’t give you much in the way of steals. However, if you have average and steals covered elsewhere and are just looking for power, Uggla still has 25+ HR potential.
Culp Says: (8) There is a lot of hatred for Uggla after one bad year of power. The truth is that Uggla has never had a wRC+ less than 103 in his 7 year career. He may not hit for average, but that doesn’t make him a bag hitter. If his HR rates regress to normal then you will be getting a steal with Uggla this year.
12. Danny Espinosa, 25, Nationals
Hill Says: (13) Danny was once very promising, and still has room to grow. He has pop and speed, but he has shown he can be a major liability in the average department. He strikes out a ton and swings and misses a lot. Basically at his worse he can be the definition of an all-or-nothing hitter. In a keeper league though, I would bump him up several slots on the hope he could iron it out.
Culp Says: (10) Espinosa’s not really someone you target, you just get stuck with him. The 15/15 is a good thing but his career 27% strikeout rate is a good reason why he will likely never hit above .260 in his career. Espy is still only 25 years old, so you could be in a worse predictament if you do end up “getting stuck” with him.
Howie Kendrick, 29, Angels – Kendrick’s profile is similar to Walker’s. The average is a little better. However, I was among those that thought he would take a leap last year with an improved lineup and it just didn’t happen.
Josh Rutledge, 24, Rockies – Rutledge doesn’t turn 24 until the end of April but he is ready to produce now. Rutledge has 15/15 power speed potential, which is hard to ignore for a 2B/SS eligible player. He is basically Ian Kinsler lite, but without a rediculous lineup around him. Where JR hits in the lineup will dictate a lot of his value and could be the difference of him giving you 65/14/60/14 or him giving you 85/17/85/17.
Jose Altuve, 22, Astros – What? There’s someone from Houston on a list? I tend to lean towards power when someone’s game is one dimensional. Altuve is an average/speedguy. However, here is a guy who will do enough of both to be an asset to your team. If you can get power elsewhere, Altuve can be a solid pickup for you.
Kyle Seager, 25, Mariners – Seager managed 86 RBIs on the Mariners last year. That is quite the feat. He is young, has decent power, decent speed, multi-position eligible and could be a breakout candidate now that he is approaching his 1,000 career Plate Appearance.
Jedd Gyorko, 24, Padres – This is a bit of a gamble, but I think the Padres have to give Gyorko the 2b job out of spring training. He has shown he doesn’t have much to improve upon greatly in the minors and the Padres could use the offense. A 3b by trade, Gyorko has made a pretty smooth transition to 2b and has average and power to quickly move him up this list if he gets the job.