Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Reality Check: Where's the upside at second?

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

So much for second base getting deeper.

You've heard of the gift that keeps on giving? Well, that's the myth that keeps on missing. Every year, some guy equipped with some fancy formula goes on a crusade to convince the world that second base is the new first base. Jemile Weeks! Dustin Ackley! Johnny Giavotella! Yeah!

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

More like Jemile Weaks, Dustin Ack!-ley and Johnny Giarubella. Bleh.

Sure, the position offers enough high-upside players to keep everyone fat and happy if everything goes right, but rarely does everything go right. Chase Utley needs a couple months to rest his knee or Dan Uggla falls into a career-worst slump or Howard Kendrick takes a step back rather than forward. It happens.

The result -- as we continue our look ahead to the 2013 rankings, going position by position -- is a top 12 with as many as four players who might not even be starting in your league right now.

Not because they've been injured, but because they've been just plain bad.

But they do still have value, either because of upside or because of track record prior to this year. Once you get to a certain point in the rankings, you have to put your faith in one or the other.

Where exactly is that point? Well, that's a matter of debate. My best estimate is reflected in the lists below, though I'll admit at times I may choose to stray from it myself. After all, rankings shouldn't be entirely a measurement of personal preference. You need to have some idea what everyone else is thinking.

Top 10 second basemen for 2013:
1. Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees
2. Ian Kinsler, 2B, Rangers
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox
4. Ben Zobrist, 2B/SS/OF, Rays
5. Aaron Hill, 2B, Diamondbacks
6. Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds
7. Rickie Weeks, 2B, Brewers
8. Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies
9. Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians
10. Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros

I don't see how anyone could argue with the top three at this point, even if they've all taken a step back statistically this season. Cano is a perennial first-rounder, and Kinsler looks like the healthier of the two nipping at his heels these days. If you wanted to flip-flop Kinsler and Pedroia, you wouldn't get an argument from me, but based on their numbers to date, I expect Kinsler to be the first of the two off the board next year.

The bigger question with them is if they're still worth drafting alongside the heavy hitters at deeper positions, such as first base and the outfield. Position scarcity still makes Kinsler a candidate to go ahead of, say, Giancarlo Stanton on Draft Day, but last year, it would have been a no-brainer.

My continued allegiance to Zobrist in the fourth spot might get me in trouble with some people -- namely, the ones who believe Hill's resurgent season has earned him a spot alongside the top three. And yeah, on a per-game basis, Hill's production is closer to Kinsler's and Pedroia's than Zobrist's and Phillips' this year. But what scares me with him is that he needed a resurgent season.

I'll admit it seems different this time. His initial breakout season in 2009, when he hit 36 homers, was built on an unsustainably high home run-to-fly ball rate that ultimately threw his swing out of whack by making him think he was Joe Carter. He got back to hitting line drives after joining the Diamondbacks last season and now seems to have leveled off as a .300 hitter with plus power instead of an all-or-nothing type. It seems to fit his profile even if he took a roundabout path to get there.

Still, a slight fluctuation in batting average could easily put Hill on par with Zobrist, who has the advantage in terms of plate discipline. Knowing that, wouldn't you prefer to safeguard against the possibility of a bust by selecting the more proven player? Upside isn't always worth sacrificing for safety, but when their ceilings are so close anyway, why not take the cautious approach?

Weeks is a player I anticipate drafting in a lot of my leagues next year. He was right there with the Zobrists of the world coming into the season, but he hit .162 over the first 2 1/2 months -- a slump some people contribute to the severely sprained ankle he suffered late last season. Since June 16, though, his per-game production in Head-to-Head leagues is about the same as Pedroia's. In short, he's back, but his cumulative numbers make it not so obvious. Seeing as the elite trio of second basemen is no longer as elite as it used to be, I'd almost prefer to settle for Weeks in the middle rounds.

Wouldn't the same go for Utley? After all, on a per-game basis, his production is about on par with Cano's. Well, yeah, that's true, but the reason we have to measure his production on a per-game basis is because he missed so many darn games at the beginning of this season, just as he did last season. He's a 33-year-old with a degenerative knee condition that may force him to sit out the first few weeks of every season, so pardon me if I'm a little less than enthused about drafting him.

And pardon me if I'm not so keen on drafting Kipnis and Altuve either. Yeah, they're the ones with the upside, but upside is so rare at second base that you'd have to draft them at about the same point you could draft a proven commodity at some other position. And neither has exactly been trending the right direction in the second half.

Then again, if you let them pass you by in the middle rounds, you don't have much to fall back on.

Next 10 second basemen for 2013:
11. Dan Uggla, 2B, Braves
12. Danny Espinosa, 2B/SS, Nationals
13. Neil Walker, 2B, Pirates
14. Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners
15. Howard Kendrick, 2B, Angels
16. Marco Scutaro, 2B/SS, Giants
17. Jemile Weeks, 2B, Athletics
18. Logan Forsythe, 2B, Padres
19. Gordon Beckham, 2B, White Sox
20. Daniel Murphy, 2B, Mets

"Wait, what about Martin Prado? Surely, he belongs on this half of the list. He just got second base eligibility in my league a couple weeks ago, and it's gone great so far!"

Ah, but position eligibility is a fleeting thing. The rules giveth, and the rules taketh away. The standard for gaining eligibility at a position during the season is only five games, but the standard for retaining it into next season is 20. So in standard leagues, Prado is a no-go at second base. Same goes for Michael Young and Kyle Seager.

Instead, you'll have to settle for Uggla, who by now is a mortal enemy to the Fantasy owners who've lived and died by him (mostly died) this season. It's been ugly, to say the least, and with him now exiting his prime at age 32, it's no guarantee to get any better next season. Fortunately, by drafting Uggla this late, you don't expose yourself to much risk. If he doesn't bounce back, big deal. You only cost yourself Espinosa. But if he does bounce back and delivers another 30 homers next season, it's another Rickie Weeks situation.

Really, the only other players in this second group of 10 who have comparable upside to Uggla are Espinosa, Walker and Ackley. But all three have clear shortcomings, too -- a low contact rate for Espinosa, a relatively low home run ceiling for Walker and a slow progression for Ackley. If you draft one of them as your starter in a mixed league, you're just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Baseball.

I suppose some might include Kendrick among that group, which is why I rank him next on the list, but that's one case where I disagree with public perception. As a free-swinger with modest base-stealing ability, if he doesn't replicate the 18 homers he hit in 2011 -- which, to this point, is looking like an outlier for his career -- he doesn't have anything to fall back on. And yet everyone loves him because he compiled a .360 batting average in the minor leagues during George W. Bush's first term as president. Whatever. I'm pretty sure that by ranking him there, I won't be the one who drafts Kendrick, and that's all I care about.

To be honest, I'd just as soon take Scutaro or Jemile Weeks, provided they have regular jobs to open next season. Scutaro isn't anything special, of course, but somehow, some way, he manages to get his points when he's playing. It took a trade to the Giants to make it happen this season, but hey, it happened.

Between Weeks, Forsythe, and Beckham, you have what figures to be your last shot at an upside pick before the position turns to sludge. None of the three is a safe bet, of course, but we've seen speed from Weeks before, power from Beckham before and a little bit of everything from Forsythe before. If we knew the Padres were committed to Forsythe for the long haul, he might leapfrog a couple players on this list, but with top prospect Jedd Gyorko breathing down his neck, he may ultimately prove to be fool's gold.

And it's not like he's such hot stuff anyway. At best, we're talking Walker-like production from him.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Rockies designate Jayson Aquino for assignment
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:24 pm ET) After completing a two-team trade Friday, the Rockies decided to designate Jayson Aquino for assignment, the team announced.

Aquino spent 2014 bouncing around the minor league, pitching in 18 games with a 5.13 ERA in 107 innings pitched. He went 5-10 with 83 strikeouts in stints with both Double-A Tulsa and Class A Modesto.


Report: Red Sox express willingness to trade Edward Mujica
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:22 pm ET) The Red Sox have expressed a willingness to trade reliever Edward Mujica, a source told FOX Sports. The right-handed reliever is set to make $4.75 million in 2015.

Mujica, who was an All-Star with St. Louis in 2013, went 2-4 with a 3.90 ERA and eight saves in his first season with Boston in 2014.


Orioles 1B/OF Steve Pearce agrees to $3.7M salary for 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:16 pm ET) The Orioles avoided arbitration with outfielder/first baseman Steve Pearce, agreeing to a $3.7 million salary for 2015, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Pearce reportedly filed for $5.4 million, while the Orioles reportedly offered $2 million.

Pearce is coming off his best season as a major leaguer, batting .293 with a .373 on-base percentage, .556 slugging percentage, .930 OPS, 21 home runs, 26 doubles and 49 RBI in 102 games.


Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is 'staying put'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:57 pm ET) A team source told CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman that Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is "staying put."  Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich told FOX Sports earlier in the week that it is "highly, highly unlikely" Tulowitzki will be traded before opening day.

Tulowitzki, who has been linked to trade rumors involving the Mets this offseason, is under contract through 2020 on a six-year, $118 million deal. He is also recovering from August hip surgery.


Red Sox agree to deal with pitcher Alexi Ogando
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:52 pm ET) The Red Sox have agreed to a deal with pitcher Alexi Ogando, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. It is a one-year, $1.5 million contract, which includes $1.5 million in bonuses, according to USA Today.

Ogando has been a free agent since being non-tendered by the Rangers in December. Ogando made just 27 relief appearances in 2014 due to an elbow injury. He went 2-3 with a 6.84 ERA.

Ogando, who was an All-Star in 2011, also has experience starting at the major-league level, going 19-12 with a 3.40 ERA in 48 career starts.


Braves trade RPs Hale, Schlosser to Rockies for two minor leaguers
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:42 pm ET) The Braves traded pitchers David Hale and Gus Schlosser to the Rockies on Friday in exchange for catchers Jose Briceno and Chris O’Dowd.

Hale went 4-5 with a 3.30 ERA in 45 relief appearances for Atlanta in 2014. He struck out 44 batters and issued 39 walks in 87 1/3 innings.

Schlosser made his MLB debut in 2014, going 0-1 with a 7.64 ERA in 15 relief outings for Atlanta. He struck out eight and walked six in 17 2/3 innings.

Briceno hit .283 with 12 home runs, 23 doubles and 50 RBI in 84 games for Class A Asheville in 2014. He has a career .280/.433/.776 slash line over five minor-league seasons.

O'Dowd hit .271 with five home runs, 27 doubles and 48 RBI in 113 games between high Class A Modesto and Double-A Tulsa in 2014. He has a career .260/.362/.689 slash line over three minor-league seasons.


Tigers' Dombrowski: Steven Moya 'relatively close' to making impact
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) Tigers outfield prospect Steven Moya, who was the MVP of the Eastern League (Double-A) in 2014, is expected to open the season at Triple-A Toledo, per the Detroit Free Press.

"I don't know if I'd say we're buying time for Moya," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said last week. "Probably when a guy as talented as Moya is ready, he'll make his way onto a team. I don't think we could absolutely say, trying to win a pennant, trying to win a world championship, you can count on him being 100 percent ready."

The 23-year-old Moya hit .276 with a .555 slugging percentage, .861 OPS, 33 doubles, 35 home runs and 105 RBI in 133 games last season at Double-A. He has a career .251/.444/.739 slash line over six minor-league seasons.

Moya also made a brief appearance in the majors last season, batting .375 (3 for 8) in 11 games.

"I think the development time will be good for him" Dombrowski said. "Could he come up and produce at some time during the year? Yes. He's relatively close."


Braves sign catcher Jesus Flores to minor-league contract
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:23 pm ET) The Braves signed catcher Jesus Flores to a minor-league contract Friday, which includes an invite to spring training, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Flores has not played in the majors since 2012 with the Nationals. He spent the 2014 season with the Royals' Triple-A affiliate at Omaha, batting .248 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 40 games.


Pirates sign Wilkin Castillo, Josh Wall to minor-league deals
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:18 pm ET) The Pirates have signed catcher Wilkin Castillo and pitcher Josh Wall to minor-league contracts, which include invites to spring training.

Rockies sign Betancourt, Quintanilla to minor-league deals
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:11 pm ET) The Rockies signed former closer Rafael Betancourt and infielder Omar Quintanilla to minor-league contracts Friday, per MLB.com. 

Quintanilla spent the last two seasons with the Mets, while Betancourt did not pitch in the majors in 2014 as he was working his way back from Tommy John surgery. He did pitch in the minors, going 2-0 with a 4.66 ERA.

"I have another chance," Betancourt said by phone from his offseason home in Orlando, Fla. "Compared to how it was last year or even when I was pitching in games, I feel a lot more normal now.

"When I threw for the Rockies last week, I threw all my pitches -- fastball, changeup and breaking ball. Last year, I didn't throw any breaking balls, because my arm felt weird. It's 16 months after surgery and everything is going well. I'm also happy the Rockies stuck with me; they have a new GM [Jeff Bridich] but still were there for me, and I appreciate that."


 
 
 
Rankings