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
2015 Draft Prep Guide
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
A's 3B Brett Lawrie busts out with four hits, four RBI on Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(2:01 am ET) Athletics third baseman Brett Lawrie had himself quite a night at the plate against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Lawrie went 4 for 5 with a home run, two doubles, four RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base.

In the fifth inning, Lawrie brought his team to with a run when he ripped an RBI double to make the score 3-2. In the seventh, he chipped in a two-run single to give the A's a 4-3 lead. And he capped off his night by launching a solo home run, his ninth of the year, in the ninth inning. It was too little too late however, as the Dodgers held on for the 10-7 win.

This was the first four-hit game and third four-RBI game of Lawrie's career. The strong showing at the dish gives Lawrie a .268 batting average over his last 10 games.


Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig hits seventh home run in win Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:54 am ET) Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig had a nice night at the plate in Wednesday's 10-7 win over the A's. Puig went 2 for 4 with a home run, three RBI and a run scored. Puig's two-run home run, his seventh of the year, gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning.

He also had an RBI single in the Dodgers' five-run eighth inning, as the team rallied from behind to claim the victory.

Puig has three home runs over his last eight games, but he has just one other hit in 24 at-bats over that stretch. 


Rangers SP Colby Lewis quiets Yankees' bats in 5-2 win
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:48 am ET) Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis earned his 11th win of the season in the 5-2 win over the Yankees on Wednesday. Lewis allowed two runs on seven hits over six innings. He struck out five and did not issue a walk, throwing 71 of his 102 pitches for strikes.

Lewis (11-4, 4.42 ERA) gave up a solo home run to Carlos Beltran in the second inning before allowing another run to score in the seventh. Otherwise, Lewis was on top of his game against a tough lineup. 

Since Lewis had a 10-run explosion on July 5, he has allowed a total of nine runs over 28 innings in his last four starts.


A's SP Jesse Chavez goes five innings in no-decision Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:44 am ET) Athletics right-hander Jesse Chavez pitched fairly well on Wednesday, allowing three runs on five hits over five innings against the Dodgers. Chavez walked two and struck out five, but was left with a no-decision in the 10-7 loss.

The big blow against Chavez came on a two-run home run by Yasiel Puig in the fourth inning, which gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead at the time. Chavez left the game trailing 3-2. And although the A's rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh, the Dodgers countered with five of their own in the bottom half.

The month of July was not very kind to Chavez, who finishes the month 1-3 with a 5.34 ERA over five starts.


Dodgers SP Mike Bolsinger goes five innings in impromptu start
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:41 am ET) Thrown into the start at the last minute, Dodgers right-hander Mike Bolsinger pitched reasonably well against the A's. Bolsinger allowed two runs on eight hits over five innings. He walked three and struck out three, needing 90 pitches (57 strikes) to get through the fifth. 

Bolsinger would not factor in the decision however, as the Dodgers won the game 10-7 in the late innings. Bolsinger left the game leading 3-2, but the bullpen allowed four runs to score in the seventh. The Dodgers would counter with five in their half of the inning, en route to the victory.

Bolsinger finishes the month of July with a 1-1 record and a 3.00 ERA in five starts.


Report: Dodgers, Marlins, Braves working on three-team deal
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:52 am ET) The Braves, Dodgers and Marlins are in the working stages of a three-team, nine-player deal. According to reports, the Braves are expected to send top prospect Jose Peraza , left-hander Alex Wood and relievers Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan to the Dodgers.

In return, the Braves would receive prospect Hector Olivera , lefty reliever Paco Rodriguez and minor-league pitcher Zach Bird from the Dodgers, and a 2016 draft pick from the Marlins.

The Marlins are also sending right-hander Mat Latos and first baseman Michael Morse to the Dodgers in exchange for three minor-league pitchers--right-handers Jeff Brigham, Victor Araujo and Kevin Guzman.

None of the three teams have officially announced the deal as of yet. 


Pirates acquire veteran SP Joe Blanton from Royals
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(12:42 am ET) The Pirates made a minor move early Thursday, grabbing veteran starter Joe Blanton from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations, per the teams involved.

Blandon had been designated for assignment by the Royals on Monday, shortly after they acquired starter Johhny Cueto. Blanton was 2-2 with two saves and a 3.89 ERA in 15 games with the Royals this season. 


Red Sox 1B Mike Napoli homers, doubles in loss on Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:35 am ET) First baseman Mike Napoli was the lone bright spot for the Red Sox in the 9-2 loss to the White Sox on Wednesday. Napoli went 2 for 3 with a double, two RBI and a solo home run. 

Napoli's seventh-inning home run, his 12th of the year, gave the Red Sox their second run of the game of Jose Quintana. 

After going through some rough times, Napoli is starting to show some signs of life at the plate. Over his last 10 games, Napoli is batting .364 (12 for 33) with two home runs and seven RBI. 


White Sox CF Adam Eaton stays hot at the plate on Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:28 am ET) White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton homered for the second time in his last six games, as he helped the White Sox beat the Red Sox 9-2 on Wednesday.

Eaton led off the game with his ninth home run of the season. He also singled twice, drove in two runs and scored a pair, finishing the game 3 for 6.

Eaton is batting .366 with two home runs and six RBI over his last 10 games.


Report: Mets' concerns over Carlos Gomez's medicals nixes trade
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:22 am ET) The Mets have reportedly backed out of a deal that would have sent Carlos Gomez to the New York from the Brewers. 

Sources tell FoxSports.com that the Mets had concerns over Gomez's medical records, and decided not to follow through on the proposed deal, which would have sent Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler to Milwaukee. 

Gomez spent time on the disabled list earlier this season with a hip injury, but he has played all but one game since June 23. However, it seems the Mets' staff did not like what they saw in the medical report. 

There had been thought that the Brewers saw something in Wheeler's medical charts, as he had Tommy John surgery in March. But reports are saying it's Gomez's injury history that has nixed the deal. 


 
 
 
Rankings