Fantasy BaseballFront OfficeTotal Run Index

Total Run Index: Second Basemen

As we talked about before with first basemen, there are two primary strategies when it comes to fantasy baseball. You can take the best overall player regardless of position or you can take players based on how they compare to the others at their position. Let’s take second base as an example. Robinson Cano is not as good offensively as at least a half dozen first base/DH types, but he is the best second baseman by a fairly wide margin. So, you could justify taking him higher because of how much better he is than other second baseman. The table below will demonstrate that point graphically in vivid detail.

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2012

3YR

5YR

Jose Altuve

7.4

—-

—-

Emilio Bonifacio

0.5

4.8

0.2

Robinson Cano

26.3

25.3

16.2

Jamey Carroll

-5.1

2.0

1.6

Daniel Descalso

-3.8

-1.0

—-

Mark Ellis

-0.4

-1.6

-2.2

Danny Espinosa

-1.9

0.4

—-

Logan Forsythe

5.4

—-

—-

Aaron Hill

19.0

0.5

2.7

Omar Infante

1.2

0.8

0.8

Kelly Johnson

-4.5

2.6

2.5

Howie Kendrick

4.0

5.9

5.2

Ian Kinsler

3.3

13.1

15.2

Jason Kipnis

4.7

—-

—-

Daniel Murphy

4.0

3.3

—-

Dustin Pedroia

8.6

13.9

15.7

Brandon Phillips

3.9

8.3

6.6

Josh Rutledge

0.3

—-

—-

Marco Scutaro

5.0

3.4

6.5

Donovan Solano

1.8

—-

—-

Dan Uggla

5.6

11.4

11.6

Chase Utley

10.5

12.1

18.8

Neil Walker

6.2

5.3

—-

Rickie Weeks

3.3

11.8

8.9

Ben Zobrist

18.8

15.5

16.7

Only four players had more than ten total runs last season. That compares to seven players over ten in the three year average and six with the five year average. So, the question is whether 2012 was an anomaly or whether second base is diminishing in quality. Let’s take a look at some individual players that will be on your draft board.

Robinson Cano– New York Yankees

People are fond of pointing out what players can’t do or how they don’t produce what is expected. Cano is the best hitter on the Yankees bar none and he has been fairly consistent from season to season. Sure, he has slumps like anyone else, but he always ends up around the same territory from season to season.

People were very disappointed in how he performed in the postseason, but like Alex Rodriguez in his prime, he will produce in the regular season and you shouldn’t allow the naysayers to point you away from him. He will outproduce every second baseman on the board.

Ben Zobrist– Tampa Bay Rays

You will notice that Zobrist’s starting spot changes from day to day during the season and during the offseason. The Rays just added Kelly Johnson, so Zobrist might spend more time in right field. He also could be eligible at short based on the games he played there last season.

Positional flexibility can be overrated in the first few rounds as you want players that will dominate. Zobrist won’t do that, but if you are in a league that counts walks and OBP then he should be highly sought after. Even if he isn’t producing elite numbers, he will be valuable based on the number positions he can play. After you get out of the first four or five rounds you should start thinking about him.

Chase Utley– Philadelphia Phillies

Utley is one of those guys that challenges the more nostalgic among us. He was dominant in the 2008 World Series and there was a time when he was the most underrated player in baseball. Those days are gone primarily because he can’t seem to remain healthy. This might be a season where he finally gets taken where he should in most fantasy drafts.

Dustin Pedroia– Boston Red Sox

As we discussed last time, Bobby Valentine probably torpedoed a number of fantasy teams because of his negative attitude and the negative clubhouse that ensued. Pedroia was at the center of that as the de facto team leader. You could tell that took its toll as he went to the defense of seemingly every player that was thrown under the bus. Hopefully, he won’t have to do that this year.

Ian Kinsler– Texas Rangers

Kinsler had a down year last year, so he might slip off of some fantasy player’s radar screens. Don’t let it happen to you. Kinsler is an intriguing power and speed combination that you don’t see from many other players. Low batting averages have hurt his value in recent seasons, but he is still producing impressive power and speed totals.

Rickie Weeks– Milwaukee Brewers

Weeks had an unusual season last year. He was on top of his game in terms of home runs and stolen bases, but he had a terrible batting average and terrible on base percentage. If he can bounce back in those categories then he will be a nice alternative to Kinsler.

Dan Uggla– Atlanta Braves

Uggla turned in a different season last year in that his speed numbers and batting average were higher than normal. Typically, he is the one guy you can count on to hit thirty or more home runs, but he hit for less power last year and better average. If that continues he could be an intriguing fantasy player. I’m not sure he will be any more valuable, but it will be intriguing.

Aaron Hill– Arizona Diamondbacks

Our very own Brett Talley tried to get me to talk him out of picking him last year on the podcast. I suppose we were both wrong. I for one am not a fan of betting on lightening striking twice. Hill captured lightening in a bottle last season and that just doesn’t happen twice. The question is whether he will completely revert back to what he was or whether he will find some sort of middle ground.

Jose Altuve– Houston Astros

Altuve is the only fantasy player worth anything on the Astros and that by itself is scary. What’s more scary is how much Altuve faded down the stretch. He is famous for being smaller, but that might work against him in the long-term. Can his body hold up over a full 162 game schedule. It will be interesting to see how he starts off the season this year.

Neil Walker– Pittsburgh Pirates

Walker seems like he is ready to breakout at any time and each season he seems to disappoint. This year he seemed to be on the right track, but he missed much of the last two months with injury. If he produces exactly as he did in the first four months and finishes the season healthy he will end up being a top ten second baseman.

Howie Kendrick– Los Angeles Angels

Kendrick was supposed to win a batting title by now according to the experts. He has developed some power to go with marginal speed. When you add in the massive amount of talent in the lineup you have to elevate Kendrick some. He will get some cheap runs and RBI totals that players on lesser rosters won’t get, so he could sneak into the top ten among second basemen.

Jason Kipnis– Cleveland Indians

Kipnis put up better fantasy numbers than his TRI score suggests. He is what we would call an accumulator. He accumulates numbers like home runs and stolen bases which is important for you even if the percentage numbers aren’t likely there. Plus, you have to bet on some growth since this will be his second full season in the big leagues.

Brandon Phillips– Cincinnati Reds

I’m just not as big a Phillips fan as some other folks. He can hit for some power and has some speed, but the numbers seem to be dwindling by the season. He is still capable of being a fantasy starter in 12 team leagues, but I think there are others that bring more upside to the table at this point. He is a fairly safe pick though if you want to punt second base.

Marco Scutaro– San Francisco Giants

Yes, he dominated the postseason, but he really isn’t a fantasy starter at this point. What he is a fairly good bench option. This is especially true in leagues that also count him as a shortstop. Playing half of his games at AT&T Park will not help either.

Logan Forsythe– San Diego Padres

Forsythe is a cheap option you can go with and there is a decent probability that he will improve. He doubled his plate appearances from year one to year two and could still add 300 more if he plays full time. You can do the math on what that will do for all of the associated numbers. He will also have some positional flexibility in some leagues.

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