Unless you have a man-crush on one of them (hand raised, Pedroia jersey present), second base is a wholly unexciting position in fantasy. While first base gets the likes of Pujols all the way through knuckleheads like Adam Dunn, Second Base has the likes of Pedroia, Utley and…. Rickie Weeks? Martin Prado? If Rick-A Weeks excites you, or you trust him immensely, good for you. I’d like a prescription for whatever happy pills you’re on. So pay attention! One position can make or break you in fantasy. If you miss out on Utley or a top second bagger, you could wind up with the likes of Felipe Lopez. If you’re starting Felipe Lopez, you’ve probably already conceded the season… Here are my thoughts to help ya’ll out this upcoming season at a decidedly uninspiring position. Take note:
This is what Second Base leaves you with- writing blurbs advocating Gordon Beckham. He had a down year, for sure, but even at his best, he is a necessary and boring player for your team. However, one stat in Bill James’ projections really stuck out for me: 41 Doubles. If Gordon Beckham, as James predicts, hits around .275 with 15-20 homers and 40+ doubles he suddenly goes from Placido Polanco to, well, an above average second baseman and very nifty piece to have on your team (especially if you snag him in the later rounds as I have in a few early, early drafts). I expect an upturn in production from Beckham and that White Sox lineup is ready to mash in 2011. So I’m taking him in all formats and setting the bar low. Here’s to hoping I am pleasantly surprised.
I feel as though I could write the same blurb about Neil Walker: 40+ doubles, .270-ish young’n yadda yadda yadda. But I am an honorable man and will dignify Mr. Walker with his own blurb. Seemingly out of nowhere Walker was a top-flight second baseman last year, which is to say he actually contributed to wins in fantasy rather than being a vacuous hole of a position (can you tell I kinda think it’s Pedroia and everybody else at this position?). But honestly, Walker was kinda a pickup stud. Did you realize he hit 12 homers? Walker could easily put up comparable numbers to
Kowie Hendrick Howie Kendrick and I’m betting you can get him later- like I said, kid seems to have this under-the-radar thing figured out. I’d value Beckham more based on the lineup and team, but the point of the post is this: Neil Walker will do more to help your fantasy team than hurt in 2011. Draft accordingly.
Dan Uggla had a phenomenal year last year. I tried to pry him from my buddy all year and, to my credit, I knew exactly what I was doing. He had been one of those players I tended to stay away from due to his low-ish average and high K’s, as I had trouble justifying drafting someone as high as him for 30 homers. Don’t misread that, he is pretty much a guarantee to hit 30+ homers, I’m merely saying I tended to think one could score 30 homers much later in the draft. But not this year. Uggla had a MONSTER of a year, catapulting himself into serious 2B discussion, above the rest of the turds in fantasy. 30 homers, 30 doubles, a .280 average, 100 RBI, Uggla put on a clinic. The move to Hotlanta should do nothing to change these numbers, so long as Uggla keeps his K’s relatively low (say around 150), his walks up, and his BABIP doesn’t dip too far below .300. Draft him like a notch-below-Pedroia second baseman, someone who will bring serious thunder to your team.
THE INCEPTION PLAY(S)
We, and by ‘we’ I mean ‘Dave,’ at DotP like Sean Rodriguez a lot. It’s the way he wears his socks. No but honestly, the same stuff we’ve said about Rodriguez for 2010 carries into 2011… except now he REALLY figures to get some playing time. With Crawford and Pena gone, as well as Bartlett, the Tampa infield will take a very different look. Brignac is at short, Zobrist could play some first, I see Rodriguez getting some serious plate appearances. And though I feel like Bill James shorts him in that area of his predictions (419), I like where his head’s at with some of the other production for Rodriguez. How does 16 homers, 22 doubles, 2 triples, and 12 steals sound in 419 plate appearances? Let me tell you how it sounds- it sounds like a late-round steal is what it sounds like. And with a crapshoot position like 2B, sometimes ya gotta dig deep (hence the upcoming SECOND mindbending Inception pick).
The man is fast. That should be enough for the inception play and it kinda is. The quote from an MLB.com blurb read “could steal 40 bases given significant playing time,” and this seems to be the general consensus among baseball-types. With Jose Lopez in the fold, who knows how many AB’s he will get but then again, we’re talking about Jose Lopez… so I’m not overly concerned with him getting enough at bats to be relevant. Neither is the baseball Nostradamus, Bill James. In 482 plate appearance, James has him stealing 46 bases. I could leave it at that, but I like to research and type. No I’m kidding, I’m leaving it at that. If a steal every ten and a half times he steps up to the plate isn’t enough to make you draft him in the last couple of rounds, I have nothing to offer you. Sorry.
That’s it, my thoughts on a tough position to speculate in fantasy. Enjoy the snow if you have it and Happy Festivus to all.