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2013 Second Base Tier Rankings: August
Posted By J.P. Breen On August 5, 2013 @ 12:15 pm In Second Base | 9 Comments
If you’ve been experiencing a lack of production from the second base position in recent weeks, you’re likely not alone. Over the last 30 days, second basemen across the league are only hitting .237/.293/.346 with a .282 wOBA. That’s 26 points below the overall league-average during the same stretch.
With that depressing statistic in mind, we delve into the tiered rankings. Keep in mind, as always, these tiered rankings don’t include every single eligible second baseman. It is based off the ESPN eligibility requirements, so guys like Kyle Seager (tier two) will not be included in these rankings.
Let’s do this.
It hasn’t been a banner stretch for this top trio. In the last 30 days, none of these three players rank in the top five fantasy second basemen. In fact, only Jason Kipnis (number eight) ranks in the Top 10. Pedroia (15) and Cano (20) have fared much worse. Overall, though, there’s nothing to worry about here. These three players remain the cream of the crop, and they should also continue to play everyday down the stretch, as their respective teams are in the postseason hunt in the American League.
Zobrist may seem a little out of place in the second tier. It’s been well-documented how his power has dipped dramatically this season, and his stolen base numbers aren’t going to save anyone’s season. He’s no longer the potential 20/20 player for whom many fantasy owners hoped when they drafted him this year.
However, the 32-year-old veteran appears to be shaking off the dust and could be poised for a huge August and September. In the last 30 days, he owns the best wOBA in the league amongst second basemen by 40 points with a .391 wOBA. His wRC+ also dwarfs the competition. He’s hitting .333/.416/.494, so owners playing in on-base percentage leagues are getting even greater value with Zobrist in recent weeks.
His recent hot stretch does seem dependent upon some fortunate luck, as he owns a .391 BABIP, but his power has also seen a modest uptick. His .161 ISO is much higher than his full-season power numbers. In fact, his .161 ISO ranks fifth amongst second basemen in the last 30 days. He may not be mashing the baseball like Dan Uggla, but it’s encouraging to see Zobrist hit for a bit more power than he had earlier this year.
The second baseman currently enjoying the hottest stretch at the plate is New York’s Daniel Murphy. He’s the number-one ranked fantasy second baseman over the past month, and it’s not exactly close. He’s producing in every standard category, which is important for his fantasy profile. His power and stolen base numbers have risen, and his counting statistics have risen dramatically — for example, he already has a career-high in runs scored, and it’s only August 5.
Earlier this season, I mentioned Murphy could hit for more power than expected if he could get the baseball in the air more often. When he collected 12 home runs in 2009, a career-high, he had a fly-ball rate over 40.0% for the only time in his career. As his fly-ball rate decreased and his ground-ball rate increased, his power output predictably suffered. This year, though, he has the highest fly-ball rate (36.6%) since his 2009 season, and he should reach double-digit home runs for only the second time in his five-year tenure with the Mets.
Also, it’s nice to see Martin Prado get his feet under him this summer. He’s hitting .322/.386/.500 over the last 30 days. He’s rewarding owners who have stuck with him throughout the season, and if he’s somehow available on the waiver wire, it would be wise to snag Prado. He offers enviable positional flexibility and is starting to return to his 2012 form.
After being one of the hotter mid-season pickups in June, Anthony Rendon has quietly slipped into fantasy irrelevance in recent weeks. He offers an intriguing mixture of power and batting average from the second base (and third base) position, but his .193/.236/.337 slash line over the past 30 days has really soured fantasy owners on him. He’s now only owned in 20% of ESPN leagues, and that number is dwindling by the day.
Here’s a statistic: Anthony Rendon is the 36th-best second baseman in ESPN leagues over the past 30 days. Woof.
If you’re in a non-batting-average league or simply have some wiggle room in the batting average category, it may be time to consider Dan Uggla. His average remains below the Mendoza Line, but he has 21 home runs on the season and is starting to accumulate some other counting statistics, as well. He has traditionally performed better in the second half throughout his career. He’s not available in many leagues — which is somewhat surprising, given his .193 average — but he’s someone who is making a push when not many other second basemen are producing right now.
In June, it appeared Rickie Weeks had broken out of his extreme slump and was poised to replicate his 2012 season, in which he was dreadful into June and kicked it into high gear from July through September. Judging by his .184/.294/.330 slash line since the beginning of July, though, those hopes are quickly vanishing. He’s still hitting for a little power. But since the Brewers’ offense has been struggling, his run and RBI totals remain severely depressed. There’s not much to like here, at the moment.
Prior to being demoted to Triple-A to re-discover his swing, Dustin Ackley compiled a .205/.266/.250 slash line. He had five extra-base hits in 171 plate appearances, and he didn’t offer any fantasy value on the base paths. Since returning from his stint in Triple-A in late June, he’s hitting .226/.283/.298 with six extra-base hits — including zero home runs and zero stolen bases. I don’t think the self-discovery journey in Tacoma helped too much.
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