2B Keeper Rankings: 3rd Tier (Part 1)

Tier 1
Dustin Pedroia
Ian Kinsler
Robinson Cano

Tier 2
Michael Young
Brandon Phillips
Rickie Weeks
Chase Utley

Reminder, I have based most of these rankings off my 2B player talent values.

Michael Cuddyer – Cuddyer has one big question over his head right now. What team will he be on next year? Some reports have him back in Minnesota or with the Indians. Depending on the lineup and stadium of the team he signs with, his value will change significantly.

He generally has a .270 average with double digit home runs. His number of home runs can be in the teens or in the 30s. Over the past 4 years, his HR numbers have been driven by an erratic HR/FB%:

Year: HRs, HR/FB%
2008: 3, 4.3%
2009: 32, 17.1%
2010: 14, 8.2%
2011: 20, 13.6%

One of Cuddyer’s best aspects is that he is also qualified at 1B and OF (depending on league settings). While he would not be a top producer at 1B or OF, he adds some roster flexibility when needed.

Ben Zobrist – Which Ben Zobrist will show up in 2012? The 2009 and 2011 version with 20 or more home runs and 90+ RBIs and Runs — or — the 2010 version with 10 home runs and a .238 AVG. Trying to get a read on his true talent level is difficult.

Like Cuddyer, Zobrist has the added benefit of being qualified at multiple positions (2B and OF to start 2012).

For 2012, I believe his talent level is near his 2011 stats where he ranked as the 33rd highest valued fantasy player. The 2011 season was about half way between the great 2009 season and the horrible 2010 season. It is just hard to tell who will show up in 2012.

Dan Uggla – After having a horrible first half of 2011 (.185/.257/.365), Dan turned it around in the second half (.296/.379/.569). The key for the turn around is not exactly obvious. Half way through the season, he began to hit with more power. It seems like their was an undisclosed injury or something else going on in the early part of the season taking away his power.

Here is a look at his LD% and HR/FB% over the season and his career numbers:

Mar/Apr 12.6% 13.2%
May 14.3% 6.9%
Jun 14.3% 17.2%
Jul 16.7% 23.5%
Aug 16.9% 30.3%
Sept/Oct 18.6% 19.4%
Career 16.4% 15.9%

There was a significant improvement from the first to the second half of the season.

With the improvement, people must remember that Dan just hits home runs. He does it from a tough position too. His average and stolen base values are usually well below the league average, though. He can usually be counted on for a fair number of RBIs and Runs, but Atlanta’s anemic offense limited his numbers last season. I don’t see a repeat of 2011’s 1st half, but at his best, Dan is still just a one dimensional player.

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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

10 Responses to “2B Keeper Rankings: 3rd Tier (Part 1)”

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  1. Eddie says:

    Just a heads up for next season: Cuddyer will not qualify at 2B in ESPN leagues next season. He needed to play at 2B in 20 distinct games to keep that positional eligibility. He played there in 17 games. He’ll be a 1B/OF guy again.

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  2. Cody says:

    From all that I have seen, Ben Zobrist is going to be extremely underrated in drafts next year. Too bad that my only two leagues are keeper leagues and I own him in both.

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    • Doug E. Fresh says:

      That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

      I’ve got Zobrist in my main keeper league as well, and I’ll be actively looking to trade him (and some other folks) this offseason, mostly because I’ve got no room to keep him. He might be worth enough to get me a early first-round pick, and that would be fine with me.

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  3. Brad Johnson says:

    I don’t think it’s that hard to get a read on Zobrist’s talent. The majority of that 2010 season was spent playing through injury. When healthy, his 2011 seems to be exactly what you should expect – potential for 5 category production with average being the most suspect category.

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    • Jeff Zimmerman says:

      Did the back injury bug him all year? It was the only injury he lost any time for in 2010 (Besides an illness). It was just 6 game missed.

      I saw that his HR and flyball distances were the same in 2010 and 2011 (image of the 2009 to 2011):


      As Ray states below, if you throw out 2010 in his projections, his 2012 value looks much higher.

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      • Roy Jacobs says:

        Yes, it’s quite well known that his back bothered Zobrist all year. It effected his stance because his swing would hurt. Zobrist has got a pretty powerful swing since he puts all his momentum into the arms and back. Helps him turn on pitches. But that injury effected his swing. Couldn’t get as much power.

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  4. Ray says:

    Re: Uggla. With power down throughout baseball, he has alot of value if you can spare the bad BA…..not the 2011 bad BA, but more like .250-.260.

    I have to think ATL’s offense is better in 2012 than it was in 2011…..Uggla’s RBI and runs could be bumped up a bit. The 30 HR power is still there.

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  5. Jeremiah says:

    Isn’t this the neighborhood where Neil Walker belongs? Many less question marks than a lot of these guys with similar production.

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    • Jeff Zimmerman says:

      He may make the next par of Tier 3. His talent isn’t as good as others, but he will be getting the playing time. Kendrick, Johnson and the Roberts are also in consideration.

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