Unless you’re sitting on one of the top five or six guys that are out there, chances are you’re struggling with production at second base and are looking desperately to find someone to plug that hole for the rest of the year. Well, based on these ownership percentages, you might just have that help right in front of you. Here’s a pair of guys you might want consider using right now…
Danny Espinosa |2B| Ownership: ESPN – 25.4% Yahoo – 20%
When you first look at the stat line, the .217 batting average sticks out like a turd in a punch bowl. It is, without question, the leading deterrent for most fantasy owners. However, look a little further and you’ll also see 10 HR and 33 RBI, both good enough for the league lead amongst rookies and top three amongst second basemen. While yes, the average can be a drain on your team, sometimes you have to suck it up if you’re getting a big boost in the counting stats. Especially when that average is going to start climbing a little in the near distant future.
If just two months into the season, a low BABIP is an indicator of greener pastures lying ahead, then it’s time to start grazing with the 24 year old Espinosa. The current .228 BABIP is going to climb and with it, Espinosa’s average and level of production. His 25.6 K% and 9.9 SwStr%, which are both above league average, tell me that you’re not looking at a huge jump, but he’s certainly been unlucky on a number of balls hit so far. He’s definitely more of a .260 hitter and if that’s the way he goes the rest of the way and can continue to keep knocking the ball out of the park (consistent ISO numbers well above average), then you’ve got a winner here. He’s now hit safely in four of his last five games (6-for-15, .400) and has 4 HR and 6 RBI in that span. He’s going to be snatched up quickly while he’s this hot, so grab him now and you’ll likely reap the benefits of it for the next four months.
Ryan Raburn |2B, OF| Ownership: ESPN – 18.1% Yahoo – 25%
Has his time finally arrived? The 30 year old Raburn was one of the bigger sleepers heading into 2011 as he was supposed to have the left field job all to himself while hanging on to that second base eligibility from last year. His 2010 production was outstanding and owners were tripping over each other trying and grab him without reaching too high. Unfortunately, as the season began, he ran into a hot hitting Brennan Boesch, ended up in a platoon in the outfield, and never really got a chance to get going like he did last year. Well, with the trade of Scott Sizemore to the A’s, the door has, once again, opened up for Raburn. It was announced that he would be the team’s starting second baseman, although he ended up in left field the other day. But who cares where he’s playing, so long as he’s playing, right?
It’s going to take a little time for Raburn to get back into the swing of things. His strikeout rate is atrocious (36.3%), his walk rate is horrible (4.7%), and his 70.6 contact% makes you want to throw up. But this is about grabbing a guy before he gets hot, and stashing him on your bench until he finds his groove. And believe me, once he gets the regular playing time and the consistent work at the plate, he will find it. 15+ HR in limited at bats the previous two years and a career .183 ISO show us the power is there, so once he makes the necessary adjustments, he’s going to do some damage.
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