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Espinosa and Roberts: 2B Ownership Decliners

Today, I am going to do a quick look at the 2B that have been dropped the most in ESPN leagues. I will look at what is wrong with each player and if there is any hope for improvement.

(Values after name are ESPN ownership %, % point drop in ESPN ownership and Yahoo ownership %)

Ryan Raburn (22%, -38%, 8% ) – Raburn is the 2B being dropped the most in ESPN leagues. I am going to wimp out a bit and recommend another recent Rotographs article where David Wiers does a great job examining Raburn’s struggles.

Ryan Roberts (57%, -37%, 39%) – It is like it is 2010 all over again for Roberts after having what looks like a career season in 2011:

2010: .197/.229/.348, 0.229
2011: .249/.341/.427, 0.275
2012: .159/.243/.254, 0.188

First, Ryan has not struggled with his plate discipline. His BB% and K% are within a point or two of career averages. His main problem in 2012 is that he is not hitting the ball with much power. Even though he is making contact near his career norm, only 8% of his hits are line drives. This value is 1/3 of his 2011 value. Along with his inability to hit line drives, 1/4 of his batted balls have gone for infield pop outs. No wonder his 2012 ISO (0.095) is about 1/2 of his 2011 value (0.188).

After being one of my favorite stories of 2011, I have quickly soured on Roberts. He will have to hit more line drives and less pop ups for his value to go in the positive direction.

Danny Espinosa (60%, -28%, 38%) – Danny has always had problems making contact with the ball (26% career K%). In 2012, his K% has gone up to 30%. The reason for the change is a 4% point jump in his O-Swing% and a 2% drop in is O-Contact%.

It is fine to have a 30% K% if the player is adding other value with his bat. Danny is adding very little value. His triple slash line is currently at 0.205/0.300/0.269. Those values are just not going to cut it. His 2012 BABIP (0.294) is above his career average, so it is not causing the decline. His main problem is his declining home runs numbers. Here are his 3 year trends in FB% and HR/FB

Stat: 2010, 2011, 2012
FB%: 46%, 40%, 31%
HR/FB: 18%, 14%, 6%

Less fly balls + Less HRs per fly ball = Less HRs

I see no hope right now for Danny. He needs to make improvement in his plate discipline and/or power stroke to become an everyday player at 2B in deep leagues, not alone 10 to 14 team leagues.