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Pod’s Picks: Second Base

All this week I have been checking in on the players I have ranked most differently from the other RotoGraphers in our recently published consensus. Today are the second basemen, a group that doesn’t have a whole lot of good late round sleepers like the shortstop position does. So maybe instead you pick an undervalued guy in the middle rounds that I identify in the bullish section. That section will include guys I ranked in the top 18, while the bearish will look at those ranked in the top 18 by the consensus.

Bullish

Chase Utley

My Rank: 13 | Consensus: 18

Most certainly playing time related. Utley hasn’t received more than 425 at-bats since 2009, yet I’m projecting him for 450. We haven’t heard anything injury related whatsoever so far, so I’m optimistic that he will post a four year high in at-bats. He still possesses a nice power/speed combination, and if his bad BABIP luck ever reverses, he might even contribute in batting average and be a true five category middle infielder.

Dan Uggla

My Rank: 16 | Consensus: 21

This surprises me greatly. When Uggla was still good (i.e., pre-2012 Uggla), I thought he was routinely overvalued as fantasy owners weren’t properly accounting for his poor batting average and lack of steals at a speed heavy position. Now I guess the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. I am not expecting any kind of big rebound, but a home run total in the mid-20s, along with a .240 average.

Aaron Hill

My Rank: 5 | Consensus: 9

I get it, just like Alex Rios, another name I seem to like more than everyone else (yet somehow haven’t drafted him in any of my two expert leagues), Hill has been wildly inconsistent. But has he really been? If we chalk up his 2011 season to a fluky poor season, whether due to injury or something else, he has shown similar skills since 2009. Yeah, his 2010 batting average was atrocious, but that was due to a ridiculous .196 BABIP, which was due in part to a 54% fly ball rate and 11% line drive rate, both of which won’t occur again. He has a good chance to once again contribute in all five categories.

Bearish

Daniel Murphy

My Rank: 21 | Consensus: 16

I am not entirely sure what the explanation is behind this difference, as my projection is pretty much in line with the rest of the systems. It’s possible the other rankers are expecting a higher at-bat total than the 550 I projected, which is reasonable given that he should be hitting second. But, his defense stinks and his offense is nothing special, so I had to factor in the chance that he loses some playing time.

Dustin Ackley

My Rank: 20 | Consensus: 17

He is another name I am somewhat surprised to see, though maybe the other rankers see more improvement this year than I am projecting. I do see a sizable batting average rebound (to .258), but the rest of his statistics I am forecasting similar totals. Depending on how the new ballpark dimensions play, he could surprise in the power department so I may end up being very wrong here. The Mariners also might have a very respectable offense this time around.