Rankings Update: Second Base

More than a third of the way through the season, let’s see what the list looks like now. To-date wOBA and ZiPs Ros wOBAs included for your pleasure.

The Top Targets:
1. Chase Utley, Philadelphia (.371 wOBA, .401 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
2. Robinson Cano, New York AL (.439 wOBA, .372 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
3. Dustin Pedroia, Boston (.354 wOBA, .365 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
4. Ian Kinsler, Texas (.324 wOBA, .363 RoS ZiPs wOBA)

When you’ve been excellent as long as Chase Utley has, you buy yourself more than a couple months of subpar performance before you give up the top spot (or: if this is what a slump looks like, go get me some pomeade). Ian Kinsler doesn’t quite have the same pedigree, has always had the injuries to contend with, and just has to fall behind Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano because of the AL East second basemens’ beastly seasons to date. If you’re giving up on Utley now, please contact me with trade offers because I’m buying.

Still Strong:
5. Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati (.373 wOBA, .352 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
6. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay (.368 wOBA, .362 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
7. Dan Uggla, Florida (.370 wOBA, .356 RoS ZiPs wOBA)

Had to split tiers here because some of the medium-style second basemen are having worse-than-mediocre seasons. it’s a tough position when you can only really be satisfied with the top seven. Of course, the argument will be made for some of the guys below, but these seven are the only guys that combine track record with help in the counting stats and don’t hurt too bad in any one place. The good news for Ben Zobrist fans is that even with less power, he’s going to be a strong middle infielder going forward.

Could Still be Strong:
8. Chone Figgins, Seattle (.296 wOBA, .328 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
9. Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee (.346 wOBA, .345 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
10. Ian Stewart, Colorado (.332 wOBA, .344 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
11. Aaron Hill, Toronto (.296 wOBA, .329 RoS ZiPs wOBA)

These guys are head-scratchers, and there might plenty of moaning about their spots. The thing is, there are glimmers of hope in each case. Chone Figgins is still walking and stealing bases like last year, he’s just striking out a bit much and doesn’t have a nice BABIP like he usually does. His strikeout rate is up almost 5% over his career number and he’s got his second-worst contact rate of his career, but there’s no guarantee that will continue. If he gets hot and ends up with a .280+ average going forward, and finishes like the Dan Uggla of speed at a tough position, he’ll earn this spot. Aaron Hill has a wacky batted ball profile that should get extended coverage soon, but the power is there. If he ends up with Casey McGehee numbers at the end of the year, it’s clear which of the two you want going forward. Rickie Weeks and Ian Stewart will elicit groans from the batting-average lovers, but they do decent work in the counting stats and still could produce mediocre batting averages if they recapture their early-season gains. In a couple weeks, these guys may be re-distributed upwards and downwards (Hill and Stewart, I’m looking in your direction), but I think they merit a little more attention in the meantime.

Flawed but Good:
12. Kelly Johnson, Arizona (.391 wOBA, .373 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
13. Casey McGehee, Milwaukee (.345 wOBA, .324 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
14. Ty Wigginton, Baltimore (.369 wOBA, .353 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
15. Juan Uribe, San Francisco, (.367 wOBA, .341 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
16. Placido Polanco, Philadelphia (.346 wOBA, .343 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
17. Martin Prado, Atlanta (.369 wOBA, .352 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
18. Alberto Callaspo, Kansas City (.320 wOBA, .334 ZiPs RoS wOBA)

This is the tier that holds second basemen that fit needs. If you need power, Kelly Johnson, Ty Wigginton, Juan Uribe and McGehee are your men, but all of them but Uribe (!) have already started to taper off and may yet be replaced in this tier. Our skepticism may have been warranted in McGehee’s case. Martin Prado and Placido Polanco will fit the right batting-average starved team better than many teams on the list above them, but neither is a lock to crack as many as 15 home runs, nor do they have speed. None of the bunch really has the upside to be a complete second baseman (except maybe Uribe?!!).

Upside to Join the Top:
19. Brian Roberts, Baltimore (.254 wOBA, .355 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
20. Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles AL (.310 wOBA, .329 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
21. Ian Desmond, Washington (.311 wOBA, .324 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
22. Orlando Hudson, Minnesota (.362 wOBA, .346 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
23. Mike Aviles, Kansas City (.321 wOBA, .312 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
24. Felipe Lopez, St Louis (.328 wOBA, .314 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
25. Gordon Beckham, Chicago (.253 wOBA, .328 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
26. Jose Lopez, Seattle (.254 wOBA, .306 ZiPs Ros wOBA)

Brian Roberts continues his long, painful slide and may not be back for another month or two, so it’s hard to place him anywhere but here. Falling along with him are Gordon Beckham and Jose Lopez. When a .597 OPS is ‘picking it up in June,’ it’s hard to be optimistic about Beckham. I still think he’ll get it going, but when is the question, and he’s surely not ownable in the meantime unless you are just stuck with him in a deep league. Repeat that all with a .596 OPS for Lopez, and probably less upside. Ian Desmond and Mike Aviles debut on the list, and have some upside, but Aviles is older than you think, has no power or speed, and Desmond is Kendrick-lite because he has the same lack of counting stats but about half the batting average upside.




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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


42 Responses to “Rankings Update: Second Base”

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  1. Wilson says:

    Felipe Lopez doesn’t even make the list here? But Jose Lopez does? I’d think he’d have to come in ahead of Ian Desmond; he’s leading off for the Cardinals, that’s worth a ton right there, just hitting ahead of Pujols et al.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      I put him him, but ZiPs RoS has him hitting .260 or so, and who knows if he can even put in the counting stats that Desmond will, so he becomes a one-stat guy… and how long will TLR put him in that spot if he continues to sport that OBP? Risky to own a guy for just his lineup spot a lone.

      Thanks for reminding me about FLOP.

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      • Rambling Rambler says:

        So ZiPs is the deciding factor for inclusion? …why not just send us to the ZiPs page for second basemen RoS?

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      • Rambling Rambler says:

        I don’t mean that to be snarky.. I’m just curious.

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  2. Eric says:

    Any consideration of Carlos Guillen? He’s up to .303/.366/.484 (.368 wOBA & .364 RoS ZiPs wOBA). I suppose the injury history is a bit disconcerting, but still…

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      Honestly, just forgot about him at this position. Obviously, health is an issue. He could go as far up as the Could Still Be Strong category, with his weakness being health. It’s hard to depend on him though and I’d want another 2b on my roster.

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      • james says:

        My thoughts exactly when I saw the list. Wheres Carlos Guillen? And I thought either at top at Flawed but Good (his injury being the flaw) or on the bottom of Could Still be Strong.

        Well Done on the response.
        Poor job leaving him off the original list.

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      • james says:

        and ironically….

        I start Utley at 2b. And Guillen at MI (we do obp not avg.). And even though I still rank Utley higher, I have him offered up with Orland Hudson for Cano to my brother (another GM in the league and knew I loved Cano coming into the year and took him with his 2nd pick).

        My lessoned learned is to never discuss projections and man crushes with anyone leading up to the draft…not even Family!

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  3. Rob says:

    Cano’s not top dog at 2b? What does he have to do, hit .370?

    What does he have to do to be #1? Outhit Utley by .100 points? Have an OPS .200 points higher? Compile 1.6 more WAR than Utley?

    Oh, wait, he’s already done all of those things . . .

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      How about 1) show that he has legitimate 30-home run power year in and year out; 2) show that his high batting average is not all BABIP (.380) driven. I know we don’t play in wOBA leagues, but look at the ZiPs RoS wOBA. I’m not the only one taking Utley.

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    • Nick says:

      For what it’s worth, Zips has Utley as about 30 points better for the rest of the season in wOBA. Utley has consistently been far better than Cano, and while these few months have been extraordinary for Cano, maybe Rob ought to keep it in his pants a little bit. Utley’s is about 70 points below his career BABIP (still maintaining a pretty good OPS) and Cano is about 50 points above his. Cano’s ISO is also 70 points above his career average, not very likely to continue at that pace.

      You wouldn’t, by any chance, have Cano on your fantasy team, would you?

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  4. Dr. Strangelove says:

    In a 10 team 8 player keeper league and I just traded Utley for Dustin Pedroia. I’m in first place now and the trade was made with the idea of solidifying my lead but I’m wondering who you like more over the next 5 years? Utley is on the down arc of his career while Pedroia is entering his prime. Any chance that I made a big mistake making this trade?

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      In a keeper league, this makes sense, but I hope you got something else in the deal. In the next couple of years, though, I’d rather have Utley still.

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    • Jason B says:

      Unless you got something else thrown into the deal, then Utley for Pedroia is likely to shrink, rather than solidify, your lead.

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      • Dr. Strangelove says:

        It was just Utley for Pedroia. I’m surprised by how much people seem to think he’s fallen off just because the early struggles this year. The ZIPS ROS projections for the two players show Utley being much better. Thanks for the response btw.

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      • slogue617 says:

        It’s not that Pedroia has fallen off considerably (though he has); it’s just that Utley is considerably better. No other second baseman is capable of hitting .290 with 30 home runs, 110+ RBI, and 100 runs except for maybe Cano. Plus, he is only 30. He’s not some dinosaur who’s only producing at half of his usually stellar level of production. Pedroia’s going to give you less power, fewer RBI, more steals, and a comparable average. That’s a bad trade, IMO, keeper league or not. (Sorry if my assessment is overly harsh. I have strong feelings about this deal haha)

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  5. geo says:

    Mike Aviles plays for Kansas City, not Chicago.

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  6. Chris20 says:

    Prado deserves to be higher than you have him listed, at least higher than Uribe and Polanco.

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  7. Kyle says:

    How long do I wait for kinsler to produce? Not that I have any options.

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  8. buck turgidson says:

    Perpetually dissing Kelly Johnson. What, you don’t like 2B with a chick’s name?

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    • batpig says:

      Well, considering Kelly Johnson has completely come back to earth since April, it’s warranted. Since April he’s got about a .250 AVG, .760 OPS, and only 4 HR and 16 RBI… in other words, he’s still Kelly Johnson.

      This isn’t the retroactive credit list, it’s the “who do you want going forward” list….

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  9. Andy says:

    I’m pretty worried about Kinsler at this point. 1 HR and 4 SB, with an unspectacular .270ish average? Wonder if that injury is affecting his swing more than he is letting on.

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    • batpig says:

      the low SB total is somewhat expected due to the ankle problem, I expect that to pick up a bit in the 2nd half but he won’t be a 30+ SB type guy like last year….

      but the power is disconcerting. he is getting on base, scoring runs in the Texas lineup…. but 1 HR??? Is he going to turn this around?

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      • BriGuy says:

        He said he’s trying to hit for line drives more this year than last year. He’ll have a higher average, but not as many HRs. Definitely stinks that I wasted a keeper spot on him…

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  10. RJ says:

    Kendrick’s 4th in RBI by 2B for the season with 41. Ahead of guys like Pedroia, Zobrist, Uggla, h*ll – even Utley. I think he deserves to be one tier up – Flawed But Good. And if he gets on his usual 2nd half roll – it could be fun…

    My $0.02.

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  11. nolan says:

    I think Prado should be in Hill’s spot in your 2nd baseman rankings. ZiPS projects Hill to have only seven more home runs while being significantly behind Prado in runs and slightly behind in RBIs. Prado hits for a higher average. Neither are going to steal any bases.

    Prado is having an all-star season and Hill is only just getting out of his slump. Who are you starting today if you have the choice of either?

    Plus, Prado hits both left handers and right handers well while Hill shows a significant platoon split (.077 OPS) over 2600 ABs. I have both and I’m only starting Hill when Prado is against an ace and Hill is against a left hander (even though he’s hitting .111 against LHPs this year.)

    I see Hill as a buy-low candidate but higher than Prado? No way.

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  12. AndrewYF says:

    I just traded Sabathia and B Wilson for Utley and CJ Wilson.

    Did I do good?

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    • slogue617 says:

      I’d say you did pretty darn well, depending on your pitching situation. Sabathia’s usually a second-half player, but his early-season struggles have been more prolonged than usual. As a Yankee fan, he has me concerned. Utley’s an elite player at a premium position, and all signs point to his turning this season around (low BABIP, steady line-drive rate, lower k rate, and better BB rate). Wilson for Wilson is somewhat of a wash. Nice trade.

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  13. Stu says:

    A healthy kendrick at # 20 ? I think the numbers will say otherwise when all is said and done.
    I think you truly missed the boat here

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      I’m surprised by the Kendrick love, frankly. Here’s a guy who will probably not crack 15 in either home runs or stolen bases, doesn’t walk (for OBP leagues), and is not the lock for a good batting average that we thought he was. Wouldn’t you rather have Prado or Polanco now if you’re aiming for batting average mostly?

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      • RJ says:

        If Howie can even slightly outperform his ZiPs(U), he’ll be in the ZiPs(U) neighborhood as Kinsler and Pedroia. He’s got 7 HRs and 6 SBs now as it is with 20 games to go until the ASB. Given that he’s usually been better in the second half, I think you can make the case that he SHOULD be able to best his current ZiPS(U)/(R). He’s got more game than just hitting for average, but if you want to talk BA he’s hit .304 so far this month…

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  14. Jack Ransovy says:

    I just traded Dustin Pedroia and Miguel Cabrera for Robinson Cano and Justin Morneau. Did I get a good deal?

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    • RJ says:

      I like Cabrera a LOT more than Morneau and Morneau’s stats are a little inflated right now. Pedroia and Cano are both upper-tier 2B, slight edge to Cano I’d say. Overall, I guess I’d give your trade 2 stars out of 4. Not sure you made your team better, Jack. But it doesn’t really matter what I think, though. If you’re happy with it, go with it….

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  15. ccoville says:

    Is this the most recent 2B update?

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  16. Awesome Steve says:

    yep

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