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Rankings Update: Second Base

It’s been almost six weeks since we updated the rankings for second basemen. Oh, in those hallowed days of yore – six weeks hence I lived in New York City, my commute was filled with tourists and teenagers, six-packs cost $12 and every once in a while human feces was something I had to watch out for. Greatest city in the world. On to the second basemen, with to-date wOBA and ZiPs RoS wOBAs included for your pleasure.

The Top Targets:
Robinson Cano, New York AL (.403 wOBA, .373 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Ian Kinsler, Texas (.359 wOBA, .368 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Dustin Pedroia, Boston (.381 wOBA, .372 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati (.349 wOBA, .339 RoS ZiPs wOBA)

Not much to report here, other than perhaps the fact that some would want Cano in his own tier with Utley and Pedroia down and Kinsler showing much less power than he has in the past. It’s not an unreasonable position. However, the other three guys still have 20/20 type skills, and with Cano’s lack of speed, it makes sense to create this tier.

Strong Secondary Options
Dan Uggla, Florida (.383 wOBA, .365 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee (.375 wOBA, .360 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Kelly Johnson, Arizona (.379 wOBA, .373 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay (.345 wOBA, .347 RoS ZiPs wOBA)

Johnson is enjoying the best power production of his career, and his home park might just have a little to do with it. Just look at his home slugging percentage (.605) compared to his road number (.380). It still evens out to an effective second baseman either way. Zobrist is stealing enough bases and showing just enough power to be useful even in this less-exciting version. He could be a mascot for the tier – a little ugly, but getting the job done.

Will They Ever Get it Together This Year:
Chase Utley, Philadelphia (.377 wOBA, .406 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Chone Figgins, Seattle (.305 wOBA, .327 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Brian Roberts, Baltimore (.292 wOBA, .356 RoS ZiPs wOBA)

Of course the question with Utley is one of health. The latest reports say the splint is off and he hopes to be back before the end of the month, meaning that he could be a sneaky acquisition for a manager looking for a late boost. In head-to-head leagues in particular, Utley is intriguing as a strong addition for a contending team stocking up for the fantasy playoffs. Since the break, Figgins has been hitting .300 and striking out less, so it’s possible the old Figgins is back and we just didn’t notice. Kinda makes him either over-rated or a buy-low candidate depending on how you parse that statement. There’s a whole lot of rust and a really small sample size for Roberts, so he makes the riskiest buy low of the trio.

Pick ‘Em:
Placido Polanco, Philadelphia (.346 wOBA, .348 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Martin Prado, Atlanta (.364 wOBA, .353 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
Ian Stewart, Colorado (.348 wOBA, .346 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Casey McGehee, Milwaukee (.335 wOBA, .327 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
Ryan Theriot, Los Angeles (.290 wOBA, .302 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
Ty Wigginton, Baltimore (.339 wOBA, .358 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
Juan Uribe, San Francisco, (.330 wOBA, .328 ZiPs RoS wOBA)

This is a pick ’em tier not because they all have the exact same value. In many leagues, these guys are free agents and their value is close to nil. Of course, deeper league owners are happy to have many of them. It’s the fact that each offers production in a category or two that makes them pick ’ems. Need a little bit of pop? Try Wigginton or Uribe if Stewart is not available. Need some speed? It could be worse than The Riot. Need some batting average help? Polanco can help while Prado is out. The flaws are all there, too, though.

Upside to Join the Top:
Gordon Beckham, Chicago (.296 wOBA, .331 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Aaron Hill, Toronto (.305 wOBA, .327 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles AL (.317 wOBA, .326 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Ian Desmond, Washington (.302 wOBA, .321 RoS ZiPs wOBA)

Technically, this group still has the upside to move upwards. They’ve all had some poor batted ball luck – Hill of course the most extreme (.204 BABIP) – and the regressions to their means might give for a nice stretch or two in the final seven weeks. On the other hand, their flaws are also fairly impressive at this point. Hill hits everything in the air to his detriment (52.1% flyballs, 13.2% popups), Desmond reaches a little too often (34.1%, 17.5% more than average) and could make more contact (79.1%, 2.3% below average), and Kendrick still doesn’t have the power (.141 ISO) or the speed (4.9 Speed Score) to make an impact in the counting categories. Beckham hasn’t been too unlucky with his BABIP, and though he does have the flaws to put him in this group (.117 ISO most prominently), his rookie year still shows his upside and makes his owners wonder which Beckham is the true version. These guys have a sliver of hope between them and the next group down.

Carlos Guillen, Detroit (.331 wOBA, .353 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Orlando Hudson, Minnesota (.335 wOBA, .342 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Felipe Lopez, St Louis (.323 wOBA, .316 RoS ZiPs wOBA)
Alberto Callaspo, Los Angeles AL (.311 wOBA, .324 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
Mike Aviles, Kansas City (.300 wOBA, .304 RoS ZiPs wOBA)

This is a new tier, but the name reveals all. It’s nice to get most of the second basemen in the league listed in one place, so this group has a place. That place is probably not on your fantasy team unless most starters in your league are owned. It’s completely possible that not a single guy among the four will crack double-digits in either home runs or steals, or hit .300.