Rankings Update: Second Base

Time to update the second basemen, using Fans’ projected wOBAs for another week. Huzzah!

The Top Targets:
1. Chase Utley, Philadelphia (.402 wOBA)
2. Ian Kinsler, Texas (.358 wOBA)
3. Dustin Pedroia, Boston (.360 wOBA)
4. Robinson Cano, New York AL (.370 wOBA)

Not too much to say here really, though it seems that Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano have probably moved past Brian Roberts for good by proving, at the very least, that they have not yet peaked. Roberts’ back issues may affect him all year long and dampen his speed, and the younger two guys are showing sweet power right now.

The Middling Veterans:
5. Chone Figgins, Seattle (.347 wOBA)
6. Brian Roberts, Baltimore (.356 wOBA)
7. Dan Uggla, Florida (.354 wOBA)
8. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay (.408 wOBA)
9. Aaron Hill, Toronto (.357 wOBA)
10. Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati (.337 wOBA)

To be honest, it’s hard not to continue dropping Roberts further, but at least he’s in the right tier now. Chone Figgins has had bigger steals years more recently than him and belongs ahead of him anyway. In this week’s edition of Small Sample Size Surprises, Dan Uggla has maintained his overall power while striking out and walking about at about half of his 2009 rates. The most worrisome thing about Ben Zobrist’s poor start is his reduced walk rate, but even if the power regresses from last year’s probable peak, he’ll retain good value at shortstop.

Streaking Youth:
11. Gordon Beckham, Chicago (.361 wOBA)
12. Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee (.365 wOBA)
13. Ian Stewart, Colorado (.337 wOBA)

Gordon Beckham isn’t exactly streaking to the fore, but he’s still got the upside to move up the list. In the early going, he’s striking out and walking at almost the exact same rate as last year, but reduced power and a poor BABIP are holding him down. ZiPS RoS is still optimistic though. Rickie Weeks looks like he may be in the midst of a career year. While it’s early going, and his BABIP is unsustainable, there’s a lot to like in Weeks this year – he’s combining his best walk rate with his best strikeout rate and his highest ISO, but all three numbers are close to his career norms. Seems organic. The same can be said about Ian Stewart – his current career-best K% is closer to his minor league number than one might expect after last year’s whiffing. His bat is showing light-tower power at this point, too. All three of these guys have a great shot of outperforming the Middling Veterans.

The Leftovers:
14. Placido Polanco, Philadelphia (.321 wOBA)
15. Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles AL (.341 wOBA)
16. Jose Lopez, Seattle (.325 wOBA)
17. Orlando Hudson, Minnesota (.342 wOBA)

This group is pretty meh. Polanco looks to be enjoying the new park, but who knows how many home runs that will translate into. He’s a good contributor in runs and RBI though. Howie Kendrick is doing what we thought he could, but it’s still not going to mean a lot of home runs or steals.

Upside to Join the Top:
18. Casey McGehee, Milwaukee (.330 wOBA)
19. Martin Prado, Atlanta (.341 wOBA)
20. Kelly Johnson, Arizona (.338 wOBA)
21. Alberto Callaspo, Kansas City (.347 wOBA)
22. Ty Wigginton, Baltimore (.332 wOBA)

Casey McGehee probably deserves a post of his own, but there are still reasons for skepticism. That he’s showing this level of power for a prolonged period of time is, to say the least, unexpected. Kelly Johnson is showing that his poor 2009 was mostly poor BABIP-driven and is enjoying his new team. Alberto Callaspo is disappearing off of waiver wires currently, but Ty Wigginton that also deserves some attention. He’s got a little pop and everyday at-bats right now and is a great short-term add.

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16 Responses to “Rankings Update: Second Base”

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  1. Byron says:

    These are always fun to read, and thank you for going pretty deep on this one. Two suggestions: if people are playable at two positions in the majority of leagues, why not put them in both lists? Beckham’s my 3B in one league and my MI in another. Speaking of which, number two, how about every now and then doing CI/MI lists? If I need to pick up a MI, it’s difficult to combine the SS and 2B lists.

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  2. John says:

    What about Asdrubal Cabrerra? Or will he be in the SS list? Am also slightly confused about the multi-eligibility guys.

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    • Eno Sarris says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      I think going forward we will just rank all players wherever they are eligible. Might mean longer posts, but will be most useful I believe.

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  3. Reverend Jim says:

    I think you should swap Polanco up a group and move Figgins down. Considering the number (as average as they were) Polanco put up in detroit, and now sandwiched between Utley and Rollins/Victorino, along with his hot start should get him more love than the leftover bin.

    Figgins hasn’t been the picture of health the past 4 years, and now hitting half his games in Seattle should drop him down a notch (just like we’d do with any padres hitter)

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    • Eno Sarris says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      But you don’t own Figgins for power, so couldn’t he just as easily find space to dink his dunks in Seattle? More space even? If the batting average evens out, and he steals 30 bases, he’ll have 35 counting stats (HR/SB) to Polanco’s – what – 20+?

      Yes, Polanco’s R/RBI count for something. I’m not sure how much. Perhaps he’ll move up. I just tend to gravitate towards HR/SB because they seem to be the tougher stats to find. The stars we use in fantasy baseball usually have good R/RBI totals just by being stars in the best spots in the lineups.

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  4. Dan says:

    Phillips sure has dropped like a ton of bricks. From a sure top 5 to almost out of the top ten.

    His BABIP is a little low .241 (.284 career) regression should help his .219/.296/.370 a bit. ISO only a little down .151 (.197 .181 .171 over the last three seasons).

    Examination of his plate discipline gets a little interesting. He is walking more but also striking out more. His Oswing and Swing% and SwgStr% are down, O & Zcontact rates are up which explains the walks but not the strike outs.

    I still like him for a .270 20 20 season. His strike zone peripherals are encouraging but the results are not there outside of more walks.

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    • Eno Sarris says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      He’s still in that tier. I don’t like his plate discipline numbers and his ISO is dropping – continually. Going from .197 to .151 in such little drops ever year seems to be a big sign about a power drainage. If he only ends up at .270 15/20, I think I’d take every guy in that tier above him. I think our first ranking of #5 was too optimistic.

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  5. Alireza says:

    Kendrick is a good pickup for the same people who like to combine Ichiro with a low average slugger. Kendrick has a completely legitimate chance to hit .320 or better, which has significant value. He is also a 40 double threat.

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  6. Reverend Jim says:

    The only knock on Kendrick is will he stay healthy enough to make that .320 average worth a roster spot? Keep you fingers crossed and you could have a winner.

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  7. jrdo410 says:

    I don’t get how Stewart is a #9 3B but a #13 2B. I know 3B is shallower than before, but that is a little out there.

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    • Eno Sarris says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      A) different guys doing the two rankings.
      B) it’s not really #13 vs #9. It’s probably one tier of difference. The individual rankings are not as important as the tiers.
      C) .260 20+/10 is nice (and I agree with ZiPS RoS), but do you really think it supplants someone on the list above? Sure, maybe he should be #1 in his tier, and he probably will be unless Becks finds some stick. But that’s just a couple spots different. So if he’s #10 next week all is well? #11?

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      • Chad says:

        He and Weeks should be above Beckham, that is for sure. Beckham was a bit overhyped coming into the season based on people expecting him to take a step forward from last year’s numbers. Thus far it hasn’t happened while Stewart has taken a step ahead of last year’s numbers, which shouldn’t be all that surprising. He’s a young player on the rise as well.

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  8. OzzieGuillen says:

    I think Brian Roberts’ true fantasy value lies around #15 of all 2B right now. No one is going to give you top 10 at 2B value for him considering his uncertain injury status.

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  9. buck turgidson says:

    So, you think Kelly Johnson is just going to fall off a cliff? His FB% is a little higher than his norms but not way out of wack. His LD% is down and so is his BABIP. He has a shit-ton of walks at this point and he is knocking the cover off the ball. So why no love for my 2b with a chick’s name? I’m not the only one who thought he would break out playing in that pinball machine in AZ, and honestly won’t he keep seeing some fastballs hitting in front of Reynolds and Upton? I think he should be at least at the top of tier 3.

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  10. DREW says:

    Even if he falls off a cliff and doesn’t produce at his current .469 clip (wow! and he just went 4 for 5 with a homer today), Kelly Johnson’s projected numbers for the rest of the season are .280/.357/.503.

    If Johnson merely returns to his ’07-08 form, I’d still rank him behind only Utley (of course) and maybe a couple others.

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