Second Base Outcomes: Reader Mock Draft

So we’ve done a pretty thorough bludgeoning of the recent reader mock draft, looking at almost every round except for the fliers, and covering several of the positions along the way as well. Second base has me particularly concerned headed into 2012, so let’s break down how the readers handled the challenge of staffing their squads at that position.

The following chart is pretty self explanatory – where the player was selected in the reader mock, what their average draft position is over at Mock Draft Central, and the difference between the two to the right:

Player Reader Mock MDC ADP Difference
Robinson Cano 6 11 -5
Dustin Pedroia 17 17  0
Ian Kinsler 28 23 5
Brandon Phillips 44 60 -16
Dan Uggla 59 53 6
Rickie Weeks 70 78 -8
Ben Zobrist 71 80 -9
Chase Utley 80 76 4
Howie Kendrick 92 107 -15
Jason Kipnis 103 162 -59
Dustin Ackley 122 134 -12
Danny Espinosa 126 149 -23
Jemile Weeks 140 152 -12
Neil Walker 145 139 6
Aaron Hill 226 310 -84
Kelly Johnson 227 329 -102
Ryan Roberts 244 197 47
Jose Altuve 274 228 46
Mike Aviles 279 339 -60
Ryan Raburn 294 346 -52
Gordon Beckham 304 318 -14
Daniel Murphy 313 289 24
Brian Roberts 320 350 -30
Alexi Casilla 329 223 106

It’s a bit surprising to see Robinson Cano go 6th overall, passing up the typical boppers like Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, and Prince Fielder but if you really want Robinson Cano on your team and you’re drafting in the 6 hole, you pretty much have to take him there because he’s not going to last until your next pick. It is interesting to note that in passing up the typical first round first basemen, the team drafting Cano wound up with Ryan Howard, selected in the 10th round (142 ADP) who will likely miss at least a month of action, which leaves him with either Carlos Lee or Aubrey Huff at first for some time. Howard very well could return and rake, so that could certainly work out — I’m merely pointing out the consequences. Feel free to discuss the “would you rather have X 2B and Y 1B” scenarios in the comment section.

Ian Kinsler slips a few slots in lieu of four outfielders taken ahead of him in the third round, and team “32″ winds up with a pretty nice find at 28. Kinsler’s health is frequently in question as he’s often dinged up, but he managed over 700 plate appearances in 2011 and rewarded owners with some eye-popping counting stats. There will be plenty who avoid him due to the .255 batting average, but you likely know it was wrapped up in particularly rotten batted ball luck and should he regress to career norms there, he’ll be back to .275-.280. In traditional 5×5 Roto leagues – if Kinsler stays on the field – he’s probably the most valuable second basemen. He’s just not the safest.

I actually happen to think the Dan Uggla pick was a very good one – and perhaps it’s just because I don’t frequently draft for the batting average. A second baseman that could almost sleep-walk into 30 home runs, 90 RBI, and 90 runs scored is someone I’d like on my squad. Team “Lucky Strikes” had a pretty nice first five picks, going Justin Upton, Mike Stanton, Starlin Castro, Brett Lawrie, and Dan Uggla — ticking off SS, 3B, and 2B rather judiciously.

The next batch of second basemen all fall pretty much within range of their expected slot save for perhaps Brandon Phillips – but here’s where I get kind of lost in the fog of decent contributors at second. I’m not saying they’re all the same, but check out Bill James projections (and no, I’m not saying Bill James is spot on here, but it helps illustrate a point) for the 4th-10th selected 2B (sans Uggla):

Brandon Phillips 0.279 19 15
Rickie Weeks 0.262 22 12
Ben Zobrist 0.262 18 18
Chase Utley 0.28 21 14
Howie Kendrick 0.287 14 13
Jason Kipnis 0.272 18 18

You can quibble a bit with an extra HR or fewer SB here or there, but this is a pretty strikingly similar group. There are of course the questions of the health of Weeks and Utley, the issue of Kipnis and youth, and perhaps the possibility that Zobrist sees his batting average dip again into the abyss. But if you buy into (a sizable if, I’ll admit) the projections – after the top three are selected, you have a bit of an opportunity to wait around on second basemen and fill other needs until, say, one or two are left — and then you should probably make your move. If you patently can’t stand Howie Kendrick or if you don’t want to worry about Utley’s balky knee, then come up with your own plan – but this is just one of those points in the draft that I think creates a unique situation where you do a mid-draft punt. A pooch kick, maybe? Anyway, you get the point.

Lastly, if you’re really well positioned at batting average, Espinosa is a pretty nice play as he’s pretty likely to hit 20+ home runs and might even push 20 stolen bases, but I’d prefer him more in the MDC range of 149 than having to take him in the 11th round. I’m not sure there’s much in the way of promise that the batting average will top .250, and there’s the very real possibility that it could be .20 points lower, which would get to be a real drag.

Overall, I thought it was pretty interesting that four of the 12 teams pretty much took a “to hell with second base” approach, one taking Neil Walker in the 13th, Aaron Hill and Kelly Johnson (back to back) in the 17th and 18th, Jose Altuve in the 23rd, and ahem, Gordon Beckham in the 26th — all ostensibly as starters (with game-time decisions on Hill/Johnson no doubt). I’m not saying it’s good nor bad — just an interesting development that I’m going to keep an eye on in subsequent mocks.

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Michael was born in Massachusetts and grew up in the Seattle area but had nothing to do with the Heathcliff Slocumb trade although Boston fans are welcome to thank him. You can find him on twitter at @michaelcbarr.

23 Responses to “Second Base Outcomes: Reader Mock Draft”

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  1. Ben says:

    Probably the most important lesson I learned is unless kinsler or Cano are on the board, wait.

    And I like that Beckham pick.

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  2. DrBGiantsfan says:

    No love for Rickie Weeks’ lil bro, who won’t give you any power but also won’t kill your BA while providing 30-50 SB’s?

    I’m in a 10 team keeper league where Cano and Pedroia are certain keepers and Kinsler might be. In that situation it seems like 2B might be a good position to leave open until late in the draft. Last year, I picked up Jemile Weeks midseason just because I needed steals and was quite happy with the results.

    I also think Kipnis and Ackley are will be very good value for where they are being drafted.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      I like J Weeks quite a bit – but his pick was about right and I didn’t figure I needed to reiterate his skill set to this group.

      Would rather have Ackley later in the draft…but I do think Kipnis is great value there.

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  3. Hebrew Hammer says:

    For where they were taken, I love Kinsler and Utley. I also like Phillips, Kendrick, Kipnis and Cuddyer to out perform their MDPs but they were taken a wee bit early here IMO.

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  4. Oliver says:

    No way Kelly Johnson ends up as “to hell with 2B.” He belongs firmly in the “decent contributors at second” group. Every projection system out there has him at 19 HRs and 13-15 SBs. He could end up producing as well as a 2B taken 150 picks ahead of him. And if he doesn’t, well, it was the 227th pick. He’s pure upside there. He sucked last year. Look past it.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      Oliver – you’re right. Good point(s).

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      • Oliver says:

        Sorry if I sounded a bit harsh–certainly didn’t mean to.
        I think it’s totally reasonable to leave off drafting a 2B this year until later, simply because the position is so deep. Even the guys getting drafted later, like Espinosa, have a lot of upside for all their flaws.

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    • Psst says:

      This was exactly what I was thinking
      Uggla 5×5
      2010 .287BA 105RBI 100R 33HR 4SB
      2011 .233BA 82RBI 88R 36HR 1SB
      Kelly Johnson
      2010 .284BA 73RBI 93R 26HR 13SB
      2011 .222BA 58RBI 75R 22HR 16SB

      basically Uggla lite with more R/RBI chances in TOR as I doubt they hit him leadoff like AZ did. in

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  5. Terry says:

    I’m really surprised how late Aaron Hill is going. If anyone has the chance to put up similar power stat to Uggla, it’s Hill.

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    • hernandez17 says:

      Hill actually seems to have revamped his swing in a way that makes 30+ HR a near impossibility. Would much rather have the 2B he was traded for.

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  6. zaghead48 says:

    what about Marco Scuturo

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  7. SwitchRodeo says:

    What do you think about Kipnis going before Ackley? I thought his whole deal was he is almost is good as Ackley but you could get him later in the draft, or is that just in keeper leagues?

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  8. Eastsider says:

    I think one thing that needs to be said, even if everyone knows it, is that you need two second basemen because who are you going to use to fill your MI slot? A SS? There are only a handful of them that useful in FBB. So I think this article is useful in analyzing the first second baseman selection, but the second one taken is probably more interesting. Do you go the default route and pick up the bottom of the barrel late with most of the others, or do you try to get (hopefully) 20/20 production out of your MI slot with Espinosa in about the 13th round or so… I dunno, but I’m interested.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      A really good point, and I’ll tell you that the staff has been kicking around the notion of a MI/CI piece, so I’ll see if I can relay that there’s interest…

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      • The Drew Henson's says:

        I know that is exactly the reason I reached a little bit to grab Espinosa. While I already had Cano to slot in at 2B, I was not going to try and grab 2 SS and reach for one of them. So Espinosa to produce out of MI spot? I’ll take that any day.

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  9. ballsdeep says:

    I am just hoping that everyone that drafted signs up for the Yahoo league that was created. So we can see how it plays out, or that I can prove my domination!

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