This is the face people make when you say the name “Chase Utley”
Photo Credit: Shannon Lamond
Second base is so shit-fucking terrible that I am writing less about it this year. You just get to a certain point with 2Bs where you wonder why you are spending any time writing about the “merits” of Dustin Ackley or Neil Walker. This has nothing to do with me wanting to write less in order to get these tiers out... OK, maybe a little. Still, there’s a lot of shit at the position, so I changed up the style a bit for this edition of “Tiers, Not Fears.”
Have at it you savages:
The One-Man Gang
None of the other second basemen are in his league. He produces like a starting first baseman or outfielder in 12-team fantasy leagues, yet he’s a goddamn second baseman! Do work Robbie, do work.
1. Robinson Cano
The “We Wish” Wobblers
The duo on this tier provide quality value at the position, but they may come at too high of a price on draft/auction day. They are solid, but let’s be real: Dustin Pedroia isn’t that nice for fantasy purposes. He’s a solid all-around contributor, but he’s not a difference maker in any 5x5 categories. It’s the same deal for Zobrist. The Zo-Rilla’s SS-eligibility had me considering flip-flopping the two in this ranking, but ultimately, I have more faith in Pedroia.
2. Dustin Pedroia
He may seem juiced up, but don’t call him PED’s for short.
3. Ben Zobrist
Zo’ is zolid.
The “Hope To Snag A Bargain” Ballers
This trio is a good group. They all have the potential to be as good as (or better) than Dustin Pedroia. They may also come at a mini-discount, though most likely they’ll be overpriced. Still, keep an eye out in case you find an opportunity to save some coin on any one of these dudes.
4. Aaron Hill
Brings 25-plus HR power and double-digit steals to the table, and he tallied 93 Rs and 85 RBIs last year hitting mostly out of the two hole last year. Last season was not a fluke. He is that talented.
5. Jason Kipnis
Threw up a 14/31 (thats HRs/SBs for you neophytes out there) last year and also came up with solid counting stats (86 Rs and 76 RBIs). He probably won’t see 20 HRs, but is still a quality contributor at the position.
6. Ian Kinsler
The down stolen base success rate, the slipping walk percentage, the diminishing power (that was never THAT great to begin with)... it was a revealing year for Kinsler. Remember when people actually tried to argue that he was a better fantasy option than Cano? Kinsler is still a good fantasy 2B, but he’s obviously showing he’s not as nice as people make him out to be.
The Um... Second, One-Man Gang
Brandon Phillips is lost in no man’s land. His all-around contributions got him THIS close to joining the dudes in the above tier, but he ultimately fell short. Phillips is a perfect example of what I was talking about in the introduction to this post. He’s hit exactly 18 HRs and stolen at least 14 bases in each of the last three years... and he’s the seventh best player at his position. He doesn’t kill you in any one category, but he sure as hell doesn’t win you any either.
7. Brandon Phillips
Welcome to purgatory. Population: you.
The “Solid-Buy” Soldiers
It’s not that the dudes in this tier will come cheap, but considering the production potential, they’re like David Bowie and Andy Dick: solid-buys. Altuve (only 22) has the potential to steal 30-plus bags, score 90 runs, and hit .300. Uggla, coming off a down year, can slug 25 or more HRs and rack up solid counting stats as a middle-of-the-order bat in Atlanta. They’re not the flashiest names on the draft board, but they’ll hold it down.
8. Jose Altuve
Has the skill-set to be a premier three-cat dude at the 2B position.
9. Dan Uggla
As MDS pointed out in his post about Uggla, the price is right and he’s a good bounce-back bet.
The “Taking A Chance” Charlatans
These players were once considered elite 2Bs. Now they are risky no-good-nicks. Utley is 34 years old and has played under 120 games in each of the last three years. Weeks has a poor batted ball profile and might only steal 10 or so bases these days. Sure they each have a chance to contribute all-around, but don’t expect a throwback season from either of these dudes.
10. Chase Utley
The plate patience is still there (11.9 BB% and K% in 2012) and 15-plus HRs/SBs is possible, but how can you trust that he’ll stay healthy? Answer: you can’t.
11. Rickie Weeks
A career .251 hitter and injury-prone during parts of his career, Weeks’ floor has more “depth” than his ceiling.
The “Really?” Rabble-Rousers
Yes, the dudes in this tier are borderline starting options in fantasy. You got some low-end all-around contributors and some speed here, but nothing that’ll make you wet.
12. Martin Prado
You can’t trust that he’ll steal 17 bases again (never stole more than five before 2012), but he’s a threat to hit .300 and does a little bit of everything in 5x5 leagues (with an emphasis on “little bit”).
13. Danny Espinosa
SS eligibility helps, but he is playing through a torn rotator cuff this year. There’s been rumblings that Washington was thinking about platooning him with Steve Lombardozzi, which makes sense considering Espinosa’s shitty batted-ball profile and proficiency for striking out. He’s just missed out on 20/20 seasons the last two years, but I don’t think the third time’s a charm.
14. Emilio Bonifacio
40-plus steal ability, but no starting job. Bonifacio could take over 2B if Maicer Izturis sucks, but Toronto seems to like him as a super-utility guy.
15. Howie Kendrick
Drafting him would break my cardinal rule of never rostering someone named Howie. Plus, Kendrick is swinging at more bad pitches and hitting more grounders (to go along with his sub-double digit HR power and modest SB ability). You like the Angels offense, but I think if his supporting cast was the AL All-Star team, Kendrick would still find a way to underwhelm.
The “I’ll Probably Regret This” Thieves
Yeah, we’re getting to that point of the 2B ranks where it’s like “what the hell am I doing?” You got some decent pop here (Seager, Gyorko, Beckham), some low-end power/speed options (Ackley, Rutledge), and some guys you hope can put up decent counting stats (Scutaro, Young, Walker). All in all a crappy bunch, but if you missed out on the above dudes, you have no choice.
16. Kyle Seager
17. Dustin Ackley
18. Josh Rutledge
19. Marco Scutaro
20. Jedd Gyorko
21. Neil Walker
22. Michael Young
23. Gordon Beckham
The “Fuck My Life” Locals
These guys are for the sado-masochists out there who love to see their 2B position get brutalized. Good luck to you and your shitty team if you land one of these bums.
24. Scott Sizemore
25. Omar Infante
26. Maicer Izturis
27. Kelly Johnson
28. Cliff Pennington
29. Matt Carpenter
30. Donovan Solano
31. Mark Ellis
32. Brian Roberts
33. Daniel Murphy
34. Jeff Keppinger
35. Darwin Barney
36. Chris Getz
37. Jamey Carroll
38. Jemile Weeks
39. Daniel Descalso
40. Matt Long
*Last updated 3/26/13
I think Matt Carpenter could go from "Fuck My Life" to "I'll probably regret this" in short order if he get's the starting 2B job and everyday AB's. Of course I haven't examined his batted ball (pause) profile as closely as you so perhaps I'm mistaken here. For what it's worth Utley has said he's feeling better than he has in years, might be worth his relatively low price tag for the early part of the season. If he produces early on he'd be nice trade bait before his legs fall off by the All Star Break...
@donnypump He might, but we are realistically talking about maybe 15 HRs and decent-enough counting stats (and that's if he wins the job, keeps it, and plays to peak performance). It's possible, but I'd rather go with a Beckham or Scutaro.
I have Utley as a Top 12 2B, which I think is fair. This list is based on how these players will finish, which is why I have Utley 10th. I agree that the early season returns might be very good, but like you said, the long haul of the season will tell us who Chase Utley really is.
@bfffff @donnypump You wouldn't want to start Carpenter in most leagues as anything more than a 2B, so the position versatility is a moot point. Plus, he's not even guaranteed a starting job at this point. The fact that he's even in a position battle with the likes of Daniel Descalso tells you how "good" Carpenter is. I think if everything breaks right, yeah, Carpenter can be a usable fantasy option. More likely, however, is that he's waiver wire fodder.
Holy crap this position is TERRIBLE. So where does that put Cano overall then in light of the shit position? #5 overall pick? Higher?
@CollegeWolf @donnypump Right now, you could argue taking him second or third overall. He's that nice. I've had him on most of my teams for the last three years and I've never regretted spending the coin it takes to land him. Like Donny said, he's consistent and durable (and I STILL think there is actually more power to his bat than we've seen... scary).
@CollegeWolf You could easily argue for him at #4 overall. I have him #6 on my board (I'd take the Big 3 along with Pujols and Votto ahead of him). Cano's stats might be slightly less than some of his fellow first rounders (and the Yankees lineup isn't pretty right now) but he's so consistent and durable at the incredibly thin 2B position that I think he's worth it.