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Saturday, February 22, 2014

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: SECOND BASE ONE BIG DISASTER

Every season in fantasy baseball over the years has been consistent on a couple of fronts as far as depth among the positions.  Generally speaking, catcher and shortstop have universally been the most shallow hitting positions in the game and that has remained steady over the last 10 years or so.  However as 2014 fantasy baseball gets ready to get underway, second base is looking to join the parity party based on how the position currently stacks up.  Even right at the top with Seattle's Robinson Cano, there are questions about how good this group can be.  One thing that does become clear is that there is a steep and extreme dropoff once the top guys are off the board.  The only problem is that all of the top guys have questions marks....and mostly negative....which makes this group one big mess.  So let's take a closer look here and figure out what the best course of action is to take. 

First let's look at all of what the consensus top guys are and go from there.  Cano is obviously number one and he is than followed by a group containing Jason Kipnis, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Brandon Phillips, and Matt Carpenter.  As I have said even going back to his Yankee days, I would not draft Cano in Round 1 as the first two rounds should be reserved for a top tier outfielder and first baseman.  That is even more true this season as Cano is going to lose some home runs and some more RBI going from one extreme of a ballpark to another and for the lack of support in the awful Mariners lineup.  Next we have Pedroia who is a terrific player no doubt but one who present major injury risk and whose light power makes it tough investing a second or third round pick.  Than we have Kinsler and Phillips who both are aging and on the decline.  Like with Cano, Kinsler goes from a great hitter's park to an awful one and his home runs and steals have declined three straight seasons.  In addition Kinsler was barely a .240 hitter outside of Texas last season and his old injury ways are returning.  No good.  As far as Phillips is concerned, yes his first 100-RBI season was nice but his speed is finished and he has seen a three-year decline in on-base percentage, runs, and average.  Plus he is sulking in Cincy which is never a good thing. 

Moving on to Matt Carpenter, the guy is severely overrated this season.  The near-batting title average from last season is a volatile stat to project on as a lot of BABIP luck plays into it.  Also Carpenter is a zero in steals and home runs and good luck having him repeat last season's RBI.  Red flag galore.  Finally Kipnis is actually a guy we like a lot but his draft price has soared to second round territory which is too rich for our blood. 

So now what?  Your best course of action is to let all of those names pass you by and instead go on a search for value.  No player has the best value and proven track record than Arizona's Aaron Hill who is our guy all the way.  Hill comes off an injury-plagued 2013 but when he was in the lineup, his rate stats were right on par with what he did in 2011-2012 which were very nice numbers indeed.  Hill is still in his prime and likes hitting in Arizona as his best overall numbers across the board have been from there.  Plus you can get him as late as Round 11.  Bingo. 

Outside of Hill, we also like Jurickson Profar a lot due to his post-hype sleeper label and Brett Lawrie believe it or not qualifies at second base in some leagues which is very interesting.  Lawrie has let down two years in a row mainly due to injuries so his draft price becomes interesting.  Finally if you can live with the average hit, Jedd Gyorko will hit a bunch of home runs at a light power hitting spot. 

So as you can see second base is one big mess.  Do what I suggest and wait on making a move here.  The top guys all have major questions marks and simply are not worth the price they currently carry.  Go value all the way.

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