Fake Teams Staff Post: Who's My Second Baseman?

Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Each of your favorite FT writers let you in on who the second baseman they will be targeting at their current values.

Each week, when we cover a position here at Fake Teams, in addition to all of the content you've been seeing, we're going to be doing two staff posts where each of the writers will contribute a brief comment on a player they will personally be targeting in drafts and a player they will be avoiding. Because we're generally an optimistic group here, we're going to start with a player each of us thinks is a good value. Come back tomorrow to find out who the guys we're avoiding are.

So without any further ado, I present the Fake Teams staff and their favorite second base targets for 2013:

"I don't care if this sounds like a copout, but my guy is the only one that really matters at the position: Robinson Cano. Yes, he's the clear #1 at the position, but he's on here because not only is he a clear first round pick for me, but I have him at #4 overall behind only Braun, Miggy and Trout -- and I'm not far from putting him even higher. As I mentioned in the State of the Position from Monday, 2B is not only trending down, but it's bordering on brutal. Cano is the lone star in the sky and everyone else is looking far up at him. Even once studly next level options like Pedroia and Kinsler are coming off disappointing seasons and carry additional risk of their own now. Cano is very likely to lead the position at four separate offensive categories (everything but steals) and he needs to be put on more of a pedestal than he's currently on." --Bret Sayre

"Rickie Weeks had a first half that could only have been pulled from the darkest nightmares of a Stephen King/H.P. Lovecraft lovechild. He hit .199 while striking out an incredible 100 times in 350 plate appearances. He just looked...broken. The good news? Weeks was much more like himself in the second half, as he cut his strikeouts drastically and his home run power came back. Weeks should be a good source of home runs, walks, and steals, and he'll probably come cheaper. His draft stock likely took a hit because of lingering memories of his shadow self from April through June, but he's a good value if you miss out on the big guns at second base." --Paul Rice

"I am clearly the highest of our rankers on Marco Scutaro, ranking him 11th among 2B while the rest of the team had him around 20. For me, Scutaro has become an extremely consistent producer at a position where production really isn't consistent for a lot of players. Scutaro will likely sign as a starter wherever he ends up, and I could very easily see him hit .280 with 5-10 home runs, 5-10 stolen bases, 85-95 runs scored, and 55-60 RBI. While I don't necessarily think that he ends up outhitting everyone ahead of him in our ranks, I like him to be the most likely to return the value you are hoping for. Add in shortstop eligibility as well, and there's a lot I like here, especially given that he will likely not need to be drafted until much later in drafts." --Jason Hunt

"Dustin Ackley will be looking to bounce back after struggling in his first full season in the big leagues. Thought to be a solid pick to hit for a high average in 2012, Ackley hit just .226-.294-.328 with 12 HRs, 84 runs, 50 RBI and 13 stolen bases. The drop in batting average was mainly caused by a drop in his BABIP from .339 to .265, so a return to a .300 BABIP or better will lift his batting average accordingly. He surprised with the double digit home run total in 2012, so maybe there is more power in his bat than originally thought. The Mariners are moving their fences in at Safeco Field this season, so we could see a bit more power from him in 2013. In addition, we could see a few more stolen bases from him, as he should have more stolen base opportunities this season since there is a slim chance he hits below .230 again." --Ray Guilfoyle

"After the big three (Cano, Pedroia, Kinsler) are taken, I'm doing whatever it takes to get Ben Zobrist, who, since 2009, has consistently been a threat for 20 homers and/or 20 steals. I think Zobrist finally reaches 20/20 in 2013, and he should continue to put up around 90 runs and 80 RBI with an adequate batting average. He's logged three straight seasons of 600 at-bats -- in 2009 he finished with 599 -- and he's added more versatility with shortstop eligibility, on top of second base and outfield. There's little risk attached to Zobrist, and there's nothing, in my opinion, to suggest a sudden decline is on the horizon. Second base is one of the harder positions to figure, and Zobrist is one of the easier players to project." --Alex Kantecki

"As you can see by my ranking of him in our consensus 2013 second base ranking I am a Rickie Weeks apologist. It was an aggressive ranking to be sure, especially for someone who couldn't have had a worse half to his 2012 season and who is an injury risk year in and year out. So why do I like him? I think he's got top 5 potential at the position. He offers you premium power, with a little speed and generally doesn't kill you in average. Part of my love for Weeks is the general lack of upside at the position. Part is the aging of former or current stalwarts (Phillips and Utley come to mind). Alex Kantecki made much of my argument for me on Tuesday, and I might simply add that Weeks' BABIP for 2012 was 20 points below his career average. In fact - the last time he posted a BABIP under .300 was 2008 - another bad year. When his BABIP is .300 or over, his has OPSed over 800. Looking at his splits from 2012, his second BABIP was .301 resulting in an OPS of exactly 800. Look - we can't entirely predict BABIPs and it's not an end of the discussion argument. What we can say is that in his career, Weeks has posted a BABIP of .305 and at 30 he is squarely in his prime, so we shouldn't expect some sort of sudden drop off here. At a weak position, Weeks has produced with pop, swatting 20+ home runs each of the last three seasons. Given the other options, if I miss on Cano, I'm happy to take a chance on Weeks returning to form a bit later in the draft." --Craig Goldstein

"One of the factors in a successful draft is deciding ahead of time, which players might be available in the middle or late rounds. This allows you to draft the better batters and pitchers at the front of the draft. Neil Walker is one of the players that you can wait for, and still get decent production from. I had Neil Walker on my team last year and watching his stats week in and week out was akin to watching a paint drying competition, but at the end of the year he produced 62 runs, 14 home runs, 69 RBI, 7 stolen bases, and a .280 batting average. And that is about what you can expect in 2013. Nothing spectacular, but you are not drafting Neil for spectacular (if you are, can I play in your league?). You are drafting Mr. Walker to give yourself the opportunity to draft the studs your roster needs to win your league." --Brad Dengler

"We were all Kipnisses witnesses to the emergence of Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis in 2012 and I am a firm believer that the best is yet to come from the young second baseman. 2012 was a tale of two halves for Kipnis as he came out strong to start the season posting a .277/.345/.419 slash line with 11 home runs, 49 RBI's, and 20 stolen bases. He was on a tear to start the season to say the least. Of course things didn't finish that way as he limped to a .233/.322/.328 line with only three home runs, 27 RBI's, and 11 steals. It is easy to assume that the young slugger wore out over the course of a full major league season and that he will be in better condition his second time around but what was most telling to me about Kipnis' two halves of 2012 was the fact that he stole 20 bases and was caught once time prior to the All-Star break only to steal 11 bases after the break and getting caught six times. That tells me his legs were toast and he was lacking the explosiveness in his lower half to make a good jump. I could go further into the numbers to point to why his other numbers sagged, but for the sake of brevity it is clear that his legs were gone in the second half and his power and plate approach suffered just like his stolen base success suffered. Look for him to bounce back and be one of the top 5 second baseman who is capable of posting something like .275/.335/.420, 18 HR, 80 R, 90 RBI, 30 SB in 650+ PA invest in him in Round 5 or later and you are going to turn a profit"--Brian French

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