Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Each of your favorite FT writers let you in on who the second baseman they will be avoiding 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. Yesterday we shared the optimistic side of this equation, but today is a day of reckoning. These are the players who we are weary of at their projected draft day values.
So without any further ado, I present the Fake Teams staff and their least favorite second base targets for 2013:
"I'm passing on Aaron Hill. It's not that the skills aren't there, because he's clearly shown he has the ability to produce as a top 5 second baseman. He is however, plagued by inconsistency. In his 8 year career he's posted 3 OPS' in the 600s, 700s and 3 in the 800s. 2012 was the best year of his career per OPS, and that makes sense given he was in the prime of his prime at 30 years old. The issue for me is not knowing what you're going to get. I don't mind being a risk taker, but for where you're going to have to select Hill, the downside far outweighs the upside. Given the dearth of available second baseman, Hill is going to get popped fairly early and the possibility of wasting a pick on someone who could just as easily post a 600 OPS as a mid 800s OPS concerns me more than just a little bit. It's also worth noting that Hill's BABIP last year was 27 points higher than his career BABIP, so I would expect at least some regression in that area. I fully acknowledge that Hill could repeat his phenomenal 2012 in the coming season, but I don't think his downside is worth taking him where he is currently valued. Let's hope for the best though." --Craig Goldstein
"If you drafted Aaron Hill in 2012, what did you expect? He was coming off an 8 home run, 21 stolen base, .246 batting average, 2011 season, that had been preceded by two seasons of serious power (26+ HR), next to no stolen bases, and a batting average variance between the two of .81. I had no earthly idea what to expect from Mr. Hill in 2012 season, and certainly never expected the five tool production his lucky owners got - i.e. a 26 HR, 93 runs, 85 RBI, 14 SB, and .302 season. Just where did that come from? Aaron has shown power potential in the past, but never with such a high batting average and stolen base total. In fact, his speed had been below league average for each of the previous five seasons, coming into 2012. Aaron Hill had a great season in 2012, but if you want him in 2013 you will have to take him as one of the top five 2B off the board. I cannot pay that high a price for such inconsistency." --Brad Dengler
"Jason Kipnis was never supposed to be as valuable as he was in the first half of 2012. Through the All-Star Break, he was hitting .277 with 11 HR, 49 RBI, 53 R and 20 SB (in 21 attempts). The second half was a very different story, however, as he hit .233 with 3 HR, 27 RBI, 33 R and 11 SB (in 17 attempts). That much is fact. Where we're merely making educated guesses is which is closer to the real Jason Kipnis. Coming up through the minors, Kipnis was a potential 15-15 guy who could hit for an average around .260-.270, and the scouting reports haven't change on him since he's hit the majors. Not only do I not see his power improving from the 14 HR in 2012, but I also am not going to spend the money to find out whether he can steal 20+ bases again under a new manager. These are good numbers, but for someone who could go in the top-6, he's got far too much room for disappointment." --Bret Sayre
"Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa is an interesting case. Espinosa hit a career best 21 home runs and added 17 steals for the team with the league's best record in 2012, and for the second consecutive year, he just missed out on a 20/20 season. But, at the same time, he didn't improve in the areas you want to see improvement at, as Espinosa's 28.7-percent strikeout rate was seventh worst among qualifying hitters. On top of an increasing strikeout rate was a declining walk rate and a BABIP increase of over 40 points. Right now it's hard to project a batting average north of .250, and Espinosa's playing time might even come to question at some point, as Nationals manager Davey Johnson benched the second baseman for two games late last season as the team was pushing for the NL's best record. I don't think you can get through an entire year with Espinosa as your lone second baseman." --Alex Kantecki
"I used to think Danny Espinosa had breakout potential, but in his second full season he regressed across the board in just about every facet of offensive performance. He's still young, but not that young, and I think what you see now is what you get: a low-average, high strikeout player who has good power for his position and can steal a handful of bases. I think he's going to run into a 30-homer season one of these years (maybe even 2013), but he'll hit .230 with a billion strikeouts while doing it. If you want to wait past the top second basemen to dig for that, be my guest. There are better breakout candidates out there who won't torpedo two fantasy categories." --Paul Rice
"It's just so tempting to draft Chase Utley. The per-162 statistics over the past few seasons show a player who remains very valuable for fantasy. If you just look at last year's numbers, they roughly translate out to 22 home runs, 96 runs, 90 RBI, and 22 stolen bases over a full season of games. The key with this though is the fact that you will likely have to draft him assuming that these numbers WILL happen, and with his health history, that is hardly guaranteed. Unless he falls a long way on draft day, he won't be on any of my teams." --Jason Hunt