Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
After publishing our Top 25 Second Baseman for 2013 earlier in the week, here are three American League second base sleepers to grab late in your 2013 drafts.
The landscape of American League second basemen in 2013 has a clear No. 1, a solid group of contributors in the middle and a lot of question marks after that. Today I am going to take a look at three second basemen who can round out your rosters in deeper mixed leagues and should be owned in all AL Only leagues in 2013. With the nature of second base however, you'd be hard pressed to find three players who really excite you when you're down this far. For this reason, the following players won't be perfect fits for all teams on draft day. One has struggled to put it all together since his rookie season, but will provide some cheap power, the second is a speedster looking to reclaim his job out west, and the third has all the makings of a superstar, but as of today, no position to play.
Gordon Beckham, CHI
Since bursting onto the scene in 2009 with a .270/.347/.460 triple slash, Beckham has regressed in every season since. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, I know, however, Beckham does provide much needed power at a position that isn't always known for home run production. Gordon's 16 homers in 2012 ranked him 6th among all eligible AL second baseman. Playing his home games at U.S. Cellular Field, where he hit 12 of his 16 long balls, will definitely help next years home run count. Batting towards the bottom of the order his run production won't be great, but he'll provide adequate RBI's relative to other second basemen selected this late in drafts. If you remove Beckham's April and July, which saw him hit .153 and .188 with zero homers, the rest of his 2012 season would average out to a .255/.319/.421 triple slash. Obviously we can't just pretend those months didn't happen, but it goes to show there is some ability there. At age 26, another 15-17 home run, 68 RBI season should be obtainable for Gordon Beckham. If he can figure out how to lower his infield fly ball rate, a batting average north of .250 could be in the cards.
Jemile Weeks, OAK
2012 was supposed to be Jemile Weeks breakout season. After appearing in 97 games for the A's in 2011 and showing both an impressive batting average (.303) and his wheels (22 SB's), many owners reached for Weeks hoping to put a dent in their stolen base target. While Weeks was able to swipe 16 bags last season, he eventually lost his job and was sent back to AAA, playing in only 118 games at the big league level. It appears a big problem for Jemile last season was bad luck, as his BABIP for the year was .256. Assuming Weeks can get his starting job back in Oakland, his strong track record of drawing a free pass should allow him to reach base enough to rack up the stolen bases. On top of that, I'd expect his average to rebound to the .270 range, creating a great buying opportunity for late stolen bases at your MI spot in deeper mixed leagues and all AL Only leagues.
Jurickson Profar, TEX
As the off season progresses we should get a better understanding of when we'll see Profar in a Rangers uniform. I believe if the team fails to bring Josh Hamilton back we'll see Profar start the year with the big club, with Ian Kinsler shifting to the outfield. I am the type of fantasy manager that tends to shy away from the unproven young player, especially with limited time in the minors. This isn't the case with Jurickson Profar however. Not only does Profar bring the power/speed combo, he's also shown the ability to limit his strike outs (12.2% in A, 14.1% in AA) while drawing a free pass at an impressive rate for such a young hitter (12.6% in A, 11.7% in AA). These are the two areas I put the most stock in when evaluating young hitters for fantasy purposes. His position eligibility, power and speed are the cherry on top, making him a must target in 2013. Even if Profar starts 2013 in AAA, he is a must draft in all AL Only leagues that do not require him to be on the active roster to start the year, and is a player worth stashing in deeper mixed leagues (bench space permitting). If given a full season of at bats, I would project a 15 homer, 25 stolen base season, with a .260 BA and decent counting stats (depending where he hits in the order)