Deep League Drafting: Second Base

Jason Miller

The keystone has traditionally been one of the shallower positions on the diamond. What do the last three years tell us, if anything, about where and who we should be drafting?

As we continue our trip around the diamond, we're looking at how deep the keystone is today (minimum qualified PAs). From 2011-2013 there have been 11, 14, and 13 second-baggers who have performed at or above league average in wOBA and wRC+ and accrued a qualified amount of PAs. As with my study of catchers (where you can read more about the methodology behind this study) second base is not trending either up or down according to how many above-average, offensively productive players are available. However, unlike my 1b overview, second base is not particularly strong for deep leagues (16+ teams) but it's not the shallowest position on the diamond either (teaser for my next post). So far, I'd advise the following:

Catcher - There is some depth (around 12-14 available over the past three seasons)

First Base - Wait to draft (around 20 qualified every season)

Predicting the future is a bit difficult, but there has been an injection of talent at second base recently. Jedd Gyorko, Jason Kipnis, Jurickson Profar, the 2013 Mariners contingent (Nick Franklin, Brad Miller), Daniel Murphy, and Brian Dozier all could be fairly productive players in 2014 if they get enough PAs. At the same time, you can probably expect Marco Scutaro, Brandon Phillips, and Dan Uggla to continue to trend downward (although these are just my subjective opinions).

After the stats, I will offer some observations as before.

2011 Stats

Name Team G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
1 Dustin Pedroia Red Sox 159 731 21 102 91 26 11.80% 11.60% 0.167 0.325 0.307 0.387 0.474 0.375 133
2 Robinson Cano Yankees 159 681 28 104 118 8 5.60% 14.10% 0.231 0.316 0.302 0.349 0.533 0.374 134
3 Ian Kinsler Rangers 155 723 32 121 77 30 12.30% 9.80% 0.223 0.243 0.255 0.355 0.477 0.364 123
4 Ben Zobrist Rays 156 674 20 99 91 19 11.40% 19.00% 0.201 0.31 0.269 0.353 0.469 0.359 130
5 Rickie Weeks Brewers 118 515 20 77 49 9 9.70% 20.80% 0.199 0.31 0.269 0.35 0.468 0.357 124
6 Brandon Phillips Reds 150 675 18 94 82 14 6.50% 12.60% 0.157 0.322 0.3 0.353 0.457 0.353 122
7 Howie Kendrick Angels 140 583 18 86 63 14 5.70% 20.40% 0.179 0.338 0.285 0.338 0.464 0.349 123
8 Dan Uggla Braves 161 672 36 88 82 1 9.20% 23.20% 0.22 0.253 0.233 0.311 0.453 0.334 111
9 Neil Walker Pirates 159 662 12 76 83 9 8.20% 16.90% 0.134 0.315 0.273 0.334 0.408 0.324 106
10 Danny Espinosa Nationals 158 658 21 72 66 17 8.70% 25.20% 0.178 0.292 0.236 0.323 0.414 0.324 103
11 Jamey Carroll Dodgers 146 510 52 17 10 9.20% 11.40% 0.058 0.332 0.29 0.359 0.347 0.317 103

2012 Stats

Name Team G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
1 Robinson Cano Yankees 161 697 33 105 94 3 8.80% 13.80% 0.238 0.326 0.313 0.379 0.55 0.394 149
2 Aaron Hill Diamondbacks 156 668 26 93 85 14 7.80% 12.90% 0.22 0.317 0.302 0.36 0.522 0.375 132
3 Ben Zobrist Rays 157 668 20 88 74 14 14.50% 15.40% 0.202 0.296 0.27 0.377 0.471 0.365 137
4 Dustin Pedroia Red Sox 141 623 15 81 65 20 7.70% 9.60% 0.16 0.3 0.29 0.347 0.449 0.344 114
5 Neil Walker Pirates 129 530 14 62 69 7 8.90% 19.60% 0.146 0.326 0.28 0.342 0.426 0.334 111
6 Marco Scutaro - - - 156 683 7 87 74 9 5.90% 7.20% 0.098 0.319 0.306 0.348 0.405 0.329 99
7 Ian Kinsler Rangers 157 731 19 105 72 21 8.20% 12.30% 0.166 0.27 0.256 0.326 0.423 0.327 100
8 Dan Uggla Braves 154 630 19 86 78 4 14.90% 26.70% 0.164 0.283 0.22 0.348 0.384 0.325 104
9 Jose Altuve Astros 147 630 7 80 37 33 6.30% 11.70% 0.109 0.321 0.29 0.34 0.399 0.325 103
10 Brandon Phillips Reds 147 623 18 86 77 15 4.50% 12.70% 0.148 0.298 0.281 0.321 0.429 0.325 101
11 Rickie Weeks Brewers 157 677 21 85 63 16 10.90% 25.00% 0.17 0.285 0.23 0.328 0.4 0.321 99
12 Daniel Murphy Mets 156 612 6 62 65 10 5.90% 13.40% 0.112 0.329 0.291 0.332 0.403 0.318 102
13 Howie Kendrick Angels 147 594 8 57 67 14 4.90% 19.40% 0.113 0.347 0.287 0.325 0.4 0.316 102
14 Jason Kipnis Indians 152 672 14 86 76 31 10.00% 16.20% 0.122 0.291 0.257 0.335 0.379 0.315 101

2013 Stats

Name Team G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
1 Robinson Cano Yankees 160 681 27 81 107 7 9.50% 12.50% 0.202 0.327 0.314 0.383 0.516 0.384 142
2 Matt Carpenter Cardinals 157 717 11 126 78 3 10.00% 13.70% 0.163 0.359 0.318 0.392 0.481 0.381 147
3 Jason Kipnis Indians 149 658 17 86 84 30 11.60% 21.70% 0.168 0.345 0.284 0.366 0.452 0.357 130
4 Chase Utley Phillies 131 531 18 73 69 8 8.50% 14.90% 0.191 0.305 0.284 0.348 0.475 0.356 126
5 Dustin Pedroia Red Sox 160 724 9 91 84 17 10.10% 10.40% 0.114 0.326 0.301 0.372 0.415 0.347 115
6 Howie Kendrick Angels 122 513 13 55 54 6 4.50% 17.30% 0.142 0.34 0.297 0.335 0.439 0.336 116
7 Ben Zobrist Rays 157 698 12 77 71 11 10.30% 13.00% 0.127 0.303 0.275 0.354 0.402 0.334 115
8 Ian Kinsler Rangers 136 614 13 85 72 15 8.30% 9.60% 0.136 0.288 0.277 0.344 0.413 0.334 105
9 Neil Walker Pirates 133 551 16 62 53 1 9.10% 15.40% 0.167 0.274 0.251 0.339 0.418 0.333 114
10 Marco Scutaro Giants 127 547 2 57 31 2 8.20% 6.20% 0.072 0.314 0.297 0.357 0.369 0.325 111
11 Jedd Gyorko Padres 125 525 23 62 63 1 6.30% 23.40% 0.195 0.287 0.249 0.301 0.444 0.325 110
12 Daniel Murphy Mets 161 697 13 92 78 23 4.60% 13.60% 0.129 0.315 0.286 0.319 0.415 0.32 106
13 Brian Dozier Twins 147 623 18 72 66 14 8.20% 19.30% 0.17 0.278 0.244 0.312 0.414 0.319 101

Observations:

1.     Surprisingly, for such a taxing defensive position, second base has the most players that have qualified each season from 2011-13. Six players have made the list-in no particular order-Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Neil Walker, Howie Kendrick, and Dustin Pedroia.

2.     Much has been made about Robinson Cano's move to SEA and how it affects the 2b rankings, but for our purposes not much has changed for Cano. He'll still be durable and productive no matter where he plays.

3.     I'm not sure there's any silver lining for Brandon Phillips' owners. It's clear that there are issues between management and Phillips in CIN, and his performance on the field continues to decline (he barely missed my list in 2013).  If you can sell on name recognition alone I'd do it...fast.

4.     Poor Matt Carpenter. He came in at #2 this year in the rankings (and helped me win a fantasy championship).  As quick as he came he will go again, losing second base eligibility as he's shifted over to the hot corner in 2014.

Target:

Anthony Rendon. He would have made the list but for lack of PAs. I'm not saying this year will be THE year he completely busts out, but it's coming. I'm super, duper high on this kid for reasons that might make people blush, and I'm hopeful he'll stay at second base long enough to get him on my fantasy squad. His minor BB-rate is 16.1%. Did you hear that? 16.1%. You need to read why that is important. He's going to continue developing power, will be a nice OBP add, and has a great offense to hit around for counting stats. Get him now while you still have time-4 cat stud at the keystone.

Avoid:

Jedd Gyorko. Matt Mattingly and I had some interesting debates about this guy during his 3Up/3Down series on 2b. In order to be consistent I'm going to stay pessimistic about this kid, not because I think he's a bad player, but because 1. I think the hype will not justify his ADP this year, and 2. I don't believe in his power. If he has no power, he is quite ordinary. You can read more about what I think of Gyorko and I may be in the minority on this one, but consider yourselves warned.

What do you think? Opine below and take the poll if it pleases you. Follow me on Twitter @agape4argentina.

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