Updated 2014 Second Base Rankings: Impact of Robinson Cano signing with the Mariners

Jonathan Daniel

Ray updates his 2014 fantasy second base rankings after the news that Robinson Cano has sighed with the Seattle Mariners.

The Seattle Mariners made a huge splash on Friday, signing Robinson Cano, the best second baseman in the game, to a 10 year, $240 million deal. Seems hard to believe that a 31 year old second baseman could get a 10 year contract, even though every GM knows how bad second baseman age, and that long term deals usually never work out.

I liked Robinson Cano as a Yankee (not a Yankee fan), but as a Mariner....not so much. For fantasy purposes, the move to Safeco Field drops Cano in my rankings from the top spot to #2. This may sound like a knee jerk decision, but I went back and forth on the move, but couldn't get away from dropping him.

I think Cano's stats are going to take a hit moving to Seattle's Safeco Field, as it is known to be a pitcher's park. To prove my point, here are the ball park factors (courtesy of ESPN) for Safeco Field vs Yankee Stadium, even after moving the fences in before the 2013 season:

RK

PARK NAME

RUNS

HR

H

2B

3B

BB

7

Yankee Stadium (New York, New York)

1.087

1.128

1.046

0.957

0.727

1.081

15

Safeco Field (Seattle, Washington)

0.991

0.885

1.008

1.112

0.630

0.952

In 2013, run scoring was almost 9% above league average at Yankee Stadium and almost 13% above league average in home runs, while Safeco Field, even with the fences moved in, depressed runs scoring by 1% and home runs by almost 12%.

Here are the ball park factors before they moved the fences in, for 2012:

RK

PARK NAME

RUNS

HR

H

2B

3B

BB

17

Yankee Stadium (New York, New York)

0.992

1.143

0.927

0.881

0.423

1.008

30

Safeco Field (Seattle, Washington)

0.687

0.583

0.831

0.709

0.528

1.002

In 2012, run scoring was just under league average at Yankee Stadium and 14% above league average in home runs, while Safeco Field depressed runs scoring by 31% and home runs by 42%. Yes, Safeco was an extreme pitcher's park before the fences were moved in.

And here are the ball park factors from 2011:

RK

PARK NAME

RUNS

HR

H

2B

3B

BB

6

Yankee Stadium (New York, New York)

1.131

1.267

1.036

0.989

0.839

1.025

26

Safeco Field (Seattle, Washington)

0.855

1.037

0.890

0.768

0.653

1.049

In 2011, run scoring was 13% above league average at Yankee Stadium and 27% above league average in home runs, while Safeco Field depressed runs scoring by 14%, yet was above league average in home runs by almost 4%. So, from year to year there seems to be some big fluctuations in the run scoring/home run hitting environment at Safeco.

Finally, here is 2010:

RK

PARK NAME

RUNS

HR

H

2B

3B

BB

2

Yankee Stadium (New York, New York)

1.177

1.420

1.037

1.059

0.704

0.954

29

Safeco Field (Seattle, Washington)

0.813

0.675

0.931

0.919

0.652

1.020

In 2010, run scoring was just 18% above league average at Yankee Stadium and 42% above league average in home runs, while Safeco Field depressed runs scoring by 19% and home runs by 32%.

In summary, run scoring and home run production at Safeco was well below the hitting environment at Yankee Stadium over the last four seasons. The run scoring environment at Safeco has fluctuated from 1% and 31% over the last four seasons, while home run production has fluctuated between 4% above league average and 42% below league average, even before the fences were moved in.

We should probably focus on the 2013 ball park factors as that represents the only year under the new dimensions at Safeco. Even still, it played below league average, while Yankee Stadium played above league average, so if other sites tell you not to expect a drop off in his counting stats in 2014, I wouldn't put too much confidence in them.

Heck, I could be wrong on Cano, but the differences in ball park factors indicate he will experience a drop off. His RBI totals will take a hit as Kyle Seager led the Mariners with his .339 OBP last season, so the lineup has trouble getting on base. And 41 year old Raul Ibanez led the team with his .487 slugging percentage.

I see Can hitting .285-.290 with 20-23 home runs, 75 runs and 80-85 RBI in 2014. Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis can approach, or exceed, those numbers while throwing in 25-30 stolen bases. He is my new #1 fantasy second baseman.

You can find all of my early 2014 position rankings in the links below:

Catcher

First Base

Second Base

Shortstop

Third Base

Outfielders 1 - 30

Early Top 50 Hitters for 2014

Top 50 Starting Pitchers for 2014

Onto my updated second base rankings for 2014, updated to include Anthony Rendon at #13:

Rank

Name

Team

1

Jason Kipnis

Indians

2

Robinson Cano

Mariners

3

Dustin Pedroia

Red Sox

4

Ian Kinsler

Tigers

5

Aaron Hill

Diamondbacks

6

Brandon Phillips

Reds

7

Matt Carpenter

Cardinals

8

Ben Zobrist

Rays

9

Daniel Murphy

Mets

10

Chase Utley

Phillies

11

Martin Prado

Diamondbacks

12

Jurickson Profar

Rangers

13

Anthony Rendon

Nationals

14

Howie Kendrick

Angels

15

Jed Lowrie

Athletics

16

Jedd Gyorko

Padres

17

Neil Walker

Pirates

18

Jose Altuve

Astros

19

Brian Dozier

Twins

20

Omar Infante

Tigers

X
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