Consensus Position Rankings/Projections: Top 30 Second Baseman for 2014, Part 1

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It's Second Base Week at Fake Teams, where we publish our consensus Top 30 fantasy second basemen rankings for 2014. Check out where the Fake Teams writers rank Jason Kipnis, Anthony Rendon and Jurickson Profar.

Alex Kantecki opened Second Base week here at Fake Teams with the fantasy state of the position earlier this morning. Now we bring you our consensus fantasy second basemen rankings for 2014. We used a points system for each of the 30 second ranked by each of the Fake Teams writers who participated in the consensus rankings series.

We feel that providing you our consensus position rankings, you get an average ranking from the Fake Teams writers, rather than hearing me spew my rankings nonsense throughout the offseason. You will see some players ranked higher by one Fake Teams writer than the others, so this helps the reader see both sides of the argument for/against a certain player who might be getting too much love this offseason.

Each of the position rankings will be split into two parts, rankings, player profiles and projections for second basemen ranked 1 - 15 in part 1, and rankings, player profiles and projections for second basemen ranked 16 - 30 in part 2 to be published on Wednesday morning. Consensus rankings should bring about discussion amongst you, our readers, and the Fake Teams writers who participated in this series.

In addition to the rankings, we are now offering your 2014 projections for each player ranked, courtesy of Dan Schwartz from Fake Teams and Rotobanter. He has spent all offseason on his projections, and to learn more about how he calculates his projections, you can read his explanations here: Part 1| Part 2| Part 3. Part 1 details his projection approach, Part 2 details how he calculates his hitter projections and part 3 details how he calculates his pitcher projections.

We didn't stop at just providing you rankings and projections, as we are also providing you with auction values, courtesy of Dan, along with the Equivalent Fantasy Average for each player ranked, courtesy of Daniel Kelley. The equivalent fantasy average can be used to compare players at the same position.

Here is a brief explanation of Equivalent Fantasy Average, from Daniel's Fantasy Average Positional Breakdown piece a few weeks ago:

Those who have been around the last week or two probably saw my Fantasy Average piece, in which I attempted to use standard deviations to present every offensive players' fantasy contributions in terms of a batting average-like number. That presentation is a useful ranking tool and, since it's on a scale we're all familiar with, is a heck of a shorthand for overall strength. If your guy hit ".300" by Fantasy Average, he's a heck of a player.

And all of this is consolidated, with player photos, into statistical tables thanks to the work of Jason Hunt.

2014 Second Base Rankings

Now let's take a look at part 1 of our Top 30 Fantasy Second Base Rankings for 2014:

Rank Player Team Ranking Points Ray Matt Brian Alex Daniel Joe Jason Zack
1 Robinson Cano SEA 255 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 Jason Kipnis CLE 247 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 4
3 Dustin Pedroia BOS 241 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
4 Matt Carpenter STL 224 7 8 4 5 4 4 5 3
4 Ian Kinsler DET 224 4 4 5 4 9 5 4 5
6 Ben Zobrist TBR 206 8 6 8 7 6 6 7 10
7 Brandon Phillips CIN 190 6 7 17 6 16 7 6 9
8 Chase Utley PHI 183 10 14 6 12 8 14 9 8
9 Jose Altuve HOU 179 18 9 14 9 5 10 8 12
10 Aaron Hill ARI 173 5 13 10 10 19 8 20 6
10 Jedd Gyorko SDP 173 16 5 9 8 14 13 12 14
12 Martin Prado ARI 164 11 10 16 11 11 11 19 11
13 Anthony Rendon WSN 161 13 12 7 13 18 12 10 18
14 Daniel Murphy NYM 158 9 19 18 15 7 16 15 7
15 Jurickson Profar TEX 146 12 11 11 18 22 9 18 17

Player Profiles

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# 1 Robinson Cano (SEA)

Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.314 81 27 107 7
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
681 0.383 0.516 9.5% 12.48%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.293 80 23 90 4
Auction Value: $ 19.1 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.289

Cano ranks as our consensus #1 fantasy second baseman this season, but I was the low man on the rankings for Cano, as I have Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis ahead of Cano for 2014. I see Cano's counting stats - home runs, RBI and runs scored - dropping this season moving out of the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium to Safeco Field. One could argue his lineup in Seattle is just as good as the lineup in New York last season, and I wouldn't argue. But, he is bound to lose some home runs, RBI and runs scored in Seattle, as Safeco plays more as a pitchers park than Yankee Stadium.

You can read more of my thoughts on Cano's move in this piece where I go into some detail as to the differences in the ball parks over the last four years.

Despite the move, Cano has the talent to continue to hit .300, with 90 runs scored, 90 RBI and 20-25 home runs this season, but I would take the under on all four of those projections.

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# 2 Jason Kipnis (CLE)

Photo Credit: Jake Roth - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.284 86 17 84 30
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
658 0.366 0.452 11.55% 21.73%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.272 85 16 84 26
Auction Value: $ 18.96 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.289

Many questioned whether Kipnis' rookie season was a fluke or not, but he proved his critics wrong last season, raising his slash line from .257-.335-.379 to .284-.366-.452, increasing his home run total from 14 to 17, raising his RBI total from 76 to 84, while his runs scored and stolen bases stayed relatively constant. Kipnis stole 30 bases for the second season in a row and was three home runs from a 20 home run-30 stolen base season. Don't you think a second baseman who hits 20 home runs and steals 30 bases, with an above league average batting average is worthy of the top spot at second base? I think he does.

He did experience another second half drop off in performance, as he did in 2012, hitting .261-. with 4 home runs, 33 runs, 27 RBI and 9 stolen bases in 11 attempts. His second half slide was almost identical to 2012, where he hit .233 with 3 hrs, 33 runs, 26 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 17 attempts. Small progress, but progress nonetheless. Kipnis outperformed Cano in the runs and stolen base categories in 2013, while Cano bettered Kipnis in home runs, RBI, and batting average. But, that was last year. I see Kipnis improving his home run total, while maintaining his runs/RBI and stolen base totals in 2014, pushing him into the top spot at second base.

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# 3 Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.301 91 9 84 17
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
724 0.372 0.415 10.08% 10.36%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.292 90 10 80 15
Auction Value: $ 18 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.285

Pedroia played for most of the 2013 season with a torn ligament in his thumb that probably explains the drop in power last season. Judging by the looks of the rest of his stats, he performed just fine. Pedroia hit .301-.372-.415 with 9 HRs, 91 runs, 84 RBI and 17 stolen bases, as he saw a minor bump in his runs scored and a solid bump in his RBI, from 65 to 84. He is two years removed from his 2011 season where he hit .307-.387-.474 with 21 HRs, 102 runs, 91 RBI and stole 26 bases. But, his slugging percentage is in a three year downtrend, so that is a concern for his owners on draft day, but he is one of the more consistent fantasy second baseman in the game, and bats in one of the better lineups in the game.

I expect a bump in power in 2014, back to the 14-15 home run level, along with a .290 batting average, 90 runs, 80 RBI and 15-20 stolen bases.

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# 4 Matt Carpenter (STL)

Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.318 126 11 78 3
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
717 0.392 0.481 10.04% 13.67%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.298 104 11 71 3
Auction Value: $ 17.15 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.284

Carpenter led all second baseman with a 7.0 WAR last season. Let that sink in. Carpenter might be one of the top 2-3 leadoff hitters in the game, as he is an extreme contact hitter, which is good thing. His 27.3% line drive percentage ranked sixth amongst all qualified hitters last season, so he should be able to maintain his high batting average in 2014. With that said, I don't see him scoring 126 runs again. I think 90 runs is more likely in the low run scoring environment we are experiencing in MLB over the last few seasons. Plus, the Cardinals hit over .300 with runners in scoring position last season, if I remember correctly. What's the chance that happens again?

For a second baseman, Carpenter's fantasy value is wrapped into his high batting average, runs scored and RBI totals, but I see a drop in all three categories in 2014.

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# 5 Ian Kinsler (DET)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.277 85 13 72 15
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
614 0.344 0.413 8.31% 9.61%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.26 82 13 65 15
Auction Value: $ 9.33 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.275

Kinsler moves from the Rangers to the Tigers this season, after the offseason deal sending Prince Fielder to Texas. How does this impact Kinsler? I think he COULD score more runs, but have to think his home run and power numbers drop some. And maybe his batting average as well. He will turn 32 in June, and has seen his power, runs and stolen bases drop in each of the last two seasons, so it is quite possible that trend continues in 2014. The Tigers lineup changes a bit with Kinsler added and Fielder removed, so one has to wonder if their offense could disappoint in 2014.

Kinsler's batted ball splits improved in 2013, as his line drive percentage increased from 20% to just under 24%, so there is a chance he can hold the batting average gain from last season. But, his power and HR/FB rates are in a downtrend, so don't be surprised if he fails to exceed double digit home runs this season.

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# 6 Ben Zobrist (TBR)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.275 77 12 71 11
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
698 0.354 0.402 10.32% 13.04%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.267 81 15 74 11
Auction Value: $ 11.71 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.278

Zobrist had another solid season at the dish in 2013, hitting .275-.354-.402 with 12 home runs, 77 runs, 77 RBI and 11 stolen bases. But, his performance dropped in four of the five categories last season, as his power, as measured by slugging percentage (SLG) and isolated power (ISO) dropped from 2012 levels. Actually, his ISO is in a five year downtrend:

2008: .253

2009: .246

2010: .115

2011: .201

2012: .202

2013: .127

The trend is down, but he has had a sub-.200 ISO in the past and bounced back the next season. Can he bounce back in 2014? It is certainly possible, but he turns 33 years of age in May, so we could see his power continue to drop in 2014.

Zobrist has solid value in fantasy and roto leagues, but a bit more in leagues that use OBP in place of, or in addition to, batting average, as he owns a .354 career OBP, which is well above the major league average.

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# 7 Brandon Phillips (CIN)

Photo Credit: Jake Roth - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.261 80 18 103 5
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
666 0.31 0.396 5.86% 14.71%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.262 77 16 83 6
Auction Value: $ 10.38 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.277

Phillips was the subject of trade rumors this offseason, but nothing ever came of it. I would not be surprised if he is dealt during the season should the Reds not compete for a wild card. He doesn't steal many bases anymore, so his fantasy value has dropped over the years, but he is pretty consistent from year to year. Here is a look at his career stats, courtesy of Baseball-Reference:

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2006 25 CIN 149 536 65 148 28 17 75 25 35 88 .276 .324 .427 .751 88
2007 26 CIN 158 650 107 187 26 30 94 32 33 109 .288 .331 .485 .816 105
2008 27 CIN 141 559 80 146 24 21 78 23 39 93 .261 .312 .442 .754 94
2009 28 CIN 153 584 78 161 30 20 98 25 44 75 .276 .329 .447 .776 103
2010 29 CIN 155 626 100 172 33 18 59 16 46 83 .275 .332 .430 .762 102
2011 30 CIN 150 610 94 183 38 18 82 14 44 85 .300 .353 .457 .810 118
2012 31 CIN 147 580 86 163 30 18 77 15 28 79 .281 .321 .429 .750 99
2013 32 CIN 151 606 80 158 24 18 103 5 39 98 .261 .310 .396 .706 92
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/30/2014.

Phillips has hit at least 17 home runs, scored at least 65 runs, and driven in at least 59 runs every year since 2006. In addition, he has hit 18 home runs in each of the last four seasons, and has driven in 75 or more runs in seven of the last eight years. That's consistency. He makes my all consistency team along with Matt Holliday and a few others. He turns 33 years of age in late June, so age could start creeping up on him. I don't see him driving in 100+ runs again, as the Reds lost outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to free agency this offseason, and we don't know how new center fielder Billy Hamilton will fare in his first tour of duty in the big leagues.

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# 8 Chase Utley (PHI)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.284 73 18 69 8
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
531 0.348 0.475 8.47% 14.88%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.253 68 15 65 6
Auction Value: $ 4.69 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.267

Utley has performed better than I could have expected after knee surgery, hitting .284-.349-.475 with 18 HRs, 73 run, 68 RBI and 8 stolen bases in 131 games last season. His 18 home runs tied for fourth, while his runs and RBI ranked ninth, and his batting average and stolen bases ranked eighth amongst all second baseman last season.

His .475 slugging percentage was his best power output since 2009. One of the reasons for that is due to the fact that Citizens Bank Park played as the best home run park in baseball last year, increasing home runs by 52%. CBP also ranked sixth in runs scoring last season, improving runs scoring by 11%. Ultey turned 35 in December, but has shown he is still a valuable fantasy second baseman. He was the top fantasy second baseman for several years before giving way to Robinson Cano.

20130221_mje_ah6_1133.

# 9 Jose Altuve (HOU)

Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.283 64 5 52 35
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
672 0.316 0.363 4.76% 12.65%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.287 70 5 53 34
Auction Value: $ 11.99 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.276

Altuve is a solid contact hitter who will hit for a high average and steal 30+ bases for you, but has very little power, and hits in an Astros lineup that ranked 26th in runs scored last season. Altuve showed his solid 2012 performance was not a fluke, as he hit .283-.316-.363 with 5 home runs, 64 runs, 52 RBI and 35 stolen bases in 48 attempts. His run total dropped but his RBI and stolen base totals improved vs 2012, and I see a rebound in his runs scored this season. The Astros lineup added outfielder Dexter Fowler and should see outfield prospect George Springer called up early in the season, assuming he doesn't start the season with the big league club.

Altuve hits plenty of line drives, so he should continue to hit for a high average going forward, but he tends to swing at pitches outside the zone a bit too often as his 37.6% O-Swing% indicates. That may just be a result of Altuve trying to do too much, but is something to watch in 2014.

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# 10 Aaron Hill (ARI)

Photo Credit: Jake Roth - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.291 45 11 41 1
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
362 0.356 0.462 8.01% 13.26%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.278 70 17 73 7
Auction Value: $ 10.35 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.277

Hill missed almost half the season due to injury last season, but still managed to be productive when in the Diamondbacks lineup. In 87 games, he hit .291-.356-.462 with 11 HRs, 45 runs, and 41 RBI, with his highest walk rate since his rookie season. Hill turns 32 in March, and benefits from playing in the Chase Field, a hitters park. Chase Field didn't play like a hitters park in 2013, suppressing run scoring and home runs by 2% and 5%, respectively, and I am not sure of the reason for that.

As you can see from our consensus rankings above, I was the high guy on Hill, ranking him fifth, just ahead of Zack, who ranked him sixth. There is a lot of variance in his ranking among the writers, but I still see Hill being a very productive fantasy second baseman, capable of hitting .280-.290 with 16-20 home runs and 70 runs and 70 RBI in 2014.

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# 11 Jedd Gyorko (SDP)

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.249 62 23 63 1
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
525 0.301 0.444 6.29% 23.43%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.272 75 28 78 2
Auction Value: $ 13.96 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.283

Gyorko had a solid rookie season in 2013, hitting .249-.301-.444 with 23 HRs, 62 runs and 63 RBI in 125 games. He has impressive power for a second baseman, as he was able to carry over the power he showed in AAA ( 30 home runs 2012 between AA and AAA) to the big league club. His batted ball profile shows that he hits enough fly balls (just under 40%) so he should be able to repeat his home run output in 2014, with a chance for more. We could see a bump in his batting average as he hits a good amount of line drives (22% in 2013) as well.

Gyorko hit 15 of his 23 home runs in August and September after returning from a groin strain, but he struggled to hit for average. In addition, Gyorko hit 21 of his 23 home runs in just three months of the season, as he hit zero home runs in April and July (played just 13 games). We will see what type of player Gyorko is in 2014, as he has a chance to improve upon his 23 home runs last season.

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# 12 Martin Prado (ARI)

Photo Credit: Jake Roth - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.282 70 14 82 3
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
664 0.333 0.417 7.08% 7.98%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.284 72 12 79 3
Auction Value: $ 10.34 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.275

Prado doesn't hit for power like some of the second baseman ranked ahead of him, but he is solid across four categories. He hit .282-.333-.417 with 14 home runs, 70 runs, 82 RBI and 3 stolen bases last season. He makes a ton of contact and walks almost as much as he strikes out. He is a little underrated actually, as he has averaged 12 home runs, 76 runs scored, and 64 RBI over the last five seasons, and has seen his RBI total increase in each of the last two seasons. He ranked in the top 10-12 in four of the five hitting categories amongst second baseman last season.

Prado was drafted in the 10th round of a recent 12 team, mixed league draft I participated in last week, ahead of Brandon Phillips, Chase Utley among others.

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# 13 Anthony Rendon (WSN)

Photo Credit: Brad Barr - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.265 40 7 35 1
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
394 0.329 0.396 7.87% 17.51%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.271 64 13 63 2
Auction Value: $ 4.05 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.266

Rendon moved over to second base last season and performed well at the plate, but with little power. The 6th round pick in the 2011 amateur draft had a solid first half, hitting .301 with 4 HRs, 22 runs and 14 RBI in 163 at bats. He couldn't follow up that solid first half as he struggled in the second half, hitting just .234 with 3 HRs, 18 runs and 21 RBI in 188 at bats.

Rendon limited his strikeouts to 17.5% of his plate appearances, and walked in just under 8% of plate appearances last season, so he has a solid eye at the dish. I see Rendon improving his eye at the plate as he gains experience as he showed better plate discipline skills in the minors. I wonder if he will emerge into a 20+ home run hitter or settle in to be a 15-20 home run hitter at his peak. He makes plenty of contact, and rarely swings and misses, so he has the potential to be a breakout candidate in 2014.

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# 14 Daniel Murphy (NYM)

Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.286 92 13 78 23
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
697 0.319 0.415 4.59% 13.63%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.282 79 9 69 11
Auction Value: $ 10.74 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.275

Murphy had a breakout season in 2013, hitting .286-.319-.415 with 13 HRs, 92 runs, 78 RBI and a surprising 23 stolen bases in 26 attempts. He set career highs in each of the counting stat categories, and one has to wonder if he can repeat this in 2014. The improvement in home runs was directly correlated to an increase in fly balls from 24.9% to 36.3%.

Murphy was pretty consistent at the plate all season, hitting .282 or better in five of six months, with his .227 average in June being his worst month. I have a hard time believing he can repeat this performance level in 2014, but he is a solid hitter with excellent contact skills, so he will offer a high batting average, with a good chance for double digit home runs and stolen bases.

20130220_mjr_su5_021.0

# 15 Jurickson Profar (TEX)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2013 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.234 30 6 26 2
2013 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
324 0.308 0.336 8.02% 19.44%
2014 ROTOBANTER PROJECTIONS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.256 68 15 57 11
Auction Value: $ 4.51 Equivalent Fantasy Average: 0.268

I think it will take Profar a couple seasons before he reaches his potential as a fantasy asset. The former #1 prospect in the game is now the Rangers starting second baseman, after playing multiple positions last season. In 85 games last season, he hit .234-.308-.336 with 6 HRs, 30 runs, 26 RBI and 2 stolen bases.

I ranked Profar as my #12 fantasy second baseman for 2014, but the consensus has him at #15 overall, which probably makes more sense for the young second baseman.

Fantasy Rundown

If you are looking for more position rankings, or plain old fantasy baseball goodness, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one place to get all things fantasy.

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