Staff Post: Second Baseman to Target in 2014

Thearon W. Henderson

The Fake Teams fantasy baseball staff offer you some second baseman that you should target in your 2014 fantasy drafts, including Neil Walker, Jedd Gyorko and others.

When preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts, it is a must to have a draft strategy, and yesterday, Zack Smith broke things down for you to assist you in your fantasy second baseman draft strategy. We have also provided you with our Top 30 second baseman rankings for 2014:

Part 1

Part 2

Included in the rankings above, we provided 2014 projections for almost every second baseman ranked, courtesy of Daniel Schwartz from Fake Teams and Rotobanter.

In addition, Daniel Kelley provided you his second baseman breakdown using his new fantasy stat called Equivalent Fantasy Average, or EFA.

Now that we have provided you all these tools you need to prepare for your drafts, your fantasy draft preparation would be incomplete without some second basemen to target, which we provide you today, and some second basemen to avoid, which publishes tomorrow.

We asked each of the fantasy baseball writers to provide you with the second baseman they would target in fantasy drafts this season, and you can find them, along with their reasoning, below.

Second Baseman to Target in 2014

Jedd Gyorko, Padres - Matt Mattingly (@mattmattingly81)

If you checked out our 2B Consensus Position Rankings, you already know that I am high on Gyorko. While there is still a fair amount of risk that comes with a player that hasn't yet played a full season of major league ball, the upside here is tremendous. After hitting 25 HR's in 2011 and 30 HR's in 2012 in the minors, the two-bagger launched 23 long-balls in 2013 with the Padres in 125 games. My list of second basemen with a decent chance of hitting 25 HR's in 2014 goes like this: Robinson Cano and Jedd Gyorko...That's it....While there are a few better options at 2B that will provide a mix of power and speed, no one else is in position to come close to matching Cano in long-balls. If Jedd Gyorko isn't drafted in the top 8-to-10 second baseman in your league, take advantage and snag a possible 25 HR's at a position weak on power.

Neil Walker, Pirates - Ray Guilfoyle (@faketeams)

As I wrote in part 2 of our second base rankings on Wednesday, Walker has seen his batted ball profile improve over the last few years, as he is beginning to hit more fly balls, while maintaining a high line drive rate. The increase in fly balls over the past few seasons have resulted in his home run totals increasing in each of the last two seasons. Should that continue, he could approach 18-20 home runs in 2014.

Only three other second baseman hit 20 or more home runs in 2013, and Walker could join that group in 2014. I see him returning to the .270-.280 hitter he was prior to last season, as his .274 BABIP last season was the lowest of his career, and well below his career BABIP of .312. Walker can be had in the later rounds of mixed league drafts, with a solid chance to outperform his draft day value.

Howie Kendrick, Angels - Jason Hunt (@jasonsbaseball)

It pains me to say it, but I've been a fan of Kendrick for fantasy purposes for a long time. He consistently has provided a high batting average to go with 10-15 home runs, the potential for double digit stolen bases, and solid production in runs and RBI as well. The part that differentiates Kendrick for me is that he provides five-category production, and while he isn't elite in any of them, all are solid. In Kendrick's case, he will likely be available later than he should due to missing time in 2013, and is a nice target if you miss the top tier of second basemen.

Daniel Murphy, Mets - Daniel Kelley (@danieltkelley)

I wrote about Murphy on Monday, but suffice it to say this is a guy who puts up fantasy stats. He gets a bad rap because (a) he's a Met, and (b) he's bad at defense, but one of those is irrelevant to fantasy, and the other is a bit (only a bit, but still) negated by the additions of Curtis Granderson and Chris Young. If you think Murphy keeps running like he did last year - and I do - there isn't much of anything not to like about him.

Jurickson Profar, Rangers - Joe Pytleski (@agape4argentina)

Think about if the top prospect had a stellar 320+ PAs last year we wouldn't even be having this discussion about targeting Profar. He'd be in the top 10 without question. Unfortunately for the Rangers and his overall development, Profar was shifted all over the diamond last year, used as a defensive replacement, and used as a pinch hitter last year. None of these are ways that help a player develop necessarily. This won't be a problem this year, as he's slated for full-time work at the keystone in one of the league's premiere offenses. Keith Law calls him a future "superstar" and I see no reason to let 320 plate appearances stand in the way of that. This will be your last time, dynasty owner, to buy low, and I remain optimistic that he'll be in the top 10 by the end of the year.

Martin Prado, Diamondbacks - Alex Kantecki (@rotodealer)

No, he's not flashy, but Prado gets the job done. Last season, the 30-year-old utility man split time between second, third and the outfield. In leagues with 20-game eligibility rules, Prado will be eligible at all three positions again, but second base is his most attractive spot on the fantasy diamond. He played in more than 155 games for the second straight season, slashing .282/.333/.417 with 14 home runs, 70 runs, 82 RBI and three steals. Minus the thefts, Prado can play the role of the NL's Ben Zobrist. The difference? His career batting average (.293) is 30 points better than Tampa Bay's utility man and he won't cost you as high of a draft pick. While Prado did break out for 17 steals in 2012 (his previous high was five), I'll gladly take the upgrade he provides in batting average.

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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