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Staff Post: Second Baseman to Avoid in 2014

The Fake Teams fantasy baseball staff offer you some second baseman that you should avoid in your 2014 fantasy drafts, including Robinson Cano, Chase Utley and others.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

When preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts, it is a must to have a draft strategy, and on Wednesday, 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  basemen ranked, courtesy of Daniel Schwartz from Fake Teams and Rotobanter.

In addition, Daniel Kelley provided you his second  basemen 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  baseman to avoid, which we provide you today, and some second baseman to target, which published yesterday.

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

Second Baseman to Avoid in 2014

Daniel Murphy, Mets - Matt Mattingly (@mattmattingly81)

According to ESPN's Player Rater, Murphy was the 4th most valuable 2B in rotisserie leagues last year. He even ranked ahead of Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler in 2013. Murphy's value was driven by the nice mix of power and speed, as he hit 13 HR's and 23 SB's in 2013, along with the 92 runs he scored last year. Before 2013, the second baseman had hit just 6 HR's in each of the previous 2 years, and had never stolen more than 10 bases in a season. Plus, it could be hard for Murphy to replicate the run totals he accumulated last year with the lineup he has around him in New York. His batting average was about where you would expect it to be, but Murphy out-produced what was expected of him in every counting stat category. Paying for the second baseman to repeat his 2013 output would not be a smart investment. Don't expect Daniel Murphy to finish in the top 5 fantasy second basemen again in 2014.

Robinson Cano, Mariners - Ray Guilfoyle (@faketeams)

I ranked Robinson Cano as my #2 ranked fantasy second baseman for 2014 in our consensus rankings, the only writer to rank him below #1. I have laid out my reasons earlier this offseason, and you can find the details here. Here is an excerpt from that article:

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.

Cano is still the first second baseman off draft boards so far this season, and is being drafted in the first round. I see Cano hitting 18-22 home runs with 75-85 runs and RBI with a .280-.290 average this season, and expect him to underperform his first round draft day value.

Chase Utley, Phillies - Alex Kantecki (@rotodealer)

Utley is 35 and coming off his best season since 2009. Back then, he was a 30-home run second baseman capable of giving you a combined 200 runs/RBI. Today, you're just hoping he can give you 110 games. Utley has appeared in a total of 432 games since 2010 (or 108 contests per year), which includes two seasons with a sub-.260 BA, 11 home runs and fewer than 50 RBI (2011 and 2012). Last season's stolen bases dropped below 10 for the first time in seven years, and I don't see him getting back there at age 35. After the "Big 3" (Robinson Cano, Jason Kipnis, Dustin Pedroia), you can wait and choose among a solid group of keystones. Utley is in that group, but I'd rather not risk getting a season like 2011 and 2012 again.

Martin Prado, Diamondbacks - Jason Hunt (@jasonsbaseball)

One of the nice things for years for Martin Prado has been the multi-position eligibility, and 2014 will be no exception as he qualifies at 2B, 3B, and in the outfield. The one thing that wasn't so nice for owners last year was the fact that he returned to his previous career norms for stolen bases, attempting just 8 and succeeding just 3 times. While he saw a higher amount of home runs, I don't think that continues either, and ends up around 9-11 instead.  For me, I think owners will reach for Prado earlier than his production warrants due to the flexibility, and the position is deep enough to wait.

Brandon Phillips, Reds - Daniel Kelley (@danieltkelley)

Phillips' fantasy value was held aloft last season almost entirely because of his gaudy RBI total, with a career-high 103. A big part of that was because he had Shin-Soo Choo (.423 OBP) and Joey Votto (.435) on base in front of him a billion-and-seven times, as the second baseman set new career lows in almost all his rate stats. Votto's still there, but Choo's on-base-ness has now been replaced by Billy Hamilton, and who knows how often he'll get on base. Phillips is on the downhill slide, and I think having him as a top-ten second baseman is insanity.

Chase Utley, Phillies - Joe Pytleski (@agape4argentina)

Listen, I somewhat touted Utley here, but I still feel that our consensus top 8 ranking is a bit high due to the injury risk. I know, I know, you could anticipate injury risk for anyone that plays the keystone, but in this case, I don't want to pay top 8 value for that risk. If you can get him on the cheap then by all means run with him--as I think 2014 still offers value for Utley--but I prefer my #14 ranking price/ADP.

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.