Fantasy Prospect Rankings: Second Base

Kwong 300x261 Fantasy Prospect Rankings: Second BaseIt’s rare that you come across an impact second base prospect. They’re usually guys that don’t have the range for short or the arm for third or they just don’t hit as much as you’d like. What do you picture when you think of a second baseman? A smallish guy, usually pretty dirty, making a quick throw to first? Kinda looks like David Eckstein, right? You don’t picture them smashing bombs, because second basemen generally don’t. Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia are the outliers at second, and any production you get from the position can almost be viewed as a bonus.

That’s why these players are interesting. It takes not too much to be a viable fantasy second baseman, and a few of the players below could easily blow past that not too much threshold in 2014. Yes, 2014 — that’s the only season these rankings are taking into consideration. Rougned Odor and Mookie Betts aren’t listed below, because they’re not cracking an MLB roster next year. Let’s take a gander at a few fellas that likely will.

1. Wilmer Flores — 2B/3B, NYM (AAA: .321/.357/.531 in 463 PAs | MLB: .211/.248/.295 in 101 PAs)
Calling Wilmer Flores a second basemen is generous, like tithing 10 percent or donating the old LeSabre to Kars 4 Kids. Yes, Wilmer physically played second base for most of last season, and his other position is manned by David Wright, but he’s a massive defensively liability. He’s slow and large and doesn’t project to get faster or smaller anytime soon. The Mets pitching staff won’t be happy he’s at second as ground ball after ground ball scoots on by him, but it’s good for us fantasy baseballers, because his bat looks legit. Flores feels like he’s been around forever, but he’ll play most of next season at 22, and it’s likely he’ll break camp with the big league club. Given 600 PAs, he’ll probably hit around .260 with 10 homers and 20 doubles. That’s playable at second. He doesn’t take many walks, so be leery in OBP leagues. The Mets are pretty bad, so the runs and RBI can’t be counted on, and Wilmer is glacial for a second baseman, so there won’t be steals here.

Draft Advice: Wilmer’s transition to MLB could be tricky — he’s still very young and there’s a wide range of outcomes for him next year. He’s unlikely to be a top 10 second baseman, but that’s still possible. Look for him after the 20th round in standard leagues.

2. Alexander Guerrero — 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers | Cuba: .290/.402/.576 in 328 PAs)
I’m putting Guerrero here because he’s getting paid a lot of money, and it looks like he’s got the inside track at starting at second for the Dodgers next year. The thing about the Dodgers is that even if you’re getting paid a lot of money by them, it doesn’t mean you’re going to start. It helps to have a self-refilling Scroogevault somewhere in the valley. But Guerrero’s numbers in Cuba were damn impressive, even if we don’t really know what they mean or how they translate to MLB. In 2012 he hit 21 home runs in 328 PAs and walked more than he struck out. Obviously, if the power and OBP skills translate to MLB, he’s a top 5 fantasy second baseman and an elite talent. The numbers are great, but the scouting consensus is much more guarded regarding his offensive talent. Basically, we don’t know what we’re going to get from him. He’s a wildcard.

Draft Advice: Someone’s going to overdraft him in your league, probably in the 10th or 12th round. Could he merit that? Sure. Could he be a utility infielder? Yup. He’s a wildcard. I just said that up there. I’d look to snag him after the 20th round in standard leagues.

3. Kolten Wong — 2B, St. Louis Cardinals (AAA: .303/.369/.466 in 463 PAs | MLB: .153/.194/.169 in 62 PAs)
I’m rooting for Wong to have a good career, just so he’s not remembered as the guy who got picked off to end a World Series game for the rest of his life. As I wrote that I realized, even if he turns into Joe Morgan, Wong will still be remembered as that guy. That’s the fate of World Series blunderers. But the good news for Wong is that David Freese just got dealt for Peter Bourjos, which will domino him into the starting second base job in St. Louis next year. Chin up, Kolten — the Cards have faith in you. And for good reason, as he’s steadily improved as he’s gone up the organizational ladder. Wong will take a walk, doesn’t strike out much, stole 20 bags while only being thrown out once, and he’s got decent pop, hitting 10 homers and 21 doubles in Triple-A last season.

Draft Advice: Wong will move up draft boards after the Freese trade, as he has the potential to hit .280 with 10 home runs and 20 steals in a deep Cardinal lineup. I don’t think he has the ceiling of either of the players ahead of him, but he’s more likely to produce next season. He’s a late round draft target in standard leagues.

4. Jonatahan Schoop — 2B, Baltimore Oriolkes (Rk/A+/AAA: .278/.330/.460 in 336 PAs | MLB: 286/.333/.500 in 15 PAs)
This isn’t relevant, fantasy or otherwise, but I was really disappointed when I learned that Schoop is pronounced like the mouthwash and not like the Salt n’ Pepa song. Schoop’s season was a bit of a disappointment as well, as he was injured for a good portion of the year and then didn’t handle the transition to Triple-A very well, as he OPS’d .697 in 70 games at the level. The one positive takeaway from last season is that he hit for more power. Schoop is the second baseman of the future in Charm City, but the question is how far away is that future? I think the earliest timetable is this year’s All Star Game, and he’ll need to make serious strides in his offensive game to warrant that call up. That, and he’ll need to stay healthy.

Draft Advice: Schoop shouldn’t be drafted, but if he gets promoted his power could be useful in deep leagues.

5. Cesar Hernandez — 2B/OF, Philadelphia Phillies (AA/AAA: .314/.378/.406 in 453 PAs | MLB: .289/.344/.331 in 131 PAs)
There’s a bit of a chasm in 2014 potential value between the top three players and the last two on this list. Hernandez has great fantasy potential based on just the 33 bags he stole in the minors last year. Anyone with second base eligibility that’s stealing close to 30 bases has a fantasy role. Hernandez’s issue is playing time – his will be sporadic at best. Utley is entrenched at second and the Phillies like Kevin Frandsen for some reason as his backup. Hernandez will probably scrape together 250 PAs playing three or four positions, steal 10-12 bases and hit an empty .270.

Draft Advice: If you’re in a dynasty league with 25 man rosters, Hernandez is a viable play. He’s a complete non-factor in all standard scoring leagues.

The Last Cut: Eddie Rosario — 2B, Minnesota Twins
Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. I wrote you up and had you fourth on the list, and then you went ahead and got suspended for 50 games. You still might make the bigs next year, but probably not until rosters expand in September. I’m disappointed in you, Eddie. We all are. You’ve got all the talent to be an elite fantasy second baseman, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t keep you nose clean and get on the field.

Also considered:
Christian Colon, Kansas City Royals
Delino Deshields Jr., Houston Astros
Taylor Lindsey, Los Angeles Angels

Written by Steve Simas

Screenshot2014 05 30at35329PM zps603564a2 Fantasy Prospect Rankings: Second Base

Steve is a Rhode Islander living in Brooklyn. In February, 2006 he traded John Patterson and Nick Johnson for Evan Longoria in his 28 team, 40-man roster, full minors dynasty league. He’s really proud of himself for that. In his spare time, Steve thinks about Pedro Martinez.

twitter Fantasy Prospect Rankings: Second Base

8 comments on “Fantasy Prospect Rankings: Second Base

  1. rotoenquire says:

    Minor and Wolf are bullpen adds not ment to start. With the injury to Iwakuma getting another SP is more of a priority. Not a big Santana guy myself, maybe something via trade. I like what JackZ has done so far. But, if the intent is to compete this season 1 more SP and a power OF bat are needed.

  2. Edman says:

    How about worrying “after” Jack is through with the offseason? This is pure nonsense to get worked up about things that haven’t happened, and not knowing how it all is worked out.

  3. mgvernon says:

    The next free agent they sign will cost the M’s their Competitive Lottery pick after the second round, which should be around 65-70th pick. If some team signs Kendrys then the pick the M’s get for him would go to Texas if the M’s sign Cruz. Personally I’d rather they resign Morales as he’s shown he can hit in The Safe and he’s 3 years younger than Cruz. Signing Cruz to anything over two tears is exceptionally poor judgement IMO. They need a decent rotation piece more than Cruz, if they need a bat behind Cano other than Hart then bring back Morales and save the pick Cruz would cost. Randy Wolf and Zach Miner don’t qualify as decent rotation pieces.

  4. rotoenquire says:

    As to the question on who to keep Rendon or Gyorko. If looking down the road a year or two Rendon will edge out Gyorko if his talent wins out. If looking for this year production and a hair below Rendon long term got with Gyorko. .275 and 29HR not out of reach this season for Gyorko.

  5. rotoenquire says:

    Cruz mayy become an M no matter what anyone thinks. I hope the M’s do something via trade. Adding a younger OF who has some control and won’t cost a ton or a draft pick. Who that may be can and has been of some issue among us on here. A mid level guy would be more likely in any event. I don’tt see that huge trade happening this year. N. Franklin is a nice chip to have and dangle out there. Wait long. Enough and someone may bite and give up to much.

  6. rjfrik says:

    Very interesting article from Dan Szymborski on the remaining FA who have draft compensation connected to them. Talks about their true values taking in the consideration of the draft pick you would lose and the cost associated with that pick. Nelson Cruz’s true value to a team:
    Nelson Cruz, OF
    ZiPS projected contract: Two years, $18 million
    First-round compensation: Two years, $-5 million
    Second-round compensation: Two years, $6 million

    So he’s worth 3 million a year for two years. Pretty much tells you the story behind Cruz. STAY AWAY!!

    Here are a couple of snip its from the article on ESPNinsder: (The last paragraph where he talks about Cruz’s value is most interesting and comical)

    That doesn’t go for all major leaguers, however, as a large number of players remain unsigned. The most notable among them are the six players on Keith Law’s top-rated free agents list who haven’t signed yet, with five of them — Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Stephen Drew, Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales — finding the markets less receptive to their desired salaries than they had hoped, at least partially due to draft picks they will cost the team that signs them as a result of the qualifying offer they received from their former teams.

    The market has been so slow for these players that it’s fair to ask if teams are being too protective of their draft picks. But upon further inspection, it appears GMs are acting rationally. Allow me to explain.

    Whether a team loses a first-, second- or later-round pick, those picks have real value. When looking at the value of draft picks before last year’s draft, I developed a model of expected WAR value from each pick. (Remember: We can’t just use the average value of each pick, or Albert Pujols would make one think the 402nd pick is valuable, which it is not.)

    The No. 20 pick came out with an expected value of 5.6 WAR, the No. 45 pick at 2.9 WAR and the No. 75 pick at around 1.6 WAR. (I’m using these as proxies for the types of picks that would be given up for teams that sign these players.) Even when you take into consideration that the players aren’t free, especially toward the end of arbitration, for those three picks I get an estimated surplus value of 4.2 WAR, 2.2 WAR and 1.2 WAR, respectively.

    Those WAR figures for a typical draft pick may not be exciting, but in a world where Phil Hughes makes $8 million per season, those numbers are significant. With teams paying roughly $5.45 million in the free-agent market for a win (my current estimate based on existing contracts), the loss of the 20th pick in the draft comes out to $23 million. You might eat that when you’re signing a superstar, but it’s a painful price to add in for a second- or third-tier free agent. The numbers are less for our theoretical 45th and 75th picks, but $12 million and $7 million, respectively, are still significant chunks of cash.

    For each of the “qualifying offer five,” I’ve run down the ZiPS contract projection for each one (in a neutral park/league) along with how they should be priced when you factor in first- or second-round compensation. I gave them a year on the contract for each season they project to exceed 2 WAR, with a minimum of a two-year deal.

    Nelson Cruz, OF
    ZiPS projected contract: Two years, $18 million
    First-round compensation: Two years, $-5 million
    Second-round compensation: Two years, $6 million

    Morales and Cruz are in the same boat since they both have a similar problem, in that there’s almost no scenario in which losing a first-round pick becomes a good idea. Morales stayed healthy in 2013 and was quite solid for the Mariners, but he’s also on the wrong side of 30 and provides little defensive value. A team that desperately needs offense and owns a protected first-rounder may sign Morales, but his market is limited.

    Cruz is even older than Morales, more one-dimensional and is coming off a PED suspension, none of which will help him on the open market. If there ever truly was a five-year, $75 million offer on the table from a team, Cruz turning it down was a mistake of epic proportions, similar to that of Jody Reed (who once turned down three years, $7.8 million and ended up getting one year, $350,000) or Juan Gonzalez (who turned down eight years, $140 million before 2000; made $39 million in remaining five years of his career). Like Drew, Cruz is actually worth negative dollars when you factor in a first-round pick.

    The Mariners remain the best fit for Cruz (and he has been linked to Seattle all winter) as a team that really wants to spend money and always thinks it’s just a mediocre DH away from a 90-win season.

  7. Steve Simas says:

    Can you trade one of them? Both are talented, young, valuable assets and it’d be a shame if you have to let one go for nothing. Rendon has the higher ceiling, is younger and has much better control of the strike zone, but his injury history is a legitimate concern. I’d keep Rendon, but if the injuries scare you, Gyorko’s a great backup plan.

  8. ripperlv says:

    Not much to choose from there. However question. Scoresheet Sports – NL dynasty league – Do I keep Rendon or Gyorko?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Facebook IconTwitter IconProspect Insider RSS
garlits_melania@mailxu.com