By Jeremy Tiermini
Position scarcity: it is perhaps the most uttered phrase as owners prepare for fantasy drafts. Questions revolve around “Who should I draft in this spot?” and the answer always seems to come back to position scarcity. The second base position was perhaps the most shallow position, with the exception of catcher, heading into fantasy baseball Draft Day for the 2010 season. Just like the catcher position, second base is loaded with early-round draft pick busts. With over one-third of the games played for the season there are some notable names in the running for the Bust of the Year.
When looking for busts I used the player rater from Yahoo Sports, since I play in a 5X5 mixed league on that site. All of the statistics I listed are current through Tuesday night’s games.
|Player||Pre. Rank||Cur. Rank||AVG||HR||R||RBI||SB|
|Chase Utley, Phillies||4||157||.260||10||41||26||2|
|Ian Kinsler, Rangers||17||738||.270||1||29||14||4|
|Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox||26||123||.267||8||41||32||4|
|Brian Roberts, Orioles||44||1227||.143||0||1||0||2|
|Aaron Hill. Blue Jays||45||789||.197||9||28||24||1|
|Chone Figgins, Mariners||66||776||.228||0||28||17||13|
|Gordon Beckham, White Sox||134||1005||.210||1||24||15||4|
Brian Roberts was battling injuries from Day 1 of Spring Training, it seems and if you drafted him you knew you were taking the risk that he was going to miss a significant chunk of time. If you took a chance on him later you were hurt much less than if you grabbed him in the late 4th or early 5th rounds, as he was ranked. With the Orioles struggling, the prudent decision would be to shut down Roberts and have him prep for next season. His draft value is minimal and he is doing you no good taking up a bench spot. If you need help for your roster today, and you are still holding onto Roberts, drop him and focus on now. Any value he provides if he does return will be minimal, especially with the Orioles ready to be sellers in the trade market.
I threw Gordon Beckham in here because he was a 2B sleeper starting the year; he was one of those guys that you could get in the middle rounds of a draft that had the chance to produce early round numbers. Ummmm, oops. Beckham has been terrible this year and the White Sox are going into rebuilding mode for next year. I don’t believe that GM Kenny Williams will move Beckham because he is still young, so Beckham still has some value. However, I wouldn’t rush out and try to buy low on him. If you need help at 2B, look elsewhere until Beckham proves he can perform on a consistent basis.
Dustin Pedroia makes the list just because of the discrepancy in his rankings. However, a few good weeks of multi-hit games and his average is right back to where it is expected to be and his ranking will reflect that. If an owner is willing to move him, I would grab him.
Chone Figgins is having a terrible season, like the rest of Seattle’s offense. As a speed guy, his value comes in the categories of average, runs, and stolen bases. Figgins needs to go on a tear to get his average up and he needs the entire Mariners team to go on a tear to get his runs category up; I don’t see either happening. If you drafted him to be your top SB guy, projecting 40+, you are going to be disappointed. I do believe he will get his final average up to .245-.250, but I don’t see him stealing more than 30 bases or scoring more than 70-75 runs. If you have room to stash him on your bench and you need steals, he shouldn’t cost you too much.
That leads us to three of the biggest names at the 2B position and the ones everyone wanted because of their power potential: Chase Utley, Ian Kinsler, and Aaron Hill. In many pre-season publications, Utley was a consensus pick early in the first round and his value went up because of the aforementioned “position scarcity.” To this point, Utley has underperformed in every category and there is speculation that his hip is bothering him again. Since he has just two stolen bases, I would not be surprised if he is playing with an injury. If you don’t need speed, I would recommend taking a chance on Utley. Philadelphia’s offense is too good to continue to struggle like this, so I think Utley still has a shot to reach his normal level for average and runs. If his hip is indeed bothering him, don’t expect more than a handful of steals the rest of the way and expect his HR’s to finish in the 26-28 range. RBI’s will be the category where he loses the most value, as I expect him to finish around 80-85 RBI’s. If you can get him at a discounted rate, his potential makes him worth the risk.
Everyone knows about Ian Kinsler’s injury history, so it should have been no shock that he started the season on the DL. However, his lack of power since his return has been disappointing. He has been dealing with a right ankle injury all season so he appears to be lacking the ability to push off and drive the ball. At the rate he is going, he will be lucky if he hits double-digit HR’s this season. He still has value in keeper leagues, where he can take the off-season to rest and rehab, but I don’t think he will contribute much this season. He is runner-up for Bust of the Year thus far in 2010 and I expect him to claim this award at season’s end.
Which brings us to Aaron Hill. Most fantasy owners expected some regression after his huge 2009 season, but I don’t think owners expected Hill’s stats to fall off this much, especially in the batting average department. Because of this, Hill stands as my current 2B Bust of the Year. Now, if you need help at 2B and can buy low, Hill might be worth a look. He has raised his batting average almost 20 points over the last 6 games, so he could finally be finding his rhythm at the plate. However, don’t expect him to hit more than 24-25 HR’s this season. If you can deal away one of your excess players from another position Hill could give you decent value in the second half.