This is the third article in the series of our 2013 fantasy baseball rankings looking at the position of second base. I feel that the depth of this position is pretty weak and I would be looking to fill this slot early in drafts in deeper mixed league formats. Once the top 15 players are off the board, you are faced with the possibility of having a player that won’t reach double digits in home runs or stolen bases which is a black hole in a mixed league setting. Also keep in mind that one of the guys I have ranked at second base, Ben Zobrist, could be drafted by an owner at shortstop where Zobrist also qualifies which weakens the player pool even further.
Here is a look at the top 20 fantasy baseball second basemen for 2013.
1. Robinson Cano- continues to thrive at Yankee Stadium, where he hit 22 home runs with 55 RBI in 306 at bats. Hit over .300 for the fourth consecutive season and scored 100+ runs for the fourth year in a row as well.
2. Dustin Pedroia - banged up in 2012 so his final totals were not quite as good as expected but he was still a solid five-category player. I have him slightly ahead of Kinsler because of batting average, consistency and being less of an injury risk.
3. Ian Kinsler - struggled on the road where he hit just .220 with five home runs in 327 at bats and also faltered down the stretch with a .229 average after the All-Star break. Only knock on him is his lower batting average than Pedroia and Cano and previous injuries.
4. Jason Kipnis - had a spectacular first half and then wore down the second half of the season, hitting .233 with only three home runs and went 11-for-17 in stolen bases. Expect more home runs and fewer stolen bases in 2013.
5. Ben Zobrist - stolen base success rate has fallen off the past two seasons making 20+ steals tough to reach. Middle infield flexibility gives him a small bump in value.
6. Aaron Hill - so now we know, 2011 was the fluke year with the drop in power. Long ball came back and the stolen bases stayed as well, though I expect the average to fall under .300 this year.
7. Jose Altuve - good second season with a solid average (no surprise given his minor league performance) and lots of steals. If he can maintain his walk rate from the second half of the season, there is some stolen base upside here.
8. Brandon Phillips - solid choice after the top tier is gone at this position. Only caveats are if he hits first all season, expect a drop in RBI and his stolen base attempts have fallen three straight seasons.
9. Rickie Weeks - strikeout rate was out of control the first half of the season at 34% leading to a .199 batting average. Made much better contact the second half of the season, hitting .261 with 13 home runs.
10. Neil Walker - still has a little more power in the tank than what he has showed us so far. If he could learn to hit the ball deep against left-handed pitching (one home run in 278 at bats last two seasons) then he could be looking at reaching 20 home runs.
11. Danny Espinosa - with a rising strikeout rate, expect his batting average to down this season if he can’t fix the whiffs. The combination of power and speed at the middle infield can be enticing later in drafts, but make sure you have a good batting average foundation to carry him.
12. Howie Kendrick - lost his power vs. southpaws with only two home runs in 165 at bats, thanks to a ground ball rate that jumped by seven percentage points. Don’t expect a power outburst based on his 18 home run season from 2011.
13. Dan Uggla - walk rate increased which was a good sign, but strikeout rate jumped by six percentage points. His strikeout rate was okay the first and last month of the season, but everything in between that was much too high. Hope for 20 home runs if you draft him and anything over that is gravy if he cannot cut back on his strikeouts.
14. Chase Utley - still has skills, but if you own him, you need to waste a bench spot on a backup for him given his health issues.
15. Dustin Ackley - power expectations were too high for him last season so I am not surprised by his home run total. The Mariners are moving in the fences at Safeco Field this season so perhaps he knocks out more than two home runs this year at home.
16. Omar Infante - last season was his best year since 2004 so the skills were there before and everything lined up for him in 2012. I expect his power and speed to regress in 2013.
17. Daniel Murphy - NL-only option with lack of power and little speed. Most of his value is in his batting average.
18. Marco Scutaro - had a nice run with San Francisco to end the season, but at age 37, no guarantee he holds up to get 600 at bats again this year.
19. Kelly Johnson - had decent numbers the first half of the season before falling apart after the break, hitting .195 in 210 at bats with just 18 RBI. Strikeout rate is steadily climbing from year-to-year which makes him a candidate for a reduction in playing time if it continues.
20. Jeff Keppinger - ranking is based on him getting 500 at bats which may be possible given the less than thrilling options at second and third base for the White Sox. Only real category of value is in batting average.