2B Or Not 2B

Back in 2009 I did an exercise, trying to forecast the best player at each position for the next decade. Revisionist memory has me choosing B.Posey, J.Votto, R.Cano, M.Cabrera, H.Ramirez, M.Trout, A.McCutchen, R.Braun. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!! After a quick attempt to block future comments from league-mates here has failed, I’ll come clean with my first confession: I chose Dustin Ackley as the 2B of the 2010’s.

Thankfully, I’m wiser older now.

Dustin Ackley has been an unmitigated disaster since his debut with the Mariners. But where is he now? In the outfield. Of the top 10 Second Basemen in 2010, 3 no longer play second as their primary position. A fourth was left off the NLDS playoff roster. 2011 wasn’t a lot kinder, with Bonifacio, Espinosa, and M.Young as top ten producers. In fact, by 2013 only Robinson Cano, Ben Zobrist and Brandon Phillips remain as top 10 producers for the last 4 years. (Dustin Pedroia’s 2010 injury-shortened season prevented him from joining this group) The interesting thing is that it isn’t performance that has prevented repeat appearances in many cases; it’s that so many second baseman change positions. If you have not owned Cano, Phillips, Zobrist or Pedroia in your dynasty league, chances are that your second base slot has been a revolving door for the past 5 years. And those four players? All over the age of 30. So where does that leave you in your dynasty league, planning for the future? Are there guys you can target like a Byron Buxton, George Springer, Manny Machado, Gerrit Cole that can be your second baseman of the future? Here’s how we rank your options:

Kevin ranks the top 2B for dynasty leagues here. Our collective assembly ranked the top 2B for keeper leagues here. And if that’s not enough, Peter has your 2B prospects covered here.

In the majority of cases these rankings are based on the premise that the players will in fact stay at second base. Here’s a look at who may, who may not, as well as some future pieces that may find their way:

 

Matt Carpenter, St.Louis Cardinals

Key Information: Carpenter played 132 games at 2B in 2013, after only playing 5 games there in 2012. Carpenter never played second base in the minors. He is not eligible for free agency until 2018. Scored 126 runs, hitting ..318 with 55 doubles in 2013.

The Future at 2B: Carpenter isn’t going anywhere as far as playing time. He’s an excellent everyday player. The future at 2B for the Cardinals though, belongs to Kolten Wong. Wong struggled in his cameo in 2013, and could likely use some more seasoning. Where does that leave Carpenter? Carpenter could play some 3B with Freese potentially moved or sitting vs righties. He could play 1B if Craig is moved to the outfield if Adams is struggles.  The Cardinals have a lot of moving parts, but playing time for Carpenter will not be an issue.

Likelihood of Being Eligible at 2B in: 2014 2015 2016 2017
Matt Carpenter 100% 90% 50% 20%

 

Martin Prado, Arizona Diamondbacks

Key Information: Prado played 32 games at 2B in 2013, after playing there just 10 games in 2012. He’s had a lot of experience at second throughout his career including the minor leagues. He is eligible for free agency in 2017. Prado hit .282 and drove in 82 runs for the Diamondbacks in 2013.

The Future at 2B: Aaron Hill is the primary second baseman in Arizona. Injuries cost him a lot of time in 2013, but even in a season where he played 156 games at 2B, Prado still managed 10 appearances there. Prado started 96 games at 3B in 2013, yet Matt Davidson seems to be ready to play in 2014. Where does that leave Prado? Playing LF and some 3B if Davidson isn’t ready. He’ll get everyday at bats, but not at a single position.

Likelihood of Being Eligible at 2B in: 2014 2015 2016 2017
Martin Prado 100% 40% 40% 40%

 

Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals

Key Information: In his rookie campaign, Rendon played 82 games at 2B as well as 15 at his natural position of third. With Zimmerman signed until 2020 for the Nationals, Rendon learned and played 2B in 2013 for the first time in his professional career. Rendon batted .265 and slugged a lowly .396 in his partial first season.

The Future at 2B: Coming off shoulder surgery, Zimmerman sucked struggled defensively. He turned things around though and the rumblings have stopped as far as moving him to 1B. At second, there is little competition for Rendon and barring injuries, I feel like he can be anointed the Nationals Second Baseman of the Future.

Likelihood of Being Eligible at 2B in: 2014 2015 2016 2017
Anthony Rendon 100% 95% 90% 90%

 

Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers

Key Information: Profar played 32 games at 2B in 2013, 18 at SS, 10 at 3B,  8 in the OF, and he even was the DH 16 times. In the minors, he was a SS other than 32 games at 2B combined in 2012 and 2013. Elvis Andrus is the SS for Texas and he is signed through 2022. Ian Kinsler is signed as the Rangers’ 2B until 2017.

The Future at 2B: Kinsler started 124 games at 2B in 2013. His skills are declining and there has been talk of moving him to 1B. Moreland has 3 more years there though. The outfield will see an opening with Cruz and Murphy as free agents. In short, it’s a mess. Profar has been mishandled, both in lack of playing time and in his spot in the field. He shouldn’t have been “trying” the outfield for the first time at the major league level. His defense is very good and a team of Profar and Andrus up the middle would provide the ideal defensive alignment. But, I suspect there will be a shake-up of sorts in Texas. A lot of moving parts in place; too many for me to speculate on what Texas might do.

Likelihood of Being Eligible at 2B in: 2014 2015 2016 2017
Jurickson Profar 100% 50% 50% 50%

 

 Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres

Key Information: Gyorko started 114 games at 2B and 9 games at 3B in 2013. Other than 47 games at 2B in 2012, Gyorko spent all of his time in the minors at 3B. Chase Headley is the Padres’ 3B and he is a free agent after the 2014 season. Cory Spangenberg is a future 2B for the Padres, likely in 2015. Gyorko hit 23 HRs while batting .249 in 2013.

The Future at 2B: Spangenberg looks like a good prospect for San Diego, but he’s a bit away. Logan Forsythe, not free agent-eligible until 2018 is also in the mix in the infield. He’s an upgrade defensively over Gyorko at 2B, but can play third as well. Gyorko’s position is likely tied to any Chase Headley agreement or trade. James Darnell, once the future of 3B in San Diego, is likely destined to the outfield, if he can improve his stock.

Likelihood of Being Eligible at 2B in: 2014 2015 2016 2017
Jedd Gyorko 100% 60% 40% 40%

Some Bonus 2B Possibilities:

Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs. If I was going to target anyone for 2B it would be Baez. With Starlin Castro signed through 2019, Baez needs to find a spot to play. Already it has been announced that Baez will play 2B and 3B in the spring. While both positions are “available” for the major league team, the Cubs have Kris Bryant and Mike Olt as top 3B prospects, both near mlb-ready. Baez is an exciting bat and would profile as a top 5 second baseman offensively right away with the upside of more. OUTLOOK FOR 2B: 50%

Alen Hanson, Pittsburgh Pirates. Hanson hasn’t played any 2B since 2011 in the minors. He’s a top Pirates’ prospect that offers a pretty solid speed/power combination that would play up very well as a MI. His defense is spotty, and it will be interesting to see what Pittsburgh does with him. Walker is signed through 2016, but Hanson won’t be ready until late 2015 anyway. OUTLOOK FOR 2B: 25%

Alexander Guerrero, Unaffiliated. Guerrero is a free agent from Cuba who has not signed as of time of writing. The determining factor will obviously be where he signs. Guerrero is an intriguing bat with some power who will be ready to step in immediately for whoever he signs for. He profiles better as a 2B. OUTLOOK FOR 2B: 65%

Paul Hartman

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Fantasy Baseball player since 1987. Creator of Fantasy Assembly, yet just fortunate enough to be a part of it.