There are some productive options at second base, but once the talent drops off, it falls quickly. I definitely wouldn’t want to be on the back-end of a second basement run in a draft.
- Robinson Cano: He does everything except steal bases. If you have him, then it gives you enough time in the draft to get those SBs from someone else.
- Ian Kinsler: He’s gone 30/30 twice and is a good bet to go 20/20 or better, while getting a lot of at bats at the top of the Rangers lineup.
- Ben Zobrist: I may be alone on this, and I’m okay with it. Zobrist gets the nod over Pedroia and Phillips because of his flexibility. The three are similar players, with Zobrist having a slight OPS edge, but he’s also eligible at 2B, SS and OF.
- Dustin Pedroia: Similar numbers to Zobrist and Phillips, but hitting at the beginning of the order, and getting a lot of at bats will make his high batting average more valuable.
- Brandon Phillips: Year to year he’s one of the most consistent players you’ll find, and he helps in all categories.
- Jason Kipnis: In the first half of the season he hit .277 with 11 HRs, 49 RBIs and 20 SBs. If he kept that up for the second half he would have been first or second on this list. He hit a lot more ground balls, however, and his BABIP fell from .303 to .276. I expect him to finish the year in Kinsler’s territory because the first half seems to match his minor league track record, but unless you already have a stable roster, he still has to prove himself before being drafted among the top five second basemen.
- Aaron Hill: His average will likely come down a bit, but it should still be respectable. He has 26 or more HR’s in three of the last four seasons, and can get double-digit SBs.
- Rickie Weeks: He is very similar to Brandon Phillips, but with a lower average and more walks. He would help your team more if he had the chance to hit lower in the order and drive in runs.
- Danny Espinosa: If you can make up for the low average, guessing .250-ish, take him. He’s been close to 20/20 two years in a row and is only 25, so he should keep improving. As an added bonus, he’s also eligible at SS.
- Jose Altuve: Stolen bases is the category I value least, but if you need to add a significant amount to your roster, then I could see him being a couple of spots higher. Altuve had 33 SBs and a good average, both of which should be repeated.
- Josh Rutledge: He’ll need to play second base with Tulowitzki coming back. Based on his minor league numbers and last season, 15/15 is a reasonable expectation.
- Chase Utley: His last full season was 2009, and knee issues are still a concern. This means the years of 30+ HRs and 100+ RBIs are probably a distant memory. He’s still very productive when he plays, but you’ll be lucky to get ¾ of a season from him, and the free agent options to replace the time he misses could do more harm than good.
- Neil Walker: Should provide decent HRs and AVG with a lower SB total than most other second baseman. His upside isn’t as high because of that.
- Howard Kendrick: He was a disappointment following 2011, which was his best season as a pro. He hits in a very good lineup and, this low in the rankings, success may just be finding someone who doesn’t hurt you.
- Dustin Ackley: His first full season didn’t meet expectations, but he should be able to pick up his average. Hopefully the counting stats improve with that.
- Dan Uggla: I couldn’t find a reason his AVG has been down the last two seasons, which makes me think it is now the norm for him. He can still hit for power and get some RBIs to go along with it, but that’s all he can provide.
- Omar Infante: Most people don’t have their best season after turning 30, so I wouldn’t count on him duplicating last season. With that being said, he’s a solid option as an injury replacement.
If you haven’t gotten any of the ranked second basemen and still have an open spot, my advice is to target a player that won’t hurt your team batting average (think Daniel Murphy), then consider any extra production a bonus.