The 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft season is officially upon us. As a part of our draft packet for this season, we’re going to examine the elite options at each position. Let’s take a look at our top 5 fantasy second baseman for 2014, and compare our rankings to their current ADP (average draft position) in mock drafts. As always, if your thoughts differ from these, please comment below or make use of our Fantasy Baseball Forum to share.
1. Robinson Cano
Yankees or no Yankees, Cano is still king of the second sackers. Do we expect SafeCo to mess with his power numbers a bit? Sure. Will the lack of the short porch in New York hurt him overall? Probably. But we’re undeterred in ranking him as the #1 second baseman. He’s arguably in a stronger, younger lineup this year, and may even have better protection. He’s rarely injured and generally a lock for 600 AB’s, 20+ HR, and a .300+ AVG. He stopped stealing bases years ago, but with an OBP of .383, who cares? He’s an obvious, no-brainer choice at the top of these ranks.
2. Jason Kipnis
A season after breaking out, Kipnis proved himself much more than a one-year wonder by posting 17 HR, 30 SB, and a .366 OBP. With his unusual combination of speed and power, it’s time drafters took him seriously as a legit 1A option, in an admittedly weak field, at 2B. The only real knock against him was a second half swoon in 2013: .261 AVG, 4 HR, and 9 SB after the break. The Indians should field an offensively productive team again, and there’s no real reason to expect Kipnis to slow down, making him a strong, if somewhat risky, pick in the second round of drafts.
3. Matt Carpenter
Carpenter had a completely insane, Fantasy Waiver Wire MVP type year, in 2013: .318 AVG, 126 runs, 78 RBI, 11 HR, and a .392 OBP. He came out of nowhere, and was probably on the majority of fantasy championship squads. With a fifth round price tag in 2014, Carpenter investors are hoping that regression doesn’t hit him too hard, and they could be right. The Cards lineup he leads off for is one of the strongest in baseball. He’s not a power hitter, but rather a line-drive machine that sprays the ball to all fields, and is therefore not prone to prolonged slumps. His 72:98 BB/SO ratio shows impressive plate discipline. He’s also eligible at 3B, which could prove to be a bonus as the season goes along. He may not score 126 again, but 100 runs and a .300 AVG seem attainable so long as you’re not expecting 20 HR to go with them.
4. Dustin Pedroia
The Laser Show had a tough go of it in 2013, battling a thumb injury without missing many games for most of the season. He still turned in a solid .301 / 9 HR / 91 Runs/ 84 RBI / 17 SB campaign, a career year for most 2B, but bitterly disappointing for investors that took the Pedroia plunge with a second round pick in 2013. After offseason surgery to correct the issue, DPed says he’s a full go for 2014. With an early third round ADP, he’d better be. He does hit in a premium spot, in a premium lineup, in a premium park. If anyone could bounce back and have a monster campaign in 2014, Pedroia could certainly be a strong candidate.
5. Ian Kinsler
Kinsler is the proverbial fantasy box of chocolates in that you never know what you’re going to get from him. From 2006-2010, the knock on him was that he could never stay healthy, but produced at an elite level when he was. For the last three seasons, he’s stayed healthy (545+ AB’s in each season) but his HR, SB, BB, and Runs output have gone down each season, in perfect linear regression, as he’s gotten older. He’s now on the wrong side of 30 and a power / speed guy who seems to be losing both little by little. But hitting leadoff in the Tigers lineup could revitalize any career, and a full season with the powerful Detroit bets behind him could replenish his tantalizing upside. He could either be a colossal bargain or a colossal bust at his current 6th round ADP. Do you feel lucky?
Daniel Murphy, Jedd Gyorko, Brandon Phillips, Jose Altuve, and Aaron Hill round out our top 10 at the position. A lot can change during spring training, so be sure to check out our most up-to-date second base rankings.