Fantasy Baseball 2012: Top 30 Second Basemen
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It would be misleading to characterize second base as a position of scarcity in 2012.
Yes, there are no certifiable facsimiles of Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, Rickie Weeks, Chase Utley, Ben Zobrist, Brandon Phillips or Dan Uggla after the first 60 picks of a 12-team, mixed-league draft.
But the entire top-30 list is also chock full of 25-and-under potential dynamos (Dustin Ackley, Jemile Weeks, Jason Kipnis, Jose Altuve, Gordon Beckham) and veteran stalwarts (Aaron Hill, Neil Walker, Kelly Johnson, Marco Scutaro, Sean Rodriguez) who are still in their prime years—and could break out with just a little good fortune, here and there.
1. Robinson Cano, Yankees
Skinny: A lead-pipe cinch for 25 HRs, 100 runs, 105 RBI, .305 BA over the next five seasons.
2. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Skinny: The reasonable choice for fantasy owners who value power, speed AND high batting average.
3. Ian Kinsler, Rangers
Skinny: My personal favorite for this position—and that was before he racked up 121 runs last season.
4. Dan Uggla, Braves
Skinny: Fantasy owners in Round 4 are praying for 30 homers...and anything above .260 in hitting.
5. Rickie Weeks, Brewers
Skinny: Let's assume his 2010 numbers (29 HRs/83 RBI/11 steals) are a baseline measure of production.
6. Chase Utley, Phillies
Skinny: A reputation pick here, and one that might look ambitious with Ryan Howard sidelined for a while.
7. Ben Zobrist, Rays
Skinny: The quietest 20-HR, 100-run, 20-steal potential of all middle infielders...and Big Z has OF eligibility.
8. Brandon Phillips, Reds
Skinny: A top-seven candidate for all five categories. Just don't expect career marks in HRs or RBI.
9. Ryan Roberts, Diamondbacks
Skinny: Don't be surprised if Roberts passes the 20-20 threshold at age 31. A great addition at Round 12.
10. Dustin Ackley, Mariners
Skinny: Ackley, who possesses the highest upside of anyone outside the top eight, has 15/40/.310 potential.
11. Howard Kendrick, Angels
Skinny: A slightly unfair ranking, given his solid 2011 campaign. Needs to crack 70 RBI this season.
12. Jason Kipnis, Indians
Skinny: Kipnis is more Pedroia or Phillips than Uggla or Utley. Either way, he's a long-term keeper.
13. Jemile Weeks, Athletics
Skinny: A dark-horse candidate for 85 runs and .310 average at age 25. Power numbers may never be there.
14. Marco Scutaro, Rockies
Skinny: Scutaro's value will get a nice bounce around April 10, when he secures 2B/SS eligibility.
15. Neil Walker, Pirates
Skinny: The wild swings in batting average and run production can be frustrating. Don't reach on draft day.
16. Kelly Johnson, Blue Jays
Skinny: Two full seasons of middling batting average have diluted Johnson's respectable power potential.
17. Gordon Beckham, White Sox
Skinny: Beckham has too many physical gifts to be this average in his prime. A solid late-round flier.
18. Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
Skinny: Went on a hitting tear last year after being traded...but the odds of batting .300 for the season are long.
19. Danny Espinosa, Nationals
Skinny: Anything above a pedestrian batting average would boost him into the top 15—he's that close.
20. Sean Rodriguez, Rays
Skinny: The 2B-SS-3B versatility opens doors for S-Rod. Can he be a steady 15-15 producer?
21. Jose Altuve, Astros
Skinny: A late-season find for the anemic Astros in 2011. Can he amass 30-35 steals in Year 2 of his development?
22. Ryan Raburn, Tigers
Skinny: Raburn needs a hot start to ward off slick fielders Brandon Inge and Ramon Santiago at the No. 4 spot.
23. Johnny Giavotella, Royals
Skinny: Could make a modest leap in this countdown with a productive spring. Intriguing prospect.
24. Daniel Murphy, Mets
Skinny: An under-the-radar talent who'll bring modest value to all five categories—especially hitting.
25. Omar Infante, Marlins
Skinny: Expect a noticeable bump in runs...and then hope the versatile Infante flirts with .300 again.
26. Brian Roberts, Orioles
Skinny: In the realm of minor miracles, I'd be thrilled with 10 HRs, 75 runs and 20 steals.
27. Mark Ellis, Dodgers
Skinny: Ellis has 15-15 potential in the senior circuit, even at the ripened age of 34.
28. Orlando Hudson, Padres
Skinny: A nice deep-sleeper option for steals and runs—if the Padres get aggressive on the basepaths.
29. Mike Aviles, Red Sox
Skinny: The preferred fantasy placeholder over Nick Punto while Jose Iglesias gets more seasoning in the minors.
30a. Darwin Barney, Cubs
Skinny: A last-round sleeper for the 2B/SS slot in NL-only and 14-team mixed leagues.
30b. Justin Turner, Mets
Skinny: Good minor-league numbers suggest a mini-breakout in the bigs. Could rise up the ranks during Grapefruit League play.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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