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Second base is a surprisingly deep position in fantasy drafts. At the top of the class are obvious choices like Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler, with Dan Uggla not too far behind. After that there are a handful of players who are ranked based on a mix of previous experience and future potential.
And that includes Oakland’s Jemile Weeks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft of ESPN.com has ranked Weeks as the 15th-best second baseman in the MLB, right behind Ryan Roberts of the Arizona Diamondbacks and just ahead of Kelly Johnson of the Toronto Blue Jays.
But what Cockcroft seemingly doesn’t realize is that Weeks will turn out to be one of the top 10 second basemen in baseball.
After churning out an impressive rookie season, one in which he only played 97 games, Weeks begins 2012 as the Athletics’ full-time starting second baseman. Last year, Weeks was pretty darn amazing in his first segmented season, registering a .303 batting average, with 50 runs scored, 36 runs batted in and 22 stolen bases.
Those numbers projected to a full 162-game season would have been 83 runs scored, 60 RBI and 36 stolen bases—not bad for a rookie.
With a big league season under his belt, Weeks looks to put up even more extraordinary numbers, especially as Oakland’s permanent leadoff hitter. But without true power hitters to stack the heart of the order, the new-look A’s will be a running-and-gunning lineup, trying anything and everything to produce run-scoring opportunities.
Look for manager Bob Melvin to let his young second baseman fly on the basepaths, so long as Weeks is able to better recognize and study the tendencies of opposing pitchers’ moves. The more Weeks is in motion, the better for the mostly dormant A’s offense.
Weeks is a prototypical switch-hitting middle infielder in that he sprays the ball to all fields, can beat out bunts and doesn’t draw walks very often. Though he has below-average power, he can knock the ball to the gaps, which, with his speed, allows him to accumulate extra-base hits the hard way—or in his case, very quickly.
Weeks will be a solid pick for any fantasy owner. Most mock drafts project him to be a late-round pick, definitely beyond the 12th round.
Eric Mack of SportsIllustrated.com has him going in the 13th round (146th overall), which is a farce. Weeks will certainly project better than Danny Espinosa (Washington Nationals), Jason Kipnis (Cleveland Indians) and Dustin Ackley (Seattle Mariners).
With a full season in store for him, Weeks can definitely be a steal by the double-digit rounds. In fact, if you were to pick him in the eighth or ninth round, you’d be doing yourself a favor.
Projected Stats: .289 batting average, 166 hits, 88 runs scored, 55 runs batted in, 42 stolen bases
Where he’ll be picked: 10th round
Where he should be picked: Eighth round