Fantasy Baseball 2012 Strategy and Advice: Breaking Down in Tiers – Second Base

Other positions already covered in the series: C | 1B

When organizing each position into tiers, it enables owners to see which players should produce relatively the same statistics, and easily spot under/overvalued players in each tier.  Just having tiers is a simple solution for finding bargains in every draft. You can find a breakdown of each position that we have covered here.

But just to refresh, let’s define the tiers that we will classify each position by:

  • Elite: These players can be the foundation for your fantasy team and are the best players at their positions.
  • Valuable: Cannot go wrong with this group. These solid players, who will produce for your team, are dependable and can help win a fantasy title for you.
  • Solid: These players will put up numbers and can even lead in certain categories. However, inconsistency and poor performance in other categories will hurt your fantasy team at times.
  • At Your Own Risk: Limited production at this level, this group either struggles to get at bats on a regular basis or are the least producing players at their position. Proceed with caution and do your research. This group also includes younger players with potential.

Here is a breakdown of the 2B position for both AL and NL Leagues.

Robison Cano would be a great addition to your fantasy baseball team. (Photo by Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons)

2B: Elite

  • Robinson Cano
  • Dustin Pedroia
  • Ian Kinsler
  • Brandon Phillips
  • Dan Uggla

Middle infield positions can help make or break a fantasy baseball team. With a quick drop in quality second basemen, picking one of these elite players can pave the way for your team’s success.

Cano has become the de facto star of the Yankees’ lineup and will get ample opportunities to maintain or improve his gaudy 2011 numbers of .302 AVE, 28 HR, 118 RBI, 9 SB, and 104 runs. He is easily a top 10 pick. Pedroia (.307 AVE) had fewer RBI (91) but makes that up with 26 SB. It’s a toss-up among these two elite with a slight edge to Cano with his 28 HR vs. Pedroia’s 21.

Kinsler combines power and speed, with 32 HR last season and 30 SB, plus 121 runs scored. Only his .255 average weighs him down a little bit.

Best Bets: Cano, Kinsler, Pedroia

2B: Valuable

  • Ben Zobrist
  • Chase Utley
  • Howie Kendrick
  • Rickie Weeks
  • Dustin Ackley

Any player from this group will add solid production and value for your team. Waiting too long to pick up a player from the elite or valuable group will put your team in a tough, uphill position. With plenty of options at 1B and OF for production, adding one of these players before they are off the board will strengthen your lineup.

Zobrist quietly just gets the job done, with .260-20-91-19-99 numbers. Kendrick (.285-18-63-14-86) may improve with the addition of some guy from the Cardinals the Angels picked up in the offseason. We expect Utley to enjoy a bounce-back season but at age 33 with knee and injuries, he will get some days off.

Keep in mind, Weeks hit 20 HR in only 453 at bats. A sprained left ankle cost him 39 games, a pace which would have put him at 27 HR. With Prince Fielder gone, expect more power numbers from Weeks as a possible clean-up man.

Best Bets: Zobrist, Kendrick

2B: Solid

  • Neil Walker
  • Aaron Hill
  • Daniel Murphy
  • Kelly Johnson
  • Danny Espinosa
  • Ryan Roberts
  • Jemile Weeks
  • Jason Kipnis

Possibilities exist here for your starting second baseman but determining which player produces vs. a let-down year will be difficult. Kipnis came out of the gates fast but was injured late in the season, and doubts about his numbers for an entire season will persist. Jemile Weeks looks like a stolen base bonanza for this year but will last year’s promise pay off in his sophomore campaign?

Kelly Johnson quietly clubbed 21 HR in 545 AB with Arizona-Toronto last year. 31-year-old Roberts’ .249 average from 2011 needs to improve, but he did hit 19 dingers, drove in 65, and swiped 18 bases in 482 AB. Espinoza is entering his prime perhaps, turning 25 in April. Although inconsistent last year at times, he did manage 21 HR, 66 RBIs and 17 SB with the Nationals.

Best Bets: Walker, Hill, Murphy 

2B: At Your Own Risk

  • Gordon Beckham
  • Mark Ellis
  • Alexi Casilla
  • Jose Altuve
  • Johnny Giavotella
  • Ryan Raburn
  • Omar Infante
  • Brian Roberts
  • Mike Aviles
  • Darwin Barney
  • Freddy Sanchez
  • Orlando Hudson
  • Ramon Santiago
  • Maicer Izturis
  • Jamey Carroll
  • Jerry Hairston
  • Jeff Keppinger
  • Matt Downs
  • Carlos Guillen
  • Adam Kennedy
  • Skip Schumaker
  • Ruben Tejada
  • Jason Donald
  • Robert Andino
  • Nick Punto
  • Taylor Green
  • Chris Getz
  • Jonathan Herrera
  • Jose Lopez
  • Manny Burriss
  • Tyler Greene
  • Jack Wilson
  • Mike McCoy

Hopefully you have added a player already from the first three groups and this pick is for your utility infielder. Value here can be had with the SB department (Altuve, Getz, Casilla) and younger players possibly starting with their teams (Barney, Aviles).

I vowed last year never to take Gordon Beckham again after two years of frustration and watching him continually chase pitches out of the strike zone. Raburn is playing well this spring and may start at 2B for the Tigers. He also has some real pop in his bat. Barney has added the proverbial 15 lbs. of muscle in the offseason and has looked sharp in spring training.

Best Bets: Aviles, Barney, Casilla

About the Author

Jim McGrew

A lifelong Chicago sports fan, Jim enjoys playing, writing about and watching sports. He can be reached at or on twitter at @MySports1. Jim lives in the Chicago area and is married with 2 children.