In our continuing analysis of your 2012 fantasy baseball draft, we look at the fantasy baseball sleepers at the second base position for the 2012 fantasy baseball draft.
Second base, along with catcher, is the position many managers look for when it comes to position scarcity, meaning that there’s less good ones available. Hence, players like Ian Kinsler and Robinson Cano have increased value in your fantasy baseball draft. But, if you have to draft a second baseman deep in the rounds, here are some guys they just may turn out to be keystone gems.
1. Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies — When most baseball fans think of Michael Cuddyer, they don’t think about a second baseman, but Cuddyer, depending on your league’s rules, may be just that. Hence, his value in moving to hitter friendly Coors Field is increased even more. In 2011, Cuddyer played first base and right field for the Twins, but he also appeared in 17 games at second base, not to mention pitching one inning. That qualifies him as a keystoner in most leagues. Cuddyer, 32, hit 32 homeruns for Minnesota in 2009. He can match that total in Colorado this year.
2. Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians — Kipnis was slowed by an oblique and a hamstring injury in his rookie season last year. Kipnis, however, showed considerable promise last year in his time in Cleveland and is likely the overall most talked about second base sleeper for 2012. The rookie second baseman hit .272 with 7 homers, 19 RBIs, 24 runs scored and five steals in just 36 games in his inaugural season.
3. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros — Jose Altuve was hitting .389 in the Minors when the Astros gave him the call to the show last year after Houston had abandoned all hopes. Altuve hit .276 with a pair of homers, seven steals, 12 RBIs and 26 runs scored in 221 at-bats during his inaugural season. We like the 7 stolen bases and think he’ll get his chances to steal on an Astros team that will struggle to score runs. At 5′ 7″, Altuve doesn’t have the power to ever be considered an elite second baseman, but as a MIF guy, he won’t hurt your batting average and can give you 20 stolen bases.
4. Alexi Casilla, Minnesota Twins — Alexi Casilla was on his way to his best season ever before a hamstring pull sidelined him in August. That was a big injury for Casilla in that his biggest contribution to your fantasy baseball team is his stolen base totals. Casilla hit .260 with 15 stolen bases and just 2 homers in 323 AB’s last year. Australian Luke Hughes, who has considerably more pop, will push Casilla for starting time at second base.
5. Daniel Murphy, New York Mets — Daniel Murphy was on his way to a career year before a torn MCL ended his season in early August. Murphy ended up hitting .320 with six homers, five steals, 49 RBIs and 49 runs scored in 391 at-bats. Murphy missed the entire 2010 season so he remains an injury risk and while we don’t think he’ll be able to duplicate another .300 season, it’s nice to have a second baseman on your team who will actually help your team batting average. Moving the fences in at Citi Field will also help Murphy exceed the 12 homers he hit in 2009.
6. Johnny Giovotella, Kansas City Royals — Johnny Giovatello, the Royal’s minor league hitter of the year, batted .338 in the minors with 34 doubles, nine homers and 72 RBIs. He blazed his way to Kansas City on Aug. 5 by hitting .391 in June and July and was named a Topps Triple-A all-star. For the Royals, in 178 at bats, he hit .247 while enduring some growing pains at the Big League level. Giovotella projects to be a .270 hitter with 10 homers this year for the Royals. He had 5 stolen bases in his short stint in the Bigs, but he’s not projected to be much more than a 10 stolen base guy while playing the entire season.
7. Jemile Weeks, Oakland Athletics — Weeks put up big numbers in his rookie season, but given that he had only 406 AB’s, we listed him as a sleeper. Weeks hit .303 with a pair of homers, 22 steals, 36 RBIs and 50 runs scored. With his ability to get on base, the speedy youngster could exceed 30 steals next season. He’s a fun player to watch.
8. Dustin Ackley, Seattle Mariners — He came up with a lot of hype and proved that he belonged in the Majors in 2011. Dustin Ackley hit .273 with six homers, six swipes, 36 RBIs and 29 runs scored in 333 at bats in his inaugural Major League season. At age 23, fantasy owners can expect him to improve in both areas in the coming seasons.
9. Omar Infante, Miami Marlins — Rather than test the free agent market, Omar Infante decided to stay in Miami. Infante got off to a slow start in his first season with the Marlins but turned it on in the second half, hitting .314 with six long balls. He won’t do much for your stolen base or power numbers, but if your league counts runs scored, the singles he hits and an improved Marlins lineup, could give you a lift.
10. Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles — The veteran Brian Roberts, husband of 2011 Baseball’s Hottest Wife Diana Roberts (see photo gallery here), has been hampered by back and head injuries each of the past two seasons and appeared in just 39 games in 2011, never returning after sliding headfirst into the first-base bag at Boston in mid-May. If the O’s don’t have Roberts healthy at the start of next season, utility man Robert Andino and new acquisition Matt Antonelli figure to be the two top candidates to step in at second, but since the Orioles didn’t shop for a new keystoner in the off-season, we think Roberts will be back. That being said, this is one to watch closely in Spring Training for Roberts has been a solid contributor, especially in the stolen base category in years past.