Now we move on to second base, where there is a decent amount of depth, but some injury concerns to keep in mind.
YPNM: Your Problem, Not Mine, is a term I grew fond of while listening to MLB.com’s Fantasy 411 back in the MLB.com Radio days..
These target rounds assume a standard 12 team 5×5 format.
Round 1: Nada
Round 2-3: Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia
This might be the season where Ian Kinsler puts it all together and hits ,290/25/25 with 30/30 upside. There is always the health risk, of course. Pedroia looks 100 percent healed from his foot injury and could be in line for a career year hitting second in a stacked Red Sox lineup.
Round 4-8: Dan Uggla, Brandon Phillips, Martin Prado
I’ve never been the biggest Dan Uggla fan, but you can’t argue with his consistent power numbers. Brandon Phillips battled hand and wrist injuries in the second half of last season. If he can stay healthy, he should approach a 20/20 season once again. I think what we saw from Prado in 2010 was just about his ceiling as a big league ballplayer, which is fine, but there is no need to invest too much in him this season. Still, I’d be happy to have his position flexibility should he be around come round seven or eight.
Round 9-15: Ben Zobrist, Aaron Hill, Kelly Johnson, Gordon Beckham
Zobrist and Hill represent bounce-back upside and I believe both will to a certain extent. On the flip side, Kelly Johnson looks to be in line for a small regression, which would still make him a valuable fantasy asset, but only at the right price. Gordon Beckham had a tremendous July and August after a slow start to the 2010 season and he has the talent to take a big step forward in 2011.
Round 16-20: Mike Aviles, Ryan Raburn, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Chone Figgins
This is the area of the draft where I think some real nice values can be had at second base. Mike Aviles looks like he might leadoff for the Royals and has a chance to help fantasy teams in AVG and R with a few HR/SB thrown in.
Ryan Raburn seems to be all over the fantasy map this pre-season and rightfully so. He has a good track record of hitting for power. However, given poor BB/K rates and only so-so line-drive numbers, he may struggle in the AVG department.
Nishioka and Figgins represent a good buy low on speed in the 2011 draft. Figgins has the major league track record and did re-find his line-drive stroke late in the 2010 season. He may not be the player he used to be, but there is a decent chance he bounces back to .280 with 35-40 steals. Nishioka’s skill set translates better to major league baseball than if he were a power hitter in Japan. With 30 stolen base potential and a line-drive approach to hitting, he could be a nice value at this point in the draft.
Round 20-plus: Sean Rodriguez, Bill Hall
I don’t think either will contribute much in AVG, but there is at least some power potential. S-Rod seems to be going much higher than this, but I’m not buying into a 20/20 season.
Chase Utley – It pains me to write this. I had Utley in the first round before the information about his injury came out. As I continue to track his progress (or lack thereof) I grow more and more weary of drafting him in 2011.
Rickie Weeks – It’s all about health with Weeks and he managed to stay healthy for the first time in 2010. Can he do it again in 2011? I’ll let you bet on it.
Brian Roberts – A back injury kept him out most of last season. A back injury is keeping him out this spring. I guess I’d take a flier in the last few rounds of the draft, but anything else just isn’t worth the injury risk.