2005 Fantasy Baseball Preview - Second Basemen
PAGE ONE- INTRO
PAGE TWO- PROSPECTS
PAGE THREE- CATCHERS
PAGE FOUR- FIRST BASEMEN
PAGE FIVE- SECOND BASEMEN
The 27-29 year olds; age as of opening day.
Stats are 2004:
- Soriano: Missed the final 16 games of 2004 and has been taking it slow so far this spring. He started the Cactus League 0 for his first 10 and he says he only needs two weeks to be ready for the regular season. The real question behind any 2B that is projected as a late first round pick is 'will he run?' Since Alfonso's 2001, 43 steal season, he's swiped 41, 35, and 18 bags in each year since. Going from 35 to 18 in one season is a significant drop and it was one that is indicative of not only his age, but also his transition from the Yankees to the Rangers. It's hard to imagine, at 29 now and coming off a serious hamstring injury, that Soriano will get to 20 this year. 10 seems more likely to me. He swings too freely to be counted on to hit .300 and at 8th overall, is way too overvalued. Soriano should be a fourth round pick.
- Giles: Marcus gets on this list even though he's 26 because he turns 27 in May and has been with the Braves for 4 seasons already. This is looking like Giles' career season. He's angry, coming off a disappointing 2004 and was on a pace to swipe 30 bases last year. Add that to the 20 HR power that he showed in 2003, and if I had to take a 2B in the first round this year, I would take Giles 100 times before I took Soriano. Please stay healthy, please stay healthy.
- Figgins: Chone will start the year at second because Adam Kennedy is recovering from knee surgery. When McPherson was ruled out for the season opener, there was talk about Mike Scioscia moving Chone back to third, but that has been put to rest. Figgins will play second for now, but most fantasy leagues will keep him eligible at third base, where he played 92 games in 2004. Yahoo and espn also have him eligible at SS and OF, so this is a player who's value must also be judged by what he can do for your roster. 35 steals can be very helpful when you can plug a guy in at any position but first and catcher. The lack of power makes Figgins a backup player to me. But he's the best backup you could possibly have. Chone has tons of speed, but he doesn't have the best baserunning skills yet. At 27, this is the time when we find out if Figgins is a big time every day player, or if he's Roger Cedeno. I'm putting the Angels' 2B at second on my list because that's the one position he's eligible for that needs the most help. Where his value is right now (113) he's at least worth grabbing and using as trade bait in June.
- Castillo: At 29, and the speed decline having been in effect since he was 26, there can't be much here to think that Castillo has any breakout left in him. One thing that is striking is that Luis was only caught stealing 4 times last season. His five previous season CS numbers were 19, 15, 16, 22, and 17. Maybe he's getting wiser, but he's also running less. If you add the SBs and the CSs together to get the number of times he's attempted to steal you get, starting in 1999: 67, 84, 49, 63, 40, and 25 from last year. Castillo is a career .292 hitter and he's become a good team player. Which is why he may end up hitting near the bottom of the lineup this year. espn has him at 143 which is not too high, but is just below Zack Greinke, Joe Mauer, and Aaron Boone. I'd rather have any of those guys.
- Freel: For some reason, espn doesn't list Ryan in their 2B preseason rankings and Scott Engel doesn't even mention him in his 2B preview. But they do list him second base eligible and so does Yahoo. Freel played 15 games at second last year and finished with numbers equal to Figgins. Ryan is a much better base runner and was only caught stealing 10 times in his 47 attempts last year. Freel is a limited batter, but what he does he seems to do well. The Reds have Randa at third and Jimenez at second and a very crowded outfield with Dunn, Kearns, Griffey and Pena.
- Lugo: Julio isn't the best player to have at the top of your team's lineup, but he's a real cheap alternative to put at fantasy second or fantasy short. With the Devil Rays, Julio has hit .275 in 1014 at bats. His homerun numbers dropped by half last year, but Lugo pounded 41 doubles and hit .314 on the road. The best thing I like about Lugo is that he's predictable. He goes on long streaks. Play him hot, and sit him cold. B.J. Upton will start the season in the minors, and if Lugo can come close to last year's 75 RBI's, the Rays may allowed to let Upton mature on the farm. Eligible at short and second, Lugo's potential to go 20-20 this year makes him a strong play at 2B.
- Roberts: Don't forget how hot Roberts started 2004. Brian stole 22 bases before the break, but only hit .254 (even though he had a .300 April). After the All-Star game, Roberts stopped running (7 SB, 5 CS) and started hitting (.295). The Orioles 2B doesn't walk much, but he doesn't strike out much either. At espn's 168th overall, he's 25 behind Castillo and their 11th ranked second baseman. That's good value for a 27 year old who's entering his third full season of action.
- Polanco: This 29 year old is good to hit close to .300, but I really like Chase Utley and drafting Placido at all doesn't seem to be a good investment. It doesn't look like he'll have an everyday job for much of this season.
- Jimenez: Once a top Yankees' prospect, D'Angelo looks to be on a path to become a solid player who glides slightly above replacement level production. But consider that this is his third year with the Reds, he's just 27, and he could make himself a lot of money if he found a way to go from the back to back 10-10 .270 seasons he just had, to a 20-20 .290 year. The Reds have some bats in their lineup, and Jimenez could benefit if he finds himself 1) holding off Ryan Freel and 2) hitting in the #1 or #2 spot. Jimenez is worth a late pick, especially if you've already got a top base stealer at another position.
- Belliard: 2004 looks like it was a career season and, yes, technically Ronnie is 29 on opening day. But by the time the Indians finish their opening series in Chicago, Belliard will turn into a 30 year old pumpkin. Cleveland is a deep team up the middle and Ronnie hit just .254 after the break.
- Kennedy: Won't be able to play until at least June.
- Wigginton: If you're looking for some crappy third basemen numbers to put at second, then Ty's your guy. He'll probably manage a .270 average and hit close to 20 homers, but the two stats that could really help a fantasy team out at second are runs and rbi's and playing with the Pirates probably won't allow him to top 80 in either.
- Hudson: O-Dogg could surprise some this year. His age, his improving power and confidence, and his willingness to steal a base could land him a nice 15-15 season with 80-90 runs scored. Hudson and Jimenez look like they're in similar situations this year, and I would bet on one of them coming through with a top 10 season.
- Ginter: Competing with Scutaro and Ellis for the starting job in Oakland. If Keith emerges as the winner of that three way battle, he'll add a lot of power to the 2B category, but not much average (career .257 hitter).
- Miles: Aaron's batting average was not that much worse on the road (.277) versus what he did at home (.308). But his average looks like the only useful fantasy tool Aaron has to offer this year.
- Cora: The former Dodger shortstop is just 29, but he's played in 100 games in each of the last five seasons. Too bad he can't hit anywhere close to .300.
- Hairston, Jr.: Please, Chicago, give this guy a spot to play everyday. Please, Jerry, stay healthy if they do. Hairston turns 29 in May, so I'm giving him this season or nothing more. He can hit .300 and steal 30 bases in 2005, and if he does, there isn't a better value 2B out there.
- Scutaro: In the above mentioned Oakland position battle. Marco doesn't have much experience at the major league level. So I'll just stay away altogether and hope I don't miss a great show.
- Ellis: Oakland, Part Three. Mark can play second, short, and third for the A's so he probably won't win their 2B job full time.
Two others of note: Wille Harris, Juan Uribe. (coming soon)
Draft Value 2B Rankings:
Not worth their price
- Marcus Giles
- Brett Boone
- Jose Vidro
- Julio Lugo
- Chone Figgins
- Brian Roberts
- Jerry Hairston, Jr.
- Jose Reyes
- D'Angelo Jimenez
- Juan Uribe
- Chase Utley
- Luis Castillo
- Orlando Hudson
- Roberto Alomar
- Mark Bellhorn
- Jeff Kent
- Alfonso Soriano
- Mark Loretta
- Chase Utley
- Luis Castillo
- Jose Reyes
NFL Draft - Pro Days (Oklahoma St., Missouri, Northwestern, Utah)
PRO DAY INDEX
Again, the complete coverage is found here, but these are a few notes of interest:
- Vernard Morency passed up a chance to run on the dry, Indianapolis turf in favor of the wet grass in Miami, Florida. That doesn't seem like such a good decision. Or maybe his super-agent, Drew Rosenhaus, gave him bad advice. Either way, I see Morency's 4.66 40 time in Miami being neither 1) helpful to his draft status, nor 2) indicative of how fast the former Oklahoma State back is. Morency put up 1474 yards and a 5.7 per carry average his final season at OSU. He's 25 years old and was measured at the combine at 5 foot 9 and a half inches, and 212 pounds. He was supposed to be a speed back. What happened? Well, with Frank Gore also running a 4.66, I wonder about the accuracy of these times from Miami. Fools. Why not just run with everyone else? (And if Antrel Rolle is faster than his 4.49 time from the Miami pro day, look out.)
- Also on March 3rd, Missouri held their workout and James Kinney, a former linebacker for the Tigers, put in some impressive times. Kinney measures 6'0, 244 lbs and does have some concerns following him about his size. He ran a 4.64, a 4.62, and a 4.63 40 yard dash on Missouri's indoor surface and those numbers would have been good for third place at the combine for LBs. Kinney's short shuttle time (4.32) wasn't great but his 3 cone time of 6.77 would have been the best among all linebackers in Indy. He also registered 30 bench reps, a 11.29 long shuttle time, a 10 foot broad jump, and a 34 inch vertical; all above average marks. Kinney set the MU school record for career tackles with 434 and he could end up being a decent outside linebacker in the pros. With numbers like that, Kinney will, at the very least, be able to come in as a rookie and make an impact on special teams.
- Noah Herron is a player I didn't see much footage of at the combine. Yet, I do know that some of his times in Indy were impressive. Herron placed in the top three for the 3 cone, short shuttle, and the long shuttle drills; suggesting that he has above average quickness. On his March 3rd pro day with Northwestern Herron ran the 40 and was clocked at 4.75 and 4.73. The former Huskie is 5 foot 10 and a half inches and he weighs 200 pounds. This bio says that Herron is a versatile back who is comfortable as a receiver or blocker so he could end up as a asset to some NFL team. Obviously, with a 40 time like that, he's not going to be a star running back. But if Herron really is as quick as his combine times show, he may have enough to stick around as a Shawn Bryson-type.
- Former Utah receiver Steve Savoy didn't do anything on his March 7 pro day to improve his fading draft status. The 5'11, 192 lbs WR lacks an explosive 40 (4.70) or short shuttle time (4.27), his vertical (32 inches) is too low for a 5'11 receiver. Savoy's 9'1" long jump also indicates to me that he doesn't have much leg power to draw back on. Savoy came out early but is older than most amateurs eligible for this year's draft. He looks like Steve Smith but without the speed.