It’s not that second base has become a shallower position, because it hasn’t. The biggest issue is that many of the options now have serious question marks hanging over their head. Whether if it is injuries, power concerns, an inability to hit for a high average or something else completely, it feels like the majority of candidates have something that gives us cause for concern.
Of course, that doesn’t make them unusable we just need to go into 2013 with our eyes open. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our current rankings:
- Robinson Cano – New York Yankees
- Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox
- Ian Kinsler – Texas Rangers
- Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
- Jason Kipnis – Cleveland Indians
- Aaron Hill – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds
- Jose Altuve – Houston Astros
- Rickie Weeks – Milwaukee Brewers
- Chase Utley – Philadelphia Phillies
- Dustin Ackley – Seattle Mariners
- Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Angels
- Dan Uggla – Atlanta Braves
- Neil Walker – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Danny Espinosa – Washington Nationals
- While there are some very good options among 2B, there is only one true superstar at this point and that is Robinson Cano. While Pedroia or Kinsler have shown that type of ability in the past, they both have their warts at this point in their career. Kinsler’s average has always struggled in the years he swings for the fences (like hitting .255 in 2011 in part thanks to a 47.1% fly ball rate). Last season he only hit 19 HR (42.2% fly ball rate), but he still hit just .256 thanks to a .270 BABIP. Can he recover? As for Pedroia, can he score over 100 R given the current state of the Red Sox lineup? Can he pick up 75+ RBI? Both are extremely questionable.
- Jason Kipnis and Aaron Hill are extremely similar players as we head into 2013, so why would I prefer Kipnis? You can find out by clicking here.
- We all know that Chase Utley is no longer the player that he once was, but having produced 11 HR and 11 SB in 301 AB in ’12 there obviously is value there. Unfortunately the risk of an injury and missed time is going to loom large, so he should be viewed more as a fallback option. There’s potential reward, but significantly more risk.
- Jose Altuve was an NL All-Star in 2012, but you can argue that it was more because of a lack of alternatives on the Astros. He finished hitting .290 with 7 HR, 37 RBI, 80 R and 33 SB. While they are solid numbers, he should be viewed as a speed option and nothing more.
- Has Dan Uggla’s time as a usable option come to a close? In 2011 he needed a scorching hot stretch in the second half to become a viable option, but it never came in 2012 and he finished hitting .220 with 19 HR in 523 AB. Can we really expect him to catch that hot streak this season to turn his overall numbers viable?
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Make sure to check out our extremely early 2013 rankings (all of which will be updated in the next few weeks):