Second Base Late Round Fliers: Under-the-Radar Options Who Could Hold Value

Second base may be the new third base, as the depth of the position is not all that appealing. Granted, you can take the risk on a Chase Utley, but he is a shell of his former self and a risk to get injured…

There is value and upside in Dustin Ackley, but you could argue that his upside is limited (though it appears his ADP is starting to make him more of a value)…

What about Howie Kendrick? He has proven that he is not the average hitter fantasy owners imagined and is more of a 10/10 option.

So, if you miss out on the top names on draft day (figure the best six or seven) where should you turn to provide high upside potential? Here are a few names to consider at the very end of your draft who could ultimately provide some value:

Tyler Greene – Houston Astros
At the time of the Jed Lowrie trade we said that he may ultimately be the biggest winner, now he needs to go out and back it up. He has 2B and SS eligibility and should have the inside track on the starting shortstop job based on his offensive potential.

In 305 AB between St. Louis and Houston he hit 11 HR to go along with 12 SB, showing that over a full season he could provide 20/20 numbers. The question is, can he hit for a good enough average that the Astros will stick with him?

Last season he hit .230, mostly due to a 28.8% strikeout rate. That said, there was also some poor luck, considering his .292 BABIP and 22.1% line drive rate.

In parts of two seasons at Triple-A he posted the following strikeout rates:

  • 2010 – 23.1% (338 AB)
  • 2011 – 24.8% (254 AB)

That tells us that his 2012 number is not unreasonable. He also is 29-years old, so he is not a kid that we would project further development from. That said, if he can keep the number down around 24-25%, to go along with improved luck, he should be able to post a .260+ average. With his power and speed, that’s more than enough.

Jedd Gyorko – San Diego Padres
In theory he is a 3B, but if he makes the Padres it is going to be at second (thanks to the presence of Chase Headley). While I have my reservations about Gyorko and his ability to produce at Petco Park (click here for my thoughts on him), a regression in numbers should still prove viable with his new position.

Can we expect him to hit .311 with 30 HR and 100 RBI, as he did last season between Double and Triple-A? Of course not, as Petco Park should help to zap his power. He may equate to more of a doubles hitter in the Majors (he had 47 in 2011), making him more of a 17-23 HR threat.

At second base, that would play well if he could do it hitting in the middle of the order (meaning RBI opportunities) and a solid average (think .280ish). Considering the investment you have to make, that’s upside well worth targeting.

Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
Another player angling fo a position change, with light-hitting Daniel Descalso currently holding down the job and Kolten Wong likely not ready, if he proves capable he could break camp with the team.  Jose Oquendo, who is working with Carpenter, was recently quoted by Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (click here for the article):

“He’s ahead of schedule,” said Oquendo today at the Cardinals camp, which officially will open on Tuesday when pitchers and catchers have their first full-scale practice. “Now. . . it’s the games.”

Carpenter opens a little bit of offensive upside, having hit .294 with 6 HR, 46 RBI and 44 R in 296 AB.  His HR/FB was realistic (7.0%) and he hit the ball exceptionally hard (23.8% line drive).  A .299 career hitter in the minor leagues, he has the upside of hitting 15-20 HR with a strong average.

At second base, those numbers would definitely translate well.

Deep, Deep Sleeper
Wilmer Flores – New York Mets
Like Gyorko, Flores is a third baseman by trade but will have to move off the position if he wants to make the Majors. The Mets have already started using Flores at second and, while we wait to see if he can handle it defensively, we have to like the offensive potential.

It feels like he has been in the Mets system forever, though he is still just 21-years old. Just when people were ready to write him off, Flores produced at High Sngle-A (.292 with 10 HR) and then, so people couldn’t blame it on it being his third trip around the league, performed even better at Double-A (.311 with 8 HR over 251 AB).  In fact, he also added 18 doubles and 2 triples at Double-A, making the numbers look that much better.

Long considered a top prospect and now with his renaissance, it is possible that the Mets opt to take a look at him in 2013 if he proves that he can handle the position in the minors. They have gone on record as saying they view 2B as an offensive spot, so if Daniel Murphy (who has surprisingly become average defensively) struggles to find his home run stroke once again, the Mets easily could look to see if they have a longer term solution.

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One comment

  1. jmax says:

    Very interesting. I’ve been looking at all options available coming into 2013.Bad thing is I usually end up w plugs like Kelly Johnson. I’ll probably still wait a few rounds to draft a 2 bagger but I’ll have a little more confidence after reading this.
    I had Logan Forsyth penned in as a deep sleeper so I’ll be paying close attention to his and Gyorko’s battle

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