StrategyJanuary 10, 2007


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Two Up, Two Down – Second Base Edition
A look at two who I think will rise and two who I think will fall at the second base position for 2007.

By Tom Huffman

If you are like most people, you look at the second basemen for 2007 and cringe. Outside of Chase Utley, there isn’t another proven performer; just a bunch of question marks. So when draft day comes around, which way do you go? I have two second basemen to snag before your competition and two to let your opponents take their chances with.

In regards to the players I like, I’m going young. While Jeff Kent and Marcus Giles are former All-Stars coming off down years, neither is more tempting to me than taking a chance on a young player with a huge upside.

UP

Ian Kinsler – Rangers
Kinsler’s rookie year was slowed by hamstring and thumb injuries, but in 423 at bats he put up some nice numbers: 65 R, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 11 SB, .286 BA, .347 OPB, and 454 SLG. Kinsler was a highly-regarded prospect with the minor league numbers to back it up, so he isn’t coming out of nowhere. He also spent most of last year hitting seventh and eighth in the lineup, and projects to hit fifth against RHP and second against LHP this year. Take those things into account along with the Rangers’ potent lineup. If he stays healthy, Kinsler could reach 600 AB this year, which could mean a 20/20 season with good numbers in R, RBI and BA.

Rickie Weeks – Brewers
My second two-bagger is another young gun that battled injuries last year. Weeks has been touted for a few years now, but still is only 24 and ready to make his mark. He might be a little short on the RBI because he is set to hit leadoff, but the Brewers have an emerging lineup so he has the chance to score a ton of runs. Add in his speed and power, and you can see why many people have been promoting Weeks as a future stud over the past few years.

I also have two players in mind that had surprise seasons last year that they aren’t likely to repeat.

DOWN

Dan Uggla – Marlins
Uggla came out of nowhere last year to go from Rule V pick to All-Star for the Florida Marlins. 105 R, 27 HR, and 90 RBI from a second baseman is fantasy gold. So, why the down? While he showed flashes in the minors, he was never able to put together back-to-back good years. He also had a big drop in the second half last year. Uggla’s BA, OBP and SLG all dropped 50 points from where they were prior to the All-Star Game. That spells trouble.

Ray Durham – Giants
Anyone intersted in a 35-year-old, injury-prone player coming off a career year? I’m not. Durham’s 26 HR and 93 RBI 2006 season will get him picked much higher than he should be. His HR, RBI and SLG were all career highs last year, and he still gets on base pretty well. The problem is that he doesn’t run as much as he used to, not to mention the rest of the surrounding lineup is old, mediocre, or both. He also missed time last year with a number of different injuries, and, given his age, will likely do so again this year.

Come draft day, you now have two to keep and eye on and two to let go by. With the choices at second base behind Utley being so unclear, the right choice could make a big difference in your season. Choose wisely.

 
Tom Huffman is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Tom in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Pogotheostrich.
 
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