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Entries in Dustin Pedroia (18)

Wednesday
Feb202013

Top 16 Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen

Second base is a position bred from defensive deficiency. If you look at every starting second baseman in the majors, odds are they came up through the minors as a shortstop. Since second basemen require less defensive ability than its counterpart (shortstop), more offense is expected.

The top 16 Second Basemen

  1. Robinson Cano, NYY
  2. Dustin Pedroia, BOS
  3. Aaron Hill, ARI
  4. Ian Kinsler, TEX
  5. Brandon Phillips, CIN
  6. Ben Zobrist, TB
  7. Jason Kipnis, CLE
  8. Jose Altuve, HOU
  9. Rickie Weeks, MIL
  10. Neil Walker, PIT
  11. Howard Kendrick, LAA
  12. Josh Rutledge, COL
  13. Danny Espinosa, WSH
  14. Kelly Johnson, TB
  15. Dustin Ackley, SEA
  16. Daniel Murphy, NYM

Honorable mention: Dan UgglaChase UtleyOmar InfanteLogan Forsythe

Additional Information:

  1. Cano has been the model of consistency the past four seasons posting an average stat line of 639 plate appearances, 104 R, 29 HRs, .314 AVG and 4 SBs.
  2. Last season, Pedroia was hampered by multiple injuries to his right thumb, which caused him to go on the DL. Before going on the DL he hit .266/.323/.400, but after he came off the DL he hit .318/.371/.508. If he can stay healthy he should have another great year.
  3. Hill maintained his 2011 second half surge with the Diamondbacks by posting a slash line of .302/.360/.522 in 2012. There appears to be no outliers in his 2012 totals to suggest a dramatic regression is coming except for his .317 BABIP, the highest it’s been since 2007. His batting average is sure to decline, but how much? When drafting Hill be prepared for a .250 batting average and be happy if he hits .285.
  4. The biggest concern about Kinsler is his home-road splits. During the past three seasons he has a .300 batting average at home compared to only .227 on the road. His road woes provide less hope he can bring his average back to the .280 range he showed in 2010. There’s going to be a drop-off in his run potential with Lance Berkman replacing Josh Hamilton.
  5. At the age of 31 the 20+ stolen bases and home runs are no longer there, but Phillips is a safe bet for 15/15 with solid numbers everywhere else. He’s currently being taken as the sixth second baseman (76th overall) at Mock Draft Central, which is about the right spot for him.
  6. Zobrist’s greatest value is his versatility, qualifying at shortstop, second base and outfield. Last season, not only did his stolen bases drop dramatically, but his stolen base success rate was only 61%; his days of 20 stolen bases are gone.
  7. Kipnis’ fantasy value last year relied heavily on his 31 stolen bases. If he only stole 20 bases, he would have been the tenth-rated second baseman instead of the third best. Most of his fantasy value came in the first half of the season; 79% of his home runs and 65% of his stolen bases came in the first half.
  8. When Altuve made his debut in 2011 pitchers took advantage of his lack of plate discipline, resulting in a 2.1% walk rate. However, in 2012 his walk rate increased to 6.3% along with his AVG, OBP and SLG. Despite his size he has the ability to barrel up baseballs and hit a lot of doubles. He’s going to lead off for the Astros again and should score 85+ runs with a .280+ batting average and 30+ stolen bases.
  9. 2012 was a tale of two seasons for Weeks. During the first half he put up a slash line of .199/.314/.343. After the all-star break he returned to being Rickie Weeks, with a slash line of .261/.343/.457. His injury history (only averaging 120 games the past seven seasons) makes him high risk, but if you can get him at the right price, you could have a monster on your hands.
  10. Walker enters the 2013 season at the magical age of 27, the start of his prime. Playing in PNC Park, the second worst ballpark for hitting home runs, suppresses his power potential. However, he is a great second-tier second baseman who’s extremely consistent and will bat .270 with 15 home runs, 5 stolen bases, 80 runs and RBI.
  11. Similar to Walker, Kendrick’s greatest asset is his consistency, which means the 18 home runs he posted in 2011 look to be a fluke. Instead, he should be good for 10 home runs with a .285 batting average 14 stolen bases with 70 runs and RBI.
  12. Rutledge leaped from Double-A to the major leagues last year, hitting .274/.306/.469 with 8 home runs and 7 SBs. There are two reasons why I like him: A) he plays in Coors, which added 20 points to his batting average. B) his swing, which is short and simple, will allow him to make consistent contact at home and on the road. He’ll provide small contributions with the power but he’ll provide a nice average with 15+ stolen bases.
  13. Espinosa loves to swing the bat and has a poor approach at the plate. Therefore, it’s no surprise he strikes out a lot; last year was he had the highest strikeout percentage in his career (28.7%). He tore his left rotator cuff at the beginning of September and has decided to play with the injury instead of getting surgery. I’m staying away from him in every league because I have no idea how much the torn rotator cuff will affect his performance.
  14. Johnson’s poor strike zone awareness (27.4% strikeout percentage) will be a road block to hitting .280+ again. Despite the low batting average, Johnson is perennial 15/15 candidate who looks to rebound with the Tampa Rays. Joe Maddon has said he plans on using Johnson in the outfield and infield, which will provide great positional flexibility.
  15. After a promising rookie year, Ackley suffered a sophomore slump, batting .226. He has an outstanding approach, which increases his value in OBP leagues. He has the ability to drive the ball to all fields; he has doubles power rather than 20+ home run power. His ranking is based on his tool set rather than his statistical output in the majors.
  16. In 2010 a MCL injury to Murphy’s right knee cost him the entire season. In 2011 a MCL injury to his left knee cut his 2011 season to a halt. In 2012 Murphy showed he was fully healthy, playing in 156 games. His greatest fantasy asset is his potential to hit for a high average (.300+). He’s ranked 16th because it’s possible he could hit second in the Mets lineup, in front of David Wright and Ike Davis. If he hits second he could score 90+ runs.

Overall Draft Strategy

After Robbie Cano, the next six players have a wide range of outcomes that will make fantasy owners think again before using a high draft pick on them. However, despite the risk at the top of the list, the position is very deep with players who could end the year as the fifth best second baseman. My strategy heading into drafts is I want my opponents to use high picks on the Pedorias and Kinslers and I’ll wait to snag a Walker, Altuve or Kendrick.

Monday
Jan282013

Francona, Dunn and 0-2 Walks

Francona-The Red Sox Years, the terrific new book by Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy is filled with great stories and shiny anecdotal nuggets.

Tito's relationship with Dustin Pedroia was renowned for their give-and-take teasing. On page 26, after Shaughnessy addresses Francona's self-deprecating style when he talks about his own playing days, Dan points out that Francona "swung at everything, and he almost never struck out." After extolling a number of Francona's amateur achievements, Shaughnessy adds this fun quote:

There's one other stat that nobody knows about, said Dustin Pedroia (kiddingly)...."He is the only player with a minimum of 1,000 plate appearances to never work an 0-2 walk. How awesome is that? He had no fight in him. None! That's unbelievable!"

Well, of course, Pedey was right (about the absence of whiffs, not about the competitive nature of Francona). While all the data is not available, we do know that Tito had 1827 plate appearances from 1981-90. And of the 72 PA he had from 1988 on that he had an 0-2 count, after that Tito drew no walks. He struck out 14 times and picked up 14 hits.

The 2012 leader in walks, after an 0-2 count, was not surprisingly Adam Dunn.

Here are the 0-2 walk leaders

Monday
Jun252012

My All Star Starters: AL 2B

Here we will discuss the American league second base all-star hopefuls. Updated voting totals are here.

Second base is a tough position to find pure hitters, especially those that can hit for power. This is what makes those few guys who can do it all extremely valuable to their teams. Second basemen don't need to have the best arms, but they need to have quick hands and feet, as that could mean the difference between one out and two when trying to turn a double play in the infield. Now we can discuss the top vote getters.

#1. Robinson Cano, New York Yankees 3,559,290

Has there been anyone better than this guy at hitting from second base in the past few years? Robinson Cano can hit for average and power, and he has speed, a great glove, and quick hands in the infield. Cano epitomizes what an all-star second basemen looks like, and he proved his power by taking home the Home Run Derby Title last season. I'm sure having that short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium certainly helps out the left hander as well. If Cano has any fault this season, it is that he has had trouble hitting left handed pitching. As you can see below, the average heat map versus left handed pitching leaves a little to be desired (he is only hitting at a .228 clip versus southpaws).

Taking a look at his average in the lower third of the zone versus lefties (specifically his groundball rate), may show the struggles.

It is fairly clear that Cano's inability to keep the ball off the ground in the lower part of the zone versus left handed pitching has contributed to lowering his average. Besides this small knock, Cano has been the best second basemen in the American League. Here are his stats:

71 G, 274 AB, 82 H, 21 2b, 1 3b, 16 HR, 50 R, 36 RBI, 1 SB, 29 BB, 42 SO, .299 AVG, .367 OBP, .558 SLG 

Cano has been awesome, and he just recently jumped over Ian Kinsler to take over the starting nod in the most recent voting update. I believe that the battle between the two of them in fan voting is not equivalent to the battle between the two of them on the field. (as I'm writing this, Cano hit his 17th)

 

#2. Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers 3,462,367

Kinsler and Cano have been neck and neck since the voting started, but Cano has been hot lately, which has hurt Kinsler's starting bid. Kinsler has been just average since the season started, but compared to other second basemen, he's been slightly above average. We'll take a look at his average heat map to see what he has brought to the table this season.

Kinsler hasn't had much of a hot zone this season, as he has been just average. Hopefully soon he will catch fire and turn into the Ian Kinsler of previous seasons. His BABIP is higher than his current average which means he may be over achieving a little bit even now. If we look at Kinsler's stat line, it is pretty evident that he is having a non-Kinsler type year. 

71 G, 306 AB, 82 H, 23 2b, 3 3b, 7 HR, 53 R, 35 RBI, 13 SB, 27 BB, 40 SO, .268 AVG, .333 OBP, .431 SLG

Kinsler has appeared in as many games as Cano, but has really only out played him in the stolen base department. Otherwise, their stats are equivalent or Cano has posted better numbers. Cano just recently passed Kinsler for first on the voting list, which I believe is absolutely the appropriate order. Kinsler could provide a back up role on the all-star team, but that would mostly come from past exploits than from this year's production.

 

#3. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox 1,666,282

Pedey has been an anchor at the second base position for the Red Sox for many years now, having reeled in an AL Rookie of the Year Award and an AL MVP in consecutive seasons. In the past, Pedrioa's strength has been on the inside half of the zone, and this year has been no different. Pedrioa has quick hands and incredible hand eye coordination that allows him to put almost any ball in play. This year has been no different, as most of his power has come from inside pitches. 

Pedrioa has been underwhelming thus far, which much can be contributed to the torn muscle in his thumb. It seems lately though that the Muddy Chicken may have turned the corner, as he has been swatting the ball the last couple of games. Lets take a look at his year to this point.

65 G, 269 AB, 72 H, 18 2b, 1 3b, 5 HR, 37 R, 28 RBI, 3 SB, 23 BB, 35 SO, .268 AVG, .327 OBP, .398 SLG

To this point, the Laser Show hasn't quite been himself, but a solid second half could level out his numbers. With an average similar to Kinsler's, I believe he is in an appropriate position behind the other two second basemen in front of him, and behind by two million votes, I don't see him making a come back.

 

#4. Jason Kipnis, Clevland Indians 852,325

Fans are recognizing how good this kid actually it, as the rookie is nearing one million votes. Kipnis is well deserving of the votes, in fact I think he needs to get some more. He has been almost as productive as Kinsler and Pedroia combined in the HR column. He has had a better average than the two and has knocked in more runs than even Cano. This kid has a bright future in the MLB and his success has come from his ability to make contact with balls all over the strike zone. 

This has led to a good rookie batting average. He has also shown excellent power, driving the ball to all fields.

 

Let's take a look at Kipnis' stats in the first half of his first big league season.

70 G, 283 AB, 78 H, 6 2b, 3 3b, 11 HR, 46 R, 41 RBI, 17 SB, 22 BB, 50 SO, .276 BA, .330 OBP, .435 SLG

This kid has been excellten for Clevland, leading the charge of young talent and should absolutely be considered to make an appearance in Kansas City at the Midsummer Classic. 

 

Wild Card - NONE

I don't believe there is another American League second baseman that should be considered in this discussion, so there is not a wild card who has a chance to break into the discussion.

 

RESULTS:

1. Robinson Cano

2. Jason Kipnis

3. Ian Kinsler

4. Dustin Pedroia