We’re doing a little recreational fishing here at MillionDollarSleeper.com. Today, we’re ignoring the trophy fish that Bob Izumi traverses the world to catch, we want those rough, ugly fish; the fish that can be found in our own backyard. Round 25 and beyond, no one who goes before our 288 ADP cut-off. We’re casting for Second Basemen and we don’t have much for bait. Break off a chunk of that secret treasure loaf and grab a piece of corn, we’re fishing for bottom-feeders. Make the jump for the underrated few who the public largely (and mistakenly) ignore.
12-team Mixed Leagues
Nada. Between Cano, Utley, Pedroia, Kinsler, Uggla, Phillips, Prado, Weeks, Hill, Raburn, Zobrist, Johnson, Figgins, Kendrick, Aviles, Beckham and Brian Roberts, we have 17 Second Baseman to fill our positions and protect us against the injury imp.
Mono-leagues (AL and NL Only) and Deep Mixed Leagues
Neil Walker -ADP 339- Walker missed all of April and most of May before joining the Pirates. The (then) 24-year old two-bagger posted a .296-12-57-66-2 line in 426 At Bats. Walker has plenty of experience in the high minors, he spent time in AAA since 2007, which tells us the .340 BABIP is going to regress. We can’t pay for the .296 Batting Average, but the moderate power and handful of Stolen Bases is legit. If only our 18th best Shortstop was this good. This projection uses a .314 BABIP; 2011 Projection: .268-18-76-81-5 (585 AB)
Dustin Ackley -ADP 368- The Mariners Second Baseman of the future. Dustin Ackley will carry the busted up, downtrodden Mariners organization on his back. Dustin Ackley will be so good, Safeco Field will be considered a hitter’s park. OK, that’s not quite true. The Mariners will never be good and Safeco will forever be a pitcher’s haven, but Ackley will eventually be a great player. The Arizona Fall League MVP will start the season in AAA and will make a solid impact for the final four months of the season. He’s talented, coachable, but could use some more seasoning in AAA while he acclimates himself to the Second Base position (1B in college). When Ackley is eventually called up, he’ll close in on the Top 15 options at the position. 2011 Projection: .280-7-47-53-9 (400 AB)
Tsuyoshi Nishioka -ADP 341- The newest Japanese import is confirmed to be the Twins everyday Second Baseman and will likely bat between Denard Span and Joe Mauer. He shares a similar skill set to the man he’s replacing, Orlando Hudson. Nishi will likely take a few more walks, he’s been improving in that area the past few seasons, and will steal more bases than Hudson, but the power contributions will be minimal. He doesn’t have gorilla wire strength and Target Field will suppress whatever power he does have. Nishioka did win the batting title in Japan last season, but that was based off an inflated BABIP. He likes to steal bases, but he’s doesn’t possess the horsepower of a Mercury V-Twin. More often than coaches would like, he was caught with his legs(?) in the cookie jar (68% success rate from 2008-2010). This puts him in the green light gray area. Gardy may stop giving him the go-ahead if he’s not successful, especially with Mauer and Morneau coming up to the plate. We also have some injury concerns here. I know people can be lured in by a shiny new toy, but let’s not go too crazy over Nishioka. 2011 Projection: .274-3-85-47-19 (500 AB)
Danny Espinosa -ADP 384- Oh Danny boy. The pipes, the pipes on this guy will eventually help him post a 20-plus HR season. Could that be this year? He launched 18 HR in 474 high-A At Bats (with 29 SB) and 28 HR across three levels in 2010 (25 SB). We have an underrated power/speed combo in Mr. Espinosa. It’s no surprise I’ve already reeled in Danny twice as he’s on both of my teams so far this draft season. The only issues I have are the off-season wrist surgery and the low Line Drive numbers. It sounds like he’s recovered from the surgery (hamate bone removed) and will be ready for Opening Day. Here’s the bigger issue; Espinosa has never posted a season with a 17% LD%. In fact, he’s only had one season of At Bats (high-A ball) where he topped 13% [FirstInning]. This will hinder his BABIP and in turn, his Batting Average. The power/speed combo is great, but you have to expect a poor Batting Average. 2011 Projection: .244-20-74-67-11 (540 AB)
Sean Rodriguez -ADP 352- The power of Sean Rodriguez can hook anyone like a barbed Daredevil, it’s hard to avoid being snagged by his potential. SRod hit 51 HR in his past two seasons of AAA (633 AB) and followed that up by destroying pitches during the 2010 Spring Training. Add Joe Maddon’s affinity to send his player running on the bases and we have some serious fantasy potential here. That’s if Sean can overcome his woes against RHP (career .226/.276/.370 vs Righties). If he doesn’t, Zobrist will steal At Bats and Matt Joyce can man the Outfield. 2011 Projection: .242-18-71-67-15 (500 AB)
Jed Lowrie -ADP 389- Jed Lowrie is the best Shortstop on the Red Sox roster. He is better than Marco Scutaro right now. However, the team has handed over the job to the veteran and Jed’s progress will stall while the team wastes time with the stiff-necked Scutaro. I expect Jed to overtake Marco at some point this season, the question is when. Right now, neither Red Sox Shortstop is worth drafting outside the deepest of leagues. Lowrie is someone to keep on your watch list for now. 2011 Projection: .272-8-37-35-1 (250 AB)
Reid Brignac -ADP 345- For the record, I don’t like Reid Brignac. I just see him being touted as a deep league sleeper and I want to squash those rumors. The guy has a .455 OPS with zero, count ’em zero, HR in 66 At Bats against Lefties. I demand a recount. Zero. OK, that’s settled. He sucks against LHP and people are trying to extrapolate his 257 AB vs RHP to come up with solid numbers. Not happening Captain. This 20 HR power people speak of hasn’t shown up since 2007 when he was playing single-A and AA ball. The combination of a 26% K%, .307 BABIP and scarce power will lead to a crippling Batting Average. He’s the starting Shortstop in Tampa for defensive purposes, this is a cost-saving move for the Rays. In the Recreational Fishing series, we are using Reid Brignac as a sinker, he’s dead weight. 2011 Projection: .238-10-60-59-8 (550 AB)
ADP numbers provided by MockDraftCentral