Posted: Thu February 14, 2013 12:17PM; Updated: Tue March 19, 2013 11:02AM
Eric Mack
Eric Mack>INSIDE FANTASY BASEBALL

Fantasy baseball 2013 draft preview: Second base primer

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New York Yankees' Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano is a fantasy star in every category except steals and is worth a mid-Round 1 pick.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Fantasy baseball 2013 draft prep central: Rankings, position primers and much more

Second base isn't considered as weak of a fantasy baseball position as shortstop, catcher or relief pitcher, but with Chase Utley and Dan Uggla aging and Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia leveling off, it offers the greatest potential for disappointment on draft day.

It's easy to get stuck with a bum, but that doesn't mean you should reach to grab an underwhelming option in the early rounds. Finding the right time to strike makes second base one of them most important positions to monitor during draft preparation and spring training.

Guys like Jason Kipnis and Aaron Hill rose from being late-round picks a year ago to top-five options at the position now. Finding this season's late-round gems isn't easy, but it isn't impossible, either.

POSITION PRIMERS: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP

Is there a debate at No. 1?

Save perhaps for Craig Kimbrel and the other closers, there's no greater gap between a No. 1 and the rest of the position group than there is between Robinson Cano and the second base field. A fantasy star in every category except stolen bases, Cano is an elite fantasy option. He's dominant enough to justify a pick in the middle of Round 1.

PRINTABLE DRAFT KIT: Top 300 Cheat Sheet | Position Rankings Cheat Sheet

Comeback player: Chase Utley, Phillies

Chronic knee issues have sapped much from Utley, 34, but he showed enough last year for us to consider him a fantasy starter at a thin position. He stars at the true outcomes -- walks and homers -- so he stands a chance to reach the 20-homer mark again in Philadelphia's hitter-friendly ballpark. Consider him a solid fallback option if you miss out on one of the pseudo-elite second basemen in the middle rounds.

Breakout: Dustin Ackley, Mariners

Ackley is coming off a very disappointing year for someone with his potential, but how many second basemen are full-go in their first full season? Not many. He will be 25 this year and is poised to break through as he enters his prime. Plus, the fences have moved in at his home park, which should help his power numbers. He has 20/20 potential, which could make him a late-round steal as early as this year.

Bust: Brandon Phillips, Reds

Phillips has been a model of consistency at a position that sorely lacks it right now, but he will turn 32 during the season and that can be the age of breakdown at second base. Just ask former Utley owners. Middle infielders older than 30 are never sure things. Phillips will be drafted as an elite second baseman, but that's like being one of the smartest dummies, since the position is one of the weakest in fantasy. You're better off skipping Phillips and waiting for a younger option in the late rounds who is poised to break through.

Sleeper: Gordon Beckham, White Sox

Beckham burst onto the scene in 2009 as an early Round 1 amateur pick who looked like he might become the next Pedroia. Instead, he became the next Kelly Johnson, a second baseman with some pop who drags an awful batting average with him. But Beckham is entering his prime years of production at age 26, and he's a good bet to post career bests across the fantasy board. That only requires .271/17/61/63/8, but if he can hit somewhere between that and those early career projections of .300/25/80/90/15, he'd be quite a late-round find.

Top prospect/rookie: Jedd Gyorko, Padres

Many leagues won't qualify Gyorko at second base -- he has played mostly third base in the minors -- but the offense-needy Padres have their best hitter, Chase Headley, at third and are expected to give Gyorko a chance to make the team out of spring training at second base. If that happens, look out. Gyorko hit a combined .311/30/100/80/5/.373/.547 in 499 at-bats at Double-A and Triple-A last year. His move to second and big league arrival could provide fantasy owners with a great late-round burgeoning power bat.

Other potential eligibles

Our rankings only consider those who play second base as their primary position or played at least 20 games there in their most recent major league season. Four players ranked below are not yet eligible at second base, but they are expected to be used there this season; they're marked with (2B) in the position column. Here are some other players who are eligible in leagues with different requirements:

• Fifteen games: Kyle Seager, Michael Young, Emilio Bonifacio, Pedro Ciriaco and Jordany Valdespin
• Ten games: Martin Prado and Elliot Johnson
• Five games: Jurickson Profar, Matt Carpenter, Everth Cabrera, Josh Rutledge, Eric Sogard, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jimmy Paredes and Jeff Baker
• Three games: Trevor Plouffe and Tyler Pastornicky
• One game: Mike Aviles, Darin Mastroianni, Aubrey Huff and Casey McGehee

Target averages

From the rough estimate projections below, your average second baseman in a 12-team league should be around .271/18/76/87/15/.343/.444.

2013 fantasy baseball second base rankings
Stat projections, tiers and auction values for the top 45 fantasy baseball second basemen
RankPlayerTeamPOSAVGHRRBIRSBOBPSLUGTierAuction $
1Robinson CanoNYY2B.300301001003.350.5301$40
2Ian KinslerTEX2B.27223909020.350.4602$23
3Dustin PedroiaBOS2B.29715808517.360.4602$23
4Jason KipnisCLE2B.26016759029.335.4032$19
5Aaron HillARI2B.27225819013.330.4773$15
6Ben ZobristTB2B/SS/OF.26520809012.354.4703$15
7Brandon PhillipsCIN2B.27318798915.322.4334$11
8Jose AltuveHOU2B.2868459135.345.4004$10
9Chase UtleyPHI2B.28020808515.375.4504$9
10Danny EspinosaWAS2B/SS.25019757518.320.4154$8
11Rickie WeeksMIL2B.25120698115.350.4294$7
12Dan UgglaATL2B.2452080853.350.4705$5
13Dustin AckleySEA2B.26013549212.325.4015$3
14Neil WalkerPIT2B.2801375758.339.4245$2
15Howie KendrickLAA2B.29212658013.328.4285$2
16Josh RutledgeCOLSS (2B).26312676511.305.4495$2
17Jedd GyorkoSD3B (2B).2791257494.331.4155$2
18Gordon BeckhamCHW2B.2451765707.312.4005$1
19Daniel MurphyNYM2B.2901070802.340.4256$0
20Marco ScutaroSF2B/SS.280761856.340.4006$0
21Brian RobertsBAL2B.2807507512.350.3906$0
22Ryan RobertsTB2B/3B.24510585010.324.3996$0
23Kelly JohnsonTB2B.23514555514.310.3956$0
24Chris NelsonCOL3B/2B.2841269524.327.4276$0
25Omar InfanteDET2B.2757506210.315.3976$0
26Jemile WeeksOAK2B.2495386520.321.3706$0
27Jeff KeppingerCHW3B/2B/1B.288741661.337.3966$0
28Sean RodriguezTBSS/3B/2B.24510425510.305.4007$0
29Cliff PenningtonARISS/2B.2497475515.313.3567$0
30Scott SizemoreOAK3B (2B).241841405.329.3827$0
31Chris GetzKC2B.2570305417.314.3167$0
32Darwin BarneyCHC2B.263545687.305.3497$0
33Logan ForsytheSD2B.2708455111.341.3807$0
34Alexi CasillaBAL2B.2501273917.300.3307$0
35Brian DozierMINSS (2B).2457435112.290.3358$0
36Johnny GiavotellaKC2B.242336418.271.3408$0
37Mark EllisLAD2B.265530606.331.3758$0
38Maicer IzturisTOR2B/SS/3B.2732334512.337.3818$0
39Donovan SolanoMIA2B.260239408.325.3608$0
40Tyler GreeneHOUSS/2B.22410454010.292.3568$0
41Yuniesky BetancourtPHI2B.266740350.290.3928$0
42Josh HarrisonPIT2B/SS.250417275.280.3588$0
43Jamey CarrollMIN2B/SS/3B.2760255010.354.3448$0
44Daniel DescalsoSTL2B/3B/SS.245535447.318.3378$0
45Ryan FlahertyBAL2B/OF.240729243.295.3808$0

Note: Parentheses indicate anticipated position eligibility

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