When last I checked the overall ADP data here at Mock Draft Central was based on 119 qualifying drafts, so while we’re not quite where we want to be yet, sample-size wise, we are getting much closer and a lot faster than expected. That means that more and more people are getting an early jump on their fantasy baseball prep work which will, in turn, allow you to use ADP more effectively in your drafts. For now, though we’ll stick to the plan we started last week and take a look at the ADP trends from those preparing for the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC). They are, as expected, quite knowledgeable and take these mocks very seriously, so the reports and subsequent trends we see are very accurate in their reflection of how most players are going in drafts. We’ve covered the catchers and first baseman in the first two installments, so it’s time to head over to the keystone and see what’s in store for you.
Over the last several years, second base has been an incredibly thin position. If you didn’t land one of the top five or six, then the position turned into more of an afterthought. There wasn’t much power to be had, moderate speed, at best, and have you seen some of the batting averages from these light-hitting middle infielders? Gross.
But things are changing and slowly but surely we’re starting to see some added depth to the position. Your upper tier remains a prime focus for those concerned with position scarcity in the first few rounds, but as you scroll down the list, you’ll see that a nice influx of some youth has helped fatten up the position a bit more lately. Suddenly the list goes 15 or 16 deep and those in shallow leagues aren’t walking away from draft day praying that the waiver gods will be kind to them early on. Even deeper league owners are feeling better about their middle infield prospects after they lock in starters at second and short. Again, it’s still a work in progress so don’t excite yourselves too much, but there is definite growth. Here’s a look at the ADP Trend Report for second basemen according to the NFBC.
|Rank||Player||Team||Current ADP||1 Week Ago||Trend|
|37||Jerry Hairston Jr.||LAD||600.00||604.40||4.40%|
In truth, if you’ve been playing fantasy baseball for a few years, the overall list comes with very few surprises. Robinson Cano with his 30-plus home run power and .300-plus average tops the list again this year while both Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler round out the top three, just as they did last season. From that point on though, you’ve got some fresh new faces who really stepped up their games last season.
Jason Kipnis was a late-round pick-up for most last year, but with his 20-20 potential, he really blossomed last season. And though his second half was peanuts compared to his first half, no one seems scared off as they are chalking up the drop-off to him just being young and over-aggressive at the plate. If he’s learned anything from his rookie year, it’s that he needs to pace himself for the full 162 games and remain patient at the plate at all times.
Jose Altuve is another one who burst onto the scene last season in quite an unexpected fashion and based on the slight increase in his ADP trend, you see that plenty of folks are buying into it. With a .290 average, seven home runs and 33 stolen bases, Altuve, a relative unknown in drafts last year and savvy early season waiver add, was a rare bright spot on a dismal Astros team. He’s obviously on everyone’s radar right now so getting him cheap because he plays for Houston was, apparently, a one-shot deal. Even with the switch to the AL, he is expected to give an encore performance.
Mark Ellis, LAD (+18.47%) – The Dodgers second baseman was having himself a solid first half last year until a Tyler Greene take-out slide put him on the DL with knee surgery. When he returned from almost a month and a half off, he was effective, but not the way he was to open the year. But now with a full offseason of rest, Ellis should be back in form this season and atop the Dodgers lineup. While speed is not his forte, he should hit for a nice average and post a solid on-base percentage. With that, and the amount of power and talent he has behind him in the lineup, he should be a great source of runs scored.
Daniel Descalso, STL (+15.00%) – He’s not really someone you’re targeting for any specific reason, but if you’re looking for a guy who plays every day and won’t hurt you with a weak average, then he deserves a look in deeper formats. With no Skip Schumaker in-house anymore, the job, sort of, falls to him now. The Cards will give prospect Kolten Wong a look during spring training, but it looks like the job is Descalso’s to lose.
Tyler Greene, HOU (+8.88%) – He’s going fairly late in drafts and not at all in some, but Greene can be an interesting middle infield option for those who have no faith in the health of Jed Lowrie or the abilities of Matt Dominguez. While he still qualifies at second base, he will be backing up all the infield positions and could get an opportunity depending on how things shake out during spring training.
Darwin Barney, CHC (+6.89%) – Similarly to Descalso, Barney doesn’t really offer too much, but is the starting second baseman for the Cubs again this season. Depending on where he hits in the lineup, he could have some value in the runs scored department and he might chip in a handful of steals, but don’t expect much more than that.
Logan Forsythe, SD (+6.89%) – Forsythe finally plugged the hole at second for the Padres last year and he did an admirable job given where his skill set actually lies. For now, he is penciled in as the starter, but he might not be there for long if prospect Jedd Gyorko has a strong spring. The Padres are giving him a chance to compete for the job and his skills at the plate a far superior to those of Forsythe. Should Gyorko impress, then Forsythe will return to the utility job from whence he came. If he doesn’t, then Forsythe will be there for San Diego on Opening Day.
Johnny Giavotella, KC (-10.53%) – It would appear that very few people in the NFBC have the confidence in Giavotella to win the starting second base job outright. He was given the opportunity last season but failed to produce in the spring and was sent back to Triple-A. He hit well down on the farm but each time he came back up, the numbers failed to translate. He’ll need to consistently show that Triple-A plate discipline against big league pitchers if he’s going to succeed and be a viable fantasy contributor.
Kolten Wong, STL (-8.08%) – Obviously no one thinks Wong is going to win the job from Descalso this spring and while some are grabbing him for potential future engagements in the majors, he is slowly slipping down the ADP ranks. He saw his numbers slide with the move to Double-A last year and didn’t really impress much during the Arizona Fall League, so it would appear that he needs some more minor-league seasoning before he makes the jump.
Chase Utley, PHI (-5.81%) – It’s like a game of musical chairs. No one wants to be left without a chair when the music stops and no one wants to be stuck with Utley at second base when the final breakdown occurs. His current ADP of 131.06 is still fairly impressive given his health issues and steady decline over the last three years, but he presents a huge risk to anyone drafting him, and they know it.
Alexi Casilla, BAL (-5.04%) – Given his 541.59 ADP, I wouldn’t normally give Casilla much thought. But considering that he is Brian Roberts’ primary back-up and the health risk that Roberts presents, you would think more people would keep him on the radar. Perhaps they feel that Ryan Flaherty could step in as well or that even youngster Jonathan Schoop has a chance, but I would definitely keep an eye on this particular spot during spring training.
Daniel Murphy, NYM (-5.03%) -- While Murphy has the starting second base gig again this year, he doesn’t have the same draw as last year due to eligibility only at second base. The year before, he was also eligible at both first and third base as well coming into the season. He did grab eligibility at first last year, appearing in a dozen games, but without the added flexibility right now, he remains just a run-of-the-mill low-end option.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy and for more detailed questions, thoughts or comments, you can email him at email@example.com.