When I look at the top 20 2nd basemen from the end of the year rankings, I’m yawnstipated. So after the top guy went to Safeco and with no games played this offseason (that I’m aware of), the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball didn’t get better since the last game of the season. Last year, Matt Carpenter and Daniel Murphy buoyed the 2nd basemen, making them seem better than they were due to counting stats. I expect better this year than last year from a few guys, but just as many come with the “Bound For Disappointment” label. Hey, BFD would make a great acronym. I’m surprised no one has used it before. Oh, wait, in the age of the internet, everything is an acronym. Well, SAGNOF to that. There’s the position eligibility chart for 2014 fantasy baseball. All the 2014 fantasy baseball rankings are under that linkie-ma-whosie. As always, my projections and tiers are included for the low, low price of zero dollars. Anyway, here’s the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball:
2. Jason Kipnis – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Kinsler. I call this tier, “I trust you to make the right decision, I don’t trust these guys.” The position is a mess right now. As I briefly covered in the opening salvo, the position didn’t look as bad last year due to counting stats from some guys. The third ranked 2nd basemen last year (Carpenter) had 11 homers and 3 steals. That’s egregious and other words Jackie Chiles would say. As for Kipnis, he seems like a lock for the 2nd best 2nd baseman season and he virtually disappears in the 2nd half of the season. (Damn, should’ve made a smart type shortcut for ‘2nd’ before embarking on that sentence. What a waste of time!) In 2012, Kipnis had 3 homers and 11 steals with a .233 average in the 2nd half. Last year, he hit 4 homers and stole 9 bases with a .261 in the 2nd half. That comes out to about one homer and 2 steals every 16 games. Omar Infante just called and said, “I trademarked that stat line, you owe me a nickel. Omar Infante wants your nickel, fool!” 2014 Projections: 90/19/92/.269/27
3. Dustin Pedroia – He played in 160 games last year. About 159 of them hurt since he was injured on Opening Day. One of two games he missed was the last game of the season when the Red Sox had home field locked up. Okay, so his heart is threes times the size of an average human. (Oddly enough, his heart is only half the size of a cow. Ever see a cow reading a Hallmark card? It weeps uncontrollably. Big heart on those cows.) Playing hurt cost him power, and bought him counting stats. Injured or healthy, the only thing I’d count on from the five foot, five inch Pedroia is steals, average, runs, RBIs and needing a step ladder to high-five most players. As long as he never high-fives Shelley Duncan. Shelley Duncan will take off your hand with a high-five. Shelley Duncan don’t take no mess. 2014 Projections: 93/14/89/.298/18
4. Ian Kinsler – When he was traded to the Tigers, here’s what I said, “Kinsler looked like he got old quickly last year (he is 31 already). His power was down to a career low of 13 homers and his speed was at 15 steals, which only beats his career low in his rookie year when he was still learning how to walk. (Not literally; he didn’t enter the league as an infant. He was learning to take pitches.) Unless he bumps into a syringe left behind by Jhonny Peralta, players don’t usually get better in their thirties. They also tend to lose a bit of value when they go from a hitters’ park to a neutral one. I don’t mean they refuse to paint Comerica pink and force it to play sports that cater to men and women. That’s gender neutral.” And that’s me quoting me! 2014 Projections: 103/16/74/.269/17
5. Jose Altuve – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Phillips. I call this tier, “Well, I guess I have to at least consider drafting a 2nd baseman.” Altuve is my fifth best 2nd baseman. That’s usually around 60 overall in the top 400. Altuve should not be ranked around 60 overall. I can shove in some pitchers and outfielders as filler, but there’s gonna be a vacuum because there’s so few hitters. Besides both needing their tippy-toes to get on a roller coaster, I can’t help to see the Altuve and Pedroia comparisons. Pedroia’s 14 homers and 18 steals isn’t really that different than an 8-homer, 30-steal guy. Altuve can also hit .290 and he’s seven years younger than the Sparky Anklebiter. Sure, the Astros won’t give him as many counting stats, but I trust Altuve to stay healthier than Pedroia. I could make a case for Altuve to be ranked where Pedroia is and that’s some scary shizz. 2014 Projections: 80/8/63/.292/33
7. Ben Zobrist – He’s predictably unpredictable. One year 20 homers, then 12; one year 20 steals, then 11; one year a .240 average, then .275; one year 90+ runs and RBIs, then 70+; one year I think Zobrist is long for bris, one year I think it’s short for Sochristian. If anyone knows what Zobrist is going to do in 2014, let me know. I’d buy his wife’s albums off iTunes if I thought it would inveigle him into serious production, if I’m using inveigle correctly. 2014 Projections: 79/14/70/.268/14
8. Aaron Hill – He comes with a bit more risk than other guys in this tier, but he also comes with more upside. With risk comes reward, as one of those motivation posters says with a picture of a cat hang gliding towards a parachuting mouse. Last I read, Hill’s hand should be fine for the spring, and that’s the last you read too, coincidentally. If his fractured hand is finally better, he could hit 20+ homers to go along with his 10+ bases. Yes, his upside could put him in the top three overall. 2014 Projections: 77/18/72/.281/9
9. Brandon Phillips – Lots of talk about Phillips being traded this offseason. Makes you think there’s something wrong with him, right? Yeah, I know, I read minds. Rumors about Phillips being traded doesn’t change his value. If there’s one guy I could see claiming this year’s Hunter Pence award for Wow, That’s A Lot Of Steals Out Of Nowhere, it’s Phillips. But even if it doesn’t happen, he’s still a top ten 2nd baseman. 2014 Projections: 79/17/86/.269/6
10. Matt Carpenter – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Kendrick. I call this tier, “Trying to avoid this tier.” I ranked these players lower than I expect others will because not only am I not excited about drafting any of them, but I don’t plan on it either. If Carpenter is there this late, and I haven’t drafted a guy above him, then, well, you gotta do what you gotta do. How’s that for excitement? Last year, Carpenter scored 126 runs. That’s the third highest runs total since 2008. To give you an idea of what the guys who beat him did the following season: Granderson scored 136 runs in 2011 and 102 the following year and Trout scored 129 in 2012 and 109 last year. No one scores 120 runs in back-to-back years without a crapton of steroids. Do I smell an overrated post coming for Carpenter? I can’t smell due to a build up of cerumen that’s made its way into my nasal passages, but it sounds about right. (BTW, the Wikipedia picture for cerumen is so nasty. Don’t look, seriously. And now that just made you want to look. Suckers!) 2014 Projections: 94/12/69/.304/4
11. Chase Utley – If he can play 150 games, he’ll be a top five 2nd baseman. And if I were three feet taller, I’d rent myself out as a ladder. And if if’s and but’s were candy and nuts, I’d be a squirrel with diabetes. 2014 Projections: 65/16/73/.274/10
12. Howie Kendrick – Kinda crazy that he’s already going to be 31 years old in July. He feels like a guy that should still be getting better but that time has past. Now you just hope for a 145 games played and counting stats. Gosh, that was depressing. So is using the word gosh. 2014 Projections: 62/15/70/.284/10
13. Brad Miller – This is a new tier. This tier ends here. I call this tier, “Gimme!” I’ve already given you my Brad Miller sleeper post. You’re welcome, over-the-internet friend. Now…gimme! 2014 Projections: 69/14/62/.272/13
14. Jurickson Profar – Imagine Jurickson Profar and Jedd Gyorko went to Hawaii to get married and they decided to flip a coin for who got to name the baby. Heads it was, but Gyorko called tails so he got to keep his last name, and Jurickson was heads so he got to name the kid, leaving them with Jurickson Gyorko, and when the kid turned 12 he changed his name to Tommy so kids would stop teasing him with Jerkson Jerko. That’s an imagine scenario that even John Lennon couldn’t have dreamt up. Ron Washington seems content with Profar at the bottom of the order. For now. After a few lines of the devil’s dandruff that could all change. So…gimme! Now, I will write a rap song that struggles to rhyme in honor of Jurickson Profar and Brad Miller. I call this rap song, “My Rhymes Are On…That Thing You Read Off Your Watch (Time).”
I like Miller and Profar a lot, cuz. Like a lot a lot. Two a lot’s.
I got more a lot’s than you got uh-nothings’s.
Something, something something. That’s three something’s.
Your girlfriend told me you’re lackluster.
Then I switched the U’s for A’s and the F’s for L’s on your girl’s keyboard and she told me to lack luster.
But she kept going, “Lack luster, hurder! I lackin’ fove you so lackin’ mach.”
I yelled, “Oh, yeah,” like the Kool-Aid Man. He’s punch with a paunch. UPDATE: Torn shoulder muscle. I promise you it had nothing to do with my poem (it probably did). 2014 Projections: 77/10/59/.272/15
14. Jed Lowrie – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Prado. I call this tier, “No gimme.” Elias Sports Bureau said this is the first time since 1910 that there are two Jed’s in the top 15 for 2nd basemen. In 1910, there was Jed Wilson and Jed Parsons until they had a deadly quarrel over a homemade white cake. This Jed Lowrie defied what I probably said last year in that if he got 150 games played he’d be a huge value. And that’s me maybe quoting me! He did get 154 games last year and did about the same as when he only played in 100 games in previous years. It’s like when you put in two caps worth of Country Time into your Sodastream instead of the recommended one cap’s worth. The bottom is undrinkable and you still only have a half decent drink. 2014 Projections: 70/15/76/.260/2
15. Martin Prado – This guy gets the short end of the “Does Grey like me?” stick. Some ex-girlfriends would say there is only a short end. Prado’s fine for counting stats, but gives nothing else exciting and I guarantee you you (stutterer!) won’t be happy owning him all year. 2014 Projections: 65/13/76/.277/5
16. Anthony Rendon – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Scooter. I call this tier, “What are you waiting for? A personal invitation? Draft a middle infielder already.” I have a premonition that Rendon is going to be batting first for two-thirds of the season. Maybe I am a soothsayer. A sayer of sooths, if you will. Maybe I’m throwing darts at a board hoping the darts don’t get all bungled, leading me to yell, “Drats!” He definitely didn’t cream anything last year, which is what I’d prefer to see in a player’s first cup of coffee. He’s shown power in the minors, so I’m gonna go on him being only 23 years old and hope for more. And, yes, if he has a bad April, he’ll be droppable in most leagues. What do you want? It’s a shallow position and we’re already firmly in a tier of guys that may not last on your team. 2014 Projections: 72/14/74/.279/4
17. Kolten Wong – The Cardinals are saying Mark Ellis will just be used as support for Wong. Too bad Ellis didn’t have his hands filled giving support to Matt Adams. You know, standing behind Matt with his hands cupped around his moobs. I don’t want to believe Wong will be shortchanged at-bats due to Ellis, but there’s a real possibility of that happening. The good news is Ellis can’t stay healthy and is long in the tooth like Sarah Jessica Parker. I think I might’ve just ranked the first 2nd baseman that won’t start the year in the majors. Ellis, you stupid prospblock. 2014 Projections: 72/11/52/.277/17
18. Jonathan Schoop - I’d draft Schoop just for the smell of it, just for the yell of it! If he wins the job over Jemile Weeks (which he should if anything’s right in this world), he looks like a guy that will hit for some decent MI power and not a whole lot else. For this year, he looks like a poor man’s Uggla when he was young, I will call him Dan Fuggla. UPDATE: The Brooklyn Brawler, Steve Lomardozzi, knocked Schoop out of the ring for a ten count. With the help of a metal chair. 2014 Projections: 61/16/67/.251/4
19. Kelly Johnson – Here’s a guy that I like way more than I should. It’s like everyone sees the scary half-face guy on Boardwalk Empire and I’m the hot model who dates him in real life. Wait, am I wearing a bikini in this scenario? I might like that. I don’t buy for one second Brian Roberts or Scott Sizemore are legit options to steal any meaningful time from him. 2014 Projections: 50/17/60/.225/10
20. Scooter Gennett – The Brewers gave him the nod this offseason for the 2nd base job. They did that prior to trading away Weeks, which is the opposite of good negotiating. Well, whatevs. Gennett showed a lot more this past season than he should’ve, which is good and bad. Playing over your head is good, but how long does it last? Not to answer, but to ruminate. Mmm, ruminating… Damn, I burned my tongue on that rumination! 2014 Projections: 60/12/64/.281/10
21. Josh Rutledge – Some people were crazy excited about Rutledge last year. We shouldn’t try to figure who those people were. It’s a waste of our energy. Let’s just say some were excited. Some very, very, very smart people who modify with very. As of right now, Rutledge’s not guaranteed the starting 2nd base job. Him and DJ LeMahieu should battle it out in the spring. As long as the battle isn’t on the ones and twos, I like Rutledge to walk away with the job and is worth a flyer. UPDATE: How the mighty to only me have fallen, he didn’t make the team. 2014 Projections: 59/14/40/.245/15
21. Daniel Murphy – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Infante. I call this tier, “Only excuse to draft these guys is if you’re accidentally on autodraft and in the bathroom.” This offseason the Mets tried to trade Murphy after his career year. That’s an A for effort and a C+ for desperation. “He’s capable of stealing 25 bags, 15 homers and has a great moral code!” That’s the Mets trying to sell Murphy to the highest bidder. Unfortch, there were no bidders because it’s pretty obvious last year was an outlier with the emphasis on liar. What kind of moral code is that?! 2014 Projections: 76/8/59/.282/12
23. Brian Dozier – After I ranked Dozier I thought about why and I fell asleep. 2014 Projections: 52/12/60/.230/9
25. Rickie Weeks – There was a while there that Weeks had this stigma that he couldn’t stay healthy. Now the stigma is you don’t want him to stay healthy. You say stigma, I say stigmata, let’s call the whole thing off! 2014 Projections: 42/12/48/.211/10
26. Marco Scutaro – Best case scenario, he gets you what you were hoping for from Daniel Murphy. But what were you hoping for from Daniel Murphy? Why are you putting all your hopes and dreams in Daniel Murphy? Stop pressuring him! 2014 Projections: 69/7/47/.291/5
27. Gordon Beckham – Here is your challenge, find someone who is excited about drafting Gordon Beckham. It’s fair game to go to Beckham’s house and see if you can find anyone there. 2014 Projections: 60/11/66/.252/6
28. Alexander Guerrero – When he signed, I said, “And the Dodgers signed yet another Cuban raftee. Those Dodgers there, they are filled to the rafters! How Alexander Guerrero signed a deal to play in Hollywood and there wasn’t one newspaper with the title, “Showbiz and A.G.” I will never know. You failed, Los Angeles Times. Thankfully, Los Angeles isn’t in Miami or it would be a total free-for-all, humid and aquamarine-tinted. Miami should just formally denounce normal colors. “We, the people of Miami, would like to declare orange and aquamarine as our primary colors.” When you get off the plane in Miami International, someone should be stationed at the gate and spray paint your face orange or aquamarine; your choice. Ever notice how Miami is one of the last cities to ever have race issues? It’s the pastel colors. Put people in pastel colors and what are they looting? Leotards? Sherbet? So, Scott Boras said Alexander Guerrero has the power of Dan Uggla. Yeah, okay. Take a high school C student and Boras can get him into Harvard Law School through the sheer force of his BS. Guerrero will replace Ellis next year at 2nd base. A.G. has some pop for a middle infielder, but probably won’t hit more than 15 long balls. That’s the sad trombone news. Alexander takes after his brother from another mother with the same last name — Vladimir Guerrero. He swings at anything within a yard sale of home plate. Unlike Vlad the Impala, Alexander might not hit for a great average. Hey, he’s got that in common with Uggla. Excuse Boras for mixing up his comparisons! He also has no speed and I wonder about his motivation. He sat out last year because he didn’t want to play after not being chosen to play for Cuba’s World Baseball Classic team. I can understand his disappointment. He didn’t get to play in a meaningless tournament with 35% of the best players in the world. Take a ‘lude with your ‘tude, ain’t got time for that.” And that’s me quoting me! 2014 Projections: 49/9/59/.233/2
29. Omar Infante – Here’s what I said when he signed with the Royals, “‘Every player is like gold teeth, Grey Goose, trippin’ in the bathroom… And we’ll never be royals…’ Hmm, actually it should be, “Every player is like ‘What’s in Billy Butler’s teeth?’ the Moose, I wanna watch Bonifacio run, vroom… They are the Royals…” Infante, you’re almost a baby and I hate you for killing Bonifacio’s fantasy value.” And that’s me quoting me! 2014 Projections: 48/8/51/.284/7
30. DJ LeMahieu – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the end of the list. I call this tier, “Gnihton.” What I mean by the tier name is if you stare at nothing long enough, you start to see something. DJ LeMahieu may or may not have a starting job. If a nation of Asian kids with glow sticks have any say in it, he will. I’m not sure they have a say though. 2014 Projections: 51/3/48/.298/15
31. Emilio Bonifacio – Every player is like ‘What’s in Billy Butler’s teeth?’ the Moose, I wanna watch Bonifacio run, vroom… They are the Royals… Damn, that’s stuck in my head now. 2014 Projections: 41/2/31/.251/28
32. Dustin Ackley – The Big FraGu is supposed to platoon with Ackley, but right now Ackley is slotted into the leadoff slot vs. righties and The Big FraGu can’t stay healthy or hit lefties. I don’t expect the second coming of Jimmy Christ from Ackley, but, c’mon, we’re real late here. 2014 Projections: 52/6/32/.258/6
33. Nick Franklin – Right now, Franklin lacks a coherent narrative with the Mariners like Maya did with Nate and Brenda. I could see him sneaking into 250 ABs if he stays put and 500 ABs if he’s traded and 700 ABs if he plays all the innings of a 475-inning game. 2014 Projections: 32/9/36/.251/8
34. Steve Lombardozzi – Kinsler’s no model of good health and Andy Dirks should be required to write up a curriculum vitae to apply for a full-time job. Lombardozzi did have a 20-steal season in the minors — cough, cough — in High-A in 2010. Okay, so Lombardozzi’s got his own demons, but he might be something in very deep leagues. 2014 Projections: 31/5/28/.281/9
35. Jemile Weeks – He will probably amount to bupkis, but just think if he’s the un-bupkis. A 30-steal guy in the last rounds of your draft? Ah, dare to dream. Or maybe that’s simply, ‘I must be dreaming.’ Nope, I’m not dreaming or I’d be getting a back massage from Jessica Alba in the south of France while we discuss how boring Downton Abbey is. Every character on the show can be described by, “Isn’t he a drip?” My teenaged self would kick the crap out of me for even watching Downton Abbey. 2014 Projections: 37/2/19/.239/22