Five to Watch – 2B

FANFOOD_FB2014_5toW_2B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are hundreds of websites where you can get information to help you prepare for your upcoming fantasy baseball draft and season. It seems like every one of them offer rankingscheat sheets and draft guides.

In order to dominate your league you need to be familiar with a few of them. Check them outpick your favorites and have fun with your research. We will help you with our FANFOOD Fantasy Baseball Tools and new features, the FANFOOD 5 to Watch and FANFOOD goes 2 for 2.

During Spring Training, we offer 5 players from each position for you to watch and consider for your FB team. They will be ones that you may be able to find later in your draft or even off the waiver wire as the season progresses.

Once the season begins, FANFOOD goes 2 for 2 and discusses two upcoming starting pitchers scheduled for two starts. They will be our weekly picks for your team to stream (if that is your strategy).

So who are the FANFOOD 5 to Watch? Are they ones to target? Are they sleepers, studs or duds? The answer is yes and the answer is no. Simply put, they are the players that we find interesting at each position, ones you need to keep an eye on this spring before your fantasy baseball draft.

 

That all said, let’s get to it with our next 5, this time it is the second basemen, followed by some helpful links and a great recipe, Pickled Roasted Peppers

 

5 to Watch quick links:

[C] [1B] [2B] [3B] [SS] [OF] [SP] [RP] [Prospects]

 

FANFOOD 5 to Watch – Second Base

 

In my opinion, second base is all about filing a need. If you don’t want to spend a first or early second round pick on Cano, you will have to decide if you want to pull the trigger on the youngster Kipnis or the safe (yawn) Pedroia to built your team around. After they are off the board, most likely by the 4th round, you will have to start thinking about players to fill a need, asses your team and how each remaining 2B will fit.

 

There are some good options for you after the big three. Second base is fairly deep this year, but you don’t want to wait too long. So who are the ones to watch? Here is a handful of players to keep an eye on, a poor man’s Cano, an overachiever, a couple of prospects and a dependable if not unspectacular player.

 

 

1. Jedd Gyorko

ADP #108

 

In a position that is considered void of power, you better watch Jedd this spring and consider him for your fake team. You can’t argue with his HR potential, you just have to worry about a sophomore slump. If he is still available after the top 100 are off your board, go out and grab your starting 2B.

 

Notes from around the web:

 

If you checked out our 2B Consensus Position Rankings, you already know that I am high on Gyorko. While there is still a fair amount of risk that comes with a player that hasn’t yet played a full season of major league ball, the upside here is tremendous. After hitting 25 HR’s in 2011 and 30 HR’s in 2012 in the minors, the two-bagger launched 23 long-balls in 2013 with the Padres in 125 games. My list of second basemen with a decent chance of hitting 25 HR’s in 2014 goes like this: Robinson Cano and Jedd Gyorko…That’s it….While there are a few better options at 2B that will provide a mix of power and speed, no one else is in position to come close to matching Cano in long-balls. If Jedd Gyorko isn’t drafted in the top 8-to-10 second baseman in your league, take advantage and snag a possible 25 HR’s at a position weak on power.

source | Matt Mattingly (@mattmattingly81)
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The San Diego Padres relied on Jedd Gyorko not only at second base in 2013, but also relied on him to help out at third base with Chase Headley dinged up. Gyorko has second base eligibility in all leagues and depending on your league’s eligibility rules, may be eligible for third base as well (13 games in 2013). Gyorko showed hot and cold streaks in 2013 – posting an overall on-base percentage of .301, but posting a .361 on-base percentage during the month of May and a .349 OBP during the month of June. His batting average was an empty source of productivity, hitting just .249 for the season, but hit a total of 15 home runs during the final two months of the season (23 in total). Gyorko posted reasonable strikeout numbers in the minor leagues (17%), so there’s hope of his 23.4 K% dropping off a bit in 2014. 

source | baseball press
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Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko completed the 2013 regular season with a .249 batting average, 23 home runs, 63 RBIs, 62 runs and a steal. Gyorko started slow after entering the season as a popular late-round sleeper, batting .247 with no home runs in April. But the 25-year-old found his footing after that and finished second in the Majors at his position behind the Yankees’ Robinson Cano with 23 long balls. Looking ahead to next season, Gyorko should be on all mixed-league radars as a cheap source of pop from a power-hungry position.

source | MLB.com
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Gyorko was also classified as a sleeper last year, and if you had him for the stretch run he helped you win some championships. I’ve heard from friends that he single-handedly won them a championship with this grand slam on the final day of season. So calling him a sleeper this year isn’t going out on a limb, but for the round that you can find him still available, sleeper status applies. I’ve seen him go as high as 85 and as low as 160. He’s ranked anywhere from 5 to 14 for 2B. I have him as the 6th best 2B option this year. If you’re looking for some power out of your 2B slot, Gyorko is your guy. Gyorko is eligible at 3B in some leagues, making this an added bonus. Feel confident in pulling the trigger any time after pick 80 and be all Happy Happy Joy Joy with his production.

source | rotoballer
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Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko shed 15 pounds this offseason, according to Metro News. Gyorko is looking to improve during his sophomore year. He said making the majors was “a dream come true, but it’s still a grind.” Gyorko hit .249/.301/.444 in 486 at-bats during his rookie season. He also clubbed 23 home runs.

source | CBSsports.com
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2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
5267113625783.259.314.452.766

source | KFFL
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2.  Daniel Murphy

ADP #135

 

It’s hard to imagine him repeating his stats from last year. There has been a ton of trade talk regarding Daniel and may continue throughout the spring. This is the reason he is the number two player to watch at second base. When it comes to the FB pundits, the feeling about DM is a mixed bag. Many people, including myself feel that FB managers will over pay for his services this year, but the underlying feeling is that if he is available in the later rounds, he is worth the minimal investment.

 

Notes from around the web:

 

Daniel Murphy set career highs in home runs (13) and stolen bases (23) for the New York Mets in 2013. He was a great addition for any roster, especially if you passed on one of the “big name” second baseman on draft day last year. His speed is a great undervalued tool along with the potential of another 600 plate appearances in 2014. Expect decent batting average and OBP numbers from Murphy in 2014, with the hopes of another ~20 stolen base season. He’ll likely be overlooked again on draft day this year.

source | baseball press
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This is a guy who puts up fantasy stats. He gets a bad rap because (a) he’s a Met, and (b) he’s bad at defense, but one of those is irrelevant to fantasy, and the other is a bit (only a bit, but still) negated by the additions of Curtis Granderson and Chris Young. If you think Murphy keeps running like he did last year – and I do – there isn’t much of anything not to like about him.

source | fake teams
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According to ESPN’s Player Rater, Murphy was the 4th most valuable 2B in rotisserie leagues last year. He even ranked ahead of Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler in 2013. Murphy’s value was driven by the nice mix of power and speed, as he hit 13 HR’s and 23 SB’s in 2013, along with the 92 runs he scored last year. Before 2013, the second baseman had hit just 6 HR’s in each of the previous 2 years, and had never stolen more than 10 bases in a season. Plus, it could be hard for Murphy to replicate the run totals he accumulated last year with the lineup he has around him in New York. His batting average was about where you would expect it to be, but Murphy out-produced what was expected of him in every counting stat category. Paying for the second baseman to repeat his 2013 output would not be a smart investment. Don’t expect Daniel Murphy to finish in the top 5 fantasy second basemen again in 2014.

source | Matt Mattingly (@mattmattingly81)
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The second baseman is coming off a nice 2013 campaign that saw him bat .286/.319/.415 while setting career highs in home runs (13), RBI (78), runs (92) and stolen bases (23).

source | rotoworld
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The 28-year-old Murphy took a big leap in 2013, setting career highs in nearly every offensive category — including doubling his previous best in stolen bases (10) and managing to score 92 runs for a 74-win Mets team. That sort of production, particularly the green light on the basepaths, makes Murphy a second baseman to target in the middle-to-late rounds of mixed league drafts next season.

source | MLB.com
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Mets manager Terry Collins said the competition for first base is “wide open,” according to the New York Post. After being subject to trade rumors in the offseason, Ike Davis is still with the club, and the favorite to claim the position. If he fails, Lucas Duda is expected to step in. But Collins indicated that he’s not going to accept poor performances early. If both Davis and Duda get off to slow starts, Collins said the team could shift Daniel Murphy to first while Eric Young Jr. plays second. Collins said he plans to get Davis around 90 at-bats during spring training. “He might get a little tired but he’s too big a piece,” Collins said. “We have to know what we have there.” Davis hit .205/.326/.334 in 317 at-bats last season.

source | CBSsports.com
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2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
61183171117317.280.317.409.726

source | KFFL
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3.  Jurickson Profar

ADP #177

 

He is already injured which should be a cause for alarm. He is everyone’s sleeper pick at 2B this year and with an ADP of 177 and round 14 it’s hard to argue with that. He will be the everyday 2B now that kinsler is gone and the upside is huge. Watch him this spring, see how he feels but just don’t overreach on draft day.

 

Notes from around the web:

 

With Ian Kinsler out of the picture at second base in Arlington, Jurickson Profar will be given the keys to the everyday second base job in 2014. The highly touted prospect has just over 340 big league plate appearances, but can be expected to have close to 600 plate appearances due to an everyday position this season. The 20-year-old rookie has an exceptional approach at the plate with plenty of upside, especially for those in keeper/dynasty leagues. He has the tools for double digit home runs as well as double digit stolen base numbers, and depending on his lineup spot, could see a nice number in the runs scored category.

source | baseball press
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Jurickson Profar showed up to Rangers camp with some tendinitis in his right shoulder. It’s not a major concern at this point. Profar can still do conditioning work but will refrain from throwing for a week or so. The Rangers expect him to be fine for the start of the 2014 regular season and his fantasy stock should be in no way affected. The dynamic 20-year-old is ready to step in as Texas’ starting second baseman. Manny Acta called Profar “the most impressive player down here,” alongside Pirates prospect and DWL MVP Gregory Polanco. Profar is expected to start at second base in 2014 for the Rangers and carries massive fantasy upside. “Plate discipline and hand-eye coordination were outstanding,” Acta said of the 20-year-old. “Mature beyond his age.”

source | rotoworld
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Profar will be able to do everything except throw. General manager Jon Daniels said Profar would most likely need at least a week before he could start a throwing program. He will probably start Cactus League play needing to get his at-bats at designated hitter, but the Rangers expect him to have plenty of time to prepare for the regular season. Profar enters camp as the leading candidate to be the Rangers’ starting second baseman. But he still has to earn the job. The Rangers have options, including veterans Adam Rosales, Brent Lillibridge and Josh Wilson, and rookies Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas.

source | MLB.com
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Think about if the top prospect had a stellar 320+ PAs last year we wouldn’t even be having this discussion about targeting Profar. He’d be in the top 10 without question. Unfortunately for the Rangers and his overall development, Profar was shifted all over the diamond last year, used as a defensive replacement, and used as a pinch hitter last year. None of these are ways that help a player develop necessarily. This won’t be a problem this year, as he’s slated for full-time work at the keystone in one of the league’s premiere offenses. Keith Law calls him a future “superstar” and I see no reason to let 320 plate appearances stand in the way of that. This will be your last time, dynasty owner, to buy low, and I remain optimistic that he’ll be in the top 10 by the end of the year.

source | fake teams
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Profar batted just .234 with six home runs and 26 RBI in 286 at-bats with the Rangers in 2013. He struggled against left-handers and was caught on four of six steal attempts after succeeding in 47 of 63 tries in the minors. He also struck out with far greater frequency. But the trade of Ian Kinsler to Detroit should give Profar the opportunity to play every day. Jurickson Profar said he spent the offseason working on hitting from both sides of the plate, according to FOX Sports Southwest. Profar especially needed to work on his presence against left-handed pitchers since he’s batting just .180 against them in his MLB career. “I went there to work on some things to work on some things I thought I had to work on,” said Profar, who hit 284 with seven extra-base hits and 24 walks in 88 at-bats playing in the Dominican Winter League. “I had a good winter ball. Just being patient and look for my pitch to hit and stuff. And fielding too. Baserunning too.”

source | CBSsports.com
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2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
4816412412519.258.334.401.735

source | KFFL
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4. Neil Walker

ADP #241

 

Walker was a bit disappointing last season, but he is one to watch this year because of his power potential. I fully expect him to have a bounce back year with an increase in AVG and a couple more HRs. With his ADP as low as it is, he will not be on many manager’s radar.  He makes for a nice late round flier or FA pickup if his starts of the year strong.

 

Notes from around the web:

 

Walker has seen his batted ball profile improve over the last few years, as he is beginning to hit more fly balls, while maintaining a high line drive rate. The increase in fly balls over the past few seasons have resulted in his home run totals increasing in each of the last two seasons. Should that continue, he could approach 18-20 home runs in 2014. Only three other second baseman hit 20 or more home runs in 2013, and Walker could join that group in 2014. I see him returning to the .270-.280 hitter he was prior to last season, as his .274 BABIP last season was the lowest of his career, and well below his career BABIP of .312. Walker can be had in the later rounds of mixed league drafts, with a solid chance to outperform his draft day value.

source | fake teams
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Pirates second baseman Neil Walker finished the 2013 regular season with a .251 batting average, 16 homers, 53 RBIs, 62 runs scored and one stolen base. Walker was a disappointing fantasy asset this season, as his batting average and RBI totals fell well short of most expectations. He also failed to run the bases as aggressively, as he had swiped a total of 16 bases in the previous two seasons. The 28-year-old swatted seven dingers in September, but by then he had been kicked to the curb by most mixed-league owners. Fixing his struggles vs. southpaws (zero homers, .225 batting average) will be a key to improving his effectiveness next season.

source | MLB.com
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The Pirates second baseman hit .251/.339/.418 with a career-high 16 home runs last season.

source | rotoworld
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2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
4856413017653.268.347.437.784

source | KFFL
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5. Kolten Wong

ADP #291

 

You won’t be looking for power late in your draft. Most likely you will be looking for young talent with upside, a starting gig and stats that won’t hurt you. That is exactly what you will get from Kolten.  He can hit for average, steal some bases and score some runs in a very potent lineup. Now while you won’t be drafting him as an everyday starter, you just might be forced into it as the season rolls along.  Watch him closely this spring and if his goes undrafted, pick him up as soon as your 2B gets hurt.

 

Notes from around the web:

 

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Friday that the team’s plan is “absolutely” to give Kolten Wong 500 at-bats at second base in 2014. With David Freese traded to the Angels, the Cardinals will shift Matt Carpenter to third base and let Wong take over at second. The 23-year-old had just nine hits in 59 at-bats for the Cards in 2013, but he’s a career .301/.365/.446 hitter in the minors and will add some much-needed speed and better defense to the Cards’ lineup next season.

source | rotoworld
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The Cardinals’ first-round pick in the 2011 Draft, Kolten Wong, is expected to begin the 2014 season as the team’s starting second baseman. Coming into last year, Wong was a near-consensus Top 100 prospect, and he was very impressive at Triple-A Memphis in 2013. At age 22, Wong posted a .303/.369/.466 slash line in 463 plate appearances before earning a call up to the majors. Wong struggled mightily in his first taste of major-league action, scuffling to a paltry .153/.194/.169 line. However, we’re only dealing with a sample size of 62 plate appearances, and those were spread over 32 games. At one point, Wong went 24 days between starts in St. Louis, and when he did start, he often did not finish the game. It’s difficult to expect any player, not to mention a 22-year-old rookie, to produce much of anything with such inconsistent usage. Wong has a very polished hit tool, with a quick, compact swing that produces consistent solid contact. Despite being only 5’9″, 185 pounds, Wong has enough power to hit plenty of doubles, and should be able to hit low double-digit homers in his prime. He has good vision and discipline at the plate as well; his walk rate is 8.4%, compared to a 12.5% strikeout rate, in 1,260 career minor-league plate appearances. He’s not a burner, but he’s an incredibly efficient baserunner with great instincts that allow his moderately above-average speed to play up. Last season, he was 20-for-21 in stolen-base attempts in Triple-A (and 3-for-3 in the majors). Barring a disastrous spring, Wong should be the opening-day second baseman in St. Louis. He should be good for a batting average in the .270 range, with 8-10 homers, 15-20 steals, and 50-60 runs and runs batted in. None of those numbers are eye-popping, but consider how shallow second base was in fantasy last season.

source | fangraphs
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Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong has a chip on his shoulder coming into the spring, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Wong said he was motivated after struggling to perform in a part-time role last year. Wong hit just .153 over 59 at-bats during the regular season. He admitted not being a full-time player was tough. “That’s something I’d never done before,” Wong said. “I tried my best to do as much as I could off the bench. And, unfortunately, I didn’t do too well.” Wong said talking to Allen Craig helped him focus last season. Craig had once been in a similar role with the club, but eventually broke out in a full-time role. Wong will be looking to do the same this season. “I’m definitely going to prove everyone wrong. I worked so hard with my dad this offseason (in Hawaii) that, for me to fail, it’s going to take a lot.” Wong is expected to open the year as the team’s starter at second base.

source | CBSsports.com
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The Cardinals open camp by offering Wong the chance for a second first impression. Looking past a small sample size of poor performance, the Cardinals left a spot open for Wong while tweaking their roster during the offseason. Mark Ellis was brought in as a safety net, but the job of starting second baseman remains Wong’s to grab. It marks the first time that the former first-round Draft pick has entered Spring Training with a legitimate shot at an Opening Day roster spot. “I come in here knowing that this job is not mine by any means,” Wong said. “I still have a lot more to prove. I have to show them that I’m ready to play up here. “Mark Ellis, who they just signed, he could easily play second base. He’s done it for a numerous amount of years. For me to make this team, I need to make an impression. That’s something that I know and that I’m not taking for granted at all.” The Cardinals have not already handed Wong the job. But the organization stands by its belief that Wong’s Minor League performance is an indicator of future performance.

source | MLB.com
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2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
4315211763217.271.325.381.706

source | KFFL
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5 to Watch quick links:

[C] [1B] [2B] [3B] [SS] [OF] [SP] [RP] [Prospects]

 

 

 

 

FB2014 Player Links:

 

 

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Pickled Roasted Peppers

 

INGREDIENTS

 

2 medium red peppers

2  medium yellow peppers

2  tsp canola oil

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

2 Tbs sugar

2 Tbs finely chopped oregano leaves

1/4 tsp plus 1 Tbs kosher salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

 

PREPARATION

 

In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan, combine vinegars, 1/2 cup water, garlic, sugar, and 1 Tbs salt.

Bring to a boil over high heat stirring

Boil one minute.

Remove from heat; let cool.

Preheat broiler in your oven.

Cut your peppers in half lengthwise at the stem.

Remove the stems and the ribs. To remove the stem, grab the green tip and pull it up, towards you, and snap it away from the pepper body. Pinch the ribs out with your fingers. Turn the pepper halves upside down and gently tap them against the cutting board so the loose seeds fall out.

Brush a baking sheet lightly with oil

Place the pepper halves, cut side down, on the baking sheet

Brush a peppers lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place them about 3 to 4 inches under the broiler. After about 10 minutes, the skins will start to blister and blacken. When they are evenly blackened and blistered, remove from oven.

Using tongs, place the peppers in a plastic bag and seal it. Set aside. Wait 15 to 20 minutes.

After 15 to 20 minutes, the peppers should be cool enough to handle and the skins will easily peel off.

Thinly slice peppers and transfer them to a medium bowl.

Stir in oregano and vinegar mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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