Posts Tagged ‘Kelly Johnson’

For the first time, depth at second

For years, fantasy owners have struggled to find successful second basemen. In 2008, only four second basemen ranked in Yahoo’s top 50. A shift began last season as eight players were ranked in the top-50. The trend appears to be continuing as second base has quietly become one of the deepest positions in fantasy baseball, with 9 top-50 players holding fantasy eligibility, according to Yahoo.

This revolution is being led by established players like Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano, but is also benefitting from turnarounds from a number of previously questionable players. Players previously mentioned on this blog, including Martin Prado, Alberto Callaspo and Ty Wigginton are leaders in a new revolution, but two more players have had profound impacts on fantasy teams this year.

Kelly Johnson is owned in 51% of Yahoo leagues. He is the NL leader in weighted OPS (on base + slugging, scroll all the way down on the linked page for a full explanation).

Kelly Johnson is smiling. So are his lucky owners.

 In most years, Johnson’s .327/6/10/13 would make him an upgrade for virtually every team at second.  While it remains true these numbers would upgrade most teams, a few players remain ranked above Johnson.

One such player is Ethan’s favorite second baseman: Rickie Weeks.  Weeks has a line of .324/3/12/16/1.  As Ethan previously mentioned, Weeks also benefits from leading off for a team featuring Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.  He isn’t available in your league (if you are playing with any competent owners), but it bears repetition that Weeks may be starting to live up to the potential the baseball world has seen in him for years.  With his history, however, another injury could be just around the corner.

To further explain the depth at second, two of the players who have consistently put up solid numbers are currently on the DL (Ian Kinsler and Brian Roberts) and will serve to add to the already strong pool of second basemen.  You have also already heard me wax poetic on the virtues of Casey McGeehee and Martin Prado, two more players with second base eligibility.  I own all four of these players on the Providence Grays and find that most other teams are not looking for a trade, largely because they already have a competent second baseman.

Historically, second basemen have been though of as overachievers (think Pedroia), not strong or quick enough to play shortstop, but hard workers who can lead a team.  The day of the second baseman may finally have come, and crossing second on the basepaths is a new feeling to players who only touch second briefly as they turn a double play.

Second basemen have had value in real baseball because of their cunning in pulling tricks like this, even at a young age. Now they are becoming fantasy relevant as well.