Second Banana, Not In This Bunch

Last year we saw an influx of talent come up to the MLB level, and it has added much need depth for this year’s crop of second baseman.  Some rookies that got their big league chance last year were Darwin Barney, Dustin Ackley, Jason Kipnis, and Jemile Weeks.  They all bring a slightly different game to the table than the others and provide an option should u pass on the big name 2B in this year’s draft.  So if you are looking to pass on Cano, Pedroia, or Kinsler in this year’s draft, which one of these sophomores should you target?

Darwin Barney ADP 332.95

Barney got the starting gig early last year and he posted a nice line in his rookie year .276/.317/.356 to go along with 2HR and 66 Runs.  Sadly, I believe that is about as good as it’s going to get for Barney.  He has almost no extra base power as he posted .078 ISO.  Another limit Barney has is his inability to draw a walk.  Last year he posted a 3.9% walk rate.  The only plus tool that Barney brings to the table is BA.  Barney is definitely one of those players that are better in real life than as a fantasy option.

Recommendation: He’s not worth drafting

Dustin Ackley ADP 135.89

Last year Ackley got the call to come up and hopefully boost the anemic Mariners offence.  Well the M’s offence did not get any better, but Ackley put together a solid partial season.   He posted a .273/.348/.417 line to go along with 6 HR, 39R, 36 RBI in 333 AB’s.  What really sets Ackley apart from the rest of this young crop of second baseman is his discipline at the plate.  He walked 10.6% of the time last year, which gave him a solid OBP of .348.  Ackley’s also got some pop in the bat .144 ISO in 2011.  The only thing that’s going against the young second baseman is the park he plays in, and the M’s offensive woes.  Ackley could post double digit HR totals, with a healthy OBP leading to many runs and SB’s.

Recommendation:  Definitely worth a roster spot, grab him in the last third of your draft

Jemile Weeks ADP 154.01

This option easily gives you the best stolen base threat at the position.  He also posted a nice line in 2011 hitting .303/.340/.421 with 22 SB.  The walk rate leaves a little to be desired (4.8% in 2011) as it would lead to much more scoring and stolen base opportunities if he could raise it to 7% or 8%.  Weeks posted an ISO rating of .118 with 2HR in 2011.  It looks like he’s at least got some gap power as he has 26 doubles in 2011.  A 30 stolen base season with 80-100 runs is easily in reach for this youngster.

Recommendation: Definitely worth a roster spot, grab him in the last third of your draft

Jason Kipnis ADP 164.06

Ah, we save the best for last.  Kipnis burst onto the scene last year in late July and in 136 AB’s he hit 7 HR with 24 runs, 19 RBI, and 5 SB.  His triple slash line was equally impressive .272/.333/.507. Kipnis brings 20-25 HR power to the position with an ISO of .235 in 2011. To go along with the power, Kipnis showed good plate discipline as a rookie with a 7.3% BB.  Kipnis brings legit pop, speed, and a good approach to the plate, and I can definitely see him as a threat to put up a 20/20 season in 2012.

Recommendation:  Make this guy an earlier than thought selection on draft day.  Target him in the early middle rounds of your draft

If I was to rank them in according to how I believe there production will be in 2012, it would go like this: Kipnis by a wide margin, Jemile Weeks, Dustin Ackley, then Darwin Barney.  The only banana peel you need to watch out for on this list is Barney.  Hope this helps you come draft day.

All ADP position information from mockdraftcentral.com

Aaron Price, follow me on twitter @baseballrantman


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