For the most part, the second base position is one of the uglier ones when it comes to fantasy baseball. Outside of the top eight or so guys, there isn’t much value in the later rounds of drafts. This makes choosing between the right player more important. Having said that, I figured I’d compare and contrasts two guys that are ranked closely together by many fantasy experts.
So, Brandon Phillips or Jason Kipnis?
Spoiler (Phillips is one of my favorite players in baseball sooo… yeahh)
Anyway, let’s start with the high ceiling Kipnis, shall we? Kipnis has been known for being rather inconsistent. He will start a season on fire and then completely tail off after the All Star break. See 2012, for instance. The second half of the season, Kipnis batted a dismal .233 to go along with a slugging percentage of .328. Despite the rather sporadic play of Kipnis as of late, his upside is pretty darn high if you ask me. He certainly has the power to eclipse the 20 home run mark (hit 14 in 2012). Stolen bases are an added bonus fantasy owners will get from Kipnis, as he stole 31 a season ago (5th in AL). The Indians acquisition of speedster Michael Bourn is an underrated one. His leadoff and elite base stealing skills will provide guys like Kipnis great opportunity for RBI.
Phillips, meanwhile is about as safe as it gets at the second base position. He has literally hit 18 home runs in each of the past three seasons, a great total for second basemen. While he definitely has the potential to steal upwards to 30 bases, a more safer expectation is around 15. There isn’t too much to say about Phillips, considering he has been one of the better players at his position for years now. He bats in a very good lineup consisting of power hitters such as Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. The Reds also made an acquisition that will help their second baseman. Shin-Soo Choo will likely be their leadoff man, allowing Phillips to drive in more runs. Durability is also a strong point of Phillips, averaging 654 plate appearances per year since 2007.
Surprise surprise, I’m siding with the more trustworthy Phillips. Simply, you just know exactly what you are going to get from him, seeing as he has posted pretty much the same, solid numbers the past three seasons. Kipnis, meanwhile, doesn’t present the much larger upside in steals and maybe even home runs. But we just haven’t seen enough of him for me to take him over a proven guy such as Phillips. I also prefer the Reds lineup over the Indians any day, giving Phillips another advantage. While I am going with the Reds’ second baseman, don’t be at all surprised if a certain second baseman in Cleveland has a breakout season in 2013.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.