After eight second basemen were kept in February, it left few good options available for the March 19 draft. Top-tier talent Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler and Dan Uggla are gone. Second-tier talent Ben Zobrist, Brandon Phillips, Howie Kendrick and Kelly Johnson are also gone.
The players that remain have a lot of questions. Some are too old, some too young, and still others have long injury histories. If you need a second baseman, you'll have to accept some risk, no matter who you pick.
Chase Utley is 33-years-old, Michael Young 35, and Michael Cuddyer 33. When you consider that most MLB players are considered to be in their prime in their year 28 season, all three are a risk for statistical regression. Rickie Weeks is perennially injured. If you roster Weeks, you'll need a replacement player to cover at least three weeks during the season. And these are the best players available at the position. Young is eligible at 1B/2B/3B while Cuddyer is eligible at 1B/2B/OF which will give owners roster flexibility.
Daniel Murphy has upside. He's only 26-years-old, has excellent command of the strike zone, and is projected to bat second in the lineup, a good position for run scorers. Neil Walker is the same age and could be batting cleanup, thus the high RBI projections. Ryan Roberts is coming off a career year and is 31-years-old but he provides enough power and speed to be interesting. The second base position in St. Louis is unsettled and Daniel Descalso is one of several players who could start. As Spring Training continues, it's a position battle worth watching.
Aaron Hill is the one veteran in this quartet but the three youngsters represent the future at second base. Hill's projections may be a little low, as he's capable of 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases on a good team. Jose Altuve is 21 while Dustin Ackley and Jason Kipnis are both 24. We should be watching them blossom over the next five years. Altuve has no power but great wheels. I have seen projections as high as 30 stolen bases for the Astro. Ackley and Kipnis should develop into solid performers, topping out at 15 homers and 15 stolen bases.
Danny Espinosa has power and could hit 25+ home runs but you'll have to live with the strikeouts. Jemile Weeks can steal 25+ bases but you'll have to live with the lack of power. Eric Young's stolen bases projections are optimistic, given he's lost his starting job to Marco Scutaro (who should earn second base eligibility early in the season). If you get excited over Gordon Beckham or Maicer Izturis, you must be related to them.
Eduardo Nuñez will be exciting - in two years when he is playing full time. Brian Roberts used to be exciting, before he knocked himself out sliding into second base last year (one of an assortment of injuries Roberts has had over the last three years). Johnny Giavotella is a 24-year-old rookie with speed but no power. Honestly, there's no need for you to roster any of the players in this tier barring an absolute meltdown. They are listed because, as we know, several fantasy teams will have an absolute meltdown at second base at some point during the season and their owners will be praying that one of these players can greatly exceed his projections. Don't count on it.