Beyond a doubt my most difficult positions to draft are 2nd base and Short Stop. A lot of people will instantly think that the reason for this is because there isn’t a lot of depth at these two positions for offensive production but the honest answer is because I love defensive stars, especially at these two positions.
Brendan Ryan is a horrible fantasy baseball player offensively but the magic that he performs on the field makes me want to draft him just so I can say I have the best defense in all of fantasy baseball.
It is these two positions that I must learn to separate my feelings towards players from their actual stats so that I can select the best possible team. I don’t value these two positions very highly in my draft plans which at times has caused me to panic halfway through a draft when I realized that there is only one or two players worth drafting in these positions left and if I draft them too early I’m reaching, and if I wait too long someone else is going to steal them from me.
The key to drafting well at these two positions is finding an every day starter. Utility guys are amazing because they can play 2nd, SS, 3rd, OF and who knows where else but they don’t have a regular every day positions which means they can lose at bats during the season.
At 2nd there are the obvious choices like Cano, Kinsler, Pedroia and Phillips, but what happens when you get past them and you’re not sure when to draft someone and when to wait. My response is try to get one of the top 4 or 5 guys if you can. This solves your issues and can give you an advantage over half of your league for this position. Fantasy baseball is about winning the little areas in order to win the big one.
One word of advice I give to everyone when drafting a 2nd baseman is this. If they have been hurt more games than they have played recently, don’t draft them. My example for this is Chase Utley. Utley was the premier 2nd baseman a few years ago but injuries have killed his value. He might bring in good numbers when he plays but it is a risk to draft him because you don’t get stats for a guy doing rehab all season in AAA.
My sleeper at 2nd is Darwin Barney. I think he is going to put up solid, not great, but solid numbers this season.
Short Stop is like 2nd in that you need to focus on getting a guy early on if you can but the difference here is that if you miss on one of the top guys there are still some value picks later on. J.J. Hardy and Alexei Ramirez have the potential to be solid contributors to your team. At the very least they won’t be the reason you lose a league.
Watch out for the name factor at Short Stop. Jeter was an amazing player but he is getting older and he is a risk coming back from injury. I rarely like to doubt veteran players who are extremely smart like Jeter but even the greats hit a point in their career where they just aren’t able to do things like they used to. Jeter may be getting near that point.
My sleeper for the Short Stop position is Jed Lowrie. First, he is making the move from the worst team in baseball to a highly competitive A’s team. This switch isn’t just good for having quality players batting around Lowrie, but the change from the NL to the AL could be really helpful. A second big reason I think Lowrie is a sleeper is because he is listed as a SS for most fantasy leagues but is looking like he may be the starting 3rd baseman for the A’s. Lowrie has the bat to play 3rd so this has a lot of potential upside both in his stats and in the possibility that he will be listed for both positions.