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NL Second Basemen: Day Two
by Tim Polko

Today's Fantasy Rx

National League Second Basemen with Positive Draft Value

Quick Key to the tables:
B = Bats.  T = Throws.  Age = Player's Age as of October 1, 2006.
Proj. = Rotohelp's projected 2006 stats and fantasy values for each player.
2006 = Each player's final 2006 stat line and fantasy values.
AB = At-bats.  H = Hits.  BA = Batting Average.  HR= Home Runs.
RBI = Runs Batted In.  SB = Stolen Bases.  R = Runs.
Pos = Position qualification based on 20 appearances or max. # of games in 2006.
4x4 = BA, HR, RBI, and SB in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters.
5x5 = BA, HR, RBI, SB, and R in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters.
RAR = Runs Above Replacement; aRAR = RAR adjusted to
consider a player's 2006 defensive rating in Scoresheet fantasy baseball.

We ranked players by position in order from the highest draft value in a 4x4 league to the lowest. As the majority of fantasy leagues allow you to keep anyone traded to the other league, we listed all players in the league where they began the season.

7.  Jamey CarrollCOL RockiesAge: 31B:R   T:R

Few moves worked out better last winter than the $300K the Rockies paid Washington for Carroll, who spent most of the year as Colorado's starting second baseman, nearly won a Gold Glove, and provided the high OBP the club desperately needed in front of Atkins, Helton, and Holliday. Carroll signed a two-year deal this winter to remain on the Rockies' bench, and if Kaz Matsui falters, Carroll will move right back into the starting lineup. Despite his limited quantitative upside, possessing plenty of patience and plate discipline insures that Carroll should clear $5-10 without any problem, making him a solid MIF option in any NL league.

8.  Rickie WeeksMIL BrewersAge: 24B:R   T:R

Moved into the leadoff slot before the end of April, Weeks posted a .360 OBP hitting first while adding welcome power and speed to the lineup. He appeared on pace to hit $20 before a loose tendon in his right wrist ended his season in mid-July. Weeks underwent surgery in August and likely will start the season slowly as he continues to recover from the injury. However, the 24-year-old still possesses the overall offensive upside to blow past $20 if he remains healthy, and with his return to the leadoff slot virtually assured, Weeks should remain particularly valuable in 5x5 leagues. Grabbing him anywhere under $20 should net you a decent value in 2007 and an excellent keeper down the road.

9.  Jeff KentLA DodgersAge: 38B:R   T:R

Kent returns to the Dodgers as just about the only pure power hitter left in the lineup. Of course, he only managed 14 homers and 68 RBI last summer and turns 39 this March. More importantly, he missed time last year with a concussion, back problems, a sprained left wrist that necessitated a brief DL trip, and an oblique strain that cost him most of July. Perhaps the only good news here is that the one-year extension he signed last spring guarantees him $11M in 2007 with a $7M option for 2008, so while he may encounter another round of injuries, even a decent summer will insure the Dodgers exercise his option and allow him to burnish his Hall of Fame case just a little more. While I no longer view Kent as likely to contribute much more than a .290/20/80 campaign, that production, coupled with the chance of higher RBI numbers, merits bids around $15 in almost every league.

10.  Jose ValentinNYNAge: 36B:L   T:R

Re-signing with the Mets for a $3.8M contract that guarantees him nothing more than a bench job, Valentin still will begin the year manning second base in New York, filling the only position at which the club lacks either a current All-Star or a top prospect pushing for playing time. While he managed his best offensive numbers in five years, I don't see Valentin maintaining his suddenly improved contact rate at age 37. Platooning with Damion Easley should keep his BA from dropping to truly bad levels, but Valentin really offers little upside for most fantasy teams. I wouldn't bid much more than five bucks unless really desperate for any additional power, especially since I expect the Mets to acquire someone like Luis Castillo or even Carlos Guillen for the stretch run.

11.  Chris BurkeHOU AstrosAge: 26B:R   T:R

Burke performed almost exactly as expected in his second year as the Astros' primary utilityman. However, the club recognizes that his development warrants the larger role he really deserved two years ago, and the inclusion of Willy Taveras in the Jason Jennings deal clears centerfield for Burke in 2007. Of course, he almost certainly will shift to second base for 2008 once Craig Biggio gets his 3000th hit and retires, so not only might Burke push $20 this year with a little luck, he'll carry that upside with him to the infield next season. Only his stagnant plate discipline concerns me at all, but few players rank as clearly superior investments right now. He should cost somewhere in the $10-15 range, a good price for a MIF likely to earn no less than a $5 profit.

12.  Marlon AndersonWAS/LADAge: 32B:L   T:R

Sent from Washington to Los Angeles at the waiver deadline for Jhonny Nunez, Anderson essentially saved the Dodgers' season with a 5-for-5 day that featured two solo homers in a ten-inning win over the Padres in mid-September. For the month he posted a .375/.431/.813 performance, including 7 homers, twelve extra-base hits, 15 RBI, and 12 runs scored, an extraordinary performance for someone relegated to part-time duty for the past few years. The Dodgers retain his rights for only $925K per the two-year deal he signed with the Nationals last winter, and after undergoing off-season elbow surgery to remove bone chips, he appears set as the club's primary backup for Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez. Although I don't expect a repeat of these stats, Anderson certainly won't hurt as an end-round MIF option for a couple of bucks, especially since you just might luck into an everyday player for a couple of months.

13.  Ryan TheriotCH CubsAge: 26B:R   T:R

We'd like the Cubs a lot more in 2007 if they committed to Theriot at second base and leadoff hitter while employing Mark DeRosa as a supersub. Of course, Theriot also won't replicate this output regardless of his role. Remember that he only managed a .304/.367/.379 performance in 280 AB for AAA Iowa(PCL) last year along with a 14/17 SB% and a 27:34 BB:K. The good news is that he almost certainly will spend the summer on the Cubs' bench, giving him a great chance to steal another dozen bases and contribute $5-10 of roto value. Theriot just isn't likely to claim a starting job given his current position sandwiched between DeRosa and Eric Patterson. Consider him just a decent MIF option that only should cost you a buck for every three steals he'll add to your ledger.

Second Base Week continues tomorrow.

Today's Fantasy Rx: Almost of all these second basemen look like decent values, but unless the bidding on Weeks or Kent stalls shy of $15, none of them appear ideal starting options. However, Burke, Theriot, and even Anderson seem decent assets as your MIF. Definitely plan to target one of the two youngsters in keeper leagues given the trade potential of rostering a future starter with 20+ SB upside at an obvious discount.

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