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NL Second Basemen: Day Four

by Tim Polko

Today's Fantasy Rx

National League Second Basemen without 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.

23.  Bernie CastroWAS NationalsAge: 27B:S   T:R

After spending the last few years posting solid AAA stats, Castro received a fairly significant shot with Washington as he served on the club's bench for almost the entire second half. However, he pretty much flopped with the Nationals, negating his seven steals with a poor BA. His .280/.325/.343 performance with 21/23 SB% and an 18:34 BB:K in 268 AB for AAA New Orleans(PCL) also didn't exactly set the world on fire. Yet with Jose Vidro in Seattle and a wide open competition for several reserve slots in camp, Castro only needs to impress in spring training to receive one more chance, which looks like a decent possibility after Jim Bowden kept him on the 40-man roster all winter. Castro definitely qualifies as a bit of a risk, but if you need speed in the endgame, consider grabbing him during Dollar Days in the hope of landing double-digit steals for a minimal investment.

24.  Pete OrrATL BravesAge: 27B:L   T:R

A clear dark horse in Atlanta's second base competition, Orr unsurprisingly regressed in his second season on the Braves' bench. He possesses scant power, unimpressive speed, and insufficient plate discipline for us to recommend him as roster filler under most circumstances. Hopefully Bobby Cox will look past Orr's two years of service and realize that keeping Kelly Johnson, Willy Aybar, and Chris Woodward as the club's second baseman and utility infielders offers the best chance of replacing the lost production of Marcus Giles.

25.  Tony WomackCIN/CHCAge: 37B:L   T:R

General Managers around baseball appear in increasing agreement with a sabermetric community that never viewed Womack as a viable big leaguer in any season other than his 2004 campaign with St. Louis. Of course, he parlayed that performance into a two-year with the Yankees, who dealt him to the Reds for Kevin Howard and Ben Himes in December of 2005. Womack lasted just three weeks in Cincinnati and then headed to the Cubs, where he similarly departed the franchise after five unimpressive weeks. Right now Womack remains unemployed, and even if he signs somewhere prior to camp, the depressed second base market means that he shouldn't receive sufficient playing time during the season to emerge as anything more than roster filler for teams truly desperate for steals.

26.  Martin PradoATL BravesAge: 22B:R   T:R

Please refer to our Post-2006 Prospect Review: Atlanta for my comments on Prado.

27.  Luis A. GonzalezCOL RockiesAge: 27B:R   T:R

Even opening the season as the Rockies' starting second baseman couldn't prevent Gonzalez from losing his job to Jamey Carroll. He hit the DL at the end of May with wrist inflammation and then spent the last two weeks of June in the minors. Given the emergence of Carroll, the September resurgence of Kaz Matsui, and the presence of a half-dozen interesting middle infielders eager to play along side Troy Tulowitzki, Gonzalez should benefit from his pending move Yomiuri in Japan. Perhaps a couple years of everyday work overseas will help him reemerge as a useful big leaguer by decade's end.

28.  Brendan HarrisWAS/CINAge: 26B:R   T:R

Harris compiled a respectable .283/.379/.416 performance with 5 HR, 32 RBI, and a 26:56 BB:K in 219 AB for AAA New Orleans(PCL), along with passable stats in two brief stints with the Nationals before the Reds acquired him in mid-July as perhaps the best played added by the organization in the Austin Kearns deal. Spending the next six weeks at AAA Louisville(IL) helped him post an even better .324/.384/.534 output with 5 HR, 28 RBI, and a 14:29 BB:K in 148 AB, however he barely saw any playing time after his promotion for roster expansion. Now, instead of remaining with the Reds as Rich Aurilia's replacement, Harris heads to Tampa after a small trade two weeks ago that left Cincinnati with only a PTBN as compensation for the young infielder. Perhaps Harris will head back to the minors yet again, but with Akinori Iwamura set at third base and Ty Wigginton at first, Harris should compete with Jorge Velandia to break camp as the primary middle infield backup. He won't hurt you if needed for your MIF slot during Dollar Days.

29.  Ray OlmedoCIN RedsAge: 25B:S   T:R

While Olmedo enjoyed six weeks in Cincinnati spread between three different big league stints, he spent most of the year at AAA Louisville(IL), where he registered a .282/.344/.373 performance with 3 HR, 29 RBI, a 17/23 SB%, and a 34:71 BB:K in 383 AB. With the Reds retaining Juan Castro at shortstop, Olmedo appears unlikely to see much additional time in the majors this year. Despite flashes of intriguing speed, I see no reason to employ him as more than short-term roster filler.

30.  Joe ThurstonPHI PhilliesAge: 27B:L   T:R

Please refer to our Post-2006 Prospect Review: Washington for my comments on Thurston.

31.  Danny SandovalPHI PhilliesAge: 27B:S   T:R

Please refer to our Post-2006 Prospect Review: Philadelphia for my comments on Sandoval.

32.  Joe McEwingHOU AstrosAge: 33B:R   T:R

Much more Little Mac than Super Joe these days, McEwing spent almost all summer at AAA Round Rock(PCL), where he registered a .315/.351/.441 output with 10 HR, 46 RBI, 16/23 SB%, and a 23:65 BB:K in 422 AB. While he unexpectedly signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox, he shouldn't see more than a fleeting glimpse of Fenway as even playing in a favorable hitters' environment won't result in him posting respectable averages in the majors.

33.  Kevin FrandsenSF GiantsAge: 24B:R   T:R

Please refer to our Post-2006 Prospect Review: San Francisco for my comments on Frandsen.

34.  Jerry HairstonCHC/TEXAge: 30B:R   T:R

Losing the second base job to Todd Walker last spring left Hairston's season in ruins. He slipped behind Neifi Perez on the depth and owned only a .497 OPS at the end of May, when the Cubs dealt him to the Rangers for Phil Nevin. Although Hairston's stats improved in Texas, he didn't reemerge as a regular in any capacity. The good news for Hairston is that even though he didn't land a big league deal this winter, his return to the Rangers on an NRI gives him a good chance to fill Mark DeRosa's utility role given the veteran exodus from Texas this winter. Spending a late-round buck on Hairston could pay surprising dividends given his performance prior to 2006.

35.  Chris WoodwardNYNAge: 30B:R   T:R

Woodward's second year with the Mets proved far less successful than his initial New York campaign as increased playing time led to a 67-point BA drop despite minimal change in his skills. However, he also spent the summer suffering from a torn left labrum, and with that injury repaired, he at least should rebound toward his .247/.303/.384 career norms. Signed to a one-year deal by Atlanta, he'll serve as the primary backup shortstop unless a hot spring from Tony Pena, Jr. convinced the Braves they can't risk sending the youngster through waivers. Of course, Woodward looks like a fantasy afterthought even if he breaks camp in the majors. You don't want to employ him as more than short-term roster filler.

36.  Oscar RoblesLA DodgersAge: 30B:L   T:R

Although Robles saw a couple of stints with the Dodgers, he appeared a shell of the club's everyday player from 2005. He only managed a .284/.363/.320 output for AAA Las Vegas(PCL), along with 0 HR, 28 RBI, and a 36:20 BB:K in 275 AB, not numbers that portend much big league potential given the hitters' park at Vegas. I wouldn't trust Robles in any league even if he does regain his place on the Dodgers this summer

37.  Anderson HernandezNYNAge: 23B:S   T:R

Please refer to our Post-2006 Prospect Review: New York(N) for my comments on Hernandez.

Third Base Week begins tomorrow.

Today's Fantasy Rx: Most of these guys offers as little upside as the fourth tier of shortstops. Only Jerry Hairston even appears a good choice for a $1 MIF slot at the moment, however if either Bernie Castro or Brendan Harris break camp in the majors, either player soon could emerge as solid fantasy values depending on how frequently each finds his way into the lineup.

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