IIn the third article in the series of top prospects by position, here is my early look at the Top Fantasy Second Base Prospects for 2011. I will give you the top second base prospects for 2011 for fantasy purposes, so this should be slightly different than what you would see form John and other prospect experts. In addition, I will post an aggregated list of top second base prospects that will combine the 2011 list along with the top second base prospects for keeper leagues.
Here is my look at the Top Second Base prospects for 2011:
1. Jason Kipnis, CLE-Kipnis performed well in his first full minor league season in 2010, hitting .307-.386-.492 with 16 HRs, 74 RBIs, 9 SBs and a 107-55 K/BB rate at two levels. He ended the season at AA Akron, where he hit .311-.385-.502 in 315 at bats. He is blocked by Luis Valbuena and Jason Donald at the big league level, but they will not hold him back once he is ready. He should start the season at AAA, and could see some time in the big leagues in 2011. Otherwise, he should be ready in 2012. He should be owned in all keeper leagues, and could be a late round pick in larger mixed leagues in 2011.
2. Brett Lawrie, TOR-Lawrie was recently traded to the Blue Jays for starting pitcher Shaun Marcum. Lawrie may have worn out his welcome with the Milwaukee front office after declining to play in the Arizona Fall League this fall. Nevertheless, Lawrie is still a very solid prospect with a good bat. He hit .285-.346-.451 with 8 HRs, 63 RBIs, 30 SBs, 36 2B, 16 3B and a 118-47 K/BB rate. Many have stated that he will probably move to the OF, but has yet to play in the OF yet. I wonder if he was asked to play the OF in the AFL, leading to him declining the request. He should be owned in all keeper leagues.
More after the jump:
3. Dustin Ackley, SEA-Ackley probably has the best chance to see time in the big leagues in 2011, but I am not sure if he will have the fantasy impact that Kipnis and Lawrie can have at the plate. Ackley, the 2010 AFL MVP, hit .267-.368-.407 with 7 HRs, 51 RBIs, 10 SBs and an excellent 79-75 K/BB rate at AA and AAA this year. He will more than likely start the season at AAA Tacoma, but could up get a call by June. He should be owned in all keeper leagues, and is a late round pick in larger mixed league drafts.
4. Daniel Descalso, STL-Descalso had a solid 2010 campaign, hitting .282-.350-.421 with 9 HRs, 71 RBIs, 9 SBs and an excellent 48-47 K/BB rate at AAA Memphis. Descalso may not be the prospects that Kipnis, Lawrie and Ackley are, but he is another who could see plenty of playing time in St. Louis in 2011. Skip Schumaker is currently blocking him at 2B, but that should be short-lived, as Schumaker is more of a utility guy in my opinion. Descalso is a late round pick in larger mixed league drafts.
5. Johnny Giavotella, KC-Giavotella had a breakout season in 2010 at AA Northwest Arkansas hitting .322-.395-.460 with 9 HRs, 65 RBIs, 13 SBs and an excellent 67-61 K/BB rate. One has to wonder if his breakout season is due to the excellent hitting environment in Northwest Arkansas, or if this is what we can expect from Giavotella going forward. Then again, Wilmington is far fro being friendly to hitters. Giavotella is probably in line for a promotion to AAA in 2011 and could get a call to Kansas City at some point in 2011.
6. Ivan DeJesus, LAD-DeJesus missed most of the 2009 season due to a broken leg suffered in spring training. He has since moved from SS to 2B on a full time basis. He hit .296-.335-.405 with 7 HRs, 70 RBIs and 6 SBs in 2010 at AAA Albuquerque. His once solid plate discipline slipped in 2010 to a 81-32 K/BB rate, after his solid K/BB rate of 81-76 in 2008. DeJesus is probably nothing more than a backup at the big league level, but injuries could change things in LA in 2011.
7. Chris Nelson, COL-Nelson hasn't done much since his 2007 breakout season which saw him hit .289-.358-.503 with 19 HRs, 99 RBIs and 27 SBs at A+, as he has been slowed by injuries. Nelson hit .313-.376-.492 with 12 HRs and 55 RBIs at AAA Colorado Springs in 2010, offering another glimpse at what he can do at the plate. Many, including the folks at Purple Row-SB Nations' Rockies site, feel that Nelson should be given an opportunity to win the 2B job in spring training, but with the moves GM Dan O'Dowd has made this offseason, one has to wonder if the Rockies front office feel he is more of a AAAA guy or bench guy.
8. Jemile Weeks, OAK-Weeks has been injury prone in his 2 minor league seasons, but still has an opportunity to see the majors in 2011. He hit .272-.347-.405 with 3 HRs, 34 RBIs, 16 SBs, and an excellent 41-35 K/BB rate. In his minor league career, he has a 109-84 K/BB rate which makes him a solid choice to leadoff at the major league level.
Keeper League Rankings:
1. Brett Lawrie, TOR
2. Jason Kipnis, CLE
3. Jean Segura, LAA
4. Dustin Ackley, SEA
5. Charlie Culberson, SFG
6. Johnny Giavotella, KC
7. Jemile Weeks, OAK
8. Reese Havens, NYM