Its Cano and then everybody else.
(photo courtesy of Mike McCann's Field of Fotos)
GREEN=Currently on my keeper team.
1. Robinson Cano: NEXT!
2. Ben Zobrist: One of the most underrated players in baseball, it's time to recognize Zobrist for what he is: a versatile player with great big league hitting prowess.
3. Dustin Pedroia: "Laser Show" can put up numbers as well and name recognition will have picked very early in a lot of drafts.
4. Ian Kinsler: A down year in 2012, but Kinsler still possesses the skill set to bounce back in a big way. Probably not a 30-30 player, but he's still a high contact, potential OPS .800 type of player.
5. Brandon Phillips: Never a fan of Phillips, but it's hard to ignore 15-15 potential along with a decent contact rate.
6. Aaron Hill: Every time I count out Hill, he always comes back to have himself a big year. Might be hard to foresee him produce another OPS of .882, but just like Phillips, he's a potential 15-15 guy with a solid contact rate. The difference is that Phillips is more reliable than Hill.
7. Neil Walker: A very underrated, highly neglected player for the Pirates, Walker provides decent pop and better on-base% than Phillips and Hill. Strikes out too much, but still provides adequate contact skills.
8. Jason Kipnis: Probably has the most untapped potential out of the 2B listed thus far. Can probably expect major improvements in his skill-set, but there are other players that are more proven than Kipnis. Has decent pop and can be a nuisance for opposing pitchers/catchers on the basepaths.
9. Jose Altuve: The diminutive 2B can be a pesky hitter and a nuisance on the basepaths, but outside of a high batting average and maybe 30 stolen bases, Altuve offers very little of anything else.
10. Howard Kendrick: Just like many homegrown Angels, I'm not enamored with Kendrick's game, but I admit that he does indeed bring something to to the table: a high batting average and the potential to be a 15-15 hitter.
11. Rickie Weeks: The only reason to gamble on Weeks is for his power numbers. However, a high strikeout rate and a terrible batting approach might offset his power and promising on-base%. However, 20 HRs and 15 stolen bases can be hard to ignore when you're trying to decide on the backend list of 2B.
12. Marco Scutaro: What a weird season Scutaro had in 2012: he was a disappointment in Colorado, but was able to find his hitting groove in pitcher-friendly San Francisco. What a weird game this is. Caution: Scutaro is 37 years-old and will probably not continue to be on the hitting tear that he was with the Giants in late 2012. However, armed with an extremely high contact rate and a persistent discipline at the plate, Scutaro can still hit for .290+ and produce a respectable on-base%.
13. Chase Utley: Normally, I would have Utley ahead of Scutaro and a lot of other guys, but health issues have hindered him from his usual spot in elite status and has relegated him to the back of the line at the position. When healthy, he still torch the ball, but you will be need to handcuff him to a more healthy alternative.
The rest of the field:
- Danny Espinosa (keep an eye on him. Might provide enough pop to warrant a roster spot)
- Daniel Murphy
- Omar Infante
- Dan Uggla (how the mighty have fallen)
- Jeff Keppinger
- Kelly Johnson
- Dustin Ackley (when he was coming up, he was supposed to be the heir apparent to Chase Utley. I'm still holding out hope for that prophecy to come to fruition).
Keep an eye on:
- Jurickson Profar
- Logan Forsythe
- Kolten Wong
- Eddie Rosario