I have already gone over the top 12 2B keepers for 2012. Here is a look at why several players were not included.
Neil Walker – If Neil is your keeper at 2B, there are 12 better choices to try to acquire. He is not going to put up a good AVG, HR or SB total. He is going to put up an average numbers of each of these categories.
For 2012, I see 10 HR, 10 SB and an 0.280 AVG. He is not going kill your team, but he is not going to win it for you either.
He would be a great candidate to draft in conjunction with Brian Roberts. Roberts has more up and down side. Having Walker as a replacement if Roberts still has injury issues would be a nice strategy for maximizing up side and limiting downside.
Jason Kipnis – If there was any 2B I could be talked into keeping that was not on my list, it would be Kipnis. He has hit for decent power in all levels of the minors with some speed. I just don’t see any improvement in his hitting and possibly some regression in 2012.
His HR/FB% was over 20% in 2011. Only a handful of players are able to maintain that percentage. Also, he hit 6 of his HRs in his first 18 games while hitting only 1 in the next 18. It may seem like pitchers adjusted to him, but we really don’t know what to think. It was just 36 games of data. I would go off of a ZIPs or Oliver projection for determining his 2012 season value since they take into account minor league values.
With all the talk of limiting expectations, I would look at keeping him if his cost is small. If he is just a few dollars or a late round pick, keep him. He could be a useful player for a few years since he is probably at his peak.
Here are the reasons I feel he doesn’t warrants the hype he gets:
1. Like Kipnis, he is college draftee and already into his prime hitting years. There is not much room for improvement
2. He plays for Seattle and their anemic offense in run suppressing Safeco Field. He may be lucky to get 60 RBIs or Runs even if he is hitting at the top of their lineup.
3. He looks to put up 10 HR, 10 SB, 0.260 AVG which is almost the same as Neil Walker. If you aren’t keeping Walker, why keep Ackley. Like with Kipnis, he does have some value if picked up cheaply.
4. Much of his real value is tied up in walks and defense, which most leagues don’t use. If your league uses OBP, his value does jump.
Don’t fall into the hype behind Ackley. He will be a nice player, but not a top flight 2B.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.