Brian Roberts – Brian has probably the highest up and downside of any 2B going into the 2012 season. He missed most of 2011 with a concussion. If he is able to play full time and at full strength, he could put up 10+ HR and 25 SB. Also, he could barely play at all in 2012 (see Justin Morneau). There is no way he can be counted on for any production in 2012, so he should not be kept. I love him as a buy low candidate on draft/auction day though.
Daniel Murphy – Try to ignore Daniel’s 2012 0.320 AVG (higher than any year in the minors) and the 0.345 BABIP. They are both a little out of place for his career. He looks to be a 0.250 to 0.280 hitter with ~10 HRs and 5 SBs. His stats aren’t bad, but there is just no reason not expect other similar players available on draft day.
His best trait in 2011 was that he was a super sub being qualified at 1B, 2B, 3B and OF. In 2012, he will lose the OF qualification.
Ryan Raburn – The main problem with Raburn is a lack of playing time. In 2011, he played in only 121 games. In 2009 and 2010, it was only 113 each year. If an owner is counting on him for production from the 2B position, don’t do it. This lack of playing time especially hurts his value in leagues with weekly roster changes. He could be a valuable 2B with near 20 HRs if he was able to play near 150+ games a season. He has not yet gotten that opportunity with the Tigers. There is no reason to ever keep a player that is going to miss 50 games a season.
Martin Prado – A staph infection in Matin’s right calf landed him on the DL in 2011. The injury seemed to take away some of his production:
Before injury: 0.277/0.324/0.438 with 8 HRs in 279 PA
After injury: 0.244/0.283/0.339 with 5 HRs in 311 PA
Martin is a possible low tier 2B keeper if healthy. The injury moved him back. An owner can take a gamble and assume that injury is healed. If healed, he could be at his 2010 level of 15 HRs and 0.300+ AVG. I like him as another buy low candidate, with a high upside for 2012.
Ryan Roberts – Keepers usually aren’t 31-year-olds having just completed their first full season in the majors. Ryan was a great story in 2012. I don’t think he will be able to repeat the 19 HRs and 18 SB year he had in 2011. Playing full time in Arizona will give him some value, but he is no keeper.
Aaron Hill – His value has gone up since resigning with the Diamondbacks. My main problem with him is that he looks to be fairly average with double digit HRs (which are the decline) and SBs (which skyrocketed last year to 21) and a 0.250 AVG. Maybe he will return to his 2009 form and hit 36 HRs. Maybe not. Of the players looked at today, he would be the one I would consider keeping first.
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.