In a battle of second-tier second basemen, we pit two oft-injured players against each other in Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks and Texas’ Ian Kinsler. While the general consensus is that these two are not tier one fodder, no one doubts their talents or abilities to put up monster seasons when healthy.
This is our first matchup for second basemen, and you can find our previews of the key players at the other positions in our “Who Should I Draft?” series.
Each player is assigned a grade for five standard hitting categories plus a few extra I felt were important to factor. Grades are based on my expectations for the season and take into account both the player’s expected performance relative to the entire player pool and relative to the position he plays at. Grades were averaged using the standard 4.0 GPA scale to provide a cumulative “Professor’s Grade.”
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The Case for Weeks
While neither player scored particularly well in the health category, Weeks did manage to stay on the field for 160 games last season. However, despite playing in 31 more games than any other season of his pro career, he only managed to swipe 11 bags. He is still batting leadoff for the Brew Crew and one would think this total should rise.
Weeks should threaten the 40-plus home run/stolen base threshold (29 HR, 11 SB in 2010) again in 2011, which obviously gives him great value. He’s a run-scoring machine batting in front of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder and a complete repeat of his scintillating 2010 line is a distinct possibility if healthy.
The Case for Kinsler
To put it bluntly, Kinsler makes Weeks look like Cal Ripken Jr. He has played in more than 121 games just twice in his five-year career and still hasn’t topped 144. His batting averages fluctuate wildly, and he’s just as likely to give you 50-plus home runs/stolen bases as 25. Still, if everything clicks, you could easily be looking at the game’s No. 1 second basemen.
Adrian Beltre’s arrival in Arlington likely signals a full-time spot in the one- or two-hole in what will be a potent Rangers lineup, which means plenty of runs could be in Kinsler’s future. While it will likely detract from his RBI-potential, Kinsler could still threaten to top 200 in combined runs and RBI. Unfortunately, and even moreso than Weeks, Kinsler’s value comes down to whether he can stay on the field. If he plays in 140 games he’ll likely be a draft day steal. Either way, you better invest in a solid backup.
Who Should You Draft?
Both players have similar value with Kinsler being drafted 38th overall in early mock drafts and Weeks going about one round later at 49th overall. While the two players graded out very similarly, most of the players being taken in the fourth through sixth rounds are on the same level, and I want a potentially elite player at second base if I haven’t taken one earlier. That means I’m taking Kinsler. However, if you see someone like Adam Wainwright fall to you (hey, his ADP is 31 so it could happen), I’m taking him over Kinsler and sitting back for Weeks, Brandon Phillips or Aaron Hill. Of course, if I do get Kinsler I’m also targeting Danny Espinosa or Gordon Beckham a little later on.