When looking for second basemen in the American League to fill out your draft, it may be wise to pay a little more for one of the top three players or try to outsmart the competition with younger players.
The reason being is that second base the is not that deep in terms of fantasy stars. Granted there are a couple of budding stars like Jason Kipnis (Cleveland) and Jemile Weeks (#5 on my list), as well as veterans such Howie Kendrick (Angels) that will produce, but nothing that is close to a sure thing.
Without further adieu, here are my top five 2012 fantasy second basemen:
1. Ian Kinsler - Texas Rangers
The 29-year-old Kinsler is at the top of the list because of his speed and power combination. Kinsler, who hit 32 home runs and stole 30 bases, was one of just two American League players to record a 30-30 season in 2011.
Kinsler, who only hit .255 in 2011, also ranked among the top three second basemen in several offensive categories such as extra-base hits (70), slugging (.477), on-base (.355), and RBIs (77). In addition, Kinsler walked 87 times while striking out just 71 times.
2. Robinson Cano - New York Yankees
If you need a second basemen that will hit for average, power, and drive in runs then Robinson Cano is your guy.
Cano hit over .300 for the fifth time in his seven-year career in 2011. Cano also hit more than 25 home runs for the third year in a row and drove in over 100 runs for a second straight season. In addition, Cano led all American League second basemen in slugging (.533) and extra-base hits (81).
In terms of a downside, Cano doesn't steal bases (8 in 2011), strikes out a fair amount of times (96 times), and doesn't walk much (38 times).
3. Dustin Pedroia - Boston Red Sox
Even though some of Pedroia's attributes are irrelevant in fantasy baseball that doesn't mean he is any less valuable. Pedroia hit .307 (which led all second basemen) and a career-high 21 homers in 2011. Pedroia also registered career-bests in stolen bases (26), on-base percentage (.387), RBIs (91), and walks (86).
4. Ben Zobrist - Tampa Bay Rays
Zobrist's versatility makes him a must-have for fantasy owners.
Zobrist fell just short of a 20-20 season in 2011, as he finished the season with 20 home runs and 19 stolen bases. However, Zobrist did set career-highs in hits (158), doubles (46) and triples (6) last year
5. Jemile Weeks - Oakland A's
The 25-year-old Weeks showed a lot of promise during his rookie campaign in 2011.
Weeks, who batted .303 for the season, hit .310 after the All-Star break (second best among AL second basemen). Weeks also stole 22 bases (third most among AL second basemen) but was caught 11 times. In addition, Weeks hit eight triples (most among AL second basemen) and 26 doubles.
Weeks has all of the tools to be a star, but if you are looking for power you probably should look somewhere else.
Daniel Benjamin has played fantasy baseball the past three years.