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September 11, 2013

Fantasy Fool's Gold

Second Base Prospects

by Ben Carsley


Our first two editions of Fantasy Fool’s Gold made much ado about power. Covering the catcher, first base and third base positions, a common critique of the players profiled in our first two installments revolved around a lack of pop.

Thankfully, such expectations are not foisted upon men who occupy the keystone. That’s good, because with the players listed below, power is once again in short supply.

In this edition, we bring you five second-base prospects who, like so much in life, may ultimately disappoint you from a fantasy perspective. Per usual, many of the observations below come from the BP minor-league team.

Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Phillies
Signed along with Freddy Galvis out of Venezuela in 2013, Hernandez has been around for so long now that it’s sort of hard to believe he’s just 23. The Phillies have consistently pushed Hernandez somewhat aggressively in his assignments, which led to the second baseman reaching Triple-A as a 22-year-old last season. He looked a bit overmatched his first time through the minors’ highest level, but this year Hernandez has hit quite well in Lehigh Valley while earning his first cups of coffee in the majors.

In 104 games and 440 PA in Triple-A, Hernandez hit .309/.375/.402 this season, marking a continuation of two of his most prominent trends: he can hit for average and he can’t hit for power. Hernandez’ BABIP of .384 is obviously unsustainable and brings his average into doubt, but he walked at a 9.3 percent clip, meaning he’s not solely relying on his line-drive-producing stroke to reach base. Hernandez also went 32-for-40 in stolen base attempts, though he projects to be more of a 10-15 stolen base guy in the majors. A good defender, Hernandez could be a no. 2 hitter with a decent average and not much else if it all comes together, but that’s not really enough for fantasy relevance.

We can now address the elephant in the room as well: Chase Utley recently signed an extension that will see him in Philadelphia at least through 2015, and possibly several years beyond. Utley is undoubtedly a much better player than Hernandez, but the move is disappointing in that it likely relegates Hernandez to a backup infielder role, unless Ruben Amaro Jr. decides to trade him for a Proven Closer or for Michael Young’s Soul or something. Hernandez may be able to serve as a viable NL-only two-trick pony (AVG, SB) if Utley goes down at some point next year, but that’s really his ceiling.

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Sporer Report: Soft Sc... (09/11)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Fool's Gold: T... (09/04)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Fool's Gold: S... (09/13)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (09/11)

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