2014 Outlook: He was the No. 2 overall pick from the 2009 amateur draft, but Ackley's star has faded in four-and-a-half pro seasons since; his .297 career wOBA ranks in only the 12th percentile among players with at least 1,000 plate appearances since his big-league debut in June of 2011. He's also in a fight for at-bats, with Robinson Cano on board to man his natural position of second base, meaning Ackley's best-case scenario has him earning either the starting left or center field job, his more probable role being that of a utility man. That said, Ackley did appear his former disciplined self at the plate following a June stint in Triple-A last season, the result a .304 batting average and .374 on-base percentage after the All-Star break. Should he extend that into the spring, he might land enough playing time to warrant mixed-league middle-infield status -- he'll still qualify at second -- and if he can secure a top-third lineup spot, his on-base percentage might make him an intriguing sleeper in formats that utilize that category or runs scored.
2014 Outlook: Guerrero, who posted a .320 average and averaged 20 home runs over the past four seasons in Cuba, brings intriguing hitting skills to the States, and he's the leading man in a wide-open second-base picture for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Unfortunately, Cuban statistics hardly make an instant translation to success in the U.S., and working against Guerrero is scouts' criticism of his defense; the Dodgers spent the winter feverishly attempting to bring in an experienced competitor. Make no mistake: Picking him is an investment more in playing time than ability, although there's every reason to think he could hit for a decent average with better-than-average pop from a middle infielder. Don't be overzealous with your expectations, but don't forget about him, either.
2014 Outlook: Summoned last June to serve in a platoon with the struggling Rickie Weeks, Gennett didn't hit initially in limited duty, but he stepped up as the Milwaukee Brewers' starter in August after Weeks suffered a season-ending hamstring injury, starting 43 of the team's final 47 games and batting .354 with five home runs and 25 runs scored. That puts him in prime position to be the starter at the outset of 2014 or, at the very least, land the larger part of a straight platoon due to his wide lefty/righty split. Daily-league owners might find him most useful for that reason, but his contact-hitting ability with a hint of speed is useful in NL-only and the deepest mixed leagues.
2014 Outlook: The Arizona Diamondbacks have themselves quite the dilemma at shortstop this spring: Do they want the elite glove of Didi Gregorius, or could they spare slightly lesser defense (albeit still quite good) in exchange for Owings' more line-drive, doubles-oriented bat? Owings managed a .330 batting average in 125 games in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, but even adjusting that, he should hit for a good mark, though his on-base percentage will be a liability in leagues that instead use it. He'd need to capture the starting gig, however, to be much more than an NL-only stash.
2014 Outlook: Flaherty entered camp as the favorite to start at second base for the Baltimore Orioles, and he has the kind of underrated pop that might make him a potential bargain in AL-only formats. In 162 games played in the minors, he clubbed 21 home runs and had a slugging percentage of .464, and during the second half of last season in the majors, he hit four homers and boosted his fly ball rate to 43.8 percent in 75 trips to the plate. Flaherty appears to have the kind of left-handed swing that can capitalize on Camden Yards' friendly confines, but track his progress and role during spring training.
2014 Outlook: Although the Pittsburgh Pirates brought back defensive-minded Clint Barmes this winter, Mercer should begin 2014 as their starting shortstop. Simply put, Mercer can do more with the bat, and fantasy owners would much prefer him of the two, even if he receives 100 fewer at-bats. He batted .276 combined between the Double- and Triple-A levels, and .273 in his first two years in the majors, considerably better than Barmes, and he averaged 13 homers and 11 steals per 162 games played in the minors. NL-only owners should consider him a back-of-the-roster type.
2014 Outlook: Here's how awful Uggla's 2013 was: His .179 batting average was the lowest by any batting title qualifier in 22 seasons, and it was the sixth-worst since 1900. Even August laser eye surgery didn't help; he batted .133, had only one extra-base hit and whiffed 25 times in 60 at-bats to conclude the year. The Atlanta Braves tried to find a taker for the final two years and $26 million on his deal all winter, but having failed to do so, will presumably allow Uggla to enter spring training the favorite to start again at second base. He remains a capable power bat at a position not known for it, and a walker whose on-base percentage is more attractive in leagues that reward it, but Uggla would encourage more than those in NL-only formats with a strong spring.
2014 Outlook: In 2013, Wong parlayed .303/.369/.466 triple-slash rates and 10/20 homer/steal numbers in Triple-A into a late-season cup of coffee with the St. Louis Cardinals, but this is the season during which he'll have a legitimate opportunity to lock down a starting big league job. Don't read too much into his poor numbers in the majors; he made just 10 starts in 59 Cardinals games and never got into a groove. Mark Ellis will vie for playing time at second base, but considering the veteran is a right-handed hitter and Wong is a left-handed hitter, a straight platoon seems likely. Wong is a contact hitter with speed, and even in a limited role he'll be an NL-only asset. Still, his fantasy appeal should be greater in leagues that afford daily transactions.
2014 Outlook: LeMahieu is the favorite to capture the second base job in Colorado primarily on the strength of his glove. In addition, there are whispers that he's a candidate to lead off, which could help his stolen base total if that comes to fruition. The Rockies have other options, so LeMahieu will have to hit a little. If he looks to be a regular come opening day, he deserves a spot on an NL-only roster. Just don't bid as if he'll keep the job all season, since there's at least a possibility he won't.
2014 Outlook: We won't bury the lede: Roberts has missed more than twice as many games (456) as he has played (192) the past four seasons combined, and has made five total DL stints during that time for abdominal, concussion, hip and hamstring issues. He is therefore as risky a fantasy bet as there is, though with Robinson Cano no longer in New York, Roberts at least has a clear path to regular at-bats during the rare times he's healthy. Roberts batted .246 and averaged 13 home runs and 19 stolen bases per 162 games from 2010-13, statistics that relegate him to AL-only status.
2014 Outlook: Olé! After being cut by the Kansas City Royals this winter, Bonifacio latched on with the Chicago Cubs, who will use him as a utilityman, an important role considering the team's weaknesses at second and third base. He might not ever score regular at-bats with the Cubs, but should sneak in enough playing time to provide NL-only owners with a healthy number of stolen bases.
2014 Outlook: Considered more of a fallback option at third base for the White Sox than a prime candidate to start, Semien nevertheless shouldn't receive the "ho-hum" approach in deeper fantasy leagues. He's capable of chipping in a few homers and steals, averaging 19 and 20 per 162 games played in his minor league career. At the very least, Semien should make the White Sox as a utility infielder, so consider him a back-of-your-roster option in those AL-only formats.
2014 Outlook: Plate appearances for Aviles will be hard to come by, especially if Carlos Santana makes a successful transition to third base. But since he is so versatile with both middle- and corner-infield eligibility, Aviles makes for a cagey late-round play in AL-only leagues, as he is an injury at any of three positions away from happening upon more playing time. And if he gets it, Aviles still makes excellent contact and prorates to teens power and speed if he plays regularly.
2014 Outlook: Weeks' career has fallen considerably short of the predictions made at the time he was tabbed the No. 2 pick in the 2003 amateur draft, and as a 30-year-old in 2013, both his strikeout and ground-ball rates rose and cast doubt on his future status as a full-timer. He has always drawn walks, hit for pop and contributed a handful of steals, but Scooter Gennett enters camp with greater odds of beginning the year the Milwaukee Brewers' second-base starter. Weeks is NL-only, on-base percentage league material, unless he somehow overwhelms during spring training.
2014 Outlook: A miserable 2013 cost Espinosa his job; the Washington Nationals shifted top prospect Anthony Rendon to second base as Espinosa's replacement, and as spring training opened, the team intended to have Rendon start there with Espinosa battling for a reserve role. It's conceivable Espinosa could make the team, and his power/speed combination makes him worth final-round NL-only consideration. Still, he's a free swinger who strikes out a lot -- 27.1 percent of the time in his career to date -- so be prepared to absorb a low batting average and some painful slumps, even if he somehow recaptures a regular role somewhere.