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We continue our trip around the diamond by focusing now on the second basemen as we continue to preview the 2015 Fantasy Baseball season. Be sure to check out our previous preliminary work on the upcoming baseball season:
- We previewed the top catchers in fantasy
- We also did the same for outfielders
- And the first basemen
- We also completed previewing the American League West, most recently, the Seattle Mariners.
- We also did individual player reports on J.D. Martinez and Jay Bruce. Martinez’s report can be read here; Bruce’s report can be read there.
- Finally, we shared a list of players we really love–in time for Valentine’s Day, of course.
Because of the many formats that are out there in the fantasy baseball landscape, these rankings will attempt to consider both head-to-head and 5×5 roto leagues. Projections are based on Steamer projections, available at fangraphs.com.
BEST OF THE BEST
This is a real tough race to gauge. In one corner, there’s an established veteran who has been the standard at the position for years. In the other corner, we have a diminutive player who plays beyond his physical attributes. And finally, there’s a young guy who put together a healthy season and proved to live up to the hype. Who do we go with? We’re going with the latter:
|Anthony Rendon 2015 Projections|
Our 19th best player last year, Rendon finally delivered on all the promise that comes from being a top 10 draft pick (2011). Rendon did a little bit of everything last year:
- He hit for average
- hit for power
- stole bases
- showed good on-base skills
- displayed a great understanding of the strike zone
- scored more than 100 runs.
Most importantly, Rendon was able to put a complete, healthy season, something he has struggled to do in the past. But don’t let his history of hurt hinder your decision to plug him in as your starting second baseman. He has the pedigree, the skills, youth, and the maturity to be the best second baseman in all of fantasy, regardless of format.
Not much power is expected from the position, but the following player is projected to display serious power:
Steamer projects Baez to be the only player at his position to hit more than 20 home runs and his Isolated Power (ISO–a stat that measures power) is way ahead of any of his contemporaries at this position. Baez, however, is still a young, raw talent and young players do young-player things, like swing at pitches he shouldn’t be swinging at, helping him post a Strikeout Rate (K%) of 41.5 percent. He is expected to lead all second basemen in K% and ranked sixth overall among hitters.
Baez is known for struggling mightily when first getting promoted to a new class, but he eventually adjusts. He will be a guy that will strike out a lot, but his potential to be an elite hitter with power makes him worth the gamble.
Armed with a good batting eye, a line-drive swing, and a great approach at the plate, Robinson Cano has become the player that all second basemen should aspire to be:
The move to Seattle, predictably, saw Cano’s power decrease as the line-drive swing he developed in the last few seasons as a Yankee resulted in fewer long balls. Nevertheless, Cano is a complete hitter which should help him maintain a spot among the elite at the position.
THE TOP FIVE
1. Anthony Rendon, Age 24, Position: Second Base/Third Base (2B/3B)
2. Jose Altuve, 24
We’re going with youth in these rankings as Altuve will try to carry the momentum from his successful 2014 campaign. A concern is that his BABIP was pretty high last season, but it should not hurt his batting average much as he does a great job at limiting his strikeouts. And of course, his true hustle can be witnessed when he’s on the base paths where he can potentially exceed his “modest” projection of 35 steals.
3. Robinson Cano, 32
4. Brian Dozier, 27
Dozier continues to improve his game year after year, finishing as the 14th best position player in 2014. Entering his fourth season, Dozier has a chance to hit 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases, though Steamer projections state a more conservative stance on Dozier’s projections. Another 20/20 season would appear to be the safer bet, but Dozier’s plate discipline and ability to pad the counting stats makes him a no-brainer at number four at this position.
5. Ian Kinsler, 32
Kinsler bounced back in a big way last season, as a change in scenery, coupled with a change in approach, helped him finish as our fourth best player in 2014. Age is a turn off and perhaps Kinsler could be due for some regression. But Kinsler still has a good batting eye and that should help him continue to be a Jack-of-all-trades type of player.
THE REST OF THE STARTERS
6. Dustin Pedroia, 31
Coming off thumb and wrist injuries the last two seasons, Pedroia might be healthy enough to be considered a prime bounce-back candidate. But age and wear and tear might be catching up to him — though he’s younger than Cano and Kinsler. Pedroia still has a good approach and displays great plate discipline, which should help him post a respectable batting average at the very least.
7. Jason Kipnis, 27
Just when it appeared that Kipnis was ready to make a final push for the top spot at the position, he took a major step back as injuries (oblique) were part of the problem to his disappointing 2014 season. Kipnis still does a decent job at limiting his strikeouts and he can still provide in the steals department, but if he can showcase the power, he’s back in the conversation as one of the elite players at second.
8. Ben Zobrist, 33, 2B/SS/LF
The ultimate “Moneyball” player is now with the ultimate Moneyball team. Although Oakland is a pitcher-friendly park, Zobrist should still do enough to be productive. With his approach and discipline, Zobrist should be able to adapt to his new surroundings though he’s been hitting more ground balls in the last few seasons.
9. Daniel Murphy, 29
Murphy does a little bit of everything to remain relevant among second basemen. He can contribute a solid batting average, but has the potential to provide good counting stat numbers, especially home runs and stolen bases.
10. Dee Gordon, 26
What Gordon lacks in power and skill, he more than makes up for it with athleticism and speed–lots and lots of speed. Playing with an improved Marlins’ team and being slated to be at the top of the order, Gordon should be able to also yield a high number of runs.
11. Kolten Wong, 24
The potential for Wong to be an all-around contributor in roto leagues is the reason he ranks this high, despite the fact that he has not proven himself in the majors. But a guy of his pedigree, with an organization that does an amazing job developing their home-grown players, is too tough to pass up.
12. Javier Baez, 22, 2B/SS
13. Neil Walker, 29
Good: Cheap source of power…good understanding of strike zone
Bad: May have peaked last season…some injury risk…batting average might dip
14. Howie Kendrick, 31
Good: Safe pick…good batting average…chips in a bit in every stat
Bad: Solid, but unspectacular…not much pop in his bat…playing at Dodgers Stadium
15. Martin Prado, 31, 2B/3B
Good: Good source for average…can provide some pop
Bad: Walk Rate and On Base Percentage is dropping
16. Jedd Gyorko, 26
Good: Legit power…can produce runs
Bad: Strikeouts are a problem…kills batting average
17. Rougned Odor, 21
Good: Guaranteed playing time…upside is intriguing…can contribute in all five categories
Bad: Very raw player…needs to work on approach
18. Scooter Gennett, 24
Good: Scrappy player that can hit for average…decent plate discipline…cheap source for steals
Bad: Struggles against lefties…not much pop in his bat
19. Marcus Semien, 24, 2B/3B
Good: Can provide some power and base-stealing capabilities
Bad: Unproven…Poor plate discipline in the majors
20. Chase Utley, 36
Good: Known commodity…veteran hitter with decent pop and discipline
Bad: Age and injuries are always a concern
REST OF THE SCRAP
Brett Lawrie has been discussed about in detail before on this site…Aaron Hill is 33 years-old now and too inconsistent, but power is always intriguing…Asdrubal Cabrera also qualifies at short and might provide some pop in your lineup…Nick Franklin has upside to be a power/speed combo player, but time is running out…Jonathan Schoop has shown he can hit for power, but is still raw in other areas…Joe Panik is the reincarnation of Marco Scutaro…Brandon Phillips is old and ineffective, but once in a while will go on these hot streaks.
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