Looking back at last year’s rankings; many of the names are still the same. We did lose valuable pieces like Matt Carpenter to other positions; overall the landscape hasn’t changed, only their places in the rankings. Free agency for this position has been somewhat uneventful with the biggest news coming via trade. Ben Zobrist was resigned by Tampa and shipped off to Oakland after the Rays signed Asdrubal Cabrera. Also Howie Kendrick was traded cross town to the Dodgers; that about covers the headlines unless you count Emilio Bonifacio with the White Sox and Dan “my vision is fine now” Uggla with the Nationals.
Like we said, not much has changed here. The position is deep enough that leagues without a MI slot should have no problem filling the position even in the later rounds. Kevin Jebens explained the depth of the position in his waiting game series where you will see that if you miss out on the top 5 player, the drop off in production from players 6 through 15 is not that far off.
Below are our top 25 second basemen for the 2015 season. We used a 10 game started minimum requirement for eligibility so some players like Brock Holt did not qualify. If you feel we overlooked someone or would like to debate a players ranking, feel free to do so in the comment section below.
Players like Aaron Hill, Brandon Phillips and Martin Prado are not top 20 options unlike this time last year. Only 4 players that were ranked inside the top 25 did not receive enough votes or a high enough ranking to make the list. Those players are Rougned Odor, Jonathan Schoop, Marcus Semien and Emilio Bonifacio. That’s one shy of 30 players; more than enough for the standard league. So who are we looking at (and avoiding) this year?
Players that you would reach for in the draft
Tommy: I would take Anthony Rendon near the end of the first round if there were not a big power 1B or OF who I loved. Aside from him though, there are plenty of good values, but nobody worth reaching for.
Kevin: Anthony Rendon is my go-to guy for mid to late first round. I feel he’s going to meet or exceed expectations after a strong 2014. Otherwise, I’ll probably take Brian Dozier higher than most; with BA coming down league-wide, his .240 isn’t that awful.
Will: Mookie Betts – May be a bit of a hometown reach here, although the name Mookie is not exactly linked to happy times for the Sox, but Mookie’s could be a breakout start atop of what should be a fairly productive lineup. His numbers are tough to project as no one seems to know how many PAs he’ll procure in 2015, I think Betts gets at least 500 and if he gets on base anywhere close to that .368 clip he flashed in 2014, he is well worth a reach. Of course the downside is he is probably going to lose the 2B eligibility.
Ron: Kolten Wong could be one of 2015’s biggest break outs and I want him on every team of mine if the price is right. Speed disappears early on at the 2B position and Wong can offer the upside of 25 SBs if everything breaks right. That speed will come coupled with double-digit home runs. If Mookie Betts (check your league’s position rules) happens to qualify at 2B in your league, I’d be happy to make his immense upside a part of my 2015 plans as well.
Jim: Anthony Rendon – I will always reach for a player with 20/20 potential, especially an infielder. While I wouldn’t mind having Brian Dozier on my team (my secondary choice), I’d prefer the guy who was going to hit in the .290 range over the guy batting .250. I also like Kolten Wong. I don’t think I will have to reach for him; still I probably would take him a few rounds earlier than he should be, even if I had an established man at second. The upside intrigues me.
Players you will avoid drafting
Tommy: There are not any specific players I will look to avoid, but I like a lot of the players ranked from 10 to 17. Murphy, Walker, Kendrick, Pedroia, A. Cabrera, Zobrist are all solid options likely to be available at cheap prices. If I don’t end up with Rendon or Cano, I will likely wait.
Kevin: I will not be saddled with now aging veterans who were overhyped simply due to the amount of AB they piled up. I’m looking at you, Dustin Pedroia and Brandon Phillips. Their counting stats were inflated due to 600+ AB every season. With injuries, age, and fewer AB, they won’t bounce back.
Will: Dustin Pedroia – Not sure what to expect from the Laser Show this year after his injury, and you can most likely get at least the same, if not better, production from, say, Neil Walker a few rounds later. Plus Pedroia kind of helped sink one of my keeper teams and I hold a grudge. Also I like Chase Utley, but we know the Chase of old is gone and doesn’t seem likely he’ll be injured less as he ages.
Ron: In nearly every draft there seems to be at least one person, if not several people with the AL East bias. I will let that person overpay for the taped together Dustin Pedroia while I find my second baseman elsewhere. Love the player, hate his empty fantasy game.
Jim: I have several candidates for this one which include Dustin Pedroia, Brandon Phillips, Chase Utley and Aaron Hill. All are on the wrong side of 30 and all of their stats are on the decline. Utley bounced back some in 2014 but I don’t trust the knees. Pedroia could bounce back, but his name will have someone reaching sooner than I would take him. As for Hill and Phillips, I can find similar value in other players that at least have some upside.
Average Joe, the players that you would wait on and settle for.
Tommy: Howie Kendrick gets overlooked every year, but he always posts good, not great numbers. Now that he has moved to that other LA team, don’t be surprised if he ends up batting second and having a career year. Kendrick is also a free agent at the end of the season if you believe in that.
Kevin: Neil Walker quietly produces. So does Martin Prado. I’ll even take Howie Kendrick in deeper leagues. These guys don’t have breakout potential, but they’re very reliable.
Will: Howie Kendrick – Never a flashy guy, Kendrick’s lowest batting average over the past six seasons was .279 and that’s the only total in that category below .287 in that same time period. The Dodgers lineup should be darned good and no matter where in the batting order Kendrick is placed, you should see some sneaky good production from someone going mostly in the 11th and 12th round.
Ron: Howie Kendrick screams average Joe. Not much will change with his move to the Dodgers. Kendrick plays every day and you know what to expect from him; nothing more, nothing less.
Jim: I originally selected Howie Kendrick here as I consider him Mr. Average Joe, but decided to go with Ben Zobrist instead. His power decline has scared off many owners, but his runs and RBIs are still solid, the average has been .269 or higher since 2011 and he can still give you 10 home runs and stolen bases.
Late round picks that could make an impact
Tommy: Scooter Gennett looks like the everyday starter in Milwaukee. He was a borderline 2B1 last season while platooning with Rickie Weeks. Over the hill vets Aaron Hill and Brandon Phillips could also be values if they get overlooked. They are clearly declining, but could be in store for partial bounce backs. Both men are best left for the last couple rounds in your draft.
Kevin: You could get lucky on some late-round picks who either break out or simply get more playing time. My guys this year are Scooter Gennett, Rougned Odor, and Arismendy Alcantara.
Will: Marcus Semien – I’ll admit I was not too familiar with Semien before he was involved in the Samardzija trade, but from what I have read he seems like he could be the feel good story of this trade. A lot of projections have him hitting 15 or 16 homers, which is a nice number for a 2B going after the 22nd round.
Ron: Jonathan Schoop can give you everything you might hope for in Jedd Gyorko at a fraction of the cost on draft day. Rougned Odor has a shot at double-digit home runs and stolen bases. He won’t cost you much to find out if he can pull it off. Arismendy Alcantara seems kind of like the ultimate boom or bust young infield eligible player for 2015. If you can snag him sometime after the top 230+ players are off the board he could be worth a shot.
Jim: Marcus Semien – I wrote about Semien in detail back in December so I’ll let you read for yourself why I like Marcus. Brett Lawrie could be a sneaky pick since I believe everybody has lost faith in him. With a new team could come a new attitude and outlook on life so to speak making him a post-post-hype sleeper. Either one of these players are worth throwing a dart at with your final picks in leagues that use a MI slot.
Defend Your Rankings
Players ranked higher or lower than the rest of the group that need some explaining.
Tommy: Mookie Betts has awesome plate discipline for such a young player, he has the power to hit 15 HRs and the speed to steal 25 plus. He was the Red Sox best player down the stretch in 2014, so I am not buying that Victorino will take ABs from him. Betts is listed atop the depth chart in RF right now, but given the crowd in the Boston OF, don’t be surprised to see Betts moved to help the Sox acquire an ace like Hamels. Their pitching staff looks as bad as their offense looks good at the moment.
If Betts does indeed get full-time ABs in 2015, he will be a top 5 2B for sure.
You can “betts” on it.
Kevin: Dustin Pedroia – I need more than a few lines to explain why I don’t like Dustin Pedroia for 2015, so I wrote an entire article on the subject which you can read here.
Jim: Mookie Betts – I did not rank him for one simple reason, where is he going to play? I hear and read everything you do, but here’s the reality of things. Hanley is taking one OF spot, and they are not paying Rusney Castillo 11 million to sit on the bench so that’s 2 OF spots taken. That leaves one spot for Mookie and the 13 million dollar man Shane Victorino. As much as we love to play arm-chair GM, Victorino and his contract will get every opportunity to prove he’s healthy and deserves to be there. If they trade Victorino, I’ll change my tune but Mookie will still have to compete with Allen Craig and don’t discount Jackie Bradley who the Sox were high on just last year. In a keeper league I would be a buyer, but for 2015 I’ll watch from the cheap seats.
Still need more rankings, head on over to Fantasy Rundown where Goose will be compiling rankings for the 2015 season as well as prospect rankings and the best baseball links available this off-season.