Second base is very deep in talent. Not elite talent mind you, but steady reliable bats that can be taken at all points in the draft. How deep is the position you ask? Dustin Pedroia is currently the 12th second baseman being taken in NFBC Drafts. Neil Walker, Daniel Murphy, Ben Zobrist and Howie Kendrick are all being taken outside the top 12, yet each one of them appeared in the top 12 on someone’s list at the start of the 2015 season. The surprising part is, all four will be wearing new uniforms this year and could see increases over last year’s totals. That’s how deep the position is.
If you want a top guy like Altuve or Gordon – go for it. If you want an upside player like Wong or Odor and feel the need to reach a round early – knock yourself out. And, if you want to concentrate on other positions and wait on second base, one of those players I mentioned above (or someone similar) will be waiting for you in the later rounds. Happy Hunting!
Taking part in our rankings will be Tommy Landseadel, Kevin Jebens, Jim Finch, Ron Vackar, Michael Zakhar and Neil (Mister DFS). Our six experts each ranked their top 25 Second Basemen for the 2016 season. Players marked N/R were not ranked inside the top 25 by that particular person. We used a 10 games started minimum requirement for eligibility so you may need to check your league settings for some players.
If you feel we overlooked someone or would like to debate a player’s ranking, feel free to do so in the comment section below.
It’s not too often that we all agree on a group of players. There were only five players that were not unanimously voted into the top 25, and they were only left off of one list each. That means you can argue the rankings, but you can’t question the overall players here. Yangervis Solarte, Javier Baez, Jose Peraza and Cesar Hernandez were the players ranked in place of those N/R spots, but overall they are all late round flyers for leagues that use a MI slot.
Players that you would Reach for
Tommy: I don’t think there are any second baseman worth reaching for. Altuve and Gordon are both terrific players, but I hate the idea of spending a second round pick on a hitter with very little power. Dozier and Cano are not that much better than the rest of the field to justify a reach pick either.
Kevin: You have to grab top speedsters when you can, and given that Jose Altuve and Dee Gordon can hit for BA (unlike Billy Hamilton), they provide strong values in rare categories.
Jim: I want Jose Altuve or Dee Gordon just for the fact they can somewhat lock up the stolen base category for me and help me avoid drafting those 1 category wonders late. If I can’t have either I’m reaching for Kolten Wong. I love his power speed combo and think he can total 15 of each along with an improved batting average.
Ron: Neil Walker should not be overlooked. You never want to reach too much, but he should be worth targeting a round to a round and a half early. His power will play about the same, if not better in New York. Walker’s homer total has come in at 16, 23, and 16 the past few seasons and I would put him down for around 16-18 in 2016.
Zak: This position has solid producers up and down the top 25, so there’s no need to reach. But I will make it a point to have Addison Russell on a few teams this year. He wasn’t overmatched last season and showed growth as time went on. His upside dwarfs that of the players taken around the same time and some earlier picks.
Neil: Robinson Cano. His draft stock will likely drop after he had a rough (to say the least) 1st half. But his 2nd half is still reflective of a guy who could net you 3-4th round value with a .395 wOBA and 157 wRC+. I would even grab him at the bottom of round 2 or the top of round 3 in a deeper league.
Players you will avoid drafting
Tommy: Rougned Odor and Addison Russell – Both these guys are being overhyped. Odor is a solid player, but I just don’t see the upside. The stats he will produce will be nearly identical to the second baseman drafted some 10 rounds later. As for Russell, he was batting 9th for the Cubs last year and he struggled to hit for average. He has some nice looking tools, but his bat is likely still a year or two away. Unless he takes a massive leap in year 2 and moves up the batting order, there is no way he approaches his near 100 ADP. In general, given the quality of depth at 2B, I am waiting to fill this position in most leagues.
Kevin: Injury risks like Anthony Rendon and Devon Travis may cost more than they’re worth. Javier Baez‘s K% still scares me even if he finds playing time.
Jim: I’ve got a number of players for different reasons. I like Anthony Rendon, but I think he’ll cost more than I’m willing to pay. Dustin Pedroia could be in line for a bounce back given his numbers over 93 games in 2015, but age, injuries and previous declining numbers make him a risk. DJ LeMahieu and Logan Forsythe have one hit wonder written all over them. Finally there is Ian Kinsler, whose power and speed numbers last year resembled those of Ben Zobrist who I can get many rounds later.
Ron: Addison Russell is not likely to find his way onto a roster of mine for 2016. With the offseason moves to get Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist into a Cubs uniform, there is a good chance Addison Russell bats 8th or 9th most nights.
Zak: Logan Forsythe did owners a lot of good last year, but he has one-year wonder written all over him. I don’t think owners will pay for a repeat, but the cost will look like an overpay when the curtain comes down.
Neil: Brandon Phillips. He hasn’t had a wRC+ over 100 since 2012 and hasn’t had an OBP over .330 since 2011. He still hits in the middle of the order so he might net you some ok counting stats, but he’ll do so on someone else’s team and not mine.
Top MI target once your Second base slot is filled
Tommy: There are a ton of players ranked between 6 and 18 on my list who are all going to contribute somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25 HRs + SBs and hit for a solid batting average. At this time, I don’t like any enough to reach, but will gladly take whoever falls toward the back of that pack. Forsythe, Murphy, Schoop, and Walker are all capable of producing similar overall stat lines to players being drafted in the top 100 overall.
Kevin: I’ll take youth upside like Russell, Baez, Travis (if not expensive). Yangervis Solarte could be a nice value as well.
Jim: As you can tell by my previous statement, Wong would be my top choice here if I drafted Altuve or Gordon. Outside of Wong, I’m not sure if there is any particular second baseman I would target. I do like Ben Zobrist for his consistency and potential counting stats in Chicago. Starlin Castro intrigues me with him move to New York, as does his dual eligibility. Daniel Murphy has also slipped outside the top 12 in NFBC drafts and holds a career .294 average at Nationals Park.
Ron: At a minimum Starlin Castro is ticketed for a similar line to what Addison Russell could be reasonably expected to produce. The potential upside of Russell has him going off the board about 70 picks earlier than Castro though. I’ll take the discount and go with the Yankees new keystone man with hopes the nice hitting environment and increased need to focus does him some good. In deeper formats (15 teams) I think it’s a little overrated to target position flexibility, but Castro will also provide the same 2B/SS coverage as Russell will and that has some value at the middle infield position should your main 2B or SS go down.
Zak: I’ve seen a lot of Jonathan Schoop against the Yankees and the power is for real. Be warned: So is the god awful plate discipline, but I like the idea of pairing Schoop with someone like Daniel Murphy or Joe Panik, guys who don’t strike out. You alleviate the batting average risk and could land a big power bat for peanuts.
Neil: Logan Forsythe. He is the Rays’ new Ben Zobrist – Hits in the middle of the order and quietly (or not so quietly) had 17 homers, 9 steals, 69 runs and 68 RBI last year. I think he’ll be even better. And, for those of you who play DFS, (don’t forget to read my columns!), he smokes lefties with a .405 wOBA and 164 wRC+ against southpaws. Start him in DFS against lefties :).
Late round picks that could make an impact
Tommy: Brett Lawrie is only 26 and should have a power bounce back now that he is in Chicago. I like him for a cheap 20 home runs. Josh Harrison was horribly unlucky with a 3.4% HR/FB rate. He has enough power to be a top 10 2B, but will come at a fraction of the cost. If you want some late speed, don’t forget about Cesar Hernandez. He won’t contribute much else, but 30 steals along with a respectable BA has value in roto leagues. Lastly, don’t forget Devon Travis. He may miss the start of the season as he rehabs from a shoulder procedure which makes him a risky bet given his health and limited track record, but very few second basemen have as much upside.
Kevin: It all depends on playing time, but guys like Wilmer Flores, Enrique Hernandez, and Brock Holt will offer nice value.
Jim: Joe Panik only managed 100 games, yet he hit over .300 for the second straight season, showed some power (which was absent in his first year), improved his walks, cut down on the strikeouts, and most important, he gained the confidence of his team by showing he could repeat. Panik makes a sneaky late round pick and could finish just outside the top 12 for second base.
Ron: Jonathan Schoop is the ideal second baseman if you have chased steals early at other positions. There’s a real chance Schoop could lead the position in homers for 2016, and if he doesn’t produce, his low draft day cost will make him easy to move on from.
Zak: Yangervis Solarte is a strong possibility for mixed league value. His slugging percentage quietly shot up 60 points last season, he doesn’t strikeout, and he is a lineup fixture, possibly in a plum spot for 2016. You’ll have to find speed elsewhere, but a Neil Walker type season is certainly possible.
Neil: Devon Travis. If he can stay healthy and duplicate his pace from last year (.304/.361/.498), you can get a top 5 second baseman toward the bottom of your draft. He also hits in the potent Blue Jays’ lineup, so even if he hits at the bottom of the lineup, he’ll have good run and RBI potential.
Defend Your Rankings
Players ranked higher or lower than the rest of the group that weren’t covered above.
Tommy: DJ LeMahieu (ranked 7th overall) – LeMahieu is the every day second baseman for the Colorado Rockies. Need I say more? I will anyway. He was successful on 23-26 SB attempts last year, and although he does not hit the ball in the air often, his 290 foot average fly ball distance suggests that he is capable of a couple more than 6 HRs in Coors Field. Even if he regresses a little in the SB department, owners should expect an average near .300, about 25 combined HRs + SBs and healthy counting stats. LeMahieu was the sixth most valuable second baseman last season, and I see no reason he can’t produce similar numbers. LeMahieu is one of many reasons why you should not reach for Altuve or Gordon.
Kevin: Daniel Murphy (ranked 7th overall) – Everyone remembers his crazy power surge in the playoffs, but he hit 10 HR in the second half too. I’m not positive it’ll hold up for a full year, but a .290, 20 HR season isn’t out of the question.
Neil: Dee Gordon (Ranked 8th overall) – How do I hate Dee Gordon this year? Let me count the ways… I am calling extreme outlier on Gordon’s .383 BABIP from last year, especially considering it was accompanied by a 21.5% line drive rate and 17.6% hard contact rate. A corrected BABIP in the .315-340 range should get his 333/359/418 line down to something like 275/310/375. That in turn will lead to a reduction in his 88 runs to somewhere in the 70 range. And, might I remind you that while Gordon is a prolific base stealer, his success rate was only 74% last year. He will be one year older, and if his success rate continues to drop he might run less.
So with your 3rd or 4th round pick you might be looking at 275/310/375 with 2 homers 30 RBI 70 runs and 40 steals. Billy Hamilton had a .264 BABIP last year that has nowhere to go but up and will likely duplicate those numbers (with more steals probably). I’d rather grab him several rounds later.
Neil: Dustin Pedroia (Ranked 5th overall) – Pedroia hit .291/.356/.441 with a very sustainable .308 BABIP last year. Pro-rated to 162 games he would have hit 21 homers, had 80 runs and 73 RBI. The Red Sox offense as a collective last year underperformed, and I think they will be top 2-3 in the AL this year. Look for a full season from Pedroia with 85+ runs, 15+ homers and something like a 300/360/450 line. You all can have Dee Gordon. I’ll take Dustin Pedroia.
That Wraps up our Second Base rankings. Check back next week as we bring you our top 25 Third Base options for the 2016 season.
Still need more rankings, head on over to Fantasy Rundown where Goose has been compiling rankings for the 2016 season as well as prospect rankings and the best baseball links available this off-season.