After each week of positional coverage, we will wrap things up here on Sunday with our 2016 dynasty/keeper rankings.
Players are ranked with the next five years of production in mind, so when you see Daniel Murphy ranked ahead of a player like Ian Kinsler – that does not mean that we believe Murphy will be the superior short-term option.
Also, we ranked players at what we believe will be their primary position moving forward, so you will not see players like Jose Ramirez or Matt Carpenter despite their eligibility. Those players will be included at whichever positions they may qualify for in our 2017 rankings which come out in January.
Taking part in our dynasty rankings will be Paul Hartman, Kevin Jebens, Jim Finch, Ron Vackar, Josh Coleman and Mike Sheehan. Our six experts each ranked their top 20 second basemen. Players marked N/R were not ranked inside the top 20 by that particular person.
The rankings for Jose Altuve, Brian Dozier and Rougned Odor were not unanimous (well, Altuve was), but each one of them was labeled a top-5 player. You may like one more than the other, and you very well may believe a player ranked lower is better, but you’d be hard pressed to find enough players to move up that would bump any one of these guys out of the top-5.
As for the remaining players, our panel shares their thoughts on each below.
4. Robinson Cano – Mariners
- Ron: Lifting the ball more played nicely for Cano in 2016, and hopefully it can become a staple of his game moving forward. He managed to add tons of power as a result and didn’t have to sacrifice contact in the process. Enjoy what should be at least a few more highly productive seasons.
- Josh: 2B is loaded with young and exciting talent, yet I still classify Cano as an elite option. Over the next 5 seasons I expect Cano to be a Top-5 2B in at least 2 of those. Where my appreciation of Cano comes from is his floor. For me he is a lock to hit .280 with 15-20 HR and 90 RBI.
5. Dee Gordon – Marlins
- Paul: The drop from a .333 AVG to .268 is pretty huge for someone who already was just a three-category guy. Don’t get me wrong; I like the player, but the PED suspension makes me a little nervous, and he already had a rough enough OBP without the BABIP drop. If the .319 mark there is the new norm, he’s no longer a top option.
- Mike: We aren’t completely sure who he is with the recent suspension. Ryan Braun and Nelson Cruz assuaged similar concerns of their own allegations. He’s still young, and the lineup around him is maturing nicely. I like his chances to be a plus contributor in 3 categories rather than just a SB monster. Just draft some extra power since he is a liability in that one category.
6. Daniel Murphy – Nationals
- Kevin: A high BA floor with new, sustainable power approach means he should remain a top-5 producer for the next several years. For more insight on Murphy, read my second base Stock Watch article.
- Jim: Prior to 2016 Murphy’s season high for home runs was 14, and he only produced solid run and RBI totals in two of six season’s. If the power drops, and I think it will, Murphy is no better than Neil Walker. 2016 was a career year so sell high and sell now.
7. Jonathan Villar – Brewers
- Paul: That I ranked Villar so low is just a testament to the depth of the position. The power won’t repeat; I don’t think anyone can have near a 20% HR/FB rate hitting the ball 206 feet on average. I’d knock the home run total in half easily. The speed is there for sure, but he doesn’t have nearly the contact skills of Dee Gordon to make me believe as much in his BABIP.
- Jim: The Villar we saw in 2016 is the one we have been waiting for since 2012. I would like to believe he can continue to produce double-digit power, top-tier stolen base totals and a respectable batting average. The strikeouts do worry me, though, as does the lack of major league success.
8. Jean Segura – Diamondbacks
- Josh: It’s rather simple with Segura, you either believe in the batted ball improvements of last season or you don’t. Clearly I’m not a believer. A career 1.91 GB/FB rate and 27.8 fly ball rate was accompanied by a HR/FB rate of 13.5, 5% more than his career mark and more than double his baseline from the last two seasons. Another statistical oddity was a career best .353 BABIP. A career best HR/FB + career best BABIP=Career Year, it’s that simple. 2017 and beyond will see Segura’s return to SB source to fill MI.
- Ron: I’m drinking the Kool-Aid here. Segura has that special blend of power and speed that can keep a fantasy roster balanced. He’s likely more of a 13 HR, 25 SB guy than the 20/33 he produced in 2016, but you’ll enjoy having that as a part of your roster!
9. Jason Kipnis – Indians
- Kevin: He’s in his prime and is a solid option, but just not likely to break out and become a top-5 guy. To read more about what I think of Kipnis read my Stock Watch article.
- Mike: He’s always a top-ten option, but he does it differently every year. If you’re in a league that doesn’t overhype his name then definitely snag him later on or keep him on the cheap. I’d rather have a second baseman I can project more accurately and confidently if I can help it, though.
10. Javier Baez – Cubs
- Paul: Could we be witnessing the coming of age of Javier Baez? He’s just 23 and isn’t anywhere near where his peak performance will be. In 421 at bats, he hit 14 HR with 12 steals, and could easily approach 20 HR next year with potential for much more as he matures. This is a 5-year ranking and I don’t expect him this high next year, but in dynasty leagues I would place his value just under that of the league’s best second basemen.
- Ron: At some point in then near future we are going to get a Rougned Odor type of explosion from Baez. This is one you want to invest in or should be targeting if you find yourself in rebuild mode.
11. Ian Kinsler – Tigers
- Kevin: He’s older, but his speed and SBO% will keep him at 10+ SB. A retooled approach and batted ball profile have me convinced the power is sustainable. I’ll take at least two more years of .285, 25/15 over some unproven up-and-comer.
- Jim: The power returned in 2016, but I think that was an anomaly. I still believe Kinsler can be a solid source of runs and RBIs even with only 12 or some home runs, but the underlying metrics coming into last year have me worried a decline is around the corner for the soon to be 35-year-old.
12. DJ LeMahieu – Rockies
- Josh: AVG is a very underrated statistic in fantasy. It also happens to be the least predictable. LeMahieu’s career high prior to this season was .301; it was .267 in 2014. Last seasons success wasn’t entirely a fluke. The improved plate discipline and contact was a positive sign, but it’s hard to ignore the .388 BABIP. With the BABIP LeMahieu was Tony Gwynn; for the majority of his career he’s been Marco Scutaro. Do you really want to pay a premium for potential Scutaro results?
- Mike: Solid and constantly underrated. Coors field makes me think he can be a huge asset for average even if he doesn’t repeat 2016. He should also score plenty. One of the second basemen I expect to own a ton of shares of in 2017 and beyond.
13. Devon Travis – Blue Jays
- Ron: Injury concerns may continue to dampen Travis’s value, but he’s young enough to get things right and take advantage of one of the best hitting environments in the game.
- Mike: I wish I had the guts to rank him higher. Travis shows a ton of promise whenever he’s on the field. Love the lineup, ballpark, and skills, and think he will be a great, cheap option while still giving you top-five upside at the position. Let’s just hope he’s a cheap as I think he’s going to be come draft season!
14. Yoan Moncada – Red Sox
- Paul: Blocked at second base for now, Moncada would easily rank among the best 2B in baseball from a fantasy standpoint if he were to gain eligibility. He has plus power from both sides of the plate and plus speed. What does that look like from a statistical view? Jonathan Villar in 2016, but sustainable. This is a 5-year ranking and him and Baez are the only two on this list that I see as significantly better 3-5 years from now.
- Josh: Such a hard player to rank given the uncertainty of his timeline to the majors. The overwhelming majority of 2016 was positive as he settled in at A ball and ultimately made his MLB debut. From a statistical standpoint Moncada wasn’t able to flourish beyond A ball. These struggles do not alter my long-term view, but I do feel they serve as an indicator that Moncada likely begins the season in the minors. Given his tools, Moncada will have value once an everyday role opens. How long that is will ultimately decide where he ranks among dynasty 2B.
14. Dustin Pedroia – Red Sox
- Kevin: Maybe it’s personal bias, because the only preseason I opted to keep him was 2014. But he’ll be 33 in 2017, he doesn’t steal 10+ bags anymore, and I’m not sold on his power being consistent. A career low FB% means he needed 600+ AB to net 15 HR, and there’s no guarantee he stays healthy two years in a row.
- Jim: You’ll get a strong batting average, a double-digit home run total, at least 70 runs, and better than average RBI totals. Sure he is 33 so there could be a decline coming, but considering he’s been a professional hitter for his career the odds are low we’ll see a cliff type season.
16. Jonathan Schoop – Orioles
- Kevin: He seemed to tire in his first full season. Also, very low BABIP in April/September bookended his season. With normal luck, solid power mean he could hit 30 HR as soon as 2017. Schoop was one of the players covered in this week’s second base Stock Watch article.
- Paul: I’m buying the power with Schoop, but I don’t see him breaking into the top 10 in any year heading forward. Yes, he’s a 25-home run hitter, but everything else is a crap shoot. He hit a lowly .225 in the second half, and while I suspect that won’t continue, he won’t be anywhere near the .304 he posted before the break. I say 25-27 home runs with his BABIP determining the rest. He’s a good option; there are just plenty better.
17. Logan Forsythe – Rays
- Jim: I may have ranked him towards the bottom of the top-20, but realistically there is not much difference between the guy I ranked 12th and the one ranked 20th. The late bloomer has shown consistency the past two years and should continue to produce solid numbers.
- Josh: There is value to be had in stability. Everyday at bats and a prime lineup spot go along way in counting stats. Forsythe checks both boxes. My question, however, is simple; In a position that offers so much potential, why would one settle for .270/15 and one season of more than 70 runs or RBI?
18. Starlin Castro – Yankees
- Ron: Castro makes very little soft contact which should continue to play well in his home park and the array of favorable parks in his own division.
- Mike: Solid deep league option. Never became the star we all hoped he’d become back when he exploded onto the scene with the Cubs. Castro is better than you think though, and isn’t a bad MI option.
19. Ben Zobrist – Cubs
- Paul: Thirty-five-year-old second basemen make for poor choices in Dynasty Leagues. Saying that, Zobrist posted a .386 OBP playing everyday in a stacked Cubs lineup. That is a recipe for success, and I see no reason why his plate discipline will suddenly fall off the map. Sure there are younger more glamorous options, but Zobrist has proven time and time again to be a steady performer. Playing in Chicago just boosts those counting stats enough to hide whatever slow down his age might cause.
- Ron: I have a Chase Utley feeling about him, which is to say that he will be useful in deeper leagues, but you might hate seeing him on your roster in shallower formats. The one thing saving Zobrist’s value is the Cubbie’s lineup around him that allows for decent run and RBI production.
20. Kolten Wong – Cardinals
- Jim: I ranked Wong based on faith. At one time many believed he could be a top-10 second baseman, and at times he flashes that potential so there’s still a good hitter in there. Don’t write the 26-year-old off just yet.
- Josh: Wong may never reach the heights many expected, but he’s only one year removed from back to back double-digit HR and SB seasons. For as bad as last season was he posted career best in both BB and K% as well as Soft Contact. It would seem 2016 struggles were the result of a pull happy approach (45.1%, career 40.6%) and the Cardinals inexplicably giving up on him. My expectation is the Cardinals move Wong in the offseason and the change of scenery will be the first step in reclaiming that 15 HR/20 SB potential.
The second base position is deep, so it should come as no surprise that rookies Ian Happ, Rob Refsnyder and Ozzie Albies did not make the cut. Prospects weren’t the only ones snubbed here; veterans Neil Walker, Josh Harrison, Jedd Gyorko and Joe Panik were also ranked sparingly. Cesar Hernandez did an admirable job in 2016, but he did not manage to get ranked by anyone. Nor did former staples Brandon Phillips and Howie Kendrick. This is one position you should have no problem filling in dynasty leagues.
That wraps up our second base rankings. Next week begins our third base coverage which will wrap up next Sunday with the top 20 third basemen.