We're coming to the end of another spin around the sun. Christmas is just around the corner. You know what that means: Time for fantasy baseball rankings!
Today we'll cover second base. As a reminder, this first round of rankings features picks from Bill Dubiel, Brad Johnson, Nick Mariano, and yours truly.
If you missed the first couple of installments (catcher and first base), click the link below. Longtime readers will note that we've switched up the format a bit for this round of rankings to allow for a bit more insight into each writer's thought process.
Editor's note: Be sure to also check out our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It's already loaded up with tons of great rankings articles and draft analysis. Aside from our tiered staff rankings for every position, we also go deep on MLB prospect rankings, impact rookies for 2017, and dynasty/keeper rankings as well. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.
2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Second Base
Which picks by others look overly bullish/pessimistic?
Kyle: Brad's ranking of Odor sticks out like a sore thumb, especially given the relative consensus of our opinions at the keystone. There are some warts in his profile, sure, but we're still talking about a guy who put up a .271-33-89-88-14 line at age 22. Second base is a lot deeper than it used to be, but 13th? C'mon, son.
Brad and Nick are riding for Schimpf. Sure, the power is nice, but it's not like pop is tough to find these days. You can do better than a guy who's likely to live near the Mendoza line.
Bill: I'm not sure what Kinsler has done to Brad to merit a ranking outside the top 10 at the position (although he does have him at 11). Kinsler is one of my favorite MLB players, and has been a model of consistency over the last decade or so. He's played in at least 153 games in five of the last six years, and is coming off a terrific .288-28-83 season. He also chipped in 14 stolen bases, and at only 34 (turning 35 in-season) he's not quite "over the hill" for a second baseman. I have him as a top-7 option once again in 2017.
Everybody is higher than me on Hernandez, but I stand by my ranking due to his inability to rack up counting stats. His .371 OBP last year was encouraging, and if he steals more bags this year I'll move him up my rankings.
Nick: I think Saladino should at least get a value from Brad. The White Sox are clearly sellers and may have a regular job for the versatile 27-year-old by Opening Day. He quietly hit eight homers alongside 11 steals and a .282 average in 319 PAs of part-time duty last season, and a full season's worth of work may yield a 20-20 ceiling. I understand the hurdles in between potential and reality, but I believe the the 25-30 range has that appropriately baked in as a deep-league flier.
Brad: The more I look at second base overall, the more I'm convinced we've made some systematic errors in our first round. We have power hitters like Dozier and Carpenter ahead of rabbits like Gordon and Segura because power has always been the more valuable skill. Home runs are more reliable than stolen bases year-to-year, and they correlate with more fantasy categories. However, we live in a steal depressed world. Anybody who can supply 50 steals (Gordon) or power AND speed (Segura) has extra value. I still have concerns about Segura, but we've really screwed the pooch buying into Gordon's lost season.
Regarding Saladino, do you really think he's going to play full time? Lawrie's probably ahead of him on the second base depth chart. They're at least share time. Tim Anderson has shortstop on lock down. Todd Frazier (for now) mans third base. And Yoan Moncada probably returns sometime in June or July. Saladino is a backup infielder, a solid utility option for when somebody is injured in reality and on your fantasy roster. He has his uses, but only off the waiver wire.
Nick: I admit that Opening Day isn't likely, and if I did then he'd be a lot higher than #27 for me. #27 represents that outside shot, because you even had to put "(for now)" next to Todd Frazier. Brett Lawrie also has an awful track record with health. I even think his bat is more valuable than Avisail Garcia's for occasional DHing purposes, for whatever it's worth. I won't call it probable, but leaving Saladino unranked I cannot do.
Brad: I suppose it just depends on league depth. For your standard 10- and 12-teamers, Saladino should fall well outside the draft pool. You can pick him up later if/when his role expands. He's not good enough to merit a stash like a top prospect. The upside is mere competency. Owners in AL-only and other very deep formats may want to anticipate a midseason bump in playing time.
Kyle: As much fun as it is debating the merits of a guy that we collectively ranked 28th at second base, I'd like to address Brad's non-Saladino argument above RE: SB scarcity. It's an interesting point, but I also think we ought to be wary of falling into the same trap of overcorrection that many in the fantasy community did last year. Remember how much talk there was about how waiting on pitching was no longer the optimal strategy because of the abundance of elite options? Everywhere you looked, someone was writing that you needed to secure multiple aces to keep up with the Joneses, and look how that turned out. It's not a perfect comparison because pitching will always be more volatile than hitting, but as you said, power is more consistent year to year and correlates with higher overall contribution. Teams don't run as much as they used to, sure, but I feel like the scarcity angle is being pushed a little too hard.
More specific to this discussion, Dozier is good for 15-20 swipes in addition to his pop and run production, so I see no issue with his ranking. Carp doesn't run, but he's a reliable asset in every other category. And like you, I've got lingering doubts on Segura, especially now that he's not in Arizona. We probably are falling prey to some recency bias with Gordon, though.
Are there any picks you want to defend?
Kyle: Not much dissension in the ranks here. I don't feel strongly enough about Brandon Phillips being a solid MI option in deeper leagues to argue passionately about it, but I ranked him highest. He's old, but he's been good for a .290 average and decent counting stats the last couple of years. Nothing leads me to believe he can't do that again.
Bill: More consistency than I expected, to be honest. I'm highest on Joe Panik because I think in reality he's much closer to the .312 hitter from his All-Star 2015 campaign than he is to the .239 schmuck we saw in 2016. He doesn't have an immediate threat to his job, so I'm betting on him bouncing back and becoming a top-20 2B again with upside.
Nick: I'll stand up for Jumbo Schimpf, who may have been more impressive than you realize. Guess who had the highest ISO out of all hitters with at least 300 plate appearances last season? No, it wasn't David Ortiz (.305), but good guess. It was Schimpf, with a wild .315 (!) mark. I'm not expecting him to duplicate that league-leading effort, but the point is that his is not ordinary pop. He just needed to get out of Toronto's farm system, and 2016 showed why.
Brad: I suppose I should say a few words about Odor and Kinsler. With Odor, I was definitely too harsh in this first round of rankings. At least for a public-facing list. It's safe to say that I don't believe in Odor as a reliable hitter, just as I've never really felt comfortable with Adam Jones' profile. There's too much aggression, the raw power doesn't match the actual home runs, and he isn't really fast enough to steal bases. I recognize what Odor's done in the past, but I just can't figure out why he isn't Danny Espinosa. In many ways, this is personal. I won't be picking Odor at his very hyped price. It doesn't really mean you shouldn't. We all have a few guys we just don't trust.
Kinsler is simpler. He's old, he's high mileage, and his contact rate declined last season. I'm betting the uptick in power is temporary. He'll return to being a 15 home run, 10 steal second baseman, and he'll keep the extra strikeouts. His age means there's greater injury risk than someone like Kipnis or Segura. Zobrist is comparably aged, has similar raw power, a better spot in the lineup, and even more consistency at the plate.