The positions that are usually thought of as thin are unusually deep this year, with second base being no exception. Unlike years past, you won’t be forced to have a poor first base option if you don’t take one early.
Nonetheless, we need to examine each tier to see where the best values lie. Here, I examine how my second base rankings compare to my peers in order to determine who is being overvalued and undervalued.
This list reflects the RotoBaller staff's consensus rankings as of March for the 2017 fantasy baseball season.Editor's note: Get 50% off any MLB Premium Pass. Draft guide, cheat sheets, 200 days of DFS access, and over 20 premium tools. Dominate your leagues all year long! Sign Up Now!
Second Base Rankings
|31||6||Raul Adalberto Mondesi||2B||494||426||252||363||347||1|
I am the only ranker with Turner ahead of Altuve. I explained here why I have Turner so high. I have Altuve slightly lower than the others simply because his stolen base totals have declined for three straight years, and that trend was exacerbated by him going seven for 14 in stolen base attempts in the second half. While I am a believer in his power breakout (career high hard hit percentage and line drive percentage with a fly ball percentage above his career average), I will still take the under on last season’s .338 batting average and 24 homers.
Cano and Murphy are solidly behind the top two but meaningfully ahead of the next group. Murphy is below Cano for me only because Murphy hasn’t played a full season since 2013.
Tier two has players ranked as high as 18 and as low as 116. At the top of the tier, I have Odor, Dozier and Segura packed tightly together. Odor went .271/33/89/88/14 in only 150 games as a 22-year-old. Dozier was hitting .246 with 14 homers and seven steals at the break, but he put up an otherworldly .291/28/57/56/11 line in the second half. Wow. Dozier did hit the ball harder and more fly balls than years past, but I am not ready to boost him above a player like Odor; the 18.4% HR/FB rate seems unlikely to stick. The third player in this trio for me is Jean Segura. I lay out why I ranked him there in my upcoming shortstop piece, so stay tuned….
At the bottom of this tier, Jason Kipnis slid down my rankings due to his shoulder injury. With the latest news on his shoulder, I would have moved him down a touch farther.
Tier three has only two players: Ben Zobrist and Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia finally played a full season, going .318/15/105/74/7. I’d expect a slight drop in the average and run production (due to Ortiz retiring), but he should still post solid numbers in that strong lineup. Zobrist has posted an average between .269 and .276 each year since 2011, so I’ll pencil him in for .272 (his average last year). He should give you 15 homers and a handful of steals, combined with good run production in a strong lineup. There just is not much room for upside, as he is who he is at this point, and Joe Maddon suggested he may get some days off this year. If not for Zobrist’s extra positional eligibility, I would have him ranked lower.
Tier four is where our rankings really start to diverge. Schoop is my favorite player in this tier. After hitting .279 with 15 homers in 86 games in 2015 due to a knee injury, he was hitting .304 with 14 homers at the break in 2016. He appeared to wear down in the second half, whether it be due to coming off only playing 86 games in 2015 or the toll of playing all 162 games. Despite the fact that he won’t draw many walks, he could still hit .280 with 30 homers; he reminds me a bit of Adam Jones at the plate with less speed but maybe even a touch more power.
Javier Baez is another player who I will explore in more depth in my shortstop piece, but suffice it to say that his ADP is 122nd, but many of our rankers have him well below my ranking of 165th for some reason. Devon Travis, despite his injury history, is also too low. He has a batted ball profile that does not allow teams to shift him effectively, resulting in a career line in 163 games of .301/19/92/85/7. I would have him higher than anyone in this tier if not for the injury, although it is possible that he is ready for opening day.
On the other end of the spectrum, Neil Walker is rated too highly. His season ended with back surgery, which makes me ding him for injury risk (especially since he has one full season in the past five). Sure, he was on pace to hit .282/33/82/81/4. And yes, he did increase his hard-hit percentage, increase his fly ball rates, and finally hit lefties. But his line was buoyed by an unsustainable 23 of his 33 extra base hits going for homers and a career-high HR/FB ratio. To me, a .270 hitter with 25 homers in a lineup that finished bottom five last year, who is an injury risk and coming off season-ending surgery, isn’t worth the mid round pick.
In tier five, I like Steve Pearce a great deal, as I wrote about him already. He will qualify at second base, outfield, and first base, and has had monster rates when healthy in 2014 and 2016 (.293 with 21 homers in 102 games, and .288 with 13 homers in 85 games). In 2015, he showed power (15 homers in 92 games) but suffered from bad luck (.232 BABIP).
Schimpf could be a source of cheap power, albeit with low average, in this tier: last year, he hit 20 homers in 89 MLB games and 15 in 51 AAA games. He has a track record of minor league power. I would avoid overpaying for Starlin Castro. He no longer steals more than a handful of bases, so even if he goes .270 with 20 homers again, he isn’t hitting high enough in the lineup to have enough upside at a deep second base position.
Tier Six and Below
In tier six, we are well into dart-throwing territory. Kendrick is worth a look in deeper leagues as a multipositional player who could bounce back from a down 2016 to give you a .295 average with 10 homers and 15 steals; he had been a pretty consistent player until last year, where his strikeout rate remained similar but his average dropped to .255 due to a low BABIP.
If Mondesi wins the job, he could be a great source of cheap steals; if not, I’d keep him on my watch list. Kolten Wong and Tyler Saladino are two players that are also worthy of a watch list add. Wong combined for 23 homers and 35 steals in 2014-2015 before having a down 2016. Saladino hit .282 with eight homers and 11 steals in just 93 games last year and could provide speed and some power, although the average will likely dip.
Nick Franklin just turned 26 and hit .270 with six homers and six steals in under 200 plate appearances last year; if he had a clear path to regular playing time, I would have him higher. Keep him on your watch list in case an opportunity opens for him.