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Aside from catcher, second base is amongst the shallowest positions heading into the 2018 season. Assuming a standard 10-12 team league, depending on the bench size it makes sense to roster only one 2B upon conclusion of your draft. If you can’t scoop up Jose Altuve, Jose Ramirez or Anthony Rizzo, you may need to burn a mid-to-early round pick on a third or fourth tier player in lieu of addressing more pressing needs like padding your outfielders or starting pitchers.

However, buyer beware. If you whiffed early on Rougned Odor or Jonathan Villar last year, or waited until the final rounds to grab sneaky sleepers-turned-busts like Kolten Wong or Ryan Schimpf, you are too familiar that your second base position can quickly become a black hole, void of useful stats on a nightly basis.

When strategizing, it may make sense to identify some consistency to round out your team such as stolen bases, runs or average rather than looking for the high-volatility player that will hit two HR on your bench after a week of strikeouts. Patience is a rare asset in fantasy baseball and 2B exemplifies that ethos. Don’t get cute about it; after the top-10 players, teams should not be shy about cutting bait with underperformers by mid-May. Draft picks aren’t children folks, they’re research-based investments that need revisiting when the initial thesis doesn’t pan out. Now, let’s get to the rankings.

Editor's Note: You can find even more of our staff's initial 2018 fantasy baseball rankings for other formats including dynasty leagues, points leagues, AL/NL only leagues and more.

 

2018 Fantasy Baseball Points League Rankings: Second Base (January)

Ranking Tier Player Name Pos Nick Bill Chris Kyle R.
1 1 Jose Altuve 2B 2 2 2 2
2 1 Anthony Rizzo 1B/2B 28 19 16 19
3 1 Jose Ramirez 2B/3B 26 22 28 26
4 1 Brian Dozier 2B 43 31 31 44
5 2 Dee Gordon 2B/OF 34 56 47 43
6 2 Robinson Cano 2B 37 51 62 51
7 2 Daniel Murphy 2B 53 45 52 52
8 2 Jonathan Schoop 2B 72 50 49 56
9 2 DJ LeMahieu 2B 66 79 86 80
10 2 Matt Carpenter 1B/2B/3B 119 102 104 97
11 2 Chris Taylor 2B/SS/OF 105 119 125 119
12 2 Ian Kinsler 2B 113 128 137 113
13 3 Whit Merrifield 2B/OF 125 131 133 129
14 3 Rougned Odor 2B 164 130 132 136
15 4 Ian Happ 2B/OF 179 141 143 145
16 4 Ozzie Albies 2B/SS #N/A 169 166 155
17 4 Yoan Moncada 2B 196 168 150 148
18 4 Javier Baez 2B/SS 251 133 134 157
19 4 Scooter Gennett 2B/3B/OF 214 143 178 168
20 5 Eduardo Nunez SS/3B/2B/OF 257 147 155 177
21 5 Jason Kipnis 2B/OF 155 226 222 199
22 5 Marwin Gonzalez 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF 273 182 170 213
23 5 Paul DeJong 2B/SS 241 213 208 228
24 5 Howie Kendrick 2B/OF #N/A 232 232 240
25 5 Chris Owings 2B/SS/OF 233 253 252 236
26 5 Jose Peraza 2B/SS 252 248 262 237
27 5 Starlin Castro 2B 287 246 241 253
28 6 Dustin Pedroia 2B 216 285 297 254
29 6 Jonathan VIllar 2B 248 275 298 276
30 6 Logan Forsythe 2B/3B 133 348 341 278
31 6 Neil Walker 2B 297 287 296 290
32 6 Devon Travis 2B 283 #N/A 360 243
33 6 Josh Harrison 2B 351 276 274 296
34 6 Jose Reyes 2B/SS/3B #N/A 301 307 303
35 6 Asdrubal Cabrera SS/2B/3B 298 308 311 304
36 7 Cesar Hernandez 2B 330 294 302 299
37 7 Brandon Phillips 2B #N/A 337 326 333
38 7 Joe Panik 2B #N/A 361 343 342
39 7 Kolten Wong 2B 370 354 339 354
40 7 Ben Zobrist 2B/OF 341 #N/A 377 360
41 7 Hernan Perez 2B/3B/OF 409 347 338 358
42 7 Nick Franklin 2B #N/A 380 415 400
43 7 Brett Lawrie 2B #N/A 395 438 426
44 7 Adam Frazier 2B 414 #N/A 456 443

Tier One

Jose Altuve belongs by himself atop the 2B hierarchy. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if he’s the consensus number one pick as draft day approaches. He’s a five-tool All-Star and has increased his Isolated Power and Slugging Percentage for five consecutive years. He hits third for the defending champs putting him in favorable position to both create and produce runs.

While it’s tempting to christen Jose Ramirez as the second-coming of Altuve, we recall that his 2016 campaign was solid but not spectacular, posting .825 OPS, 11 HRs, 84 runs, 76 RBI, 22 SBs in his first full big-league season. In 2017, there was a dramatic spike in ISO from .150 to .265 supported by a 7.2% increase in Hard-Hit Rate to 34.0%. As a result, his home runs ballooned to 29 last season, launching him into the top tier discussion. Jose 2.0 has demonstrated consistent plate discipline in his 484 career games. He also just turned 25, which supports the opinion that the arrow points unequivocally up. However, the longer-term track record will prevent the old men in the room from anointing Ramirez their Jose of choice. As for Rizzo, consider it foolish for any manager that drafts him as a prototypical cornerstone slugger and doesn’t take advantage of the 2B eligibility. This is a gift from the fantasy gods, don’t ask questions.

Tier Two

The majority of the second basemen in this tier are known commodities as balanced set-and-forget options in the mid-rounds of a draft. Based on these rankings, the value pick here could be Matt Carpenter. Despite a .241 batting average last year (30 points lower than 2016), his .384 On Base Percentage was nearly identical to 2016. The above-average Soft-Contact Rate (12.1% vs. 11.5% career) simply does not justify the .274 BABIP which was 47 points lower than his career numbers. Jonathan Schoop in the sixth round appears slightly expensive considering the high-end starters and outfielders surrounding his ADP; the absurd 21.0% strikeout ratio was also tops amongst the Top-10 second basemen ranked by WAR. Daniel “Hits” Murphy could be a more dependable option in the fifth round or it may be worth letting another manager take the risk on Schoop while waiting on a 2B.

Tier Three

Any drafters taking Merrifield or Odor should have a contingency plan. Merrifield was a bargain basement revelation last year, but only has 226 career games played to his credit. Odor has seen his K-rate increase from 16.8% to 24.9% over the last three seasons; that drag in a points league could be brutal over a long season.

Tier Four

Ozzie Albies could provide a higher return than any Tier Two or Three player if we believe the small sample size. The kid makes solid contact (85.4% Medium + Hard-Contact rate) and struck out only 14.8% of the time as a late-season callup. His OPS was fairly impressive in the minors so as long as the plate discipline remains, Albies could become this year’s Merrifield or Ian Kinsler. Javy Baez is an incredibly enjoyable player to watch, possessing certain intangibles stats can’t reflect. But until he quits his second job as a wind turbine for the Northside Power Authority (29.3% career K-rate), he’s tough to vouch for in leagues penalizing strikeouts. The good times could keep rolling for Scooter Gennett as he remains in Cincinnati; Great American Ball Park rates among the best ballparks for lefty power hitters.

Tier Five

Players here become relevant in drafts when managers realize they forgot to pick a second baseman. The leash for players from Tier Five onwards should be relatively short. Chances are most of these guys will be recycled to and from the waiver-wire regularly based on streakiness and off days throughout the season. Once Eduardo Nunez finds a team, he should be a credible source of production without ruining you by strikeouts (13.0% career K-rate). Starlin Castro could also be a low-risk pick to provide a handy 60-run, 15-HR, 60-RBI line. Even though it seems like he’s been around forever, he’s still only 27 years old. The only question is whether he'll remain in Miami or wind up traded again.

Tier Six

Most of these guys will likely be deemed immaterial and interchangeable until they prove otherwise during the season. At some point, many managers will weigh the mundane choice of picking up Neil Walker or Asdrubal Cabrera for the fifth time, so just prepare for those crossroads when the time comes. Dustin Pedroia is a name brand in a high-octane offense but struggles with health while his Soft-Contact Rate and ISO shifted significantly in the wrong direction last season.

Tier Seven

Again, these guys will likely enter the season in the free agent pool unless they show something exciting during spring training. Joe Panik may be the only guy worth real consideration if you’ve totally punted 2B to this point. Most pundits expected a step-up in his numbers in 2017 but the Giants overall were a disaster. In a vacuum, his stats were very similar over the past two seasons and the offensive investments of Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen should only enhance prospects for run production in San Francisco. Cesar Hernandez has improved in every season since entering the league in 2013, but plays with a questionable offense. Hernan Perez has performed well for two seasons but struggles for playing time averaging only 444 plate appearances a year; a variable to watch would be his ability to steal bases, which dropped from 34 to 13 in 2017.

 

More MLB Rankings and ADP Analysis