Five 2016 Second Base Sleepers

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After you get past the elite options at second base, guys like Jose Altuve, things can get a little iffy. Because of that, it is pretty easy to just settle for a low-end player, punt that position, or even worse, reach for an overvalued player.

As we get closer to Opening Day, here are some draft values, targets, and sleeper picks to consider at second base. These players have an opportunity to have a big return on their fantasy baseball investments, and are sneaky middle infield options for your drafts.

Editor's note: You can find more 2016 draft values and sleepers with our daily updated list. And be sure to bookmark our fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. We've already released tiered rankings for all positions, impact prospect rankings for 2016, dynasty/keeper ranks, and much more. 

 

Second Base Draft Values, Targets and Sleepers

Devon Travis, Blue Jays

Travis wouldn't be on the sleeper list had he been able to continue his impressive first month of 2015. Unfortunately for him, and his fantasy owners, his season was abbreviated by injuries and he was never able to get back on track. Travis is expected to be out of commission for the start of the season, so there is some risk here, but that just means you can get him at a discount.

Before going down in May, Travis had a .319 average, seven homers, 20 runs scored, and a 1.019 OPS. He disappointed a bit in steals, but can still be a power/speed threat in 2016. He won't put up eye-popping numbers in either category, but he doesn't need to in order to be fantasy relevant. A 15/15 season would already put him among the better fantasy second basemen in the league. The average won't be as high as it was last year, as his .347 BABIP suggests regression, but he's shown that he can get on base and is disciplined at the plate. The other good thing about Travis is that he really doesn't have much competition for the job, so it is his to lose once he's ready to play.

Starlin Castro, Yankees

At age 25, Castro has a chance to continue a late season run that salvaged an otherwise bust of a 2015 season. While the move away from Chicago's stacked, young lineup isn't great, Castro was not in an ideal fantasy situation there. He is also projected to bat towards the bottom of the order in the Bronx, but that could always change throughout the season.

Moving to the American League should offer some more upside because of the deeper lineups. It also wasn't very long ago that Castro was a 10+ homers and 20 steals caliber player. Given that the steals haven't gone higher than five the last two seasons, I wouldn't expect anything close to 20. However, a season line in the neighborhood of .270, 12 HR, 60 RBI and 10 steals would be a strong return on his ADP.

Rougned Odor, Rangers

Odor smells like a winner in 2016. In fact, I'm not sure you can even call him a sleeper because he has the potential to be a top five player at his position. His numbers from 2015 were not overwhelming...at first glance anyway. Some may overlook the fact that Odor got off to a miserable start to the season, hitting below the Mendoza line and getting demoted. He really stunk it up.

When he was called back up in June though, Odor put some stank on the ball. He hit .292 with 15 home runs, 52 RBI and 46 runs scored after his return, and likely made owners who cut bait feel sick to their stomachs. He's still very young, so some growing pains are still possible, but his upside makes him worth the risk. He won't offer much speed, but his bat is lethal. The ball flies out of Arlington too so 20+ home runs is not an unreasonable ceiling. An average in the .280's also seems attainable. I think he's in for a big year.

Joe Panik, Giants

He's not a very enticing pick, at least not if you play in standard leagues. This is because in those leagues he's basically an empty, high average player. However, Panik has a load of upside in leagues that count OBP and/or slugging. Panik led the league in OBP in 2016 and he was in the top three in slugging percentage. He's also outscored the likes of Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler in points leagues.

Batting out of the two hole with such high average and OBP numbers means that Panik will score a lot of runs, which is good even in standard leagues. He doesn't hit many home runs, but his propensity to drive balls into the gaps and hit doubles makes up for it. He hit 27 doubles in his 100 games played last year and looks poised to be a strong mid-late round draft pick.

Kike Hernandez, Dodgers

So Hernandez is really more of a deep sleeper, but there is some potential here. For one thing, he is a very versatile player and as such can garner fairly regular at-bats. The versatility, depending on the league, can also add to his fantasy value by letting owners slot him in at different positions. Hernandez also owned lefties in 2015 to the tune of a .423 average with a 1.215 OPS. Righties on the other hand...not so much. Against right-handed pitchers Hernandez only hit .234 with a .592 OPS. That really has the makings of a platoon player.

Despite that, the Dodgers were willing to let Hernandez take over for Joc Pederson in center field anyway, but I wouldn't bank on that this season. Pederson is still their future and the Dodgers will give him every opportunity to succeed. Howie Kendrick is also back now in 2016 so that further caps Hernandez's chance for everyday at-bats. Nonetheless, Kike has some pop and all it takes is an injury or a prolonged cold spell for him to get a shot. He's worth targeting in the late rounds of drafts in deeper leagues.

 

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Check out RotoBaller's entire 2017 fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!