To help prepare for the upcoming MLB season, I’ll be providing analysis of each fantasy baseball position. To stay consistent I’ll be referencing the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking from FantasyPros. I’ve found from experience that the consensus rankings give a better overall picture of positional rankings. This particular ranking provides the aggregate ADP (Average Draft Position) from Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, CBS, NFBC and RT Sports.
In this edition we’ll be looking at the Top Second Basemen, the Best Value, Sleeper Pick and Potential Bust. Position rank, ADP and projected stats are based off FantasyPros Second Base consensus rankings.
Top Three Second Basemen:
- José Altuve, Astros (1st Second Baseman, 11.6 ADP)
Analysis: Although being listed at 5’6, 165 pounds, Altuve showed some impressive power in 2015 with 15 homers and 67 RBI and sneakily untucked Miguel Cabrera’s jersey mid game last season. Steals were down to 39 this past season compared to the 56 bases he stole in 2014, however 39 was still enough to lead the AL, showing how steals come at a premium in today’s game. It’s reasonable to expect 90+ runs this year considering he’ll be batting leadoff with Correa and Springer following him in what should be a young and potent Astros lineup. His current ADP is showing 11.6 but I’d wait until at least the 2nd round before drafting. GTD Suggested Round: 2nd Round
- Matt Carpenter, Cardinals (4th Second Baseman, 56.0 ADP)
Analysis: It was tempting to put Dee Gordon in the 2nd spot, but I give the edge to Carpenter as my 2nd Second Baseman due to being a four category leader in 2015 opposed to Gordon’s two categories. He led all Second Basemen last season in walks and RBI and tied for the lead in homers and runs. After only 8 homers in 2014, he hit a career high 28 in 2015, beating his previous high of 11 in 2013 so there may be concern that he won’t keep up that kind of pace, but the walks and runs have always been there for Carpenter regardless of power. Carpenter owns a three year season average of 109 runs and 83 walks per season. He may not have the usual firepower behind him in the St. Louis lineup with Heyward in Chicago and Peralta now injured, however the Cardinals always seem to find a way to make it work. I came across a great article recently from Viva El Birdos showing just how underrated a player Carpenter has been since 2013. GTD Suggested Round: 4th Round
- Dee Gordon, Marlins (2nd Second Baseman, 20.6 ADP)
Analysis: Dee Gordon has some major speed, he led MLB last year with 58 steals along with leading the NL with a .333 batting average. With regards to the batting average, the question is did he finally figure it out at the plate with a change of scenery in Miami or was last year an one year flash in the pan? From 2012-2014 with the Dodgers he had a .265 batting average and hasn’t walked much in his career at all, only 93 walks in five seasons. However, there’s a lot to like with Gordon this year being in the same top of the lineup as Giancarlo Stanton, the combo is being called #FlashAndBash. Steals are at a premium in today’s game and if Gordon can continue to hit and score runs, he’ll be a valuable fantasy piece. The ADP of 20.6 is a bit high for me, I’d wait until at least 3rd round. GTD Suggested Round: 3rd Round
— MLB (@MLB) March 5, 2016
Best Value Pick: Ben Zobrist, Cubs (13th Second Baseman, ADP 151.4)
Analysis: Just like pretty much all of the Cubs lineup, Zobrist is another player to eye on as he reunites with Joe Maddon in Chicago. He’s been a steady contributor everywhere he’s been and provides solid stats in every fantasy category. Over the past 7 years Zobrist has averaged 84 runs, 16 home runs, 73 RBI, 14 SB, .271 AVG and 81 walks. In a year where the Second Base position is pretty shallow, targeting a player that’s consistent and playing everyday in a great lineup might be the way to go. A recent Tony Andrecki article details just how important the Cubs front office felt the signing of Zobrist will be to the Cubs season. GTD Suggested Round: 10th round
Sleeper Pick: Brett Lawrie, White Sox (24th Second Baseman, ADP 230.8)
Analysis: In 2015 we were finally able to get a full season out of former top prospect Brett Lawrie as he played in 149 games. He put up career highs in home runs and RBI’s with 16 and 60 while playing his home games in a tough hitters park in Oakland. Lawrie put up noticeably better stats on the road last season with 10 home runs, 34 RBI, and .272 batting average opposed to 6 homers, 26 RBI and .247 batting average at home. He’ll be moving to a much more friendly hitters park on the South Side of Chicago and is projected to bat 2nd in the lineup with Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier behind him in the lineup. Steve Gardner recently wrote a nice USA Today article detailing the high expectations for Frazier and Lawrie with the White Sox in 2016. If he can stay healthy, Lawrie is a solid under the radar 2nd Baseman to target in a tough fantasy position this season. He’s been training hard this offseason, showing off freakish athleticism in the video below. GTD Suggested Round: 16th Round
Boooom lets get ittt 41" pic.twitter.com/NXhlmgljHw
— Brett Lawrie (@blawrie13) February 9, 2016
Potential Bust: Jason Kipnis, Indians (7th Second Baseman, ADP 87.0)
Analysis: Kipnis has seen a pretty substantial dip in several of the major fantasy categories over the past three seasons. He had an outstanding 2013 season with 17 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 walks and 30 steals. If you compare those to his 2015 stats with 9 home runs, 52 RBI, 57 walks and 12 steals, the drop off is considerable besides his career high .303 batting average. FantasyPros had a note on Wednesday showing the drop off in 2nd half of 2015 and already slow start to 2016 Spring Training, “He was the 14th best hitter with a .889 OPS in the first half. His second half .717 OPS dropped him outside of the top-14 second basemen.” His current ADP of 87 puts him early 7th round, which seems high to me with other higher upside options available in that pick range like Odor and Rendon. GTD Suggested Round: Wait Until 10th Round
Check back this week as I’ll be releasing a new baseball position preview daily.