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Fantasy Baseball: Early 2015 Top 30 Second Base Rankings

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Ray offers an early look at his 2015 Top 30 second base rankings. Check out where he ranks Robinson Cano, Kolten Wong, Neil Walker and others.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Today, I continue with my early 2015 position rankings, ranking my Top 30 second baseman for 2015. Sure, it is early for rankings, and we have yet to see any free agent signings or offseason trades, so my rankings may change as a result. But, for now, here are my 2015 second base rankings, assuming any offseason free agent signings or trades won't have a material impact on my rankings.

Before we get into my second base rankings, here is a link to my 2015 position rankings to date:

Top 30 Catchers for 2015

Top 30 First Baseman for 2015

Updated (Saturday 2:43pm) to add Anthony Rendon to the rankings

With that said, I will begin with my early 2015 fantasy second base rankings. For the last several seasons, Mariners, and former Yankees, second baseman Robinson Cano has occupied the top spot in our annual consensus fantasy second base rankings. This season, he drops down to fourth in my early second base rankings. I was down on him heading into the 2014 season due to his move out of friendly Yankee Stadium and into the pitcher-friendly Safeco Park. That decision proved to be accurate, as his counting numbers dropped across the board.

Here is what I wrote about Cano in my Look back at my 2014 Bold Predictions: American League Edition earlier this week:

The pressure of his new 10 year contract, and the move from Yankee Stadium, depressRobinson Cano's stats in 2014. Cano hits just .255 with 16 home runs, 70 runs and 75 RBI in his debut season in Safeco Park.

Cano hit .316, but his counting stats dropped, as he hit 14 home runs, scored 77 runs and drove in 82 runs.

That prediction turned out pretty accurate, as Cano saw his counting stats drop, with the exception of the bump in stolen bases from 7 in 2013 to a career high 10 stolen bases in 2014. I don't see the 32 year old reaching double digits in stolen bases again next season, as he just turned 32 years of age. We could see a slight increase in home runs, but I don't see him approaching 20 home runs again.

Taking over for Cano at the top spot in my second base rankings is Nationals second baseman/third baseman Anthony Rendon, who had a breakout season in 2014, hitting .287-.35-.473 with 21 home runs, 111 runs scored, 83 RBI and 17 stolen bases. The stolen bases were a surprise, especially after all the ankle injuries he has had over his college baseball career. He will be a late second/early third round pick in 2015 drafts.

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve comes in at #2 in my 2015 second base rankings.  Altuve proved to be the best hitter in baseball this season, hitting .341-.377-.453 with 7 home runs, 85 runs scored, 59 RBI and an American League leading 56 stolen bases. Among all second baseman, he led all second baseman in batting average, ranked second in stolen bases behind Dodgers Dee Gordon, ranked fourth in runs scored behind Gordon, Ian Kinsler and Brian Dozier, and 10th in RBI. He is not a home run hitter, but he ranked in the top 10 among other second baseman in the other four categories in 2014, so he is pretty valuable and deserving of the top ranking.

Below you will find my early 205 Top 30 second base rankings, along with 2014 player stats, courtesy of FanGraphs. Included in the rankings and stats provided below, I have included each players 2014 wRC+, which is defined below, courtesy of FanGraphs:

Weighted Runs Created (wRC) is an improved version of Bill James' Runs Created (RC) statistic, which attempted to quantify a player's total offensive value and measure it by runs.  In Runs Created, instead of looking at a player's line and listing out all the details (e.g. 23 2B, 15 HR, 55 BB, 110 K, 19 SB, 5 CS), the information is synthesized into one metric in order to say, "Player X was worth 24 runs to his team last year."

Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) measures how a player's wRC compares with league average after controlling for park effects.  League average for position players is 100, and every point above 100 is a percentage point above league average. For example, a 125 wRC+ means a player created 25% more runs than a league average hitter would have in the same number of plate appearances. Similarly, every point below 100 is a percentage point below league average, so a 80 wRC+ means a player created 20% fewer runs than league average.

For example, Jose Altuve's 135 wRC+ indicates he created 35% more runs than the league average hitter, or is 35% better than the league average hitter.

I included wRC+ because I think, along with others, that it is one of the single stats you can look at to tell you how good a hitter is vs all major league hitters, and it factors in park effects as well.

I ranked Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler as my #2 ranked second baseman heading into 2015, as he experienced a very nice bounce back after a sub-par 2013 season. I thought the move out of Texas and into Detroit's pitcher-friendly stadium would have a negative impact on Kinsler, but that was not the case. Among all second baseman, he ranked third in home runs, second in runs scored, first in RBI, fifth in stolen bases and seventh in batting average.

I might be higher on Neil Walker than others, but I think he is undervalued in the current low run-scoring, low power environment. In 2014, Walker hit .271 with 23 home runs, 74 runs scored and 76 RBI. To put his season in perspective, only five third baseman put up better HR/Runs/RBI totals than Walker in 2014. Five.

I have to say that the second base position might be the deepest I have seen in a long time. A good number of the second baseman ranked 11-20 could jump into the top 10 in 2015,  including established veterans like Cano, Brandon Phillips, and Chase Utley, and young guns like Kolten Wong, Javier Baez and Mookie Betts.

Rank

Name

Team

G

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

wRC+

1

Anthony Rendon

Nationals

153

683

21

111

83

17

130

2

Jose Altuve

Astros

158

707

7

85

59

56

135

3

Ian Kinsler

Tigers

161

726

17

100

92

15

102

4

Robinson Cano

Mariners

157

665

14

77

82

10

136

5

Brian Dozier

Twins

156

707

23

112

71

21

118

6

Neil Walker

Pirates

137

571

23

74

76

2

130

7

Dee Gordon

Dodgers

148

650

2

92

34

64

101

8

Dustin Pedroia

Red Sox

135

609

7

72

53

6

99

9

Daniel Murphy

Mets

143

642

9

79

57

13

110

10

Chase Utley

Phillies

155

664

11

74

78

10

106

11

Jason Kipnis

Indians

129

555

6

61

41

22

86

12

Ben Zobrist

Rays

146

654

10

83

52

10

119

13

Brandon Phillips

Reds

121

499

8

44

51

2

88

14

Mookie Betts

Red Sox

52

213

5

34

18

7

130

15

Javier Baez

Cubs

52

229

9

25

20

5

51

16

Kolten Wong

Cardinals

113

433

12

52

42

20

90

17

Howie Kendrick

Angels

157

674

7

85

75

14

115

18

Jonathan Schoop

Orioles

137

481

16

48

45

2

65

19

Rougned Odor

Rangers

114

417

9

39

48

4

90

20

Asdrubal Cabrera

- - -

146

616

14

74

61

10

97

21

Scooter Gennett

Brewers

137

474

9

55

54

6

104

22

Jedd Gyorko

Padres

111

443

10

37

51

3

78

23

Aaron Hill

Diamondbacks

133

541

10

52

60

4

78

24

Arismendy Alcantara

Cubs

70

300

10

31

29

8

70

25

Brett Lawrie

Blue Jays

70

282

12

27

38

0

101

26

Wilmer Flores

Mets

78

274

6

28

29

1

88

27

Rickie Weeks

Brewers

121

286

8

36

29

3

127

28

Omar Infante

Royals

135

575

6

50

66

9

76

29

Joe Panik

Giants

73

287

1

31

18

0

107

30

DJ LeMahieu

Rockies

149

538

5

59

42

10

67

Fantasy Rundown

If you are looking for more rankings, whether it be fantasy baseball, football or basketball, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one site on the 'net for all things fantasy.