Today, I continue the task of looking back at our 2014 position rankings in an effort to see what we got right and what we got wrong. Ranking players in the offseason involves plenty of analysis, all of which may mean nothing once the season starts and they start playing the games. One step that is a must is to project who you think could break out, and who could be in for a bad season. But with that step, you must (should) factor those into your rankings. Ranking a player higher than the consensus is not an easy task, as many readers will question you on your optimism, and why. Having statistical support for your ranking is a requirement, but sometimes they don't tell us all we need to know about a player, or how a team is planning on using said player in the coming year. That makes ranking players at each position a task that usually results in you being more wrong than right. But,we rank anyway, because rankings is the last step in your preparation for the many drafts you participate in each season.
Today, I take a look at our preseason second base rankings, and will look at which players exceeded our expectations and which players underperformed. I will complete this review for each position over the next few weeks, in an effort to learn from my (our) mistakes so we can improve our rankings for 2015 and the years ahead.
Below you will find our 2014 rankings for second baseman ranked 1-15:
Below you will find our 2014 rankings for second baseman ranked 16-30:
What we got right
Robinson Cano, Seattle
Cano's numbers experienced a drop across the board, as expected moving from Yankee Stadium to Safeco Park, but his batting average was better than I expected. We ranked Cano as out #1 fantasy second baseman back in the preseason, and even though he wasn't the most valuable fantasy second baseman this season, he was still very productive, hitting .314-.382-.454 with 14 home runs, 77 runs scored, 82 RBI and 10 stolen bases, a career high.
Looking ahead to 2015, Cano will probably be the same hitter he was this season, with maybe a few more home runs and RBI. I won't rank him as my #1 second baseman, but he will land in either the #2 or 3 spot.
Ian Kinsler, Detroit
Kinsler moved from a good hitting environment in Texas to more of a pitchers park in Detroit, yet his counting stats improved, hitting .275-.307-.420 with 17 home runs, 100 runs scored, 92 RBI and 15 stolen bases. A case can be made that he should be ranked ahead of Robinson Cano heading into the 2015 season, as Kinsler performed better in four of the five fantasy categories in 2014.
What we got wrong
Jason Kipnis, Cleveland
I ranked Kipnis as my #1 fantasy second baseman this season, and he was a big disappointment, hitting just .240-.310-.330 with 6 home runs, 61 runs scored, 41 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 25 attempts. The only good thing you can say about his season is that he was much more efficient when attempting a stolen base. Part of the reason for the drop in his performance across the board can be attributed to his struggles hitting lefties. In 2013, Kipnis hit .308 with 4 home runs and 33 RBI in 223 plate appearances vs lefties. In 2014, those numbers dropped to .208 with one home run and 12 RBI in 181 plate appearances vs lefties.
Anthony Rendon, Washington
We ranked Rendon as our 13th ranked second baseman back in the offseason, and we were too conservative on him. He ended the season as the best fantasy second baseman, in my opinion, and is on the cusp of becoming a star in the big leagues.
Here is what I wrote about Rendon in my Top 30 for 2015 on Friday:
Rendon had a breakout season in 2014, hitting .287-.351-.473 with 21 home runs, 111 runs scored, 83 RBI and 17 stolen bases. He was three stolen bases from a 20-20 season, and I wonder if he will continue running like this in the future. Even still, he is a rising star in MLB and should be a second round pick in 2015, especially since he has second base eligibility.
For me, Rendon is an easy choice in the second round of drafts in 2015.
Dee Gordon, Los Angeles Dodgers
Gordon went un-drafted in many fantasy leagues this season, but that changed once he was announced as the Dodgers Opening Day second baseman. Gordon put up a 3.1 fWAR in his first full season as a big leaguer, hitting .289-.326-.378 with 2 home runs, a league leading 12 triples, 92 runs scored, 34 RBI and 64 stolen bases in 83 attempts. Some left-handed hitters struggle vs lefties, but not Gordon. He hit .295 in 141 plate appearances vs lefties this season. If he can be more patient at the plate, improving his walk rate, he could steal 80 bases in 2015.
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