When preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts, it is a must to have a draft strategy, and yesterday, Daniel Kelley offered his thoughts on how to approach second baseman on draft day. We have also provided you with our Top 30 second base rankings for 2015:
Now that we have provided you all these tools you need to prepare for your drafts, your fantasy draft preparation would be incomplete without some second baseman to target, which we provide you today, and some secondbaseman to avoid, which publishes tomorrow.
We asked each of the fantasy baseball writers to provide you with the second baseman they would target in fantasy drafts this season, and you can find them along with their reasoning below.
Second Baseman to Target in 2015
Arismendy Alcantara, Cubs - Ray Guilfoyle
We ranked Alcantara as our 24th ranked fantasy second baseman in our 2015 consensus rankings, but I was the high man ranking him at #17. Prior to the Cubs trading for Dexter Fowler, Alcantara was their assumed starting center fielder. WIth Fowler in the fold, it appears Alcantara will be used as a utility player in the Cubs lineup, but I see him getting more than enough playing time this season. With all the questions about Javier Baez and his inability to make improvements at the plate, Alcantara has an opportunity to be the Cubs starting second baseman on Opening Day.
The Cubs also have an opening at third base, as they traded Luis Valbuena to the Astros in the Fowler trade. Yes, I am fully aware that Kris Bryant is on his way to Chicago, but that may not happen till the end of April. I am also not a Fowler fan, and am of the opinion that Alcantara will see more than enough time in center field as well.
Alcantara is coming off a 2014 campaign where he hit 20 home runs and stole 30 bases between AAA and MLB. This after he hit 15 home runs and stole 31 bases in AA in 2013, so he has the potential to be a 15 home runs, 25 stolen base hitter at the second base position. That is the production you would expect from a top 5 fantasy second baseman, not the 26th ranked second baseman.
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox - Timothy Finnegan
I briefly wrote about why I like Dustin Pedroia in 2015 in my Red Sox notes from 1/24 article. Pedroia battled upper body injuries in 2013 and 2014 that prevented him from lifting weights, leaving his body weak and "shriveled up". But now, with the ability to lift weights again, Pedroia has put back on his lost muscle and strength. Pedroia said,
Last year, I couldn’t grip a dumbbell. I looked at my legs, my legs were strong. Defensively I was fine because I was moving around. Upper body, if you can’t do the things you want to do, you’re not going to have the bat-speed you normally have. That’s changed.
I wouldn't expect vintage Dustin Pedroia production, but I think he's a candidate to outperform his current draft slot and provide good value.
Ian Kinsler, Tigers - Brandon Decker
Mr. Reliable, Ian Kinsler is the second baseman to target in 2015. That's of course if you're planning on passing up on Robinson Cano, Jose Altuve, and Anthony Rendon. Sure, he's not the same Ian Kinsler of 2011 who was in the 30-30 club, but he's still a very reliable second baseman. He's likely a 15-15 guy this year, (Steamer projects 16 home runs and 14 steals) but with Miguel Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, J.D. Martinez, and hopefully a healthy Victor Martinez, Kinsler can very likely duplicate his 100 run season of 2014. He set a career high in 2014 with 92 RBI, so we can speculate he will regress some in that category. Steamer projects him to have the 6th most home runs among all second baseman, 4th most RBI, 8thmost steals, and 13th best average. That's solid in every fantasy relevant statistical category. If you end up with Kinsler as your starting second baseman in 2015, you should be more than content.
Jose Altuve, Astros - Rob Parker
I could give you a long list of reasons why I think Altuve will repeat as the number one second baseman in fantasy baseball, but Brandon did an excellent job laying out the case for him in his profile on Tuesday. Go read that article, I'll wait. Ok, now you know just how repeatable Altuve's great season is. Will he hit .340 again? No. Will he steal over 50 bags? Probably not, but he's a lock for 90+ runs in the improved lineup and 30+ steals is his floor along with a batting average just over .300. Is there any other second baseman that offers that package? Didn't think so. Altuve will even chip in some RBI and a handful of homers as a nice bonus.
Anthony Rendon, Nationals - Jack Cecil
What's weird is that I'm targeting a player whom I'm keeping, but regardless, Rendon is awesome at fantasy baseball, so he's a worthy target. He does things that really separate him from the crowd, and make him valuable in our game. He had the 75th longest homerun and fly ball distance last year, and only 3 middle infielders were ranked higher (Tulowitzki, Neil Walker, and Jonathon Schoop). He also hits a ton of line drives and sprays the ball to all fields well. The lineup he is in is one of the best in baseball, and he runs more than anyone would expect from him. His K rates are low, his walks are normal, and his babip was a ho hum 314 last year. I wouldn't be surprised if there were better seasons ahead as the 25 year old gains more experience in the league, and all of this makes him awesome and then he throws in 2B and 3B eligibility to help you more.
Robinson Cano, Mariners - Daniel Kelley
Soft factors: As the lineup anchor in his first year in Seattle, with not a lot of help around him, Robinson Cano couldn't hit nine-run homers, so he changed his approach to keep his on-base skills high at the expense of his power. With an improved lineup around him, there's reason to think he won't have to do the same this year. Hard factors: Park factors, shmark shmactors, guys don't go from averaging 28.4 homers a year to 14. Not without external factors that I just don't see. Cano was one of the top handful of second basemen last year even without his normal power; give him even half of his missing homers back, and he's back at No. 1.
Daniel Murphy, Mets - Nick Doran
Murphy doesn't get much love. It seems like most people assume he is a bit of a fluke who will fall off a cliff at some point. Murphy is a career .290 hitter, which in this age of horrible batting averages is quite a feat. He can really give your squad a boost in that tough category. He will only give you about 10 home runs but he will steal 15+ bags, which is a likely 2 or 3 points in the year-end standings in your league. He hits in the meat of the Mets batting order and can be trusted to produce nicely in Runs and RBI as well. He is a rare 5 category contributor who can be had in the middle rounds of drafts. Murphy was a top 10 second baseman last year, and a top three stud the year before. He makes a nice under-the-radar value play with the potential for an elite season if he can repeat his 2013 stats.
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