When preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts, it is a must to have a draft strategy, and on Wednesday, 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 earlier in the week:
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 avoid, which we provide you today, and some second baseman to target, which published yesterday.
We asked each of the fantasy baseball writers to provide you with the second baseman they would avoid in fantasy drafts this season, and you can find them along with their reasoning below.
Second Baseman to Avoid in 2015
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox - Ray Guilfoyle
I wrote about Pedroia in part 1 of our Consensus Top 30 Second Base rankings on Monday, saying that while he is still loved by the fantasy community, his power is in a four year decline, as measured by both slugging percentage (SLG) and isolated power (ISO). According to the NFBC ADP second base rankings, he is currently coming off the board as the 7th ranked fantasy second baseman this season, but I think you can get better production from a few guys ranked behind him, especially Neil Walker, Kolten Wong, Daniel Murphy and even Howie Kendrick.
He is coming off his worst power and stolen base season of his career, hitting just 6 home runs and stealing just 7 bases in 609 plate appearances in 2014. Second baseman don't age too well. and Pedroia is already on the wrong side of 30, so while he still holds name value and hits in a very good lineup, on paper, there are safer choices ranked below him in the our consensus rankings for 2015.
Javier Baez, Cubs - Timothy Finnegan
Cubs fans must really hate me this week between my Rizzo piece and this. I promise, Cubs fans, that I respect your franchise and would like to see you get a championship to end the drought. I'm avoiding Baez in 2015 primarily because of the alarming strikeout rate. The great Rob Neyer explained the problems with strikeouts in his piece about George Springer:
The problem, as you probably know, is that high strikeouts usually mean low batting averages, and low batting averages usually mean low on-base percentages, and a low on-base percentage makes it exceptionally difficult to be a highly productive hitter.
Last year, Baez ran a 30% K% in Triple A and a 41.5% K% in the big leagues. In 2013, his K% was 28% in Double A. There's just too much swing and miss for me to be comfortable drafting him in 2015. He's obviously a great prospect with a lot of talent, but he might be a longer term project and I'm not sure when, or if, we'll see his potential come to fruition.
Brian Dozier, Twins - Brandon Decker
Dozier was a 20-20 guy last season and finished with a wRC+ of 118, good for 6th best among second baseman in 2014 (including Rendon) and a wOBA of .340, good for 5th best among second baseman, again including Rendon. He also led all second baseman in home runs and runs scored. So why do I avoid Brian Dozier coming off back-to-back successful seasons? His power seemed to disappear in the second half.
Yes, in his second half he was able to hit one more double in 122 less AB's than his first half, but he wasn't able to put the ball over the fence. He slugged 18 home runs in the first half compared to only 5 in the second half. In his first half, he hit 18 home runs out of 360 AB's, which is equivalent to a home run in 5% of his AB's. His second half, he hit 5 home runs in 238 AB's, which is equivalent to a home run in only 2.1% of his AB's. His HR/FB% dropped from 14.6% in the first half, to 6.3% in the second half. He's a guy who gives up average for home runs and vice versa. He hit 7 home runs April, but only had an average of .216. In August, he hit 1 home run, but his average was up to .280. He hit 4 home runs in each month from May-July, and produced an average of .239.
Steamer doesn't seem to think Dozier will repeat his success from 2014, and predicts 16 HR, 63 RBI, 78 Runs, 16 SB, and a measly .240 average. That's a huge drop-off in runs from his 2014 total, and a decent drop in home runs and stolen bases. His home runs, RBI, and stolen base predictions are similar to those of Ian Kinsler, but a much lower batting average, and a weaker lineup behind him to produce a high runs scored total. If Dozier can't reproduce his home run and runs total, his average will severely hurt your team. I think ranking Dozier in your top 5 is a mistake.
Brandon Phillips, Reds - Rob Parker
Remember 2013? When the Seattle Seahawks were just another good team, LeBron was in Miami, the Red Sox won a World Series, and a 31-year-old Phillips drove in 103 runs to go with 80 runs scored and 18 dingers. Not bad for a middle-infielder. Unfortunately for fantasy owners who bought high on Phillips in 2014, he did not repeat that performance. He ended a four year streak of hitting exactly 18 homeruns with just 8, but he only go 499 plate appearances due to a thumb injury. He is 33 now and will turn 34 this season. His days of stealing double-digit bases are behind him and his slugging has been below .400 since 2012, even including that great 2013. He got all of those RBIs in 2013 because he had the two best on-base machines in baseball hitting in front of him in Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo. Choo is gone and Votto is a question mark. Take away the RBIs, the power, and the steals and you have something like the 20th best second baseman. He went for much more than I expected in one of my leagues, so there are still some believers out there. Don't be one of those people, stay away!
Jose Altuve, Astros - Jack Cecil
The 25 year old Altuve was a fantasy monster last year, singlehandedly dragging teams' batting averages up with his 341 avg and 225 hits. He also churned out 50 steals, and had over 700 PA, something only the healthiest players accomplish. My problem is after that Altuve bores me. His team's lineup still isn't very good, and he doesn't hit for enough power to generate counting stats on his own with ease. If I could guarantee Altuve hit 300 and had 190 hits next season, I still wouldn't change my tune because frankly, look at what's around him, I can see every other player in his lineup hitting under 250 until Correa shows up and sprinkles his magic Correa dust all over the Astros, and that isn't happening this year. How badly can you really want 80R, 60RBI, and <10 HR?
Ian Kinsler, Tigers - Daniel Kelley
I will always love a big chunk of Ian Kinsler for his work in Texas. But he turns 33 in June and had the second-worst OPS+ of his career in 2014. (His WAR was still strong, based largely on career-best defensive numbers, but hey, that ain't fantasy.) After a first half with a .307/.344/.486 slash line, Kinsler put up a .245/.272/.358 in the second half. And with Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez both hurt and a subpar lineup otherwise, I don't see the run and RBI opportunities being massive. So I'll always love me some Kinsler, but I won't be touching him in fantasy this year.
Dee Gordon, Marlins - Nick Doran
Gordon was the biggest surprise of the first half of last season. He literally hit the ground running last April and May, stealing 33 bases while being caught only 3 times. As the season progressed however he was thrown out much more often as opponents figured him out. His stolen base percentage in the first two months was 92%, whereas in the last four months it was only 65%. He also cooled off with the bat. In the 1st half he tallied a .742 OPS, but fell to .648 in the 2nd half. All of his fantasy value derives from his speed, including his AVG, Runs and Steals. He is a major dud in RBI and HRs. There is a big cloud hanging over Gordon's fantasy prospects this season. Can he return to his brief glory days from April and May of 2014? Or will he return to the fringe major leaguer he has been throughout the rest of his career? If you draft him you are taking a big gamble.
If you are looking for more fantasy baseball rankings, and players to avoid, to get you ready for your fantasy baseball drafts, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, the one spot on the internet for all things fantasy.