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Fantasy Baseball: 2015 Consensus Second Base Rankings - Part 1

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Here is part 1 of our consensus fantasy first base rankings for 2015. Check out our thoughts on the second baseman ranked 1-15, including Javier Baez, Anthony Rendon, Kolten Wong and others.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Kantecki opened Second Base week here at Fake Teams with the landscape of the position for fantasy purposes earlier this morning. Now we bring you our consensus fantasy second base rankings for 2015. We used a points system for each of the 30 second baseman ranked by each of the Fake Teams writers who participated in the consensus rankings series.

The writers who participated in this series are:

Ray Guilfoyle

Jason Hunt

Rob Parker

Brian Creagh

Timmy Kennedy

Daniel Kelley

Jack Cecil

Nick Doran

Alex Kantecki

Timothy Finnegan

We feel that providing you our consensus position rankings, you get an average ranking from the Fake Teams writers, rather than one writers' opinion, which inherently includes some biases. You will see some players ranked higher by one Fake Teams writer than the others, so this helps the reader see both sides of the argument for/against a certain player who might be getting too much love this offseason.

Each of the position rankings will be split into two parts, rankings and player profiles for second baseman ranked 1 - 15 in part 1, and rankings and player profiles for second baseman ranked 16 - 30 in part 2 to be published on Wednesday morning. Consensus rankings should bring about discussion amongst you, our readers, and the Fake Teams writers who participated in this series.

Digging deep into the position shows that the second base position in 2014 yielded the following:

1. There were five hitters who put up a 20+ home run, 20+ stolen base season in 2014, one of which was Brian Dozier, out fifth ranked second baseman for 2015. He joined Carlos Gomez, Todd Frazier, Ian Desmond and Michael Brantley in the 20-20 club.

2. Seven hitters scored 100 or more runs in 2014, three were second baseman, including Brian Dozier, Anthony Rendon and Ian Kinsler.

3. 18 hitters scored 90 or more runs last season, three came from the second base position.

4. 36 hitters scored 80 or more runs in 2014, six were second baseman, inkling Dodgers new second baseman Howie Kendrick.

5. 34 hitters stole 20 or more bases last season, seven came from the second base position, including the top two base stealers in the game - Dee Gordon and Jose Altuve.

6. Of hitters with 350 or more plate appearances in 2014, 26 hitters hit .300 or better last season, two of which were Robinson Cano and Jose Altuve.

The second base position includes some up and coming hitters including Kolten Wong, Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Scooter Gennett, Rougned Odor and others. Anotehr up and coming hitter, Nationals second baseman Anthony Rendon is our new #1 fantasy second baseman for 2015, after putting up a breakout season last year, topping Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano by 4 points in our Consensus rankings.

Now onto our Consensus Second Base Rankings for 2015.

Consensus Fantasy Second Base Rankings for 2015

Rank Player Team Ranking Points Ray Jason Rob Brian Timmy Daniel Jack Alex Nick Timothy
1 Anthony Rendon WSN 292 1 1 3 1 4 2 2 1 1 2
2 Robinson Cano SEA 288 4 2 2 3 1 1 1 3 2 3
3 Jose Altuve HOU 287 3 3 1 2 2 3 3 2 3 1
4 Ian Kinsler DET 261 5 4 4 6 5 7 5 5 4 4
5 Brian Dozier MIN 250 2 5 7 5 8 12 4 4 6 7
6 Dustin Pedroia BOS 240 9 6 5 16 3 5 7 6 8 5
7 Jason Kipnis CLE 221 6 7 6 13 25 4 6 9 5 8
8 Neil Walker PIT 217 7 14 11 4 9 6 13 8 12 9
9 Dee Gordon MIA 210 10 13 12 7 11 13 10 7 11 6
10 Daniel Murphy NYM 205 11 9 14 9 14 10 8 12 7 11
11 Howie Kendrick LAD 198 15 8 8 12 7 16 12 14 10 10
12 Ben Zobrist OAK 194 12 12 18 8 6 8 16 11 13 12
13 Chase Utley PHI 187 14 10 9 10 10 11 14 16 14 15
14 Kolten Wong STL 183 8 11 15 20 13 17 11 10 9 13
15 Javier Baez CHC 142 13 17 10 18 18 24 9 25 15 19

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# 1. Anthony Rendon (WSN)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.287 111 21 83 17
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
683 0.351 0.473 8.49% 15.23%

Rendon put up a breakout season in 2014, hitting .287-.351-.473 with 21 home runs, 111 runs scored, 83 RBI and a surprising 17 stolen bases. For a guy who has had some serious ankle injuries in the past, I was shocked he ran so much last season. The question we need to answer is whether he will repeat the speed totals in 2015. He was successful in 17 of 20 stolen base attempts, so I would say he will still get the green light in 2015, as long as he can stay healthy.

Rendon led the National League in runs scored, and was just four runs scored behind Mike Trout for the MLB lead. He is on the cusp of stardom, and if he can stay healthy, he could be the #1 fantasy third baseman off draft boards for quite some time. If he can maintain second base eligibility, he will be #1 there as well.

He has all the tools to be one of the best hitters in baseball, and is already being drafted in the first round in some drafts. He was the 15th overall pick in the FSTA Experts league draft in early January, the first third baseman off the board, and the second second baseman off the board, a few picks after Robinson Cano.

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# 2. Robinson Cano (SEA)

Photo Credit: Casey Sapio - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.314 77 14 82 10
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
665 0.382 0.454 9.17% 10.23%

It was pretty obvious that Cano's home run totals would drop with the move from Yankee Stadium to Safeco Field last season, and that is exactly what happened, as his home runs dropped to 14 from 27 in 2013. On the other hand, Cano still put up a Cano-like season in the other categories, hitting .314-.382-.454 with 14 home runs, 77 runs scored, 82 RBI and 10 stolen bases, a career high.

Cano just turned 32 in October, and has missed just 19 games over the last eight years, so he is as consistent as they come. But, the decline years are on the horizon, as age and the rigors of the position will begin to impact his production for fantasy owners. No one is immune to the decline phase. I am not predicting the decline to begin in 2015, but wouldn't be surprised we see him put up his worst year at the plate.

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# 3. Jose Altuve (HOU)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.341 85 7 59 56
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
707 0.377 0.453 5.09% 7.50%

A case can be made to rank Altuve as the top fantasy second baseman in 2015, but with Anthony Rendon still eligible at the position, he has to settle for second in my rankings. Altuve had a bit of a breakout year, hitting an MLB leading .341-.377-.453 with 7 home runs, 85 runs scored, 59 RBI and 56 stolen bases. His batting average was supported by a .360 batting average of balls in play, so there is a good chance his batting average drops in 2015, but he should still hit close to .300.

Altuve stole 56 bases in 65 attempts last season, and he should continue to run in 2015, as he sits atop a lineup that strikes out quite a bit, so there will be days the lineup will have to scratch and claw for runs. The Astros ranked 21st in runs scored in 2014, but I see them scoring more runs this season, and Altuve should be the primary beneficiary, along with George Springer, of the improved lineup.

Altuve was selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2015 FSTA Experts league draft in January, and was the third second bagger take behind Robinson Cano and Anthony Rendon.

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# 4. Ian Kinsler (DET)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.275 100 17 92 15
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
726 0.307 0.420 3.99% 10.88%

You know the guy that you love, and you have to draft, only to see him disappoint you that season, so you write him off the next year before he exceeds expectations? Yeah? That's Ian Kinsler. Who saw him hitting like this moving from Texas to Detroit? I certainly did not.

Kinsler was one of the top fantasy second baseman last season in his age 32 season, hitting .275-.307-.420 with 17 home runs, 100 runs scored, 92 RBI and 15 stolen bases. If it wasn't for Anthony Rendon breaking out last season, Kinsler would probably be my #1 fantasy second baseman. His counting stats will be directly dependent on Miguel Cabrera being healthy to start the season, Victor Martinez not falling off a cliff, Yoenis Cespedes hitting for power in a new ballpark, and J.D. Martinez duplicating his own breakout season in 2014.

Four years ago, Kinsler put up a 30-30 season. Three years ago, he was one home run away from a 20-20 season, but since then he is more of a 15-15 hitter, but unlike most second baseman, he scores and drives in plenty of runs as well. He has driven in 70 or more runs in six of his last seven seasons, and scored 85 or more runs in seven of his last eight seasons.

I can see a 85-15-75-15 season from Kinsler this year, and that is pretty valuable.

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# 5. Brian Dozier (MIN)

Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.242 112 23 71 21
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
707 0.345 0.416 12.59% 18.25%

Heading into the 2014 season, many questioned whether Dozier's breakout season in 2013 was legit. Well, he only responded with an even better year for his owners, hitting .242-.345-.416 with 23 home runs, 112 runs scored, 71 RBI and 21 stolen bases. He walked more and struck out less, so he made some under the radar improvements at the plate as well.

It's odd that a second baseman coming off a 20-20 season is ranked below others who did not, but some are skeptical of a repeat. His batting average is below league average, but he led all second baseman in home runs and runs scored, ranked sixth in RBI and fourth in stolen bases, so I wouldn't argue if he was ranked higher. He was drafted in the sixth round of the FSTA draft, right after Jason Kipnis and just before Dustin Pedroia.

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# 6. Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

Photo Credit: David Manning - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.278 72 7 53 6
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
609 0.337 0.376 8.37% 12.32%

Pedroia was once one of the top fantasy second baseman just a few years ago. Not anymore. He has endured hand injuries in each of the last two seasons, impacting his power at the plate. Here is an excerpt from my writeup on Pedroia in my second base rankings published on Christmas Day, which owners should consider on draft day:

Is Pedroia in the decline phase of his career already? I know he has dealt with hand injuries, but he did have offseason surgery last offseason and his home run total dropped once again. Actually, this isn't anything new for Pedroia:

2010: 12 HRs, .205 ISO, 75 games

2011: 21 HRs, .167 ISO, 159 games

2012: 15 HRs, .160 ISO, 141 games

2013: 9 HRs, .114 ISO, 160 games

2014: 7 HRs, .098 ISO, 135 games

Not a good trend, and his slugging percentage is following a similar downward trend as well.

Pedroia will bat second in a revamped and improved Red Sox lineup in 2015, so he has the chance to score more and drive in more runs. He will hit behind future star Mookie Betts and just in front of new left fielder Hanley Ramirez.

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# 7. Jason Kipnis (CLE)

Photo Credit: Lance Iversen - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.240 61 6 41 22
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
555 0.310 0.330 9.01% 18.02%

Here is what I wrote about Kipnis in my second base rankings that published on Christmas Day:

I might be too high on Kipnis, but I see a bounce back season from him in 2015. He dealt with an oblique and hamstring injuries, affecting his power and speed skills. He apparently bulked up last offseason, in an effort to improve on his power, and maybe that led to the oblique injury. This offseason, the Indians have given him a different conditioning program to lose some weight and increase his flexibility in 2015. I am a buyer on the weakness I think we will see in his draft day value in 2015.

Kipnis hit a similar amount of fly balls last season, but less than 5% of his fly balls left the yard, compared to 12.4% and 9.7% in his first two full seasons in the league. Assuming he can stay healthy in 2015, I see him returning to the 15 home run, 25+ stolen base hitter he was prior to 2014.

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# 8. Neil Walker (PIT)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.271 74 23 76 2
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
571 0.342 0.467 7.88% 15.41%

Walker might be the most underrated fantasy second baseman on this list. Among all fantasy second baseman last season, he tied Brian Dozier with 23 home runs, and ranked in the top ten in runs scored, RBI and batting average.

iHis power has increased in each of the last three seasons, and his 74-23-76 stat line would have ranked in the top 5-6 among fantasy THIRD baseman last season. He swung at more pitches in the zone, making more contact on those swings, so it appears he has a better idea at the plate than in previous seasons. I assume this contributed to the increase in his power last year.

His 130 wRC+ ranked third among all second baseman last season, behind only Robinson Cano and Jose Altuve, and tied him with Anthony Rendon for 31st in the game.

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# 9. Dee Gordon (MIA)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.289 92 2 34 64
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
650 0.326 0.378 4.77% 16.46%

Gordon worked his tail off and made himself into an All Star second baseman. Gordon had a breakout 2014 season, hitting .289-.326-.378 with 2 home runs, 92 runs scored, 34 RBI and a major league leading 64 stolen bases. He takes his talents to Miami after the offseason trade with the Marlins, where his value really doesn't change much.

Heading into the 2014 season, he was asked to hit the ball on the ground more by the Dodgers coaching staff, to take advantage of his speed. He responded by increasing his ground ball rate from 49% to just under 60%, resulting in more infield hits.

Most of his value lies in his speed and his ability to steal bases, but he nearly hit .290 last season, something only 22 hitters accomplished last season. In addition, he scored 92 runs last season, and should hit atop the Marlins lineup this season, so he has a chance to help you in three of the five categories in 5 x 5 leagues.

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# 10. Daniel Murphy (NYM)

Photo Credit: Brad Barr - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.289 79 9 57 13
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
642 0.332 0.403 6.07% 13.40%

Murphy had his career year in 2013, when he hit .286 with 13 home runs, 92 runs scored, 78 RBI and 23 stolen bases. last season, his numbers dropped across the board, with the only exceptions being batting average and on base percentage. He is also a liability in the infield, and the Mets have second base prospect Dilson Herrera almost major league ready, so Murphy could be someone the Mets look to deal, possibly in a package with one of their excess starting pitchers, at some point in spring training, or early in the season.

There is no question Murphy can provide a solid batting average and middling power and stolen base totals, so he has value as a second baseman in all league types where he is eligible.

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# 11. Howie Kendrick (LAD)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.293 85 7 75 14
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
674 0.347 0.397 7.12% 16.32%

Speaking of safe mid-round picks in mixed leagues, Dodgers new second baseman Howie Kendrick is very similar to the aforementioned Utley, but he is half a decade younger. Kendrick is coming off a solid season at the plate, hitting .293-.347-.3097 with 7 home runs, 85 runs scored, 75 RBI and 14 stolen bases. I am not sure where he will hit in the Dodgers lineup, but I imagine he will hit in the two hole with either Yasiel Puig or Adrian Gonzalez in the three spot. A few weeks ago, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hinted that he might bat Puig in the cleanup spot. With solid hitters behind him, Kendrick should score plenty of runs once again in 2015.

There is a chance he gets back into the double digits in home runs once again in 2015, as his HR/FB% is in an obvious trend:

2009: 12.2%

2010: 6.9%

2011: 16.5%

2012: 8.9%

2013: 15.7%

2014: 6.5%

The problem is that Kendrick hits so few fly balls, ranging from 20.8% to 28.1% over the same time span. He is more of a line drive hitter, which keeps his average up, but he set a career high with a 60% ground ball rate last season. He doesn't have the speed to beat out infield hits, so if the ground ball rate stays high, we could see the batting average drop a bit.

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# 12. Ben Zobrist (OAK)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.272 83 10 52 10
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
654 0.354 0.395 11.47% 12.84%

In the last year of his contract, Zobrist was traded this offseason and will now call Oakland home. The A's have revamped their lineup this offseason, after building their lineup around fly ball power hitters.

Gone are the days of 20+ home runs from Zobrist, thus the reason why he has dropped in our rankings. He still puts up double digit home runs and stolen bases, hits for a .270-.280 average, and scores 70+ runs, but I think he is a better real baseball player than he is in fantasy.

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# 13. Chase Utley (PHI)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.270 74 11 78 10
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
664 0.339 0.407 7.98% 12.80%

Utley was once the top fantasy second baseman in baseball, but age and injuries have reduced him to a middle of the pack fantasy option at the keystone. That, and the fact that the Phillies are in a rebuild, so some of his counting stats will be depressed going forward. He would benefit from a trade to a contender, but has been steadfast in saying he would not approve any trade.

All that said, Utley had a solid season at the plate in his age 35 season, hitting .270-.339-.407 with 11 home runs, 74 runs scored, 78 RBI and 10 stolen bases. I think he can put up double digits in home runs and stolen bases, and 125 total runs and RBI in 2015. Anything more would be terrific from a 36 year old second baseman. He won't hurt you in any one category, so he is a safe mid-round pick in mixed leagues.

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# 14. Kolten Wong (STL)

Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.249 52 12 42 20
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
433 0.292 0.388 4.85% 16.40%

Even though it was an up and down season for him, Wong quietly put up a solid season for his owners last season, hitting .249-.292-.388 with 12 home runs, 52 runs scored, 42 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 433 plate appearances. He struggled at times last season, and was unlucky with the batted balls in play, so there is upside to his batting average in 2015.

He was exceptional on the base paths last season, stealing 20 bases in 24 attempts, so he should continue to recieve the green light this season. Should his BABIP regress to the mean, i.e. toward the .300 range, we should see Wong's batting average rise the .270 range, or higher, with mid-double digit home runs and 25+ stolen bases. He has been quoted recently stating that he wants to lead off this season. Should he lead off, his runs scored should rise as well. He has the bat and the speed to be a top 5 fantasy second baseman in 2015.

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# 15. Javier Baez (CHC)

Photo Credit: Jake Roth - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.169 25 9 20 5
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
229 0.227 0.324 6.55% 41.48%

Baez is one of the more polarizing hitters in fantasy baseball, with everyone wondering whether he will be the Cubs starting second baseman on Opening Day or not. Baez has an 80 power tool, but with that power comes a lot of swing and miss. Baez struck out in an amazing 41.5% of his 229 plate appearances last season. At that pace, he would crush any single season strikeout records in a full season of plate appearances. Here is a scary trend for Baez owners:

Low A: 20.4 K%

High A: 23.1 K%

AA: 28.8 K%

AAA: 30.0 K%

MLB: 41.5 K%

He played winter ball in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, and continued to strike out quite a bit. I think the consensus thought on him is if he hasn't shown any improvement with his plate discipline in spring training, he will start the season in AAA. The Cubs have plenty of alternatives to play second base in Arismendy Alcantara, who Theo Epstein apparently raves about, and Tommy La Stella.

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