It was two years ago that Brian Dozier hit .244/.312/.414 over a full season. He was a competent ballplayer, worth almost 4 WAR over the season, but he was only so-so as a fantasy contributor.
A year ago, Jason Kipnis hit .240/.310/.330. He started this season just as poorly, sitting at .218/.263/.287 at the end of April. He was a candidate to be benched or moved to the outfield in favor of a prospect.
After May 1, Mookie Betts was hitting .220/.298/.330. I had (quasi-jokingly) suggested he was a candidate to be benched, but it wasn't that crazy a suggestion, as the hits just weren't falling for the rookie Betts, and the Red Sox had to make something happen.
Today, those are three of the top four second basemen in our rest-of-season rankings. Behind them are names like Cano, Rendon, Pedroia and Kinsler, four names who could all have made an argument for being in the top five to start the season.
In short (he said in his fifth paragraph), it's been a weird fantasy season among second basemen, with a very up-is-down-black-is-white reality. The task from that mess was to determine how much to trust the risers, how much to maintain faith in the fallers, and how to balance one against the other.
Which brings us to the rankings themselves. Eligibility is based on Yahoo! eligibility. Give it a look:
Second Base Rankings, rest of season
|1||Jason Kipnis||CLE||Here's the thing: I'd rather start the rankings at, like, 3. I don't think Kipnis or Dozier are best-at-the-position good, except, you know, someone has to be.|
|2||Brian Dozier||MIN||Case in point: Kipnis' great year is on the back of a career-best BABIP, while Dozier is never likely to reach a batting average of .260. But hey, they're as good as anyone here.|
|3||Jose Altuve||HOU||Altuve's lack of power and run production means he has to be a .320-or-better hitter to be truly elite. If he's hitting .280 or .290, like his whole career except last year, he's just not great.|
|4||Mookie Betts||BOS||He ended April at .230/.313/.345; he's hit .295/.336/.510 since.|
|5||Robinson Cano||SEA||He's looked better the last few weeks, though there's still miles between what he's done and his typical.|
||My first draft of rankings didn't even have him listed, and now all of a sudden, he might only miss a game or two? Weird.
||It doesn't look like there is anything he does really well in fantasy anymore. Might not reach double digits in home runs or steals, might not even hit .280.|
||This is a ranking based on the presumption of a return in the next few weeks and staying healthy going forward. Neither is a super-sure bet. Tread lightly, but the talent is there.|
||I've been tracking this since his return to the bigs, and the difference is stark. Before demotion (29 games): .144/.252/.233. Since return (23 games): .350/.400/.550. He's fine.|
||For whatever reason, dude has always hit crazy well in July -- career OPS in the .700s in every other month, but.921 in July.|
||He's already set a career high in home runs, and is a steal away from a career high there as well. There's huge threat of regression here.|
||Two years ago, this guy hit for an OPS+ of 26. Now he might be the best non-Harper hitter on Washington.|
||.199 batting average. .231 ISO. .193 BABIP. 19 home runs. Weird, weird year.|
||I don't think he's as good as he's shown so far, but he'll get every opportunity, and the speed is certainly there.|
||He's blazingly fast and an on-base machine, hitting in front of Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre. That should be good.|
||Career entering 2015: .276/.314/.361. April 2015: .406/.445/.522. May 2015: .283/.340/.380. June/July 2015: .286/.345/.351. He's a one-month All-Star, and that's it.|
|28||Brett Lawrie||OAK||That star potential we all saw in 2010, 2011, appears to be gone, but he's become at least a competent big-leaguer. Nothing flashy, but functional.|