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Staff Post: Second Baseman to Target in 2016

The Fake Teams staff offers you some second baseman they would target in drafts this season, including Jonathan Schoop, Daniel Murphy and others.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts, it is a must to have a strategy before going into your draft. To assist you in your strategy, we have provided you with our Consensus Top 30 second base rankings for 2015, tiered rankings, and NL-only and AL-only rankings as well.

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 and avoid, which we provide you today.

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 2016

Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox (Ray Guilfoyle)

Pedroia should be fully healthy entering the 2016 season, and is already talking about running more, so we could see a double digit home run, double digit stolen base season from him. I don't see him duplicating his 2011 season where he put up a 91-21-102-26 stat line, but he could approach his 2012 or 2013 season hitting in the upper third of a very stacked Red Sox lineup this season. I could see Pedroia hitting .290 with 12-15 home runs, 90 runs scored, 70 RBI and 10-13 stolen bases in 2016.

His current ADP sits at 172.19, so you can get excellent production at the second base position in the 12th round of drafts by waiting to grab Pedroia, who I see outperforming Robinson Cano and Anthony Rendon, who are being drafted in the fourth and fifth rounds of drafts right now.

Anthony Rendon, Nationals (Daniel Kelley)

If a guy is eligible at first base and catcher, it's really not a selling point. You just use him at catcher. But if a guy is eligible at second and third? Or any two premium positions? Well, that's a selling point. In our slow mock, I have Robinson Cano and Nolan Arenado as my starters, but Rendon as my backup to both/middle infield starter, and I love it. Rendon can fall out of bed and reach base, notching a .344 on-base percentage last year even as injuries drained his batting average and power. Heading into 2016, he looks healthy, and will likely spend most of the year at third, reducing injury risk at least a little. Dude isn't even 26 until June; we could be looking at a breakout from a young player whose only real concern is injuries. When he's on the field, he'll be excellent.

Daniel Murphy, Nationals (Tim Finnegan)

If you read this website regularly you'll see that I've written about Murphy twice in 4 weeks (first here, and then here), so I'm probably going to be the high guy on Murph on most fantasy outlets. The summary of those articles is that Murphy made tangible adjustments that led to a surge in power in the second half of the year. In his last 3 months of the season spanning 276 regular season and postseason PA, Murph hit to a .273 ISO with a .578 slugging, ridiculously elite power numbers for a second baseman. It's very unlikely that Murphy keeps hitting like an elite power hitter, but it shows that there's a good chance he's a fundamentally different hitter moving forward, and one that can sustain a higher level of production at the plate than we've been accustomed to. Murph's Yahoo ADP is currently about 168 overall, which I think has strong potential to be a bargain.

Jonathan Schoop (bardin)

There isn't much downside to Schoop; at worst, you'll get a low-average 2B who has about 300 ABs and hits, say, 14 homers. However... the upside is very promising. If Schoop manages to get 500+ ABs (and really, who is challenging him at 2B in Baltimore...), 20+ homers is a very real possibility and the corresponding runs and RBIs that come with it. Schoop rarely walks, so his real offensive value is average at best, and this may be part of why Schoop isn't highly though of but, most fantasy leagues don't give a hoot about walks. As long as the player hits homers, hits for a decent average (and Schoop did as high as .279 just two years ago), and has the starting position, he's a player to target. Plus, Schoop is still pretty young so there is definite growth potential. Schoop's ADP is about 248 right now. He should be at least 50 spots higher.

Matt Carpenter, Cardinals (Jack Cecil)

Carpenter is the gift that keeps on giving.  Not only does he bat atop the consistently great Cardinals lineup, he is a walk machine, constantly producing great run totals 99+ the last 3 consecutive years, the second most in that time frame.  Last year, he developed a power profile, making him perhaps the best version of himself that we have ever seen in fantasy.  Factor in his 3B eligibility, and his average draft position of 68 sounds like a great price for such a strong performer.  If you gamble with your earlier picks, Carpenter is a great way to mitigate risk in the middle of the draft.

Josh Harrison, Pirates (Domenic Lanza)

A year ago, we were wondering if Harrison's breakout was real. The answer to that question is mostly no, as he battled injuries and inconsistent time to a draw, posting average-ish numbers across the board. However, he did bat .305/.345/.396 after struggling mightily in April, with everything but his power falling right in-line with his 2014 season. The lack of power is a serious caveat, to be sure, but Harrison is slated to start at second following the Neil Walker trade, and the Pirates lineup is deep and potent. I think he could be counted on for double digit HR and SB, with a batting average around .290. And the fact that Harrison should qualify at 2B, 3B, and OF makes him all the more valuable.

Jason Kipnis, Indians (Michael Schwarz)

Kipnis had a strange season in 2015.  By any measure it was better than the .240/.310/.330 dud he posted in 2014, but it also was uneven, to say the least.  After a slow start to 2015, Kipnis enjoyed an otherworldly May, finishing the month with a .429 batting average, 30 R, 4 HR, 3 SB, and a 1.217 OPS, and followed up with a merely scorching June that included a .925 OPS and 5 more steals.  Then something happened.  From July 1 through the end of the season he only attempted 5 steals, while the power and run production disappeared.  A shoulder injury sent him to the DL in August, and in September he reportedly battled neck stiffness.  In the end, he still managed a .303 batting average and paced all second basemen with a .372 OBP.  Will his on-base skills translate to more steals in 2016?  I don't expect him to swipe 30 again, but I don't see why 20 would be out of the question.  In fact, by July 16 of last season--before he stopped trying--he was on pace for 25 steals.  Despite hitting only 9 homers in 2015, he did manage a .451 SLG% thanks to a career-high 43 doubles, so there's a chance for a modest uptick in power.  In short, don't expect Dozier's home runs or the speed of Altuve/Gordon, but Kipnis still offers across-the-board value and won't cost you a high draft pick.

Brandon Phillips, Reds (Jason Hunt)

The questions about Phillips at this point stem from the idea that his 2015 season is the outlier and that he's going to regress closer to his 2014 numbers, but the risk is practically nothing. At his best, he can be a 10+ HR, 15+ stolen base MI who provides positive value in all five categories. He's going essentially undrafted in most formats, and at that point I'm looking for a lottery ticket. Phillips can be that ticket.

Rougned Odor, Rangers (Rob Parker)

Here's a very young player with big upside and very little data to work with. He's really tough to evaluate because we only have two partial seasons to look at. He hit 16 HR with 6 steals last year in a partial season, so there is certainly reason to be excited. Steamer loves him and projects him for 17 homers and 12 steals in 2016, which would probably bump him up to at least the #6 position among second basemen. I think he is going too late in drafts right now. He has good value if he is the #7 or later second baseman off the board.

Kolten Wong, Cardinals (Heath Capps)

Welp, everyone else was taken. Okay, so maybe that's not my only argument for Wong, but we are the bottom of the proverbial barrel. Or are we? I ranked Wong as the ninth-best second baseman, two spots better than Wong's next-best rank (Rob had him 11th) and five spots ahead of his consensus ranking here at Fake Teams (he was tied for 14th). Why, you ask? The pop and the speed. Wong hit 11 home runs and stole 15 bags. In 2014, he had 12 bombs and 20 bags. Some of my colleagues here are trying to scare me off of him by mentioning Jedd Gyorko's platoon splits, but I am not drinking the kool-aid. I'll take the strong side of this (potential) platoon and figure out what to do on the days when the Cardinals face a southpaw.

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