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Staff Post: Second Baseman to Avoid in 2016

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The Fake Teams staff offers you some second baseman they would avoid in drafts this season, including Rougned Odor, Dee Gordon and others.

Eric Hartline-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 avoid in fantasy drafts this season, and you can find them along with their reasoning below.

Second Baseman to Avoid in 2016

Rougned Odor, Rangers (Ray Guilfoyle)

Odor is the second baseman with the most helium this offseason, and for good reason, as he hit .261 with 16 home runs, 54 runs scored, 61 RBI and 6 stolen bases in 470 plate appearances in his rookie season. He offers fantasy owners a solid power/speed hitter at second base, but he is being drafted in the sixth round of drafts right now, ahead of veterans Dustin Pedroia, Daniel Murphy and others, who have a longer track record. Maybe I will be wrong on Odor, but with Jurickson Profar on the bench or a short ride away in AAA, all he needs is for one prolonged slump to disappoint fantasy owners in 2016.

Dee Gordon, Marlins (Daniel Kelley)

The last two years, Gordon stole 64 bases as a 26-year-old and 58 as a 27-year-old. He doesn't walk much and has little-to-no power, so this is a dude whose value is entirely in his speed, both in reaching base and stealing bases. Just for comparison, as a 26-year-old, Michael Bourn stole 61, and as a 27-year-old he stole 52. Within two seasons, he was down to the 20s. Jose Reyes stole 56 or more from 22 to 25, never went above 40 after that. Speed goes quickly. He's only 28, so Gordon probably won't hit that inevitable decline quite yet, but he's the type of guy I'd rather bail on a year early than a year late.

Anthony Rendon (Tim Finnegan)

Rendon is super talented, but I am concerned about his ability to stay healthy. The reason why Rendon fell to the Nationals in the 2011 draft was because of injury concerns in college. He's been hurt in both the minors (fractured ankle, 2012) and now the majors (knee and oblique, 2015). Last year's spring training injuries prevented him from ever getting going when he eventually returned. He hit to a below league average .264/.344/.363 slash in 355 PA with seriously diminished power; among 2B with at least 350 PA last year, Rendon's ISO was 31st at .100, alongside names like Omar Infante (.098) and Chris Owings (.095). He's talented enough to bounce back, but I don't have the appetite to take on the risk at the moment.

Jason Kipnis, Indians (Jack Cecil)

While Kipnis' overall production has been valuable, the total randomness of it makes him harder to roster than the standard player who puts up stats like him.  In his career he's bounced between power/speed, with a low average, trended down to 2014 disaster where everything but his 22 steals hurt you, and last year he basically was an empty batting average.  Add in that his 2015 average was boosted by a .356 babip, and I think its pretty clear that we have a player who will be drafted at a higher position than his end of season rank.

Logan Forsythe, Rays (Domenic Lanza)

Last year, Forsythe served as an yet another example of the black magic that keeps the Rays competitive each and every year. He posted career highs in most relevant statistics, and by significant margins at that. Nothing stands out as completely flukey when you dig into the numbers, but it is awfully bold to count on a repeat performance. If someone wants to bid expecting another .280+ BA and 15+ HR, let them.

Brian Dozier, Twins (Michael Schwarz)

It's tempting to argue that Dozier is building a Dan Uggla-type offensive profile--home run power, high strikeout totals, low batting average--but that would be unfair...to Uggla.  In five full seasons with the Marlins (2006-10), for instance, Uggla twice finished with a single-season batting average north of .280 and never fell below .243, whereas Dozier's career batting average is .240.  Never known for exceptional plate discipline, Uggla nonetheless managed back-to-back-to-back OBP averages of .354 or higher.  In 2015, Dozier finished with an OBP of .307, lower than Jace Peterson and Johnny Giavotella.  Dozier's 28 fewer walks help explain why he scored 11 fewer runs and stole 9 fewer bases than he had in 2014.  The 5 extra homers (23 to 28) were nice, but at what cost?

Starlin Castro, Yankees (Jason Hunt)

The change of scenery is expected to help Castro return closer to the form that made him a top 5 option at shortstop a few years back, but I'm just not seeing it. Looking across his batted ball profile from 2015, nothing really points to further improvement. His groundball rate was a career high, line drive rate a career low, and walk rate also a career low. He kind of is who he is at this point - he should hit around 10 home runs, steal a couple bags, and hit for a decent batting average. It's likely to be replacement level in most formats, and should be treated as such.

Ben Zobrist, Cubs (Rob Parker)

I was the lowest on Zobrist in our staff consensus rankings, putting him at #18, so I feel obligated to defend that position here. It is the combination of two forces that puts him there. First, he is starting to get old. He will turn 35 this season and his speed has been declining for 5 straight seasons. In leagues without OBP, he just isn't better than the 17 other second basemen that have either more power, a better average, or more speed than he does. The second force is simply that there are a bunch of new, young players at this position that simply offer more upside. This includes Addison Russell, Rougned Odor, Joe Panik, and Devon Travis, to name a few. I would rather have all of those players because they can do what Zobrist does (minus his great OBP) already with upside for more. Zobrist is still solid, don't get me wrong, but he's just not a top 15 option anymore at this position, even with the boost he will get hitting at the top of a loaded Cubs roster. Don't pay too much for him simply for that spot in the order.

Ian Kinsler, Tigers (Heath Capps)

Like Rob, I need to defend my ranking of Kinsler, as I had him the lowest as the 11th-best second baseman. Sure, his counting statistics were solid, but he managed only 11 home runs in 624 AB. My target, Kolten Wong, is eight years younger and hit 11 home runs in 557 AB. Kinsler also managed 10 steals in his 624 AB, while Wong stole 15 in 557 AB. I'll grant you that Kinsler should out-pace Wong in runs by a solid margin, but Kinsler's "upside" is basically due to his run-scoring ability in that Tigers lineup. You know you aren't going to get a breakout season from a 33-year-old--he's still going to give you about 10 and 10 in the HR and SB categories. Me personally, if I can find a similar guy much later on in the draft and avoid a player who is getting older, I will take that every time.

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