Welcome back yet again only leaguers. If you're new to this series, don't worry, you're not too far behind. As I discussed in the AL First Base Rankings, I decided to skip over catchers for now. Along with the AL First Base Rankings, we've also completed the NL First Base Rankings, so make sure to check those out if you have not already.
5x5 BA Rankings | 5X5 OBP Rankings
|1||Jose Altuve||HOU||1||Jose Altuve||HOU|
|2||Robinson Cano||SEA||2||Robinson Cano||SEA|
|3||Rougned Odor||TEX||3||Brian Dozier||MIN|
|4||Ian Kinsler||DET||4||Dustin Pedroia||BOS|
|5||Jean Segura||SEA||5||Jason Kipnis||CLE|
|6||Dustin Pedroia||BOS||6||Ian Kinsler||DET|
|7||Brian Dozier||MIN||7||Rougned Odor||TEX|
|8||Jason Kipnis||CLE||8||Jean Segura||SEA|
|9||Devon Travis||TOR||9||Devon Travis||TOR|
|10||Starlin Castro||NYY||10||Logan Forsythe||TB|
|11||Logan Forsythe||TB||11||Starlin Castro||NYY|
|12||Jonathan Schoop||BAL||12||Brett Lawrie||CHW|
|13||Whit Merrifield||KC||13||Jonathan Schoop||BAL|
|14||Raul Mondesi||KC||14||Whit Merrifield||KC|
|15||Brett Lawrie||CHW||15||Raul Mondesi||KC|
The major takeaway that I had while compiling this list is the massive drop from our number one ranked AL second baseman (Jose Altuve) to our number two ranked AL second baseman (Robinson Cano). We're talking a $10+ difference between these two spots.
Rougned Odor: This target is specific to batting average leagues. Odor had a massive season in 2016, with a career-best 33 home runs and 14 stolen bases. Entering his age 23 season, there's little data in his profile to make me doubt a near repeat is possible in 2017. The one issue with Odor is his putrid batting eye. That said, this isn't a player who swings just for the fun of it without the necessary skills to back up his approach. Instead, Odor has been able to maintain a near 80% contact rate, which is my usual cutoff for an acceptable level. Semi-concerning is a 6% jump in Odor's O-Swing% (amount he swings at pitches outside the strike zone), however, being on such a hot streak could have made the already aggressive Odor feel like he could do no wrong. It will be something to monitor in 2017. The 2016 Statcast data for Odor is almost NSFW. Odor's Average Generated Velocity (5.12 MPH) is nearly four miles-per-hour above the league average rate. Also encouraging from the power standpoint is a 12.62 Average Launch Angle (degrees), which is also higher than the league in 2016. Odor had plenty of impressive home runs in 2016, but none more impressive than this dong off Yordano Ventura. Enjoy.
Honorable Mentions: Jason Kipnis & Jean Segura
Starling Castro: Much like Odor above, Starlin Castro also prefers to swing the bat over taking a walk. Castro has also shown a strong ability to make contact at an acceptable level. The differences begin to creep in when we dive into what happens after contact is made. Unlike Odor, Castro is lacking the power in his bat to approach 30 home runs, even playing his home games in the Bronx. In fact, I'd wager it'll be hard for Castro to repeat the 21 home runs he hit in 2016 (a career high). Below average power and 30% +/- fly ball rate will ultimately lead to 15-18 home runs in this writer's opinion. Turning to the Statcast data, our traditional advanced metrics are confirmed. Not only does Castro have the exact Average Exit Velocity as the league in 2016 (89.57 MPH), he also has an Average Launch Angle below the league average rate. At the end of the day don't expect the power to continue to grow or perhaps even hold. Castro is what he is, which happens to be a hitter with league average power and too many ground balls to sustain a high home run output. If Castro were to improve in an area in 2017, the metrics say it would be in the stolen base category. Unfortunately, Castro does not appear to have the green light on the base paths with the Yankees, so we're probably stuck at 5-8 bags.
"Honorable" Mentions: Raul Mondesi & Jonathan Schoop
That does it for American League second basemen. Next up will be the National League's turn. Please leave any questions, comments or other fantasy baseball related banter in the comments below. You can also follow me on Twitter using the icon at the top of the article and feel free to ask questions there as well.
For a more in depth look at particular players, check out Rob Parker's Player Profile Series. Here are some that relate to this post: