2016 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2016 Fantasy Baseball: Second Base Projections

There are many ways to rank players. I don’t claim to have a monopoly on the truth, but I hope my methods balance analytics with common sense. The analytics part is probably the most involved. We take runs above replacement from the past three seasons according to three different sources (Baseball Prospectus, Baseball Reference, and Fangraphs). We apply a multiplier to make sure the most recent performance is given the most weight. That creates an index score for each platform. We then take the average of those three to provide a single score for each player.

Middle infielders can sometimes be interchangeable. Sometimes teams have them play multiple positions within the season or they may have prospects that push them to other positions on the diamond. We will see the same thing at third base and shortstop. For the purposes of keeping our sanity, we will use rosterresource.com’s listing to sort them out by position. That might mean that some players are moving around from where they have played in the past.

  1. Robinson Cano— Seattle Mariners (43.1)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 59.4 53.3 31.5 43.4
BR 67.0 58.0 41.0 51.0
FG 54.2 47.3 19.9 34.8

Supposedly, last season Cano had some stomach related issues. Anyone that has had those knows its no laughing matter. We can only hope those issues are behind him as he did come on strong in the second half. Cano is reaching the end of his prime, so last season might be more the norm from here on out. That’s still pretty darn good, but not worthy of the top slot. Verdict: Under

  1. Jose Altuve— Houston Astros (37.7)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 6.3 49.2 33.2 34.1
BR 12.0 63.0 40.0 43.0
FG 6.4 44.2 40.5 36.1

Jose Altuve is appropriately placed when you are looking at five category leagues. He hits for average, has decent power, and steals quite a few bases. His only weakness is his unwillingness to draw walks, but that only affects him in six category leagues. Hopefully, the Astros offense has evolved where he will start scoring more runs as well. Verdict: Under

  1. Jung Ho Kang— Pittsburgh Pirates (34.8)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 31.5 31.5
BR 36.0 36.0
FG 37.0 37.0

Kang has a couple of things going for him. First, he will be eligible at third base and shortstop in addition to second in most leagues. Secondly, since he won’t begin the season in the lineup, some fantasy players may forget about him. He might become a relative bargain. He likely isn’t really the third best second baseman on the board, but he will be better than where he will likely fall. Verdict: Under

  1. Ben Zobrist— Chicago Cubs (33.6)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 29.8 33.5 31.6 31.9
BR 39.0 39.0 30.0 34.5
FG 46.7 50.4 19.4 34.3

By now, almost everyone knows how I feel about Ben Zobrist. Ironically, his value in real baseball and fantasy baseball mirror each other even if most of his real value is hidden. He won’t be the best player on your fantasy team, but he might be the glue that holds your team together because of all of the positions he is eligible to play. Verdict: Under

  1. Ian Kinsler— Detroit Tigers (32.8)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 36.3 17.0 24.7 24.1
BR 36.0 31.0 37.0 34.8
FG 24.3 47.0 39.5 39.5

Kinsler has changed as a player over the past few seasons. The 20+ home run power is gone, but everything else remains fairly constant. Unfortunately, the first thing to go for players like Kinsler is the speed. When you remove power and speed you get a very marginal fantasy prospect. Verdict: Under

  1. Jason Kipnis— Cleveland Indians (32.6)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 47.2 9.4 34.3 28.2
BR 55.0 17.0 43.0 36.3
FG 41.8 6.4 48.5 33.4

Unlike the others above him, Kipnis is more likely to achieve his number simply based on the fact that 2014 was an out of context season for him. He could end up being the third best guy on the board before it is all said and done. Verdict: Over

  1. Brian Dozier— Minnesota Twins (32.0)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 28.2 35.6 22.5 27.8
BR 25.0 47.0 28.0 33.8
FG 23.4 43.1 32.2 34.4

Last season was a breakthrough for Dozier in many ways, but it was also a disappointment. The power was there in spades, but we kept waiting for the steals to come and they never did. He is still quite valuable as a power source, but maybe not the megastar we thought from 2014. Verdict: Over

  1. Dee Gordon— Miami Marlins (29.3)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 2.8 24.3 37.7 27.4
BR 3.0 31.0 36.0 28.8
FG 0.3 29.3 43.5 31.6

Beware the ides of March. Also, beware the player that builds his value on batting average and speed. Gordon will have value as long as he’s stealing bases, but he won’t be the guy that hits .350 (or even .320) again. As long as you go in realizing that you should be fine. Verdict: Under

  1. Neil Walker— New York Mets (29.0)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 23.3 35.3 26.9 29.1
BR 29.0 38.0 28.0 31.5
FG 24.0 33.3 22.6 26.4

Walker is one of those guys you feel should always come up with better numbers, but somehow seems to fall short. Sooner or later you learn to accept and appreciate him for what he is. So, if you manage to get him later in the draft you can be satisfied with good, but not great production. Verdict: Under

  1. Dustin Pedroia— Boston Red Sox (27.3)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 37.2 25.8 14.4 22.0
BR 44.0 27.0 22.0 27.3
FG 47.9 37.7 23.9 32.5

There is nothing more insidious than the memory of a great player. Pedroia is one of those players you can’t help but love, but something always happens when you get older. Either you lose a step or those bumps and bruises become muscle pulls and broken bones. Pedroia is still effective when healthy, but he’s been healthy less often. Verdict: Under

  1. Howie Kendrick— Los Angeles Dodgers (27.3)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 19.9 22.0 21.6 21.5
BR 34.0 42.0 25.0 32.2
FG 24.3 42.5 19.7 28.1

The Dodgers brought back Kendrick in a very surprising move. Now, they have six infielders that deserve to play regularly and only four slots. Supposedly, Justin Turner’s microfracture surgery might take longer to recover from than previously thought, so the Dodgers could do some mixing and matching with Kendrick, Turner, and Utley. Verdict: Under

  1. Daniel Murphy— Washington Nationals (25.5)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 27.5 26.6 22.5 24.7
BR 36.0 33.0 21.0 27.5
FG 29.0 22.6 23.7 24.2

Daniel Murphy was the hero in October. He suddenly went on a power surge that would make Reggie Jackson blush. Unfortunately, October numbers don’t count and they normally don’t translate forward. I would be careful not to read too much into last October. Verdict: Under

  1. Joe Panik— San Francisco Giants (20.7)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 8.0 32.6 23.1
BR 1.0 15.0 9.4
FG 14.5 39.8 29.7

As we have seen before, there are rankings, but the value of runs above replacement is not in the ranking, but in the distance between players. When we see gaps in production we see where we can exploit others during the draft. Panik is not a regular fantasy second basemen, but he will likely be overlooked on draft day. Verdict: Over

  1. Yunel Escobar— Los Angeles Angels (20.5)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 27.8 19.3 27.6 24.9
BR 26.0 21.0 32.0 21.3
FG 33.1 -0.8 19.8 15.2

I’m breaking my own rule by listing him as a second basemen. He’s likely to play third base in Los Angeles and rumors are swirling that Howie Kendrick could end up back here. Escobar is eligible at three different positions, so he is in much better position to fit on your bench than Panik. Verdict: Under

  1. Brandon Phillips— Cincinnati Reds (20.1)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 12.5 7.8 23.6 16.5
BR 20.0 13.0 30.0 22.7
FG 23.2 14.5 24.5 21.0

Phillips was all but dealt to the Nationals, but he exercised his ten and five rights. It would be easy to criticize him for that, but we are working with human beings here and they have families. However, it is also fair to question his competitiveness when you consider the Reds are going through an obvious rebuilding process. Verdict: Under

  1. Chase Utley— Los Angeles Dodgers (18.8)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 28.7 34.3 -0.3 16.1
BR 40.0 35.0 6.0 21.3
FG 36.0 40.5 -0.1 19.5

Things looked up for Utley until the Dodgers signed Howie Kendrick again. Utley could see some time at third base and maybe even an occasional game at first. I suppose the positional flexibility will make him somewhat valuable, but will he get enough plate appearances to be a decent fantasy factor? Verdict: Under

  1. Logan Forsythe— Tampa Bay Rays (18.2)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 0.1 -0.2 27.4 13.7
BR 3.0 5.0 42.0 23.2
FG -1.2 -3.8 38.6 17.8

The Rays may have found themselves the second coming of Ben Zobrist. He came out of nowhere last year to produce Zobrist like numbers. The question is whether he can reproduce those numbers. Unlike the guys above him, he is a reasonable gamble to produce starter quality numbers. Verdict: Over

  1. Rougned Odor— Texas Rangers (17.9)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 12.5 24.0 19.4
BR 12.0 25.0 19.8
FG 4.1 21.4 14.5

Odor got an opportunity to play because Jurickson Profar couldn’t stay healthy. Now, he’s seemingly cemented the job for himself. Like Forsythe, he likely is a starting quality second baseman who doesn’t have the value based on limited opportunities prior to 2015. If he falls this far he is a huge bargain. Verdict: Over

  1. Jed Lowrie— Oakland Athletics (17.7)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 41.9 18.7 10.6 18.5
BR 40.0 17.0 13.0 18.8
FG 32.1 17.4 9.5 15.9

Lowrie isn’t the guy from 2013 when he was first in Oakland. However, he is eligible at three different infield positions, so he does have some value as a bench piece. If he’s healthy all year he can be a 20 run player, but he doesn’t make it through seasons healthy for one reason or another. Verdict: Under

  1. Brett Lawrie— Chicago White Sox (15.0)
2013 2014 2015 ADJ
BP 14.5 8.6 17.9 14.2
BR 18.0 15.0 24.0 20.0
FG 13.2 16.4 6.1 10.7

Lawrie is going to be better than what the White Sox have been throwing out there the last decade. His defense will allow his numbers to play up a little because he will play more often and accrue some counting numbers, but otherwise he isn’t that special. His eligibility at third helps some. Verdict: In

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