Second base for 2015 features an interesting mix of youth, speed, upside, and bounce-back potential. There’s no doubt that the top three picks here are Altuve, Cano, and Rendon, but the debate begins thereafter. Let’s take a look at several over/underrated players, breakout candidates, and our top sleeper picks at the second base position.
Wong hit 12 homers and stole 20 bases in 2014 while not even reaching 450 at bats. He was injured, shuttled back and forth between the big club and AAA, and more of all was a rookie. His final average doesn’t look great, but subtract a month where he his .103 and it’s much more palatable. I think he’s in line for a monster breakout campaign in 2015, and should probably hit leadoff eventually.
2014 was a total disaster for Kipnis. He destroyed his owners with injuries, both minor and major, and when he was active, failed to hit for power or average. His price is seriously depressed as a result for 2015, and I love him at ADP 79. He still managed to steal 22 bases despite an injured oblique that robbed his power. His K% went down, and his BABIP was lower than his career averages. I’m expecting a major rebound from the Kipper in 2015.
I love these tier 3 guys. This is probably the lowest I’ve ever seen Pedroia fall in ADP, and I think you have to seriously consider a gamble on a bounce-back. His Isolated Power fell to the lowest level of his career last year as he battled a wrist injury and a terrible Red Sox lineup, finishing with only 7 HR, 6 SB and 53 RBI. With almost an eighth round ADP and a loaded Boston offense, it seems a virtual certainty that he’ll return profit on a draft day investment.
I can’t help myself, I just love this guy. He’s a great comeback story, and also he just absolutely demolished the baseball for me last season, helping me win a couple of championships. He plays a ton of positions (depending on your league provider, of course) and showed the ability to hit homers and steal bases. He should be a fixture in the Pirates lineup for 2015 and at his ADP has a ton of upside.
To be very clear, I don’t think Cano is a scrub. He actually might be the safest early pick for a 2B other than Altuve. I just feel like despite all the Mariners offseason additions that Cano is running on reputation from his days yanking balls down the line into the short-porch Yankee stadium seats. Cano doesn’t really run and saw his HR output cut in half last year at SafeCo (down from 27 HR to 14). His Isolated Power also fell 80 points without an injury to blame it on. I don’t think he a bad player – he’s clearly an elite 2B. But the price you have to pay to put 32 year-old Cano in your lineup erases all hope of upside in my mind for 2015, and probably beyond.
Kinsler actually had a pretty good 2014 season, going for 17 HR, 15 SB, 100 R and
92 RBI. There’s no doubt in my mind that his prior production justifies his selection as a top-five 2B pick, but I won’t be the one making it. Kinsler is 32, and his running is going to continue trending down. He has a history of being extremely breakable, but you’re going to have to pay for his one healthy season if you want him this year. Also, if you look at his ADP grouping, to grab Kinsler you’re passing up names like Marte, Holland, Cespedes, Kimbrel, Arenado, etc. I think all four of the guys in the Steals section above could be just as valuable, multiple rounds later.
Betts is going to be a stud. Eventually. I don’t think this is the year for him. Where is he going to play? The Sox have Pedroia at 2B, Castillo in CF, and Victorino in RF. They also have Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Brock Holt on the bench (for the moment anyway) so if you’re drafting Betts right now, you’re hoping an injury or trade occurs. I think he’s an elite talent, but the price tag seems awfully expectant for a guy who will probably struggle to see 500 at bats.
Until last year, Phillips had never hit under 18 HR or had less than 500 plate appearances since 2006, his rookie year. He’s been the model of consistency for his entire career, and one disaster season has him going virtually undrafted. I think that’s a mistake. The Reds should be better this season, with a healthy Joey Votto, Phillips, Jay Bruce, and possibly most important of all, Billy Hamilton. He’s a potential monster with no downside – check him out late in your drafts.
Despite having a rather unfortunate last name, Odor might just be in a great position to leave his investors smelling super fresh and clean. He’s not a BA guy, but has HR / SB combo skills, and with the injury to Jurickson Profar (season-ending) he’s got a full-time gig in Texas. He’s still just 21 and still getting stronger, but I believe a 12 / 12 season is well within his grasp with 500+ AB in Texas. He’s a strong deep-league pick, and definitely worth a late look in standard mixed leagues.
Average draft position (ADP) information is courtesy of FantasyPros and is aggregated from Yahoo, CBS, and ESPN draft data.