Second basemen had a surge in production league wide last year, and by some metrics, to unprecedented levels. By wRC+, 2016 was the most productive season for second baseman since 1924. By ISO and slugging, it was the most productive season for second basemen in baseball history. Second basemen had a .154 ISO in 2016, up from .131 in 2015, and 16 ISO points higher than 2004's .138, which ranks second at the position all time. They slugged .425 in 2016, also the highest ever at the position, and 12 points higher than 1930's .413 slugging, which ranks second. 2016's power output from second basemen eclipses even the height of the steroid era at the position.
Partially fueling this surge for league wide second base production was incredible seasons for players like Daniel Murphy, Jose Altuve, and Brian Dozier, who saw their production jump from 2015 to 2016 by 47, 27, and 20 wRC+ points, respectively. The adjusted wRC+ takes into account the league wide jump in power, which shows that those players had legitimate internal improvements in skill independent of league wide factors, such as a possible juiced ball. Murphy's 2016 156 wRC+ is tied with Jackie Robinson (1949) and Joe Morgan (1973) for the seventh-greatest offensive season for a second baseman since 1930.
Now, let's get to some splits discussion. Jose Altuve is one of my primary plays in daily leagues against average to below average left handed pitchers. Altuve made a swing adjustment in 2014 and has hit LHP to an elite 166 wRC+ (.956 OPS) since then with a .170 ISO. He also has 29 stolen bases off lefties in that time, which adds to that daily fantasy value. LHP are generally tougher to steal bases on, with a SB rate around 69%, compared to 72% for RHP. Altuve has been one of the game's most elite hitters vs left handed pitching over the last three seasons, ranking fifth in park adjusted wRC+, behind only Paul Goldschmidt, Nelson Cruz, Mike Trout, and Josh Donaldson.
Altuve is a better high-pitch hitter than low-pitch hitter. Altuve has hit .336 with a .501 slugging on high pitches since his 2014 adjustment, compared to .283 with a .401 slugging on low pitches, with high pitches defined as pitches in the top third of the strike zone or above the strike zone. Using Altuve against below average lefties who like to pitch up in the zone and have repertoires fit to pitch up in the zone is an excellent way to maximize his value in daily leagues. An example of this type of left handed pitcher is Hector Santiago, who threw 40% of his pitches at the top or above the zone, well above the MLB average of 31%, and had an ERA of 4.70 last year. I generally will use Altuve against most LHP, though, regardless of where they like to pitch.
Here are the best performers against right handed pitching and left handed pitching at second base over the last 2 seasons. I am transitioning to using park and league adjusted wRC+ in the table instead of OPS, which I used last week. wRC+ is very similar to OPS+, where 100 is MLB average. It gives a better idea of a hitter's skill set in a neutral setting.