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This is the second base edition of Welcome to Splitsville, where we discuss players at the position from both a daily and seasonal perspective. For an introduction and catcher week, click here. For first base week, click here.

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.

Vs. RHP (min. 200 PA)

Player

wRC+

ISO

BB%

K%

Matt Carpenter

148

.255

13.8%

20.2%

Trea Turner

146

.243

5.1%

19.4%

Daniel Murphy

142

.227

6.5%

7.9%

Robinson Cano

141

.221

7.6%

13.8%

Ryan Schimpf

139

.324

13.7%

29.6%

Derek Dietrich

133

.187

8.8%

19.6%

Jason Kipnis

133

.182

10.5%

16.8%

Jose Altuve

130

.167

5.5%

8.5%

Devon Travis

124

.168

6.7%

20.3%

Dustin Pedroia

118

.135

7.7%

10.2%

Joe Panik

117

.161

9.3%

8.3%

Ben Zobrist

116

.175

14.2%

10.8%

Jonathan Schoop

115

.214

2.8%

20.8%

Brian Dozier

114

.236

8.2%

20.9%

Neil Walker

114

.175

8.1%

19.7%

Ian Kinsler

113

.157

6.2%

14.9%

Logan Forsythe

111

.140

8.6%

20.8%

Rougned Odor

108

.233

3.7%

19.3%

DJ LeMahieu

107

.115

8.3%

14.8%

Kolten Wong

103

.143

8.3%

13.9%

Jean Segura

100

.135

4.0%

14.8%

Vs. LHP (min. 150 PA)

Player

wRC+

ISO

BB%

K%

Wilmer Flores

176

.330

6.1%

12.1%

Jose Altuve

155

.178

9.3%

12.9%

Ben Zobrist

143

.171

12.0%

14.4%

Logan Forsythe

142

.255

8.5%

18.3%

Javier Baez

133

.170

7.7%

19.2%

Ian Kinsler

130

.184

7.5%

12.8%

Brian Dozier

125

.263

10.4%

19.5%

Brett Lawrie

123

.196

5.4%

23.1%

Josh Harrison

115

.122

4.7%

14.5%

Neil Walker

115

.171

8.0%

12.7%

DJ LeMahieu

115

.122

12.0%

15.3%

Cesar Hernandez

114

.066

8.4%

20.0%

Daniel Murphy

111

.164

4.2%

10.1%

Jedd Gyorko

110

.169

9.4%

19.1%

Robinson Cano

105

.159

4.7%

16.7%

Rougned Odor

103

.190

4.1%

19.8%

Some thoughts on a few second basemen:

Robinson Cano had a big rebound season in 2016 after battling an illness in 2015. Cano had a stomach parasite, which badly hurt his strength and energy. Cano said there were days he played with hardly any strength and had very little appetite. His wRC+ fell to 116, his lowest since 2008, and about 20 points lower than where it usually sits. It rebounded back to 138 in 2016, and he narrowly missed hitting 40 HR. Cano's 39 HR was tied for the seventh-most by a second baseman in a single season in the live ball era, which dates back to 1920. What was even more impressive is that it was Cano's highest home run total of his career, noticeably more than any season in Yankee Stadium, a home run haven for lefties. Safeco Field in Seattle has historically been a difficult place to hit home runs; the ball seems to travel less there because of the weather. I prefer to use Cano in daily leagues on the road, like when the Mariners go to parks like Arlington, Rogers Centre, and Yankee Stadium.

I am probably one of the highest guys on Daniel Murphy in the fantasy industry. I wrote him up as my second basemen to target yesterday. I am a believer in his late-season 2015 mechanical changes unlocking one of the best hitters in the game. Those adjustments have been well discussed, but for those unaware of the details, he crouched down in a more loaded stance to generate more power from his lower body, got his front foot down earlier in his swing to help with his timing, moved closer to the plate to cover the outside part better while remaining quick enough to hit inside pitches, and started hitting the ball with authority, especially pull side. Murphy always had plus raw power and great bat to ball skills, and those mechanical changes really unlocked the power in games. He had the third highest OPS in baseball last year at .985, tied with Joey Votto, and the fourth highest wRC+. He doesn’t strike out much, which bodes well for a high batting average. Murphy's 9.8 percent K rate was tied for third lowest in baseball among qualified hitters last year. There wasn't a drop off after Murphy went around the league, either, with his second half OPS of .985 identical to his first-half OPS. He now has a .334 AVG and .585 SLG in his last 800 at bats dating back to August 2015, which includes the playoffs. Some regression from 2016’s .347/.390/.595 line is reasonable, but I really don’t expect huge regression from him in 2017. He is super legit, and his early ADP of 35 in seasonal leagues is too low for me. I value him as a second rounder.

I keep waiting for Ian Kinsler to have a decline season, but he just keeps producing. In fact, Kinsler's 2016 season was his best season since 2011 by wRC+, and the third best of his 11 year career. Kinsler hit 28 dingers after averaging 14 HR a year from 2013-2015. Part of that was the (possible) juiced ball, but he also had legitimate improvements in skill independent of league wide factors with his wRC+ rising to 123, nearly 20 points higher than it had been in the 4 seasons prior. He is a solid contributor in every category and should continue to score a lot of runs at the top of a good Tigers lineup.

Neil Walker, a switch hitter, starting crushing lefties last year. After producing a .078 ISO and 83 wRC+ from 2009-2015, Walker had a .280 ISO and 168 wRC+ (1.001 OPS) vs lefties last season. Walker changed his load from the right side of the plate, which he credits for helping him time up lefties better. I’m not ready to call Walker a lefty masher, but he’s probably an above average performer against them now for daily leagues. Walker’s main question mark in 2017 is his back injury and how he recovers from back surgery. His early ADP of 246, the 20th second baseman off the board, is too low for me in seasonal leagues and I like the value at that price. His back surgery is said to have a good success rate, and he flashed some potential skill improvements working with hitting coach Kevin Long.

Brian Dozier’s home run total from 2016 is historically great at the position. His 42 HR is tied for second most in a single season by a second baseman in the live ball era. His Statcast expected HR total based on his exit velocities and angles was 38 (via xStats.org), so maybe there is a little regression coming there next season. 38 HR is still enough to put him around the top 10 in home runs.

Logan Forsythe just got traded from the Rays to the Dodgers last night. The table above shows Forsythe as one of the best second baseman vs. LHP over the last two seasons. The Dodgers were the worst team vs LHP last year by wRC+ at a paltry 72, so Forsythe’s success against lefties might be an attempt by the team to improve there. Forsythe will be one of the better second base options in daily leagues when he faces average to below average LHP, especially in divisional games at Chase Field.

Rougned Odor’s value is greater in 5×5 standard leagues than most other formats. The reason for this is a miniscule walk rate cripples his on base percentage. Odor walked in only 3% of his PAs last year, the lowest in baseball for qualified hitters. His .271 batting average was good, above the MLB average BA of .255, but his .296 on base percentage was awful and well below the MLB average OBP of .322. Draft away in 5×5 standard, but I would be hesitant in other formats.

D.J. LeMahieu’s .388 BABIP was really high, and BABIPs that high are very difficult to maintain in the next season. But Coors Field is the best park for aiding BABIP, and LeMahieu’s contact quality was fantastic last year. Many of his batted balls are well equipped based on their velocities and angles to cut through a defense and find a hole. I don’t expect massive BABIP regression for him.

Jean Segura is another second baseman who made a mechanical adjustment and had his production surge in 2016. Segura lowered his hands when starting his swing, which helped him greatly increase his contact quality by being more efficient to the ball. His wRC+ jumped to an outstanding 126 in 2016, up from a brutal 65 in the previous two seasons. Segura is moving from Arizona, one of the best hitter’s parks, to Seattle, which has historically been a pitcher’s park. It might hurt his power output, but his Stactast exit velocity/angle expected HR total from last season was 24, four more than he actually recorded. Maybe the HR regression won’t be too big? Segura will be playing SS with the Mariners, but will have 2B eligibility in most formats.

Wilmer Flores has been the best second-base-eligible hitter vs. LHP over the last two seasons with a wRC+ of 176 and an ISO of .330. Watching Flores on a regular basis, he’s a good mistake pitch hitter and a lot of his home runs come on “dick-high fastballs,” as BP’s great prospect writer Jeff Paternostro often points out. I do not expect anywhere near this level of production against lefties to last long term, but Flores is probably a good bet to remain an above average hitter vs. lefties.