This week we tackle second basemen from a Scoresheet perspective. As a reminder, our rankings are based on a continuing 10-team, 13 hard keeper league with two crossovers. If you are in an NL league, you might want to keep some bleach on hand to spritz in your eyes after reading this list, because it gets very ugly very quickly. The junior circuit is a little better, but there's still a pretty significant drop after the first half-dozen players. Tune in to the podcast for a more in depth discussion, but if you don't have one of the few stud (or stud-ish)second basemen, there might be some merit to the strategy of aggressively cutting your 2Bs and using your keeper slots elsewhere, since so few of the players seem to have upside, and the ones that do can likely be taken a few rounds into the draft.
American League Keepers
1. Robinson Cano (Overall Ranking: 1)
Cano is still the no. 1 at the position, but like your Orleans record, it may be time to head to the shop to see what else is out there. He's not leaving Seattle, his power is on the wane, and you're likely to get a haul from another team in your league, as he remains an upgrade at the position. We'd suggest exploring trading down here and see what else you can get elsewhere.
It's undoubtedly a surprise to see Altuve landing on this list behind people who remember Michael Jordan as a Bull, but for those who haven't already done a deep dive, remember three things. 1) 2014, while not impossible to repeat, was Altuve at the top of his game; 2) he lacks secondary skills to make up for the inevitable decline in batting luck, and 3) defense counts, and Scoresheet defense counts the most. Pedroia, for example, has about .20 points of defensive rating on Altuve, a difference massive enough to make up for most of the age gap.
Kinsler is likely a little lower on our rankings than elsewhere, but everything from Pedroia on is relatively close. There's a tier drop after this point, so you should decide whether you want to spend enough to end up at the top half of this position or not.
7. Rougned Odor (9)
That was a rough year on multiple levels for Scoresheet owners, who are now on the hook for burning multiple protection slots while waiting for Odor to return value. This ranking assumes that he will eventually do so; he still has a number of pathways to future success.
8. Brian Dozier (10)
Dozier seems like an excellent player to target in trade. While he isn't pushing your team forward at the position, he's close enough to an average Scoresheet starter at the position to trade your… well, we suggested Robinson Cano up there, didn't we?
9. Jurickson Profar (12)
We're skeptics, but generally believe that he'll still be a good enough player in his prime to suffer through 2015. It would be hard to imagine trading him for the kind of player you'd like to see come back in return.
10. Marcus Semien (16)
He should qualify at shortstop in relatively short order, but he won't be listed there at first. Certainly he's a borderline protect candidate, but his youth, versatility, and ability to draw a walk leave him on the right side of the line for us.
Below the Keeper Line
We see the appeal of keeping Nick Franklin, but he has little chance of being a player who pushes you towards a championship in 2015 or 2016. Asdrubal Cabrera now qualifies at 2B, but falls out of the keeper rankings on merit. Jonathan Schoop either stopped hitting in the majors, or he was never able to hit in the first place, either way, you don't need to keep him until he figures it out.
National League Keepers
We're on the record as relative fans of Neil Walker, as his mid-career cromulence allows him to straddle the Allegheny as the Colossus would over most of the second-base crop behind him.
3. Javier Baez (10)
Not the kind of player who you'd want to see third in any keeper ranking, even one restricted to Cubs. We thought the power would play quickly enough to make him worth starting, even with his strikeout rates. Oops. It can still happen, but you'll likely have to sit through a depressing year or two of poor play and blown keeper picks instead. Buckle up, as the destination should still be worth it.
4. Howie Kendrick (13)
He's fine. This is probably the lower end of his potential rankings, but he's really not great at enough Scoresheet things to stand out as a pick. We've seen the National League rankings, so he's better than your second baseman, but don't fry your laptop trying to trade up for him in the 14th round.
The defensive rankings should keep Phillips as a Scoresheet asset for a long time, even if they're no longer fully reflecting reality.
7. Chase Utley (17)
One of us suggested that he could potentially be below the cut line. He's solidly a keeper in our final rankings, but there's more downside here than the name recognition would indicate.
It would have been much more comfortable a conversation if he hadn't blown his rookie eligibility. We think there's enough talent here to make the keeper investment, but wouldn't argue with anyone who's gun shy. He should at least be a versatile Player-AAA resistance force in 2015.
10. Scooter Gennett (20)
We don't think he's the player he appeared to be in 2014, or in 2013, for that matter. A right-handed version of Scooter doesn't make the rankings, but as a lefty, he should be able to offer just enough value on the strong side of a platoon.
11. Kolten Wong (21)
See what we said about Gennett earlier. We really don't feel comfortable with protecting the 10th best second baseman in the less talented league, but he probably has just enough youth and just enough skill to not be a total black hole for most teams. We certainly wouldn't blame any player who prefers using the roster spot elsewhere or even trading the slot.
Below the Keeper Line
Jedd Gyorko is that right-handed player we've been warning you about this whole time. Did you see that twist coming? As with most people around these parts, we would rather play Deee-Lite than Dee Gordon (in fairness, we'd rather play Deee-Lite than most other things). Please thank Joe Panik for services rendered.