It may not seem this way to a traditional fantasy owner, but for Scoresheet owners concerned with defense and playing time, second base offers an abundance of riches right now. Just about every team in every type of league should come into the season feeling confident in their up-the-middle strength. The sturdiness of the position and lack of extreme star talent will also make it difficult to improve your station here, or to use the positional depth to execute trades.
As always, these ratings are based upon a standard, ten team continuing league, and players who can play multiple positions are being evaluated as a second baseman alone.
1. Rougned Odor (Overall Ranking: 1)
2. Jose Altuve (2, NL Ranking: 1)
3. Robinson Cano (3)
Perhaps a bit controversially, we’d take Odor as our most-valuable second baseman, even with some stars on the board and with his poor range rating and the hidden cost of his error-making. There are precious few players in the league that both have this strong a floor and a ceiling as high as Rouggie, and they are also among the most valuable players in the game. Altuve and Cano are no slouches, certainly, and you’ll be delighted with either one.
4. Jason Kipnis (6)
5. Brian Dozier (7)
6. Dustin Pedroia (8)
A tier down from the stars of the position, these are all players who push you towards a pennant. We expect Pedroia to be most likely to have the best 2016 once fielding range is including, which may mean that we are underrating him slightly based upon his relative age.
The greatest mysteries of the AL rankings fall here. Travis outperformed even our relatively optimistic expectations, but that may also mean he is due for some regression, and the injuries are mounting. Profar wasn’t necessarily as great a Scoresheet prospect as he was considered in his heyday, but he’s older now, and has shown a lot of friskiness in the Arizona Fall League. He may no longer have a position, but rebuilding owners should stick with him or target him using the threat of reduced 2016 playing time and his veteran keeper status, and let the Rangers figure it out down the line.
Kinsler is certainly the class of this tier in 2016, and his always strong fielding range should help him maintain keeper status for longer than he otherwise would. We usually recommend thinking before keeping the 10th-best player at a position, but Forsythe should hold some of his gains, and Schoop offers upside and consistent playing time. Lawrie is a borderline keeper, but should have positional flexibility—NL crossover owners can finally give up the ghost.
Below the Keeper Line
Starlin Castro isn’t an AL keeper decision, but the National League is even deeper. He may be worth keeping as a shortstop, but he likely won’t hit enough to be your starting second baseman. Brock Holt certainly is versatile enough to stick, however, in most leagues, he won’t be a strong enough offensive asset to hold the strong side of a platoon at any position. Johnny Giavotella is stretched at the position, and is more likely to lose his job before the offseason ends than to improve his status.
1. Addison Russell (Overall Ranking: 4, AL Ranking: 4)
You shouldn’t play Russell here, but he still has the versatility to be ranked as a second baseman for another year, at which point he’ll conveniently forget how to play the position.
2. Anthony Rendon (5)
With Rendon’s talent, we can’t conceivably drop him any lower than this, but frankly, we’re terrified.
3. Ben Zobrist (9, AL: 7)
We wouldn’t pencil him into your 2018 lineup just yet, but Zobrist remains a top-flight player at the position, and now a guaranteed crossover keeper as well.
LeMahieu’s value craters the second he loses the purple trim, but we don’t see him as particularly likely to leave anytime soon, and the fielding range boost is wonderful.
10. Kolten Wong (21)
We remain skeptical of Gordon, but a 4.34 fielding-range rating papers over quite a bit of offensive regression. Murphy should be your third baseman, and if you were considering playing him at second, it’s probably worth trading him to another team for somebody ranked more highly on this list.
11. Dilson Herrera (22)
Herrera is the killer rebuild special. He’s lost his rookie eligibility, but he’s likely too valuable to end up back in the draft pool. If you’re a team with available keeper space on the prowl for young talent, you should take advantage of the situation.
12. Howie Kendrick (23, AL Ranking: 12)
We’re not sure where to put Kendrick, who doesn’t count as a crossover this year. No matter which league you’re in, however, you have a more talented and likely younger starting second baseman, making Kendrick an incredibly borderline protection candidate.
Below the Keeper Line
We’re relatively high on Scooter Gennett to bounce back and also provide massive platoon splits, but even a comeback doesn’t leave him with enough offensive potential to excite. Brandon Phillips had a great Scoresheet run, but the bat is shot and his once-great fielding has fallen to above-average. Wilmer Flores doesn’t offer enough upside with the bat or glove to be worth keeping through his upcoming year as a Mets backup. Kiké Hernandez is an intriguing draft candidate, but as a keeper, the likelihood of offensive regression is too strong for him to be interesting.
About the Podcast
Anyone tuning in to hear us discuss second basemen should be in for a surprise this week, and everyone else is in for a treat. Instead of our regularly scheduled position chat, we’ve brought in special guests Nate Stephens and John R. Mayne to discuss Scoresheet’s annual offseason mock draft. Always a good time, this podcast is especially useful to people looking to understand the philosophy behind player evaluation. For anyone interested in extending the conversation further, you can use or download the Mock Draft rankings to follow along, or sign up for the Mock Draft Yahoo! group to read the valuable behind-the-scenes chatter.