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We have moved on to second base week, with everything you need to know about the keystone coming over the next five days. In this space, you’ll once again find everything you need to know about early ADP trends as you start your preliminary draft preparation. As a reminder, this is pulled from the NFBC ADP data, and the average round is assuming a 15-team league. With that housekeeping out of the way, let’s dig into this extremely top-heavy position that appears to be on the rise.

The (Very) Early Rounds

The group of elite second baseman is rapidly growing…

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

1

Jose Altuve

HOU

4.50

1

2

Trea Turner

WAS

11.32

1

3

Brian Dozier

MIN

30.86

3

4

Robinson Cano

SEA

31.50

3

5

Daniel Murphy

WAS

35.45

3

6

Rougned Odor

TEX

39.77

3

Jose Altuve, Astros

The Astros superstar has a little more company atop the draft board at his position this year, as heading into 2016 he was one of two second basemen being selected in the top three rounds. He still managed to separate himself from the pack, though, as he’s moved up from the 12th pick to the 4th overall selection. It’s not hard to see why, with his elite batting average skill and the rare ability to steal 30 bases in his sleep. His power also took a big step forward last year, and that’s the one area of his game in which I’m a bit skeptical. I’m not sure I’d pick him quite this early, as I’m a little more sure of Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, but Altuve is an easy first-round pick and easily the best player at his position.

Trea Turner, Nationals

So, this is aggressive. Turner is clearly an extremely talented hitter and the reasons he is being drafted so aggressively are sound. This coming year will mark just his age-24 season, meaning theoretically his best days should be ahead of him. In just 73 games of major-league action he hit an astounding .342 with 13 home runs and a whopping 33 stolen bases. Prorating that over a full season would make him one of the best fantasy bats in baseball that plays an up-the-middle position. While Turner is certainly going to be a high-AVG player, I would think he’ll be closer to .300 over a full season rather than .350. The home runs came completely out of nowhere, and are no guarantee to be repeated. While the stolen bases are for real and he is certainly exciting, I’m not sure I’d spend the 11th pick on someone as risky as Turner.

Daniel Murphy, Nationals

At this time last season, Murphy was experiencing some helium based on a solid second half in 2015 followed by an absurd postseason run. The helium didn’t cause him to rise to an absurd extent, though, as he was being selected around the 170th pick at this time last year. Whoever made that selection was handsomely rewarded with a performance that has bumped the new Nationals start to a third round pick. On the one hand, Murphy is a regression candidate. His AVG is going to fall off from last year’s .347 mark, he’s probably not hitting 25 home runs again and reaching the 100 RBI plateau in 2017 is far from a guarantee. On the other hand, he’s always been a low-strikeout hitter and has knocked his rate below 10 percent in each of the last two years, so his AVG floor is relatively high. He’s also still in a good Nationals lineup and has changed his profile enough to believe in him being a 20+ HR hitter. His current ADP may be a tad high — he’s right in front of A.J. Pollock and Buster Posey — but in the context of his position it looks good.

The (Mildly Less) Early Rounds

Here are the solid, mostly reliable veterans…

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

7

Dee Gordon

MIA

47.36

4

8

Matt Carpenter

STL

70.55

5

9

Ian Kinsler

DET

75.59

6

10

DJ LeMahieu

COL

87.91

6

11

Jason Kipnis

CLE

95.59

7

Dee Gordon, Marlins

Here, we have our first second baseman who has fallen compared to last year’s ADP. Gordon was the one who joined Altuve at this point last year as a top-45 pick, and he was being selected all the way up at 19 overall. Then, 2016 happened. Not only did the Marlins second baseman miss half the year with a PED suspension, but he underperformed once he returned. He’s always built his profile on AVG, stolen bases and runs scored. While he still stole 30 bases in a half season, a falling BABIP led to a .268 AVG that was his lowest mark since becoming a full-time player. He did score 47 runs, though. All in all, Gordon could be a strong value here. Stolen bases shouldn’t be an issue, and with an expected bounce-back from Giancarlo Stanton he should score plenty of runs. It’ll all come down to AVG, and I’d anticipate him getting back to at least the .275 range.

DJ LeMahieu, Rockies

LeMahieu not only has one of the most difficult names to spell in all of baseball, he is also one of the most confounding. He was a riser at this point last year as well after his out-of-nowhere 2015, landing all the way at 148 heading into 2016 drafts. While some (myself included) saw massive regression in his future, he went out and hit .348 in 146 games. He got a huge assist from Coors Field, but that doesn't matter for fantasy purposes. He also scored 104 runs, and given his ability to get on base and the talent in Colorado’s lineup, that shouldn’t come down by too much next year. However, his stolen base total fell down to 11 last year after he swiped 23 bags in 2015. He also hit double-digit home runs for the first time in his career, and it’s hard to know what’ll happen to the dinger environment next season. If his AVG falls down to around .310 — which is where I’d expect it to be — I don’t think he’ll add enough value elsewhere to justify a selection quite this high.

The Middle Rounds

There’s a lot of AL East flavor hanging out in this small tier…

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

12

Dustin Pedroia

BOS

138.41

10

13

Ben Zobrist

CHC

159.95

11

14

Jonathan Schoop

BAL

178.14

12

15

Devon Travis

TOR

203.27

14

Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

It’s weird to think of a 33-year-old player as being on the rise, but coming off his best season since 2011 Pedroia is moving up draft boards. He was an elite run scorer, hitting triple digits thanks to leading off in a loaded Red Sox lineup. His low strikeout rate and line drive oriented swing also helped lead to a .318 AVG. The league-wide power surge extended to him, as he hit 15 homers for the first time since 2012. All of that, combined with health, led him to finishing as the seventh best 2B on ESPN’s player rater. Unfortunately, Boston’s lineup will take a hit from the loss of David Ortiz, and Pedroia can expect a little regression in AVG and HR based just on his age. His position among second baseman is about right, just don’t expect a repeat performance.

Jonathan Schoop, Orioles/Devon Travis, Blue Jays

There’s a lot in common between these two AL East second baseman aside from just sharing a division. Both were born in 1991, and both were hot late-round selections in drafts last year. While Travis has seen a larger rise than Schoop compared to last year’s ADP, they’ve both climbed the draft boards, just for different reasons. The latter finally realized his power potential in 2016, launching 25 home runs over a full 162 games. Given the power jump around the league this deserves some skepticism, but Schoop has always had this kind of potential. At the same time, he’s continued to buck the expectations of a deadly AVG, as his .267 mark was perfectly acceptable. If he can keep his AVG around the mark and continue to show off his power, you can expect his rise up draft boards to continue.

Travis, meanwhile, has built his reputation on a line drive swing that helps him put up .300 AVG’s on a consistent basis. However, nothing else is particularly exciting. His power is fine for a second baseman, but he didn’t experience quite the same jump as others at this position in 2016. He’s likely more of a 12-15 home run guy. Losing Edwin Encarnacion from his lineup will also hurt his run total, and he’s never stolen a ton of bases. If I’m betting on a young AL East second baseman in this range, I’m going with Schoop.

The Late Rounds

This group has everything you could want, except huge upside…

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

16

Starlin Castro

NYY

231.86

16

17

Neil Walker

NYM

247.69

17

18

Logan Forsythe

TB

247.77

17

19

Brandon Phillips

CIN

274.77

19

20

Josh Harrison

PIT

280.41

19

21

Cesar Hernandez

PHI

292.50

20

22

Kolten Wong

STL

320.27

22

23

Ryan Schimpf

SD

320.74

22

24

Joe Panik

SF

325.14

22

25

Howie Kendrick

PHI

339.75

23

Kolten Wong, Cardinals

No second baseman in baseball has seen a swifter fall from grace than Wong. At this time last year, he was looking like a rising star in a stable organization. Instead, his numbers fell off across the board. A falling BABIP led to a career-low .240 AVG. He hit only five home runs and stole seven stolen bases, which isn’t great even when you consider he played in just 121 games. His 39 runs scored and 23 RBI were even more distressing. The good news is he started to turn things around in the second half. His BABIP never climbed back up, and you’re probably looking at a .250-.265 hitter, but the rest should rebound in 2017. The 26-year-old should get every chance to take the everyday second baseman job for the Cardinals, and as long as you’re not expecting top-ten production, Wong could be a huge steal in the 22nd round.

Ryan Schimpf, Padres

Schimpf was one of the best stories in baseball last year. He wasn’t on anyone’s radar at this point last season, but he played well enough in 89 games to launch himself up to the end of drafts this year. Despite calling Petco Park home, the 28-year-old rookie launched 20 home runs

in a little more than a half season. It’s easy to expect 2016 to be a fluke, and there’s plenty of reason for it even beyond his odd age/lack of experience combination. He strikes out a ton, which will always limit his AVG. Plus, the Padres lineup should be dreadful this year, hurting Schimpf a ton in contextual numbers. Still, the power is for real and some positive BABIP regression could get him up to a .230-.240 AVG. I wouldn’t bet on that last part, but it could be worth the risk with a 22nd-round flier.

Howie Kendrick, Phillies

For a long time, Kendrick was one of the most dependable fantasy players around. He was never going to win you a league, but you could always count on him to give you a strong AVG with decent stolen base totals and decent power at a position that didn’t have much of it. Last year, the decline took full effect, though. While his power had been on a steady decline, he’d been able to maintain his AVG skills until 2016 when he hit just .255, 24 points lower than his previous career-low. Now with the Phillies, Kendrick is stuck in left field and shouldn’t be counted on for much of anything. The one positive about the 33-year-old is that he’ll be in a hitter’s park for the first time in his career. Still, he was already falling last year, and now he’s the last second baseman being drafted. Don’t be surprised if he’s in the undrafted category at this time next year.

The Undrafted

So, uh, I hope you like unproven youngsters or over-the-hill veterans

Rank

Player

Team

Avg. Pick

Avg. Round

26

Brett Lawrie

CHW

364.68

Undrafted

27

Raul Mondesi

KC

390.00

Undrafted

28

Whit Merrifield

KC

447.05

Undrafted

29

Scooter Gennett

MIL

459.00

Undrafted

30

Ozzie Albies

ATL

471.22

Undrafted

31

Chase Utley

FA

496.05

Undrafted

32

Jace Peterson

ATL

499.84

Undrafted

33

Jed Lowrie

OAK

508.11

Undrafted

34

Cory Spangenberg

SD

517.47

Undrafted

35

Derek Dietrich

MIA

539.79

Undrafted

The undrafted crop is weak at every position, but it seems especially so here. There really isn’t anyone overly exciting. Lawrie has certainly shown potential in the past, but he’s no longer a young phenom and he’s playing in a bad White Sox lineup. Chase Utley could be interesting in a deep league if given the right role, but he’s not even with a team at this point.

No, if I were looking at this crop I’d search for a few guys with some upside. Raul Mondesi isn’t going to hit much, but he should play everyday for the Royals given his glove and could swipe a ton of bags for an aggressive base running team. Cory Spangenberg lost his job to Schimpf, but the latter could easily regress and hand it right back. If you remember, Spangenberg was a popular sleeper heading into last season. Finally, Ozzie Albies is one of the best prospects at the position and could see time this year. He’d be a stash and you don’t know how much time you’ll get out of him, but he possesses the most upside in this group.