At the height of the steroid era, second base was as deep of a fantasy position as there was. There were plenty of starters to go around, and the keystone position was no longer a place where it was ok to skimp on power.
But now that baseball is back to taking place in the real world instead of a chemistry lab, the bar has been lowered for second basemen back to a reasonable level, and despite the lack of bulky home run hitters, there are still plenty of good choices.
1 – Robinson Cano – Far and away your best option, and even among the top tier, it’s not close. He could easily have his own tier and should go in the first round of most drafts.
2 – Dustin Pedroia – I’m not worried about his drop off last season. Pedroia played through injuries and it hurt. He’s still going to give you a solid power/speed combo and have plenty of RBI’s.
A Notch Below
3 – Ian Kinsler – The batting average may have suffered a little bit, which knocks him out of the top tier, but as long as he’s still hitting atop the Rangers lineup, he’ll score a ton of runs. He still hits plenty of home runs for a second baseman and steals plenty of bases as well.
4 – Ben Zobrist – If you’re in a league that uses on-base percentage or OPS instead of batting average, Zobrist jumps over Kinsler and up into the top tier. Otherwise, he’s still a solid option because of his power numbers hitting in the middle Rays lineup, and gets bonus points because of his positional versatility.
5 – Rickie Weeks – He’s not gonna bat .229 again, but he’s not going to hit .300 either. Still, those power numbers are a nice bonus to get from a second baseman, and he’s a run producer at a weak position.
6 – Brandon Phillips – The Reds second baseman doesn’t produce the way he once did, but he still puts up solid numbers as a part of a potent offense. That’s always a good combination.
7 – Jose Altuve – The smallest player in the majors has established himself as a .300 hitter and a legitimate base stealer. He won’t score a ton of runs atop the Astros putrid offense, but he’ll still score his fair share. Just don’t expect any power.
8 – Aaron Hill – Will he hit .300 again? If so, he moves up this list ahead of Weeks, Phillips and Altuve. If not, this seems about right.
9 – Jason Kipnis – Is he ready to take the next step and become the Indians best hitter?
10 – Neil Walker – The Pirates second baseman isn’t flashy and won’t carry your team, but he’s a steady performer and as long as he’s hitting behind Andrew McCutchen, he’ll get some RBI’s. The guys in the next category may out-perform Walker, but they’re a much bigger risk. Few of the guys on this list are as much of a sure thing to hit their marks as Walker, and in the fantasy world, that’s a nice security blanket to have.
Your Guess is As Good As Mine
11 – Chase Utley – Is this the year he actually plays close to a full season? Even if he does, his years as the game’s best offensive second baseman are behind him, but if he plays every day, he can still be valuable.
12 – Dan Uggla – He’s not really going to hit .219 again is he? Even if he hits .250 he should hit plenty of home runs, but he could also completely implode again. Draft him at your own risk.
13 – Danny Espinosa – The Nats second baseman should get you 20 homers and 20 steals, but he’ll probably kill you’re batting average in the process.
14 – Howie Kendrick – People keep waiting for him to win a batting title, but it’s not looking too likely these days. Hitting in the Angels potent lineup gives him some potential, however, especially if he somehow lands in that coveted two-spot.
15 – Jeff Keppinger – Keppinger may not play too much second base with the White Sox, but if he gets a 2B rating based on his play last season, he could be a nice option, especially if you change your lineup on a daily basis and watch for pitcher/hitter matchups. If you start Keppinger against lefties, you’ll get rewarded.
Note: Keep your eye on Josh Rutledge when he gains 2B eligibility.