Entering the 2014 baseball season, Michael Beller and I had a Fantasy Debate on Sports Illustrated about which second baseman should be drafted first: Robinson Cano or Jason Kipnis?
But instead, it ended up being guys like Jose Altuve, Anthony Rendon and Brian Dozier atop the second base rankings. So what happened to those guys?
Where’d You Go, Cano? Did You Miss Kipnis?
Once Cano left Yankee Stadium to play in the cavernous Safeco Field, it was obvious his power numbers were going to dip some. But really, many of Cano’s home runs from 2013 would have been hit of Safeco Field, also, so I did not think the dropoff would have been that significant.
I was wrong. Cano went from 27 home runs in 2013 down to nearly half (14) last season, but we can’t really blame Safeco Field for that. He only hit five home runs outside of Seattle last year. We should blame the solid pitching and pitcher’s parks in the AL West, compared to the AL East.
The smart fellas over at FanGraphs pointed out that Cano’s power outage could be blamed on his age, as their “ISO Component Aging Curve” shows, in spite of their bad spelling. Jeff Zimmerman points out that Cano’s drop in bombs was age related, and it just happened to coincide with the fact that he changed teams. Going forward, Zimmerman also believes that the drop in power will also mean a drop in IBB (20 in 2014), and that could hurt his on-base percentage overall.
Now, let’s discuss Mr. Kipnis …
In our 2015 mini-mock for MLB.com, Kipnis went to Fred Zinkie in the middle of the fourth round and he expects Kipnis not to have two bad years in a row.
MLB.com’s Cory Schwartz thought Kipnis’ drop from the second round (2013) to the fourth round (2014) deserved a deeper look.
“Just to have a little fun with Fred’s rhetorical question, here are two Jason Kipnis stat lines?”
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG
129 500 61 120 25 1 6 41 50 100 22 .240
134 507 66 125 27 2 7 54 65 112 20 .247
“They look almost identical, right? The first one (129 games) is what he did this past season, total,” said Schwartz. “The second one (134 games) is his combined stats for the second halves of the 2012 and 2013 seasons. So maybe the answer is, 2014 **is** the real Jason Kipnis, and his first halves in 2012-13 (total .289-24-106 w/ 41 SB and 106 runs in 167 games) are the exceptions?”
The point here, for both Cano and Kipnis, is that maybe what we saw last year is what we should expect going forward.
2015 Second Base Rankings
These second base rankings are for standard Rotisserie formats for 12-team leagues that reward home runs, RBI, runs scored, stolen bases and batting average.
|1||Anthony Rendon, WAS||Keeps 2B-eligibility, with power and surprising speed|
|2||Jose Altuve, HOU||Reaches 1B regularly, steals 2B just as regularly|
|3||Robinson Cano, SEA||Age drops him out of the top two spots at 2B|
|4||Ian Kinsler, DET||Great Motown debut should have similar sequel|
|5||Jason Kipnis, CLE||Oblique injury limited him some, still a good gamble|
|6||Dee Gordon, LAD||On pace for 100 SBs in June, can win you a category|
|7||Brian Dozier, MIN||Ugly BA (.243) matched ugly 2nd-half (5 HR/5 SB)|
|8||Neil Walker, PIT||Get steals elsewhere and you’ll love Walker in ’15|
|9||Dustin Pedroia, BOS||Memories of yesteryear will get him picked earlier|
|10||Javier Baez, CHC||Usually improves in 2nd year at each level|
|11||Ben Zobrist, TB||Still eligible at 2B/SS/OF, TB offense should improve|
|12||Chase Utley, PHI||Former 30/20 guy is basically a 10/10 since 2009|
|13||Daniel Murphy, NYM||Murphy might be trade-bait coming off his best year|
|14||Jedd Gyorko, SD||Took a step back from ’13, but improved in 2nd half|
|15||Asdrubal Cabrera, FA||Earned 2B-eligibility, but hit just .233 in 2nd half|
|16||Martin Prado, NYY||Loses OF eligibility, but still a 2B/3B that can hit .280|
|17||Kolten Wong, STL||No one will expect a 20/20 season, but still helpful|
|18||Howie Kendrick, LAA||Despite drop in power, he still tied career-high 75 RBI|
|19||Arismendy Alcantara, CHC||Switch-hitter can flash power/speed in young lineup|
|20||Rougned Odor, TEX||7th among 2B in RBI (30) in 2nd half of 2014|
|21||Brandon Phillips, CIN||DatDudeBP averaged 19 HR since ’08, then 8 in 2014|
|22||Brett Lawrie, TOR||Good late-round gamble if he stays healthy|
|23||Aaron Hill, ARI||The roller coaster hitter is aptly named “Hill”|
|24||Scooter Gennett, MIL||Surprising .434 slug%, with an XBH every 11 plate app|
|25||Jonathan Schoop, BAL||At just 23 yo, a better wait-and-see Fantasy player|
|26||Nick Franklin, TB||Another 23 yo; Rays traded for him, hoping for pop|
|27||Mookie Betts, BOS||Might play in crowded BoSox OF, with 2B elig|
|28||Wilmer Flores, NYM||.267-4-13-15 in final 23 gms, should play SS for Mets|
|29||D.J. LeMahieu, COL||Big middle inf. in Colorado!?! Not much pop, tho|
|30||Omar Infante, KC||8th in RBI among 2B last season, first with KC|
These 2015 Second Base Rankings will get updated throughout the offseason, including after the winter meetings, up to spring training, so check back regularly. And let us know if you think why you think a player should be ranked higher or lower in the comments section below!
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.