Will the Real Cano/Kipnis, Please Stand Up? — 2015 Second Base Rankings

Jason Kipnis, 2014 Cleveland Indians Preview

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.

1Anthony Rendon, WASKeeps 2B-eligibility, with power and surprising speed
2Jose Altuve, HOUReaches 1B regularly, steals 2B just as regularly
3Robinson Cano, SEAAge drops him out of the top two spots at 2B
4Ian Kinsler, DETGreat Motown debut should have similar sequel
5Jason Kipnis, CLEOblique injury limited him some, still a good gamble
6Dee Gordon, LADOn pace for 100 SBs in June, can win you a category
7Brian Dozier, MINUgly BA (.243) matched ugly 2nd-half (5 HR/5 SB)
8Neil Walker, PITGet steals elsewhere and you’ll love Walker in ’15
9Dustin Pedroia, BOSMemories of yesteryear will get him picked earlier
10Javier Baez, CHCUsually improves in 2nd year at each level
11Ben Zobrist, TBStill eligible at 2B/SS/OF, TB offense should improve
12Chase Utley, PHIFormer 30/20 guy is basically a 10/10 since 2009
13Daniel Murphy, NYMMurphy might be trade-bait coming off his best year
14Jedd Gyorko, SDTook a step back from ’13, but improved in 2nd half
15Asdrubal Cabrera, FAEarned 2B-eligibility, but hit just .233 in 2nd half
16Martin Prado, NYYLoses OF eligibility, but still a 2B/3B that can hit .280
17Kolten Wong, STLNo one will expect a 20/20 season, but still helpful
18Howie Kendrick, LAADespite drop in power, he still tied career-high 75 RBI
19Arismendy Alcantara, CHCSwitch-hitter can flash power/speed in young lineup
20Rougned Odor, TEX7th among 2B in RBI (30) in 2nd half of 2014
21Brandon Phillips, CINDatDudeBP averaged 19 HR since ’08, then 8 in 2014
22Brett Lawrie, TORGood late-round gamble if he stays healthy
23Aaron Hill, ARIThe roller coaster hitter is aptly named “Hill”
24Scooter Gennett, MILSurprising .434 slug%, with an XBH every 11 plate app
25Jonathan Schoop, BALAt just 23 yo, a better wait-and-see Fantasy player
26Nick Franklin, TBAnother 23 yo; Rays traded for him, hoping for pop
27Mookie Betts, BOSMight play in crowded BoSox OF, with 2B elig
28Wilmer Flores, NYM.267-4-13-15 in final 23 gms, should play SS for Mets
29D.J. LeMahieu, COLBig middle inf. in Colorado!?! Not much pop, tho
30Omar Infante, KC8th in RBI among 2B last season, first with KC


2015 Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH

Starting Pitchers | Relief Pitchers

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!



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