2015

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.

Rk Player Notes
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

 
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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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