(WTNH)–Here at SportzEdge.com, we love fantasy baseball.
Your boy started playing it back in 2000, when I was talking trash to my eighth-grade friends and declining trade requests for Preston Wilson. Ah, the good old days.
We can’t wait for the season to get here, but when it does, we know you’ve got to be prepared. That’s why we’re ranking the best players in the major leagues at each position. We’ve already ranked the pitchers, first basemen and shortstops. Now it’s on to second base:
1. Dee Gordon, Miami Marlins (.333 BA, 4 HR, 46 RBI, .359 OBP, 58 SB)
Still can’t believe the Dodgers shipped Gordon to the Marlins before last season, after a breakout campaign in which he made the All-Star team and infused L.A. with some much-needed young talent. Oh well–it was L.A.’s loss, as Gordon was even better in 2015, finishing first in the league in stolen bases and second in batting average.
2. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros (.313 BA, 15 HR, 66 RBI, .353 OBP, 38 SB)
The 5-6 dynamo remains a hitting machine for the Astros, finishing with 200-plus hits for the second straight year. If you approach fantasy baseball like former News 8 editor Cody Contois (God rest his soul), you’d average the 25-year-old Altuve’s 2015 production with his 2014 output, when he put up an absurd .341 BA and 56 steals. You really can’t go wrong with Gordon or Altuve.
3. Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners (.287 BA, 21 HR, 79 RBI, .334 OBP)
Now that that whole stomach parasite business is, mercifully, behind him, we think Cano is primed for his best season yet in Seattle. He played well after ridding himself of that, er–ailment–and finished with seven more home runs in 2015 than 2014. Don’t give up on Robby yet.
4. Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins (.236 BA, 28 HR, 77 RBI, .307 OBP, 12 SB)
After a red-hot first half of the season that culminated in his first-ever All-Star appearance, Dozier fell apart down the stretch, batting just .203 from July on. In the process, he watched his batting average plummet from the .280’s to .236. So, which Dozier will show up this year? We think it’ll be closer to the first half version, though average has never been his thing. He’s consistenly hit for power in his three-plus years in the bigs, so he’ll give you a nice boost in that category.
5. DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies (.301 BA, 6 HR, 61 RBI, .358 OBP, 23 SB)
LeMahieu emerged as an All-Star second baseman last season, and could be even better this year in the thin Colorado air. His on-base percentage ranks among the league leaders at his position, and his 23 steals were a nice bonus last year, too. We think he’s only on his way up, with a bigger role in the Rockies’ offense now that Troy Tulowitzki is gone.
6. Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers (.261 BA, 16 HR, 61 RBI, .316 OBP, 6 SB)
This is a ‘potential’ pick. We think Odor could be on the verge of breaking out this season, after his performance down the stretch and in the playoffs for the Rangers. The 22-year-old was a pest against the Blue Jays in the ALCS, and he was the one who scored on that unfortunate throw back to the pitcher that hit Shin Soo Choo’s bat in the ALDS. We think he’s also just love his name.
7. Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers (.296 BA, 11 HR, 73 RBI, .342 OBP, 10 SB)
It’s possible that the 33-year-old is on the downside of his career, but for all the negative talk surrounding Kinsler, he still hit .296 with 73 ribbies last season.
8. Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians (.303 BA, 9 HR, 52 RBI, .372 OBP, 12 SB)
Kipnis doesn’t have nearly as much power as guys like Dozier and Cano, but he might be the safest choice after the top four. He’s put up consistent numbers every year he’s been in the bigs.
9. Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs (.242 BA, 13 HR, 54 RBI, .307 OBP)
Russell qualifies as both a second baseman and a shortstop, and he’s actually ranked sixth on our shortstops list. We’re ranking him here based on potential–and the power numbers, which figure to increase this year.
10. Starlin Castro, New York Yankees (.265 BA, 11 HR, 69 RBI, .296 OBP)
Castro also qualifies as a shortstop, though he’ll probably play second base for the Yanks. Castro finally found his comfort zone towards the end of the year with the Cubs, when Joe Maddon moved him to second base but kept him in the startling lineup. The Yankees showed confidence in the 25-year-old by acquiring him for Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan, plus a minor leaguer. He’s got all the talent in the world, and proved it in Chicago, when he racked up 207 hits in 158 games in 2011. We think the even friendlier confines (for hitters) of Yankee Stadium will benefit him, too. Castro is a nice sleeper pick.
11. Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals (.264 BA, 5 HR, 25 RBI, .344 OBP)
Rendon was hurt for much of 2015 and only played in 80 games. But his 2014 production is enough to give you hope that he can produce for you at second base. He hit .287 with 21 homers and 83 RBI in 2014.
12. Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles (.279 BA, 15 HR, 39 RBI, .306 OBP)
Here’s our sleeper pick for 2016–Schoop smashed 15 homers in just 86 games last year, and hit 70 points higher than he did in 2014. We think Buck Showalter is grooming him for a big season, and could see him coming alive this year. Just make sure you have a quality backup in mind if this doesn’t work out.
13. Ben Zobrist, Chicago Cubs (.276 BA, 13 HR, 56 RBI, .359 OBP)
The 34-year-old should get consistent playing time, whether it’s at second base or in the outfield. He’s always been a solid offensive player, and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue that this season. Could be in line for an uptick in RBI and homers playing in Wrigley, with that supporting cast, which includes three players on this list.
14. Neil Walker, New York Mets (.269 BA, 16 HR, 71 RBI, .328 OBP)
He’s probably got the starting second base job sewn up for the Mets, though the team does have plenty of options in a crowded infield. You can make the case he should be higher on this list.
15. Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds (.294 BA, 12 HR, 70 RBI, .328 OBP)
At 34, Phillips is still one of the most productive second basemen in the game, though he could be heading for a decline in production soon.
16. Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals (.281 BA, 14 HR, 73 RBI, .322 OBP)
Kind of crazy that the 14th-ranked second baseman signed a $37.5 million contract, huh? That’s what an other-worldly October will do for you. We think Murphy could struggle in his first season in Washington, though, because he might press to try and live up to unrealistic expectations. We’ll see.
17. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox (.291 BA, 12 HR, 42 RBI, .356 OBP)
Pedroia’s power numbers have declined significantly as he had some injuries last year. He’s still only 32, so he should be in the prime of his career, and we think he’s capable of bouncing back in a big way–especially in that offense.
18. Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals (.262 BA, 11 HR, 61 RBI, .321 OBP, 15 SB)
The 25-year-old obviously isn’t a slugger, and he doesn’t steal a ton of bases, either. He’s got a decent on-base percentage, though, and works as a late-round solution at second.
19. Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Dodgers (.295 BA, 9 HR, 54 RBI, ,336 OBP)
Again, what a disastrous decision by the Dodgers to let go of the No. 1 guy on our list and go with Kendrick. If he’s your starting second baseman in fantasy, you’re either in a very deep keeper league or you’re doing it wrong.
20. Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (.289 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .325 OBP)
He only played in 28 games last year, but the 23-year-old is a hot prospect who could produce a breakout season.