If you’d like to check out my tiered second-base rankings from last month, click here.
Rendon’s awful month of May sure does feel like it happened ages ago. Since the calendar turned over to June, Rendon has hit eight homers and stolen eight bases, with a .294/.353/.498 slash. He also leads the entire National League in runs scored for the season. Rendon is a true five-category fantasy stud, and moves up from Tier Two into Tier One this month.
Kinsler and Dozier both scuffled in July; Dozier struggled to the point that I felt compelled to write about his declining production. I noted in that piece that Dozier needed to make an adjustment to the fact that pitchers were throwing him more offspeed stuff than ever before, and it seems that he is doing so — he has eight hits and five walks in his last five games. I’m not particularly worried about either long-term, so they each only dropped a spot or two this month.
Harrison finally gained 2B eligibility in most leagues last month, so this marks his debut in my tiered rankings. There haven’t been many hotter hitters than Harrison over the last month. You want five-category contributors? Look at what Harrison’s done in the last 30 days: .309 AVG, 17 R, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 6 SB. On the season, he’s now the No. 9 fantasy second baseman, and that’s with 100+ fewer plate appearances than every single guy from No. 1 through No. 8.
Through the first three months of the season, Zobrist was barely holding onto a spot in the top 25 fantasy second basemen. It had been a full year-and-a-half since he had shown any power, and he had completely stopped stealing bases. So of course, pretty much right after I wrote my aptly titled article, “Stick a Fork in Ben Zobrist,” the 33-year-old had his most productive month since June 2012. I like to think that Zobrist read my article about him and used it as motivation to stop being so worthless in fantasy leagues. Whatever the reason, the guy had a great month, and thusly I have moved him all the way up from Tier Four to the top of Tier Three. Let’s not overreact though — this is the same guy that hadn’t even pretended to be a top fantasy 2B option in a long time before July.
Wong has been ridiculously awesome ever since returning from his shoulder injury. How awesome, you ask? .286/.310/.584, with six homers and seven steals in just 21 games, I respond. He’s your No. 2 fantasy second baseman of the last month, behind only Harrison. Read more of my thoughts on Wong here.
I really like Alcantara, and recently wrote him up.
Pedroia=UGH. Remember that piece I wrote about Zobrist being done? Let’s just pretend I wrote that about Pedroia instead. Even after his bomb last night, the guy has five homers and three steals. For the entire season. He’s still been getting on base, but he does literally nothing else for fantasy owners anymore. Not-so-fun fact: Pedroia is 3-for-9 on stolen-base attempts this year.
Ah, Tier Four. The “he’s a guy” tier. This is where we start getting into players that shouldn’t be sniffing a lineup in standard leagues. (Hey, you! Yeah, you. The guy in the 12-team mixer who’s still starting Martin Prado. FIND SOMEONE ELSE.) The players in this tier are fine if you’re an AL/NL-only player, or if you have a deep mixed league with a MI slot.
In many ways, Tier Five is far more interesting than Tier Four, if only because of its volatility. I view both Bonifacio and Gyorko as decent lottery tickets at this point in the season. Bonifacio will be used as a utility knife with the Braves, and should see plenty of playing time, allowing him to snag some steals. Gyorko hit .162/.213/.270 before hitting the disabled list with plantar fasciitis. Since his re-activation, he’s 8-for-21 with two homers, two doubles and three walks.
I’ve been the proud conductor of the Jordy Mercer Hype Train™ since last June. “The Mercernary” — as no one other than me likely calls him — got off to a slow start this season, but has really picked it up as of late. He’s hit .295/.342/.445 over the last two months. Feel free to board the Jordy Mercer Hype Train™ at your convenience, for The Mercernary is still lightly owned in fantasy leagues.
Bonifacio, Gyorko and Mercer all have the potential to out-produce the names in the tiers above them, but none is really more than the aforementioned lotto ticket. They’re the only ones in this tier that I’m touching with a ten-foot pole in a redraft league.
This Schoop situation is just getting worse and worse. The Orioles tried to give his job away to Ryan Flaherty, but Ryan Flaherty is Ryan Flaherty, and so now Schoop is back in the lineup. The 22-year-old is hitting .210/.248/.319, numbers that are actually trending downward after his atrocious .179/.191/.269 slash in July. He failed to draw a single walk between June 11 and July 27, while striking out 31 times. Schoop should absolutely not be in the majors right now, but instead of honing his craft in Triple-A, he’s starting nearly every day for the top team in the AL East.
Interestingly, for as much crap as Uggla gets (all of which is 100% deserved, because he got paid so much money to suck), he’s only No. 17 on the list of worst players by WAR in 2014, with his -0.9 WAR. The worst player in all of baseball this year so far was the Rangers’ Michael Choice, who managed to cost his team nearly two full games before being demoted in July. As for my personal “worst player of the year” pick, I’ve gotta go with Justin Maxwell, who needed just 45 plate appearances to compile a -1.1 WAR. That’s pretty amazing.
Scott Strandberg started writing for Rotographs in 2013. He works in small business consultation, and he also writes A&E columns for The Norman Transcript newspaper. Scott lives in Seattle, WA.