2016 Second Base Tier Rankings – May Edition

TIER ONE
Jose Altuve

Altuve isn’t just the best second baseman in fantasy baseball, he’s currently the most valuable overall player regardless of position. The soon-to-be 26-year-old already has seven homers and nine steals on the board, while hitting a robust .306/.404/.633. The power is the truly incredible part, seeing as he launched 36 total bombs in his first 668 major-league games.

Altuve’s walk rate currently sits at 11.4%, which even in a one-month sample is a huge improvement from last year’s 4.8%. Wrap your head around this one: Last year, Altuve earned 25 unintentional walks. Through one month of 2016, he’s already got 13.

Altuve was already the top fantasy 2B, and it’s staggering to see how much better he’s getting. I mean, the guy is about halfway to his HR and BB totals from last year after just 25 games. Oh, and he’s doing all this with a career-low .303 BABIP, despite career-high line-drive (30.1%) and hard-hit (32.5%) rates. Unreal.

TIER TWO
Ian Kinsler
Robinson Cano
Dee Gordon (SUSP)
Neil Walker

The season’s first month was vintage Kinsler. He’s hitting .313/.355/.475, he’s chipped in four homers and two steals, and thanks to his position atop Detroit’s powerful lineup, he’s got 21 runs — good for third place in the league. Kinsler should be good for an AVG around .300, he’ll continue to score a ton of runs, and he’ll make respectable contributions in the power and speed departments. Keep in mind that the 33-year-old finished hot last season — blasting eight of his 11 homers and hitting .325/.347/495 after the All-Star break — so his power surge might not be as fluky as it seems on the surface.

Gordon put his owners in an awfully rough spot, as evidenced by his 30% ownership drop on Yahoo. If you have deep benches, you can ride out his 80-game suspension. If you only have a few bench slots, is it worth burning a roster spot on a guy who will only play the season’s final two months? That’s a tough call.

I try not to overreact to one-month samples, but holy crap Neil Walker. The 30-year-old is loving life as a Met so far, as his nine homers are good for third place in baseball, trailing only Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story (and one ahead of Cano). Furthermore, I was high on Walker to begin with, projecting a top-ten finish at the position in my preseason Bold Predictions column. The Mets’ offense is really starting to click, so even though he won’t keep up this ridiculous level of power production, Walker should remain a steady source of runs and RBI. This is an aggressive ranking, and I realize that, but hitting nine homers in one month gets my attention every single time.

TIER THREE
Rougned Odor
Josh Harrison
Dustin Pedroia
Logan Forsythe
Daniel Murphy
Jason Kipnis
Jean Segura
Brian Dozier
Ben Zobrist

In Mike Podhorzer’s preseason player capsule on Odor, he said that “after his return from the minors, Odor intrigued us with his power, an improved strikeout rate, and a touch of speed.” One month into 2016, the 22-year-old has three homers, a 16.3% K-rate and four stolen bases. In other words, he’s doing the exact same things that intrigued Podhorzer at the end of last season.

You know what I see when I look at Odor from a fantasy perspective? I see a guy who looks an awful lot like a left-handed Ian Kinsler. Apparently, the Rangers see that too, as they recently moved him to the top of the lineup. Odor had a great April, posting top-five 2B value while batting mostly in the bottom third. I can’t wait to see what he can do as a leadoff hitter. This might be his last month in Tier Three, but he’s staying here until The Kinslerization Process is complete.

The fact that Forsythe isn’t universally owned blows my mind. The 29-year-old is slashing .337/.418/.593 as a leadoff hitter, with four homers and three steals. I feel like I’ve been pushing the Logan Forsythe Hype Train as hard as one reasonably can, but seriously, how is that guy still available in 30% of Yahoo leagues?

Dozier is in a serious funk, hitting just .184/.273/.327. While the 28-year-old does have a reputation as a streaky hitter, what concerns me is that he had a poor second half last year (read this piece by Brandon Warne for more on that). Dozier still hasn’t shaken off the slump that hit him last July, and when you’ve basically sucked for four straight months, it’s hard not to wonder what the career arc looks like from here. Just look at his slash line by month and tell me you’re not worried:

  • July ’15 – .206/.282/.433
  • August ’15 – .216/.275/.387
  • September ’15 – .197/.270/.295
  • April ’16 – .191/.276/.340

TIER FOUR
DJ LeMahieu
Joe Panik
Starlin Castro
Brock Holt
Anthony Rendon
Brett Lawrie
Derek Dietrich
Addison Russell
Brandon Phillips
Kolten Wong

Here’s where things get mediocre in a big hurry. I suppose Castro and Lawrie are both semi-interesting, and Russell would be if he wasn’t stuck in the bottom third of the lineup. I love Holt’s utility-knife qualities in fantasy, but he’s not a guy I’d be particularly thrilled with as my everyday 2B.

I expect some negative feedback based on how low I have Rendon ranked, but keep in mind that I never totally bought into him in the first place. He hasn’t homered since September 14, and his SB on Friday was his first successful attempt since August 22. He’s hitting .240/.305/.292 — with one measly RBI in the entire month — and the worst part is that I’m not surprised at all.

As I discussed last August, the 25-year-old’s most consistent skill is injuring his lower body. I revisited the topic last week, coming to the determination that Rendon has yet to do anything to lessen my concern about the possibility of a very early decline. I actually considered ranking him lower than I did. Maybe I’m still alone on the “Anthony Rendon is a significantly overrated fantasy commodity” bandwagon, but I suspect some of you are starting to agree with me. We’ll see.

Wong is already losing some playing time to Jedd Gyorko, and I’m not sure he’ll have a regular job at all when Jhonny Peralta returns, thanks to the emergence of Aledmys Diaz. I wrote about Wong last week, concluding that if given the chance, I think he would rebound. Unfortunately, he’s being outplayed by his teammates, and the Cards are trying to prove they’re still a playoff contender. I’m not sure how long Wong’s leash will be, with his slash line sitting at .232/.308/.232. I feel like I might be too low on him, but I’m also not comfortable placing him much higher right now either.

TIER FIVE
Javier Baez
Chase Utley
Scooter Gennett (+)
Devon Travis (+)
Howie Kendrick
Yangervis Solarte (+)
Jonathan Schoop
Cesar Hernandez
Chris Owings
Jedd Gyorko

Here’s a bunch of old guys, young guys and injured guys. Yep, we’ve officially reached the “he’s a guy” tier. You cannot deny that all of these names belong to professional baseball players who play — or have recently played — the second-base position. In fact, many — nay, most! — of them will continue to do so for some period of time. What a world.

Baez remains a Cubs injury away from getting enough playing time to be interesting. Kendrick has been hilariously bad, sporting a .143/.172/.143 slash, with big ol’ donuts in the HR, RBI and SB categories. His player profile claims that he is just one year older than I am, but he looks old enough out there to be my dad. I’ll pass on that, thanks. Gyorko is showing some signs of life, but his playing-time picture is murky.

This tier is so boring. I seriously just got super-bored looking at it. Chris Owings, eww. Jonathan Schoop, why? Moving along…

TIER SIX
Omar Infante
Cory Spangenberg (+)
Chris Coghlan
Johnny Giavotella
Marwin Gonzalez
Ryan Goins
Adam Rosales
Aaron Hill
Daniel Castro
Jace Peterson

If your league is deep enough for any of these names to be relevant, you might have crossed into “your league is too big” territory. Spangenberg is the only one of these names that I’m even remotely intrigued by, and he’s injured.

~

I didn’t have time to come up with a theme this month, so I’ll give you a bunch of random thoughts instead: I enjoyed WWE Payback — especially Jericho vs. Ambrose and Owens vs. Zayn — and am looking forward to attending the NXT show in Oklahoma City this Friday. I’ve been watching lots of NBA Playoff games, and the Warriors are so crazy-good that they still wipe the floor with their opponents sans Steph Curry. I’m becoming less convinced that the Spurs have any sort of realistic shot of beating them in the semis.

Four episodes into season two of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” I feel like the show is a bit more uneven than the first season, but has still generated some huge laughs (The “airbrushing pictures of hot chicks on the back of my truck” reveal absolutely killed me, for example). I’ve watched a couple of good movies on Netflix lately as well: “The Barkley Marathons” and “Honeymoon.”

I got pretty excited yesterday because I remembered that the tex-mex fast food place by my house has $5 SUPER NACHOS on Sundays. They were a letdown, and I’m not sure why I even bothered to mention them. They were just okay. The Cesar Hernandez of nachos, if you will.

We hoped you liked reading 2016 Second Base Tier Rankings – May Edition by Scott Strandberg!

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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.

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Moranall
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Moranall

Is it safe to assume Jean Segura will only show up in the SS post?