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Monday, January 25, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT PRIMER: SECOND BASE

We are up to the second baseman as we continue on with our positions draft primer where we identify which players we are targeting and which players we are avoiding this season. 

DRAFT PLAN:  Second base might pass shortstop now in terms of being the most shallow position in fantasy baseball now that Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor brought some big-time youthful impact to the latter spot.  The fact of the matter is that second base is what third base was a few years ago before that positions own explosion of young talent.  In other words this is an aging bunch that has more than a few injury and erosion questions outside of the top two guys Jose Altuve and Dee Gordon.  Both Altuve and Gordon are the real deal in terms of being young, superstar-type fantasy baseball impact players but both will cost a ton.  While we still stick to our mantra of using your first two picks on a five-tool outfielder and a slugging first baseman, we will make an exception for Altuve in Round 1 given his own five-tool monster ability at the most shallow spot on the field.  Gordon meanwhile is more a three-category guy who has to show he can hit for such a high average again.  We doubt he could with the latter and this will pass on his second round slot. 

SECOND BASEMAN WE ARE TARGETING

Jose Altuve:   There is simply nothing this 5-7 dynamo can't do as Altuve now includes double-digit home runs to go with his incredible runs scored, stolen base, and average numbers.  We said last season that Altuve was a first round guy and he showed in 2015 why that was so.  He is even more of a lock for the late first round again this season and is a guy we would take instead of a five-tool outfielder in Round 1. 

Rougned Odor:  There is a lot of hype surrounding the power/speed youngster which might make his draft price a bit too high for our liking but there is no denying the talent.  Once Odor worked through his struggles in them minors early last season, Odor came back to the Rangers and was a consistent top-10 fantasy baseball second baseman the rest of the season.  Major upside. 

Howie Kendrick:  Still not signed but Kendrick has long proved himself as a very good value play at second base who can help across the board. 

Starlin Castro:  I know Castro has been terrible at times over the last two seasons but a change of scenery could get him refocused.  Also Yankee Stadium is a nice landing spot for a hitter. 

D.J. LeMathieu:  Not sure where the draft price will fall here but LeMathieu can help in average, steals, and runs in Coors Field. 

Joe Panik:  The early finish to Panik's 2015 season will help keep his draft price down which is a jackpot for you.  This is a lock of a .300 average to go with developing power and good counting numbers. 

SECOND BASEMAN WE ARE AVOIDING

Robinson Cano:  While Cano got hot the second half of last season in hitting well over .300, his power was down for the second season in a row which coincides with his move to Seattle and giant Safeco Field.  Now in his mid-30's, Cano is heading in the inevitable wrong direction and is becoming more name value than someone who used to supply first round numbers.

Jason Kipnis:  It is always something with his guy.  Either he is hurt, his power drops, his steals drop, the sun is too bright, etc.  Kipnis can't seem to ever put it all together and the drop in steals was disheartening last season.  Don't buy the lofty average last season either as Kipnis got more than a bit of BABIP luck.  With health that is always dicey, Kipnis is a major headache. 

Brandon Phillips:  Sure it was a nice comeback season for Phillips in 2015 when we all wrote him off for good but that just sets him up to be a prime bust for 2016.  Now 35, Phillips could fall off the cliff at a moment's notice. 
 
Daniel Murphy:  Already the short burst of steals from Murphy are gone for good, his power remains only average despite his fluky postseason, and he remains in a prime pitcher's ballpark.  No thanks. 

Dustin Pedroia:  Been calling Pedroia a bust for two years now and he has fallen in line with that assessment.  Pedroia's slight frame has fallen apart with a slew of injuries like other former top All-Star second baseman with his same body type such as Carlos Baerga and Juan Samuel. 

Ben Zobrist:  A nice player for sure but Zobrist is a better real-life player then a fantasy baseball one as he no longer has shortstop eligibility and his steals are gone for good.  

 

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