Thursday, February 11, 2016


After fooling themselves for a few weeks in thinking they could go into the 2016 season with the finished Chase Utley starting at second base, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally relented and came to terms with Howie Kendrick to return to the team. As a result, Kendrick will be the everyday starter at second base over Utley and thus he will once again serve as one of the best-priced options at the position for fantasy baseball.  As always, let's dig in a bit more and find out what Kendrick could provide to his owners in 2016.

We have been one record for years now regarding how good of an annual value Kendrick is for those looking for a cheaper second base option in fantasy baseball.  Kendrick serves as the epitome of a guy who helps across the board but who doesn't excel in any one category either.  Players like this usually fall through the draft cracks however and Kendrick has been such a guy going back to his early days with the Los Angeles Angels.  While Kendrick never became the batting champion many predicted he would be, he instead has developed into a nice ROTO player, with more of the same on tap for the 2016 season.  Before we go any further, let's revisit what Kendrick accomplished last season to earn a return to the Dodgers.

9 HR
54 RBI
64 R
6 SB

Again solid but far from spectacular numbers from Kendrick who likely would have done a bit better if not for injuries only allowing him to accumulate 495 at-bats.  The year prior in 2014 with 674 at-bats. Kendrick hit .293 with 7 home runs and 14 stolen bases.  So basically what we have here with Kendrick (who turns 33 in July) is a guy who is a lock for a good batting average between .290 and .310, to go along with 60-plus runs and RBI which is a nice total at second base.  While Kendrick is notoriously impatient, he has posted very good K Rates throughout his career, while also staying well ahead of the BABIP curve (.347 and .342 the last two seasons).  Kendrick has good speed which helps in the BABIP area and also results in around 7-14 steals which again is good but not great.  At a soon-to-be 33 though, Kendrick's 6 steals last season could be a sign he might be losing the wheels a bit.  Finally, Kendrick has generally been good for 7-14 home runs as well but he has failed to reach double-digits in three of the last four years.  That means Kendrick should be projected around the 7-9 range which is a bit light but that goes right along with the annual yield of numbers from the veteran.

When you put it all together, Howie Kendrick should be there on the border of everyday usage in 12-team mixed leagues due to his steady consistency and durability.  The steals could be on the way out which lowers the statistical impact a little but Kendrick is still a very good late round buy as a "stick him in and never worry about the guy" pick this season.

2016 PROJECTION:  .295 8 HR 59 RBI 66 R 8 SB 


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