A look at the top 15 fantasy second basemen options for the 2015 MLB season.
15. Martin Prado, Miami Marlins
15. Martin Prado
Prado was struggling in Arizona before getting traded to the Yankees at the deadline last season. He upped his line from .270/.317/.370 in his 106 games in Arizona to .316/.336/.541 in 37 games in New York. In his short time with the Yankees, Prado hit seven homers compared to just five with the Diamondbacks, giving him his sixth straight season with double-digit home runs. Now with the Marlins, Prado will spend most of his time at third base with the addition of Dee Gordon at second, but he’s eligible at both, which is helpful for fantasy owners.
14. Ben Zobrist, Oakland Athletics
14. Ben Zobrist
Zobrist’s multi-position eligibility is a big boost to his fantasy value. Though he predominantly played second base in his final year in Tampa, he also played 54 games in the outfield and 31 games at shortstop, making him eligible at both. Zobrist’s home run numbers have slipped after two straight 20-homer seasons in 2011 and 2012, but his other numbers are solid enough. Along with just 10 home runs last season, he hit .272 with 83 runs, 52 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. Age is a factor for Zobrist at 34, but he still has value.
13. Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies
13. Chase Utley
Utley was back to All-Star status in 2014 for the first time since 2010. After playing in just 83 games in 2012, Utley took the field for 155 games last season. While 30-home run seasons are a thing of the past, Utley still offers strong fantasy numbers. Last season he reached 70-plus RBIs and runs for the first time since 2009 — the last time he had a 100-run season. At 36, Utley’s best days are behind him, but if he can stay healthy he can be a reliable fantasy option.
12. Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates
12. Neil Walker
Walker had arguably the best season of his career in 2014. After seeing a consistent increase in home runs each season from 2010 to 2013 (jumping from 12 to 16), he hit a career-high 23 homers last season. He matched that with his best run and RBI totals since 2011 with 74 and 76, respectively. Injuries have plagued Walker the past three seasons, though. He hasn’t played in more than 137 games since 2011. At 29, Walker’s right in his prime, so if he can stay on the field, he should be in for another dependable season.
11. Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Dodgers
11. Howie Kendrick
After spending his first nine seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Kendrick has made the move to their crosstown rivals. Kendrick notched a career-high 181 hits last season after eclipsing 600 plate appearances for the first time since 2010. Though Kendrick doesn’t provide much power, he can fill out the stat sheet elsewhere. He tied a career high with his .347 OBP and hit .293 with 85 runs, 75 RBIs and 14 stolen bases last season.
10. Dee Gordon, Miami Marlins
10. Dee Gordon
He’s got a need for speed. Gordon led the league with 64 stolen bases and 12 triples in 2014. While most leagues don’t count triples directly, the three-baggers will certainly help him score runs in his first year at Marlins Park. If Gordon is able to maintain his .289 average from last season, he should be able to up his 92 runs at the top of a young and blossoming lineup.
9. Daniel Murphy, Mets
9. Daniel Murphy
Murphy continues to be an underrated fantasy player despite being fairly consistent across the major categories. He dropped off from his 2013 career highs in runs (92), RBIs (78), home runs (13) and stolen bases (23), but he also played in 18 fewer games. Murphy has hit at least .286 each of the past three seasons, which is one of his biggest assets.
8. Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals
8. Kolten Wong
After a slow start to his rookie 2014 season that led to a demotion from late-April to mid-May, Wong rebounded by hitting .333 in May. But he then wound up on the disabled list in June. Wong demonstrated his potential in the final three months of the season. He hit 11 of his 12 home runs in that span and bumped his average from .228 at the end of June to .249 at the end of the season. Wong was consistent on the base paths, though, swiping 20 bases last season. If the power he displayed in the second half sticks around, he could become a 20-20 guy.
7. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
7. Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia is coming off his worst career season after battling a wrist injury that lingered all season and eventually ended his year early when he was forced to undergo surgery. Last season was the third straight year Pedroia needed surgery on his wrist or hand. The 31-year-old has never been a big power threat, but his home run numbers have dwindled below double digits for two straight seasons. It’s the single digit steals from 2014 that are of greater concern after he had at least 17 steals in five of the six previous seasons. Combine age and injuries, and those numbers are sure to stay down. The .299 career hitter hit .278 last season, but if he’s healthy that should inch closer to .300.
6. Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians
6. Jason Kipnis
After an All-Star season in 2013, Kipnis was one of the bigger fantasy disappointments of 2014. His numbers dropped across the board in all of the major fantasy categories (.240, 6 HRs, 22 SBs, 41 RBIs, 61 Rs). But he was limited to 129 games because of an oblique injury, which could’ve contributed to his demise. At 27, Kipnis can still rebound if he’s healthy.
5. Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins
5. Brian Dozier
It doesn’t seem like Dozier is going to be able to improve his career .241 average all that much at this point (he hit .242 last season), but at least he’s made strides with his OBP. In his third year in the league, Dozier reached a career-best .345 OBP, after increasing his walk rate to 12.6 percent. Dozier, 27, is yet another power-speed threat. He reached career highs in home runs (23), stolen bases (21) and runs (112) last season. If he can continue to be a 20-20 player who scores 100 runs, his down average can be forgiven.
4. Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers
4. Ian Kinsler
It seems like the 20-20 days are over for Kinsler, who was shy of 20 in both homers and stolen bases each of the past two seasons. The 32-year-old did keep his average slightly above his .273 career mark, but his OBP dropped to a career-low .307 in 2014. On the bright side, Kinsler has managed to maintain a low strikeout rate — just 10.9 percent last season — and he scored 100 runs for the fifth time in his career. If he can get on base at a better rate, those 100 runs could be even higher with the help of a loaded Tigers’ lineup.
3. Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals
3. Anthony Rendon
Rendon played the majority of his 153 games last season at third base after Ryan Zimmerman landed on the disabled list, but after starting the season at second base and logging 28 games there, he remains eligible at each position. It’s a nice plus for fantasy owners after the 24-year-old’s breakout 2014 campaign. Rendon led the NL with 111 runs scored, and at the top of a deep Nationals’ lineup, that should only continue. Rendon also surprised owners with 17 stolen bases last year, after swiping just one base in 98 games the year before, giving him 20-20 potential this season.
2. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
2. Jose Altuve
Altuve has always been a speed/average guy, but last season he took that to a new level. Altuve, 24, won the AL batting title with a .341 average and reached 200 hits for the first time in his career. His increased OBP helped him swipe a career-high 56 bases, which also led the AL. It’s hard to expect a repeat performance but his 162-game averages of a .302 batting average, 41 steals and 80 runs are nothing to scoff at.
1. Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
1. Robinson Cano
Cano’s power dropped off substantially in his first season at Safeco Field as he finished the year with just 14 home runs. He had hit at least 25 home runs in each of the previous five seasons, playing his home games at lefty-friendly Yankee Stadium. Despite the dip in power, Cano hit above his .310 career average at .314 and racked up double-digits in steals for the first time in his career with 10. He also finished in the top 10 among second basemen in RBIs and runs with 82 and 77, respectively.