2015 Fantasy Baseball Second Base Rankings: Altuve on Top

The diminutive Altuve dominated the base paths in 2014. Who follows him in our projections?

Entering 2014, the familiar name of Robinson Cano topped numberFire’s list of second basemen. After putting up the type of production we have come to expect from used to from him, Cano finds himself near the top of our projections to begin the season once again.

In fact, there was a fair amount of consistency from last year’s top 10 list to this year’s. There are only four new faces on this list compared to last year, with Martin Prado and Ben Zobrist just missing the top 10 (they are 11th and 12th, respectively), and Matt Carpenter no longer having second base eligibility after a full season at third.

If you are looking for power, that will likely be coming from other positions once again this season. Second basemen are rarely noted for their home run hitting ability, given the nature of the stature required to field at second, and only one player on this list is projected to meet the 20-homer threshold. Still, there is versatility to be had on this list, as every one of the top-10 projected second basemen is tabbed to reach double-digit steals while providing good averages and run-scoring ability.

The following list is based on our system’s projections for each player and their given “numberFire score.” This measure takes into account each player’s projected production across the standard 5x5 categories and adjusts the value based on fielding position.

Let’s take a look at what our numbers have to say.

1. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros


Altuve entered 2014 as the ninth-ranked second basemen according to our projections, but he has jumped to the very top of the list after a monster season. Luckily for fantasy owners, his defensive deficiencies do not hurt his draft value, and instead owners stand to reap the reward of Altuve’s tremendous speed and strong ability to hit for average. His BABIP jumped to .360 this past season despite maintaining very similar LD/GB/FB rates from 2013 to 2014. So, don’t spend an early pick on Altuve expecting his .341 average to return in 2015, but his speed makes him an exceptionally valuable option at second.

2. Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals


Coming off of a strong rookie campaign in 2013, Rendon showed he was worth the hype last season. He provided a near 20-20 home run-steal combination, while also leading the National League with a whopping 111 runs scored. Rendon is slated to hit second once again in a potent Nationals lineup, and we have him tabbed to repeat his strong overall productivity from 2014.

3. Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners


The king stays the king. Well...almost. Baseball fans are used to seeing Cano atop second base rankings, and he is undoubtedly one of the finest players at his position. However, Cano’s move from the lefty-friendly Yankee Stadium to his current home ballpark of Safeco Field may have removed him from fantasy’s elite options. After five-straight season of 25-plus home runs, Cano hit just 14 last year. It was not entirely the fault of his new stadium, as Cano was putting the ball on the ground more than he has in the past, but there is still plenty of production left to make Cano a viable second rounder regardless.

4. Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers


Like Cano, Kinsler has been making appearances near the top of second base rankings for some time. He turned in a 5.4 fWAR season in 2014, his first in Detroit, and leading off in the Tigers dangerous lineup allowed Kinsler to reach triple-digit runs scored. Our algorithms have him pegged as one of the more versatile options at the position, as he provides a modest dose of power and speed to go along with his elite run-scoring production.

5. Dee Gordon, Los Angeles Dodgers


Gordon was one of last season’s true breakout players. After splitting time between AAA and the big league roster in 2013, Sweet Dee showed he was here to stay after lighting up the base paths for the Dodgers last year. He swiped 64 bags last year, and we’re projecting another season above 50 for him in 2015. His .289 average from 2014 may be a bit above his expected capabilities, and he may fail to repeat his 92 runs scored as a member of the Marlins, but if you want an elite set of wheels, look no further.

6. Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins


Our algorithms project Dozier to provide an intriguing combo of homers, runs, and steals once again in 2015. He will not be of service to you in the batting average department, but sometimes you have to give to get. With Dozier, you are getting a whole lot. I am dubious as to whether he can repeat his 112 runs scored, and the projections seem to agree, but Dozier remains a strong option if you are willing to take the hit in average.

7. Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians


I wrote extensively about Kipnis’ abysmal 2014 season in the offseason. If you want the quick-and-dirty version, I don’t think it was a complete fluke. His breakout 2013 season was supported by strong production against left-handers, something Kipnis has not provided in any other season of his career. I am not suggesting he is bound to repeat his nightmarish 2014 season, but don’t expect his 2013 level of performance to return. The algorithms agree with the notion, projecting Kipnis to find something of a middle-ground between the two campaigns.

8. Daniel Murphy, New York Mets


While the lineup around Murphy was not great last season and will not be once again this season, he still finds a way to produce solid fantasy numbers. He likely won’t reach 90 runs scored or see 20-plus bags like he did in 2013, but nobody would complain about a repeat of his 2014 season. Murphy provides strong all-around production at a fairly minimal draft-day cost.

9. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox


Gone are the days of Pedroia being considered a top-flight second base option, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t carry significant value. He was relatively banged-up last year, hurting his stolen baseball (and overall) production, but he is slated to hit second in a potentially very potent Red Sox lineup. If he can remain healthy, Pedroia stands to score plenty of runs even if his ISO is likely to sit near .100.

10. Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals


Wong was a solid contributor in 2014 after not being considered much of an option on draft day. He did not score many runs, but he provided a cheap combo of modest power and speed which the algorithms like him to repeat in 2015. Unfortunately, Wong will likely assume a spot in the bottom-third of the Cardinals lineup, limiting his upside, but he does not cost an early pick in fantasy drafts.

Click here for the rest of the second base rankings.