The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty League Second Basemen, Nos. 21-50
From the 21st of January to the 20th of February, the writers at TDG will be taking you through our rankings position-by-position. As I mentioned in the primer, this year we’re doing things a little differently. Instead of having my personal rankings up on this site, like last year, these rankings for 2014 are of the consensus variety and being brought to you by all of the TDG staff. Everyone put a lot of work into this project, so we hope you enjoy the end result. And if you are looking for my personal dynasty league rankings, you can find them this off-season at Baseball Prospectus.
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And now the remaining 30 of the Top 50 Dynasty League Second Basemen, led off by a prospect who deserves more love in fantasy circles than he’s currently getting (unless you were at the Futures Game):
21) Arismendy Alcantara, Chicago Cubs (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
Alcantara makes his debut on these rankings after hitting .271/.352/.451 in 571 Double-A PA last season and is now universally considered a Top 100 prospect. With his plus speed, solid hit tool and understated power, he could have a lengthy career as a Top 10 fantasy second baseman. An MLB debut near the end of 2014 would be unsurprising as the Cubs begin their youth movement.
22) Omar Infante, Kansas City Royals (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 20)
Infante picked an excellent time to have the best season of his career in 2013 as he received a solid payday from the Royals, who’ve had a glaring hole at 2B for several seasons. Infante is a boring fantasy player, but even a drop in BABIP should allow him hit around .280 and he’s a candidate for 10 homers and 10 steals each. He’s more of a MI option than a starting 2B in standard leagues, but he has value.
23) Alexander Guerrero, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 27, Previous Rank: NR)
This is Guerrero’s first year of eligibility, and a good portion of his ranking here is due to the playing time he should see in a good offense in 2014. Scouting reports suggest Guerrero has good power for a second baseman and his approach in Cuba’s Serie National was impressive, but his hit tool is not a sure thing. There’s some upside here, but the ceiling isn’t so high as to make him a must-own right now.
24) Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 11)
Weeks’ ranking of 24 is somewhat generous, as it’s been two full seasons since his last truly good fantasy campaign and he’s on the wrong side of 30. Injuries and further regression of his hit tool sunk Weeks’ 2013 campaign, and it’s not entirely clear if he even has a starting job anymore, thanks to Scooter Gennett. His power/speed combo remains intriguing, but he’s a better rebound gamble in a redraft league than he is dynasty investment.
25) Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 16)
Rosario performed well at the plate in 2013 but questions about his defense and a PED suspension conspire to knock him down the rankings here. Rosario can hit and might have enough speed to challenge for 10-plus steals a year, but he’s not a big power threat and his future might lie in center field. He could see the majors in 2014, though it’s tough to discern in what role.
26) Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins (Age: 26, Previous Rank: NR)
While many presume that Rosario will be the Twins 2B of the future, Dozier is their keystone cop of the present and he’s coming off of a strong 2013 campaign. Though he’s not blessed with terrific natural tools, Dozier makes the most of what he has and represents an intriguing power/speed combo up the middle. He’s fairly underrated and represents a great depth pick in standard leagues.
27) Dustin Ackley, Seattle Mariners (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 8)
It’s been a precipitous fall from grace for Ackley, who no longer deserves the benefit of our collective doubt as to his ability to be an above average MLB hitter. Thanks to the Robinson Cano signing 2014 figures to be Ackley’s last year as a fantasy-eligible second baseman barring a trade, and he’s even less appealing as an outfielder than he is as an MI. It’s ok to be disappointed.
28) Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Betts seems to be one of the more popular “sleeper prospects” of the off-season, and he’s mentioned so often that I think he’s in danger of becoming overrated. There’s no disputing that he enjoyed a breakout 2013 campaign and that his power/speed combo is intriguing, but let’s see the bat play in the upper minors before we anoint him an elite MI prospect. He may also move to the outfield if he stays in the organization.
29) Scooter Gennett, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 40)
Many assume that Weeks will wrestle the starting 2B job away from Gennett in spring, but Milwaukee has a righty-heavy lineup, Weeks hasn’t been great in a while and Gennett has hit well at every stop in the minors. The type of player who’s likely to be a better MLB performer than he was a prospect, expect Gennett to hit for good, largely empty averages for many years.
30) Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 22)
Schoop made his major league debut in 2013 but that doesn’t mean he’s close to ready to challenge MLB pitching on a regular basis, and Schoop’s AAA numbers from last season prove that point. I believe in his natural hit tool and he could grow to have intriguing pop for an MI, but Schoop has some work left to do and profiles more as usable fantasy 2B rather than a future star.
31) Dan Uggla, Atlanta Braves (Age: 34, Previous Rank: 14)
Uggla remains one of the great Rule 5 picks of all time and he’s provided power that’s tough to find in the middle of the diamond for many years. But a declining hit tool, loss of bat speed and horrific approach render Uggla unusable in just about every league, and odds are his days as an MLB starter are coming to an end. The 20-plus homers aren’t worth the sub-.200 batting average.
32) Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 18)
Beckham is another player who may see his days as a starter come to an end soon, as the White Sox have Marcus Semien chomping at the bit for playing time. Beckham seemed to completely give up on hitting for power in order to hit for a better average and reach base more often in 2013, which might make him a better MLB player but makes him an even more questionable fantasy asset.
33) Kelly Johnson, New York Yankees (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 25)
Strikeouts will be an issue, as they always are for Johnson, and he’ll need to benefit from some BABIP luck to hit for a decent average. But someone with his power can easily hit for 20-plus homers in Yankees Stadium, and when you throw in the potential for 10-15 steals he becomes and intriguing 2B option. Johnson is a poor long-term investment, but if he has a Top 15 finish at 2B in 2014, I won’t blink.
34) Josh Rutledge, Colorado Rockies (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 21, SS)
Rutledge has plenty of fans in the fantasy community, as many tend to look at his strong half-season in the majors in 2012 and extrapolate those over a full set of PA to produce an impressive set of stats. That’s not a realistic expectation for Rutledge, who doesn’t even have a starting job right now thanks to D.J. LeMahieu. The power/speed combo is intriguing at Coors, of course, but he’s unlikely to be an impact major leaguer.
35) Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants (Age: 38, Previous Rank: 30, SS)
A much better MLB player than fantasy asset, Scutaro hit only two homers and stole just two bases last year, and his empty .297 average isn’t good enough to make him worth owning. He’s of more use to those playing in OBP leagues to be sure, and his R totals will make him an NL-only option, but most owners should just say no.
36) Taylor Lindsey, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
The Angels’ first-round draft pick in 2010 nearly doubled his 2012 home run total this past year (17 HR in 566 PA). While he likely sacrificed some batting average to make the power leap, his BB% and OBP actually rose. Should the power and patience continue to develop as he advances further in the minor leagues, he’ll make for a nice fantasy play at second base even if he never offers much in the steals department.
37) Tommy LaStella, Atlanta Braves (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
The Braves’ second baseman of the future spent the majority of the 2013 season in Double-A where he slashed .343/.422/.473 in 81 games. It’s always worth mentioning when a minor leaguer walks more than he strikes out, and that’s just what La Stella did in 2013. He continued that patient approach in the Arizona Fall League as well. Uggla is the only thing standing in his way at this point, so he could see his first taste of the major leagues as soon as this year.
38) Brian Roberts, New York Yankees (Age: 36, Previous Rank: 41)
Old man Roberts is now taking his services to New York, and he managed to piss off a few Camden Crazies with his comments about playing for the Yankees on his way up the East Coast. All feelings aside, his best days are behind him. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy in four years and his speed has deteriorated with age. He did manage 8 dingers in 2013 and he’ll be in the infield mix with the Yankees, but make sure you have a backup plan if you roster him.
39) D.J. LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 49)
It will be a battle for the second base job this year between LeMahieu and Rutledge, but the early rumors have LeMahieu actually winning the gig because of his superior glove (although lesser bat). If LeMahieu’s defensive skills do in fact get him the majority of the playing time at second base, his speed and ability to hit for a decent average should have value in fantasy leagues. He stole 26 bases in just under 600 PA between Triple-A and the majors last year.
40) Alberto Callaspo, Oakland Athletics (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 43, 3B)
Callaspo has put up two straight years of carbon copy stats with 10 homers, 50ish runs, 50ish runs batted in, and a batting average in the .250-.260 range. There’s still some value in a middle infielder who can reach the double-digit homer mark, but without any speed to go with it, there’s not much to get excited about.
41) Dilson Herrera, New York Mets (Age: 20, Previous Rank: NR)
A chip in the Marlon Byrd trade with the Pirates, Herrera slashed .267/.334/.416 in the minors last year with 11 homers and 14 steals. The power may continue to develop, and at just 20 years old there’s plenty of time for the Mets to let their young second baseman cook.
42) Derek Dietrich, Miami Marlins (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)
Dietrich skipped right over Triple-A last year (both on the way up and on the way down). He hit .214 with 9 homers and struck out at a 24% clip in his first taste of the majors, but he should get another chance this year even if he starts the season in Triple-A. He gets a bonus point for name alliteration.
43) Jemile Weeks, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 19)
Weeks should be in the mix for playing time at second base this year along with Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop. Jemile is still in his prime years and has some upside, especially with his legs, but you’ll have to decide which Weeks you are investing in – the one who hit .303 with 22 SB in 2011, or the one who hit .221 with 16 SB in 2012.
44) Chris Bostick, Texas Rangers (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Along with Michael Choice, Bostick came to the Rangers this offseason in a trade with the Athletics. He hit .289 with 14 home runs and 25 stolen bases in 129 games last year for Low-A Beloit. While he doesn’t seem to have any one tool that jumps off the page at you, he has a nice balance of pop and speed and certainly there is potential here.
45) Mark Ellis, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 36, Previous Rank: 30)
He’s on the wrong side of thirty, make that thirty-five, and the Cardinals will want to give Kolten Wong a lot of at-bats sooner rather than later, so Ellis isn’t someone most dynasty league owners will be pining for. The Cardinals lineup is a nice place to be for decent counting stats, but this is certainly the tail end of the veteran’s career.
46) Danny Espinosa, Washington Nationals (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 25, SS)
Espinosa had a lost season in 2013 after breaking his wrist in April. This was a player that flirted with 20/20 seasons in 2011 and 2012. The fact that the Nationals are hanging on to him despite Rendon and Desmond manning the middle infield should say something about his skills.
47) Micah Johnson, Chicago White Sox (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
Speed is the number one tool for Johnson, who swiped 84 bags in 110 attempts (76%) across three levels. That was the most in the minor leagues, folks. He’ll certainly be fun to watch considering this was only his first full season as a professional.
48) Devon Travis, Detroit Tigers (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
16 homers and 22 stolen bases was nothing to sneeze at in his first full year of pro ball and Travis has quickly found himself in the conversation as a top ten prospect at the position.
49) Emilio Bonifacio, Kansas City Royals (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 91, OF)
If only there were a way to get my fantasy team some stolen bases without having to pay for them…oh, hello Emilio. I didn’t hear you come in.
50) Eric Sogard, Oakland Athletics (Age: 27, Previous Rank: NR)
When he wasn’t burning insects with his eyeglasses in the dugout, he was slashing a cool .266/.322/.364 in 2013. Second base!
Commentary by Ben Carsley and Mike Buttil.