The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty League Second Basemen, #1-20
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Without further ado, it’s time to continue our 2018 consensus rankings by looking at the league’s top-50 second baseman in dynasty leagues, kicking off with the only player to have a unit of measurement named after him.
1) Jose Altuve, Houston Astros, (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 1)
Have a year, Jose! World Series Champion, AL MVP, and perhaps most impressive of all, #1 on our 2B rankings. Altuve is now a true 5-category contributor: he’s stolen no less than 30 bases in every one of his full seasons, and has recently added power to his profile by sending a career high 24 balls over the fence each of the last 2 seasons (his previous career high was 15 in 2015). Not only is Altuve the top 2nd baseman, but he is one of the top talents in the league overall and is now in his baseball prime. if Altuve isn’t one of the first three players off the board in your first year league, then your league probably plays with a height requirement. (Keaton O. DeRocher)
An Altuve Haiku:
World Series Champion, too
What else do you need?
2) Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians, (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 13th 3B)
Ramirez is truly the super utility man, capable of playing 2B, 3B, SS and OF. This is the second straight year appearing on a different rankings list here at TDG. Regardless of where he is on the field, his production at the plate is on the rise. Blasting a career high 29 homers while slashing a career best .318/.374/.583 in 2017. Ramirez was also able to maintain a 10% strikeout rate while increasing his walk rate (8% in 2017 up from 7% in 2016). Still at a ripe 25 years old, it’s hard to believe there is still room for Ramirez to improve, but there is. (Keaton O. DeRocher)
A Ramirez Haiku:
Poor man’s Altuve?
Nah, he is the middle class
3) Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins, (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 2)
Dozier’s value has leveled off, but that’s not a negative- upside of 35-40 dingers and slashing .270/.350/.500 is nothing to sneeze at. On top of the elite power, Dozier was able to increase his walk rate from 9% in 2015 and 2016 to 11% in 2017. Over the past two seasons Dozier ranks second among second basemen in WAR at 10.8, (behind only Altuve’s 14.3) and third in wRC+ at 128 (behind only Altuve’s 155 and Daniel Murphy’s 148). The Twins are on the rise, and with Dozier in the middle of the lineup he should be able to power them into the postseason once again. (Keaton O. DeRocher)
A Dozier Haiku:
Keystone power bat?
Then look no further than here
Dozier just hits bombs
4) Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles, (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 16)
Schoop has been on rise in the keystone ranks for the past few years- #22 in 2016, #16 in 2017 and now up to #4. Over each of the last 4 seasons Schoop has increased his walk rate (2.7% in 2014 to 5.2% in 2017) and decreased his strikeout rate (25.4% to 21%). 2017 was a career year for Schoop, turning in personal bests in homers (32), runs (98), RBI (105) and AVG (.293) as well. On the younger side of 26, it’s safe to say the production will continue and Schoop will be a mainstay on these ranks for the next handful of years. (Keaton O. DeRocher)
A Schoop Haiku:
Opponents are scared
He’ll give ‘em the Schoop-A-Dope.
I’ll see myself out.
5) Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox, (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 23)
The headliner in the trade that sent Chris Sale to the Red Sox prior to the 2017 season, Moncada carries all the raw talent in the world. His first taste of the majors in 2016 was brief, as Moncada posted a strikeout rate of an appalling 60%. In his return to the majors with the White Sox he cut that down to 32% while improving his walk rate from 5% to 12%. Moncada has carried strikeout concerns at every level in the majors, but his raw talent and ability to contribute in almost every category is well worth the risk. Coming into what should be his first full season, look for Moncada to shine in 2018. (Keaton O. DeRocher)
A Moncada Haiku:
It’s low hanging fruit
But, Hakuna Moncada,
A wonderful phrase
6) Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves, (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 21)
Signed by the Braves as a 16 year-old out of Curacao in 2013, Albies wasted no time making his mark. As a 17 year-old he immediately conquered rookie ball to the tune of a .364/.446/.444 slash line while walking more than he struck out. Then as an 18 year-old he immediately conquered full season ball with a .310/.368/.404 slash line. His Caesar-esque ability to conquer continued into a quick stint at AA and AAA, leading Albies to make his major league debut last year as a sprightly 20 year old. He lacks power, but that’s about it. At every level Albies has been one of the youngest on the field and has found ways to get on base. Once on the pond, he’s been a pest to get out, managing to rack up at least 20 steals at every level. (Keaton O. DeRocher)
An Albies haiku:
I’ll say it again
for the people in the back:
THIS KID IS QUITE GOOD
7) Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals, (Age: 33, Previous Rank 7)
Murphy has been a bit of a late bloomer. He had been a reliable option at 2B for a number of years, but hit his stride once he joined the Nationals. His time in Washington has seen him clear the 20 homer mark- 25 in 2016 and 23 in 2017. He also accumulated his best marks in RBI and average over the last two seasons, hitting .347 with 104 RBI in 2016 and .322 with 94 RBI in 2017. With the impressive Nationals lineup hitting around him he’s a solid bet to bat in the neighborhood of .320 with 25 homers and 100 RBI again this season. (Keaton O. DeRocher)
A Murphy Haiku:
Daniel Murphy is
good at playing second base
I phoned this one in
8) Dee Gordon, Seattle Mariners, (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 9)
The first of back-to-back Mariners on our rankings, Gordon was recently dealt from Miami to Seattle where he will presumably get time in the OF as well as at 2B. Gordon’s profile as a slap-happy hitter plays well at the keystone, but not as well in OF, so here’s hoping he scoops up enough games to remain on this list next year. Gordon’s calling card is his speed, swiping 60 bags in 2017 and at least 58 in 3 of the last 4 seasons. With the core of the Mariners lineup hitting behind him, he should be a shoe-in for a 100-run, 50+ steals season while posting an average around .300. (Keaton O. DeRocher)
A Gordon Haiku:
Want to see Dee steal?
You want to see it again?
He’s that fast, wowzer
9) Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners, (Age: 35, Previous Rank: 3)
The second of the Mariners on this list, Cano has been in the top ten for over a decade now and is as sure of a thing as any. His ranking here at the back end of the top 10 is purely due to his age at an elderly 35. He’ll be a lock for another slash line of .290/.350/.450 this year with 25 homers and 90 RBI. He’ll no doubt have another top 10 season and be right back here on this list again next year. (Keaton O. DeRocher)
A Cano Haiku:
Not a businessman
He’s a business, man. Then it’s
On to the next one
10) Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers, (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 6)
Odor has had a curious couple of seasons- he stayed steady with homers (30+), RBI (75+) and Steals (15+) but his average really punched him in the face by dropping from .271 to .204. That massive drop in average is combined with a massive drop in wRC+, 106 in 2016 to 61 in 2017. Part of this drop can be explained by the 3.5% increase in his strikeout rate, but it makes it Odor a very interesting case to rank. If he is able to replicate his 2016 form, Odor will no doubt shoot up list next year. (Keaton O. DeRocher)
An Odor Haiku:
I don’t even know.
Your guess is as good as mine.
He’s still top 10, though.
11) Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 20)
Sometimes, all it takes is one stat to swing your opinion of a player. Ian Happ’s stat is his barrels per batted ball event (Brls/BEE). Happ had a successful rookie campaign, getting the call to Wrigley in mid-May and proceeding to slash .253/.328/.514 with 24 homers and 8 steals. Not bad, but let’s talk about that Brls/BE… Happ barreled the ball 13.3% of the time he made contact, which tied for 27th in baseball. Pretty good, right? Here are the three players who also had 13.3% Brls/BEE: Mike Trout, Paul Goldschimdt, and Freddie Freeman. So while he did whiff too much in his rookie year (31.4%) and doesn’t have a clear starting role in Joe Maddon’s musical chair lineup, Happ mashes baseballs at the frequency of some of the game’s elites. Expect annual lines around .260, 25-30 HR, and about ten steals, with a chance for a better average. (Tom Werner)
12) Keston Hiura, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Hiura has absolutely raked since he was selected 9th overall in the ’17 draft, slashing .371/.422/.611 in 187 PA while ascending to A-ball. He did only swat four homers, but Hiura showed plenty of extra-base potential with 14 doubles and 7 triples in his brief taste of professional ball. Those numbers are a good harbinger for his 15-20 HR potential, though his approach and hit tool are his real assets. Hiura projects to be a .280-.290 hitter and his strike-zone understanding should allow Hiura to jump levels quickly. Fuse that together with enough wheels for low double-digit stolen bases and you have an enticing package at the keystone.
One hefty caveat: Hiura has an elbow injury some thought would require surgery. So far, Milwaukee hasn’t put Hiura under the knife, choosing to let the 21-year-old rehab his arm while playing mostly DH. Keep an eye on his health updates, but there’s a pure hitter here regardless. (Tom Werner)
13) Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 39)
Where did this come from? Before 2017, Merrifield was a decent utility player with contact skills and some speed. He never had a season in the minors with double-digit homers. Even the Royals didn’t know what the had, as KC started the season with Raul Mondesi and Christian Colon, sending Merrifield to the minors. He returned mid-April and whittled his way into owner’s merri-hearts, hitting .288/19/78 with 80 runs and 34 SB. Funny thing is, Merrifield didn’t achieve those results by luck, as his HR/FB (9.4%) and BABIP (.308) were far from abnormal. His home run surge was caused by boosting his fly ball rate from 29.6% to 40.5%. Even though 19 bombs may be his career high, the average and steals are legit. A .280 average, 12-15 HR, and 25-30 SB at 2B with OF eligibility is nothing to sneeze at. (Tom Werner)
Want more Whit? Check out this article by TDG’s own, Brady Childs.
14) Scott Kingery, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 40)
Owning one of the sexiest stat lines in the minors last year, Kingery is vying for the throne of 2nd best prospect in baseball. Kingery smacked .304 with 26 home runs and 29 stolen bases across Double-A and Triple-A in 2017, waiting by the phone every night for the call from Philadelphia. His debut should come this summer, bringing his plus speed, sweet swing, and strong defense to Citizen’s Bank. Everyone seems to agree that 20/20 is viable for Kingery, even his optometrist. Twenty taters may be the high end of the power scale, as Kingery hit 18 of his 26 homers at the little league stadium in Double-A Reading. Kingery doesn’t walk much either (4.5% BB-rate in Triple-A) so his stolen base opportunities will be reliant on his contact skills. That said, the upside is Whit Merrifield’s line in 2017 with more sustainable pop (yeah, I’m lazy too, it’s .288 and 19/34). (Tom Werner)
15) Chris Taylor, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 27, Previous Rank: NR)
Where did this come from? Before 2017, Taylor was a decent utility player…wait, didn’t I write this already? Is Chris Taylor the west-coast Whit Merrifield? Let’s see…he started 2017 in Triple-A, was recalled mid-April, hit twice as many homers as his previous career high at any level, has decent contact and speed, and also plays outfield. It really is Whit v2.0! Taylor sprung a .288/85/21/72/17 stat line last season and was a key contributor to the Dodger’s postseason run, coming up with some clutch hits in October. A popular candidate for regression, Taylor’s high BABIP (.361) and strikeout rate (25.0%) foretells a likely drop in batting average to around the .260 mark. Even so, .260/15/15 would be a safe bet moving forward. (Tom Werner)
What more Whit v2.0, I mean Taylor? Check out this article by TDG’s own, EJ Fagan.
16) DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 12)
DJ LeMahieu is like the family van on a road trip. It’s not very exciting and doesn’t turn heads, but it has A/C, is comfortable enough to nap in, and before you know it, you’ve arrived at your destination. In this era of launch angles and juiced balls (phrasing), the 29-year-old has a unique batting profile. It’s clear LeMahieu doesn’t care about power, preferring line-drives up-the-middle and to opposite field. In fact, his 21.6% pulled contact rate is lowest among qualified hitters by a mile (Joe Mauer is second-lowest with 24.7%). Much like the van, LeMahieu sticks to the ground instead of flying, finishing in the top-ten in ground ball and line drive rates. He rode that plan to the NL batting title in 2016 and will continue to provide .300+ batting average lines and high run totals, allowing owners to be riskier in other positions. (Tom Werner)
17) Starlin Castro, Miami Marlins (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 17)
Remember five years ago when Starlin Castro was a hot commodity in dynasty leagues? Boy has that sparkler fizzled out. Look, Castro had a decent campaign in ’17, hitting .300 with 16 home runs while missing almost two months due to hamstring issues. That average was buoyed by a .347 BABIP, which when normalized should drop Castro down around .270. As for the power, expect that to change too since Castro’s switching stadiums from the Yankee bandbox to the deep fences in Miami. Castro’s also going from one of the best lineups in baseball to possibly the worst, so the counting stats won’t be there. Starlin hasn’t been running much either, as physical growth and hamstring strains have sapped his speed. If he’s motivated to get out of Miami and plays hard to be a good trading chip, you could do worse for your MI slot. (Tom Werner)
18) Eduardo Nunez, Free Agent (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 29 at SS)
Versatility is a handy attribute and Nunez provides plenty of that. The super utility player qualifies at 2B and 3B but can also play SS and OF if called upon. The 30-year-old can hit too, following his breakout 2016 by hitting .313 with 12 HR and 24 SB last year. The free swinger has a knack for making contact, striking out just 11% of the time. Health concerns dampen Nunez’s hype, as he’s logged DL stints for hamstring and knee injuries. He actually had to be carried off the field in Game 1 of the ALDS after trying to rush back from his PCL sprain too soon. He didn’t need offseason surgery and teams are still interested in signing him, but the injuries are piling up and may begin subduing his SB totals. His combination of positional eligibility and hitting skill is a desirable trait for both fantasy and real owners looking to maximize roster flexibility. (Tom Werner)
19) Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 8)
Kipnis suffered through an injury-plagued campaign last year, starting the year on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation and missing most of the second half due to hamstring injuries. Wrapped between all that gauze is a sneaky-decent stat line, as Kipnis belted 12 HRs and swiped six bags across 90 games. He did struggle with a .232 average, but he had an unlucky .256 BABIP that weighed the 31-year-old down. Kipnis changed his approach, getting more aggressive in the box and hitting with more loft, setting career-highs in both swing rate (45.8%) and fly ball rate (44.1%). At his age and injury history, don’t expect a full campaign out of Kipnis, but he can still provide .260/15/10-type of lines that won’t hurt you in any category. (Tom Werner)
20) Luis Urias, San Diego Padres (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 38)
Some people are born to hit baseballs. Urias is definitely cut from that cloth, possessing a plus hit tool (.310 average) and impressive plate discipline, as he has more walks (153) than strikeouts (135) in his young career. The Altuve comparisons aren’t terribly off base, though he doesn’t have reigning AL MVP’s power or speed. Urias does have gap power with a line-drive, spray to all fields mentality and moderate speed, though he’s not a good base stealer yet (47% SB success rate). While he split time at shortstop and second base in Double-A, most believe his future is at the keystone. You don’t see such an advanced teenage hitter in the upper minors like Urias, and he offers a very high floor for owners looking for a sure bet at second. Think DJ LeMahieu here, .300/10/10 contending yearly for batting titles. (Tom Werner)