2015 Second Base Preview
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In past years, a key component of my draft day strategy has been to pay particular attention to position scarcity, which usually meant that I would draft an elite middle infield. Although I’m beginning to shift away from that approach, the second base position scares me this year. Are there 12-15 startable options? Yes. But I’ll be avoiding several of the guys at the back end of the group, so I have a rather short list of second basemen on my radar, and almost all of them are from that upper-tier class.
Jason Kipnis – If I miss out on the Cano/Altuve/Rendon trio, Kipnis will be my primary target, and if I have to reach a bit to get him, so be it. Just a year ago, Kipnis was a no doubt top-25 pick, but a disappointing and injury-plagued 2014 season has resulted in him dropping all the way down to Round 6-7 territory in 12-team mixed leagues (he was drafted at 7.06 in our slow mock). I refuse to give up hope that a 20 HR/30 SB season is in his future, and who knows, it might happen in 2015, his age-27 season. At his current price tag, I’d be more than happy to take that chance.
Jedd Gyorko – Trusting Gyorko to serve as your starting 2B is a stretch, but as a late-round MI investment, he’s an intriguing option. His home ballpark will scare off many owners, but this is a guy who launched 23 homers two seasons ago, and in this era of dwindling power numbers, it’s rare to find a middle infielder with Gyorko’s home run potential. On the whole, his 2014 campaign was a disaster, but keep in mind that he played through plantar fasciitus for a portion of the season, and after finally being shut down, he looked a lot better upon his return. Gyorko’s second half line of .260-5-27 offers some optimism that a bounce back could be in store.
Dee Gordon – Simply put, I’m not a fan of stolen base specialists, particularly stolen base specialists who will cost an early-round pick and carry a limited track record of early-round level production. Gordon could very well steal 64 bases again, but matching last season’s .289 batting average will be a tall order given his high K/BB ratio. Also note that Gordon’s OBP dropped from .344 in the first half to .300 following the All-Star break. But let’s get back to the topic of stolen base specialists. By drafting one of these guys, you are building your roster in a way that if your stolen base specialist misses significant time, you’re likely in big trouble since you counted on him to swipe a certain number of bags and didn’t bother to supplement him with multiple 15-20 SB type contributors. Someone in every league will be willing to reach for Gordon. Make sure that someone isn’t you.
Javier Baez – Sure, Baez has a great deal of long-term upside. But the bottom line is that he strikes out a ton. At 22 years of age, he has plenty of time to figure things out at the big league level, but unless you’re in a keeper league, you’re better off letting another owner suffer through the adjustment period after paying an inflated price thanks to all the hype. Save your gambles for less expensive players.