FANTASY BASEBALL – Updated 2015 2B Rankings
by Garion Thorne | 7:00 am, June 24th, 2015
2015 2B Rankings (as of June 23th)
- Jason Kipnis, Cleveland
- Jose Altuve, Houston
- Brian Dozier, Minnesota
- Dee Gordon, Miami – I really have very little against Gordon, who is, currently, the most valuable 2B in standard leagues. The Marlin has a career .151 average on fly balls so, logically, he just decided to stop hitting them – leading to statistically his best season and a .356 overall average, tying him with Paul Goldschmidt for the league lead. Gordon’s fly ball rate is just 15.5%, easily a career-low, and main reason for his heightened .421 BABIP. Yet, that’s the issue. No matter how many ground balls the speedy former Dodger hits, he just won’t be able to sustain that level of luck. In fact, only four players (Roberto Clemente, Manny Ramirez, Jose Hernandez, and Rod Carew) have posted a BABIP above .400 since WWII. I wouldn’t bank on Gordon joining them.
- Kolten Wong, St. Louis
- Ian Kinsler, Detroit – The obvious culprit of Kinsler’s terrible 2015 is a minuscule 1.1% HR/FB ratio – a career-worst figure by quite a wide margin for the Tiger. Now, normalization is definitely coming, but what exactly is normal for this current version of Kinsler? Well, as with most older players (Kinsler turned 33 two days ago), the concern is bat speed – this is magnified with the former Ranger. Kinsler has always been a pull hitter. Always. In five of the past six seasons, he posted a pull rate of above 48%. Yet, he’s managed just a 39.8% mark this season, a number which directly correlates to a career-low 21.6% hard contact rate – the 15th smallest figure among the 163 players to qualify. I think Kinsler can only get better in the second half, but don’t even begin to assume the 2011 model is still in play.
- Robinson Cano, Seattle – Much like the aforementioned Kinsler, Cano has been victimized by a low HR/FB ratio (5.6%) and, well, age concerns. However, unlike Kinsler, his pull and hard contact rates are up from 2014 suggesting bat speed might not yet be an issue. Between the two, expect Cano to produce more power in the latter half of the year, but with far less speed.
- Anthony Rendon, Washington
- Mookie Betts, Boston
- Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh
- Dustin Pedroia, Boston – It took Pedroia till May 27th to equal his home run output from 2014. However, that can be looked upon in multiple ways. While most see the nine long balls and .307 average as a return to form, I still see the same issues that plagued him in 2013 and 2014. Pedroia just isn’t hitting fly balls at near the same rate he had been in his true All-Star calibre seasons. After consecutive 27% campaigns, the Red Sox is still only hitting them at a 31.3% clip – his third lowest figure to date. Now, a 12% HR/FB ratio can fix that, but to have to rely on a career-high number like that to sustain is unwise. Also, home run production is basically all Pedroia has at this point in terms of true outcome stats – he has just two stolen base attempts this year.
- Devon Travis, Toronto
- DJ LeMahieu, Colorado – There’s a lot to like about LeMahieu – most of it centered around his home ballpark, but still. He’s lowered his swinging strike rate every single season, his contact rate is up to 86%, and he’s posted a .330 average off of right-handed pitching as a right-handed batter. But, he’s also an extreme ground ball hitter (his 54.9% rate since 2012 is the 14th lowest among qualified hitters during than span) which isn’t exactly utilizing his surroundings and that, combined with an insane .374 BABIP, doesn’t make LeMahieu much more than a middle-infield utility option in standard formats.
- Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles
- Justin Turner, Los Angeles
- Logan Forsythe, Tampa Bay – The .325 BABIP is 57 points higher than it was in 2014, but the contact rate is up and the strikeout rate is down to an impressive 15.4%. Also, most importantly, Forsythe has seemed to break free of the platoon tag that’s followed him throughout his journeyman-esque career as he’s paired his usually sterling .374 wOBA against left-handed pitching with a respectable .358 mark against righties.
- Daniel Murphy, New York
- Ben Zobrist, Oakland
- Neil Walker, Pittsburgh
- Joe Panik, San Francisco
- Brett Lawrie, Oakland
- Addison Russell, Chicago – With name value and, well, legitimate skill, Russell might be the player with the most raw talent in the back half of this list, but in re-draft formats his value doesn’t lie in 2015. The former Oakland prospect’s already middling returns might prove to be unsustainable in the season’s second half with what little contact Russell has been able to make (his 31.1% strikeout rate is seventh among hitters with 200 plate appearances) being heavily influenced by luck. Russell’s .361 BABIP doesn’t bode well.
- Chase Utley, Philadelphia – You’d think a career-best 89% contact rate would create a sample size large enough for Utley’s horrendous .186 BABIP to normalize, but you’d be wrong. Poor, Chase Utley.
- Jace Peterson, Atlanta
- Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati
- Marcus Semien, Oakland
- Jimmy Parades, Baltimore
- Luis Valbuena, Houston
- Martin Prado, Miami
- Matt Duffy, San Francisco