2016 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Second Base
The speed and high-contact skills of Jose Altuve and Dee Gordon make them the undisputed top two at the position. There is little to separate the next 10-12 players, so it is down to whether your current roster construction requires more power, speed, reliability or want to take a shot at a higher risk/higher reward option.
Second base will be without two of its top ten producers from last year in Matt Carpenter and Matt Duffy. The position also takes a hit by losing several versatile, multi-position players who also lose eligibility, including Delino DeShields jr, Chris Coghlan, Asdrubal Cabrera, Marcus Semien, Yangervis Solarte, Eddie Rosario, Brad Miller and Martin Prado.
Rougned Odor – Rangers
Once Jose Altuve and Dee Gordon are off the board, there is very little to choose from between the next 10-12 second basemen. It is easy to be attracted to the upside offered by Rougned Odor. After returning from an early season demotion, the Rangers’ second baseman hit .292 with 15 home runs, 18 doubles and five stolen bases in just 91 games. Impressively, 31 of these were multi-hit games. The 21-year-old Venezuelan was the youngest second baseman in the majors so his potential for 2016 and beyond is exciting.
Jonathan Schoop – Orioles
20 home run power late in the draft is not easy to find. The Orioles’ second baseman went deep on 15 occasions in just 305 at-bats last year. Only three second basemen (Brian Dozier, Neil Walker and Robinson Cano) have hit more home runs over the last two seasons. Although he improved his batting average from .209 in 2014 to .279 in 2015, Schoop only walked nine times last year so be aware of the risks attached to him.
Devon Travis – Blue Jays
With a combination of power, speed and plate discipline (145 strikeouts to 104 walks in the minors), the 24-year-old was one of most hyped sleepers coming into last season. He hit a home run in his first game in the big leagues and 100 plate appearances later, he boasted a .319 batting average with seven home runs, 20 runs and a 1.019 OPS. Devon Travis landed on the DL in May and again in July. He will likely miss the start of the season as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery. Travis offers far greater potential than the Blue Jays’ current second base incumbent Ryan Goins, so make sure he is on your ‘sleepers’ radar again this year.
Enrique Hernandez – Dodgers
There is run-scoring potential for whoever is leading off for the Dodgers and at the moment, that looks like it will be Enrique Hernandez. The versatile 24-year-old hit .307 with an impressive .836 OPS in 202 at-bats during 2015. He was sensational versus left-handed pitching with a 1.215 OPS but dire against right-handers, so he may be more suited to daily leagues. He will likely platoon at second base with Chase Utley and whilst he could eventually face competition from newly acquired Micah Johnson, his versatility means he will get at-bats in various positions.
Cesar Hernandez – Phillies
Stolen bases were down by 10% last season compared to 2014. The Phillies’ second baseman stole 19 bases as he filled the void left by Chase Utley. With a .081 ISO there is no argument that Cesar Hernandez offers no power but he might be the answer if you need cheap speed at the end of your draft. The 25-year-old is likely to lead off, and with a .272 AVG in 405 at-bats in 2015, he probably won’t hurt your average too much.