B/R Fantasy Baseball 300: Ranking the Top 25 Second Basemen

Jason Catania@@JayCat11MLB Lead WriterFebruary 20, 2015

B/R Fantasy Baseball 300: Ranking the Top 25 Second Basemen

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    Even after a dip in his power numbers as a Mariner, Robinson Cano remains an elite fantasy second baseman.
    Even after a dip in his power numbers as a Mariner, Robinson Cano remains an elite fantasy second baseman.Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    With the top 150 fantasy baseball players all ordered and ranked on the initial 2015 Big Board, it's time to get into the individual position rankings. All told, there will be (count 'em) 300 players ranked.

    After providing some sequencing to the first basemen last time out, next up is second base, which has one longtime star (Robinson Cano) and one new fantasy darling (Jose Altuve) at the top.

    After that duo, the next tier is headed by the still-solid Ian Kinsler, who is followed by a batch of wild-card types, like Jason Kipnis, Brian Dozier, Dustin Pedroia and Dee Gordon, each of whom has been both good and bad in recent years.

    There are more starter-worthy second basemen after that group, but only a few, and Kolten Wong is the only one of the bunch with upside.

    In leagues that go deeper than 10 teams, one or two owners (or more) will come up short at this position, but later-round fliers could provide a solid bang for the buck. The trick is choosing the ones who will go bang.

    Let's run down the top 25 overall fantasy second basemen and a few others you should watch, including potential impact rookies.

    These rankings consider three factors:

    First, everything is based on 10- or 12-team mixed leagues with standard 5x5 rotisserie scoring (BA, R, HR, RBI, SB for hitters; W, ERA, WHIP, K, SV for pitchers).

    Second, lineup construction accounts for 22 active roster positions consisting of: one each for catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, corner infield, middle infield and utility, along with five outfielders and nine pitchers.

    And, third, to be eligible at a particular position, players either must have played at least 20 games there in 2014 or be in line to start there in 2015.

The Second Base 'Watch List'

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    Micah Johnson
    Micah JohnsonElsa/Getty Images

    Hector Olivera, 2B, Soon-to-Be Free Agent (?)

    While Yoan Moncada, the 19-year-old, switch-hitting Cuban sensation, has been getting most of the pub on the international market for the past several weeks, fellow infielder Olivera is actually the former Cuban star who is more relevant for fantasy purposes—at least in 2015.

    The 29-year-old Olivera has an impressive resume in Serie Nacional and is expected to be ready to join a major league club almost immediately. He also shined in his final open showcase, as Ben Badler of Baseball America notes. For now, Olivera isn't officially a free agent—yet—but that could happen soon, followed shortly thereafter by a contract. Olivera's offensive upside could make him a top-10 fantasy second baseman right away.

    Tommy La Stella, 2B, Chicago Cubs

    Formerly an under-the-radar prospect in the Atlanta Braves system, La Stella doesn't offer much outside of potentially a useful batting average, but he could get a chance to play somewhat regularly at second—either as the starter or as the left side of a platoon with Javier Baez—which makes him a name to know. For those in OBP leagues, TLS has greater value thanks to his 10 percent walk rate and ability to make contact.

    Jose Peraza, 2B, Atlanta Braves

    Speaking of Braves second base prospects, Peraza is the reason Atlanta moved La Stella after just a half-season in the majors. The 20-year-old speedster has flown through the minors to this point and could make his debut by midseason, because he's good and because Atlanta doesn't have much else at the keystone. Peraza's speed—he has stolen 60-plus bases the past two years in reaching Double-A at the end of 2014—would make him a viable waiver-wire add as soon as he's promoted.

    Micah Johnson, 2B, Chicago White Sox 

    Much the same goes for Johnson, who could capture the White Sox's relatively vacant second base gig with a hot start at Triple-A. The 24-year-old was bothered by hamstring trouble last year, which is why he swiped only 22 bases, but he led the minors with 87 thefts—one more than Billy Hamilton—in 2013. Once he's up, fantasy owners will want to add him. Fast.

    Devon Travis, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays

    Acquired from the Detroit Tigers early in the offseason, Travis' path to The Show is cleared now that he's not stuck behind Ian Kinsler anymore. In fact, the Jays lack a legitimate MLB-caliber starting second-sacker (sorry, Ryan Goins and Maicer Izturis), so the very-soon-to-be-24-year-old Travis, who owns a .317/.382/.479 career line in three minor league seasons, could get a long look this spring.

    Robert Refsnyder, 2B, New York Yankees

    The Yankees' decision to bring back Stephen Drew, who hit all of .150 for them over 46 games, is a pretty good indication they don't yet have a ton of faith in Refsnyder. The 23-year-old former outfielder is still transitioning to second, so a little more time at Triple-A isn't a bad idea. More than likely, Refsnyder will get an opportunity or two in 2015, and he has enough stick (.318 BA, 14 HR at Double-A and Triple-A last year) to be relevant in AL-only leagues.

    Dilson Herrera, 2B, New York Mets

    Partly as a reward for a strong season and partly to help cover second base with Daniel Murphy on the DL, Herrera debuted last August at the tender age of 20, making him the second-youngest player in MLB and only the second big leaguer to be born in 1994 at the time. Herrera even held his own, smacking three homers and walking seven times in 66 trips to the plate. The offensive potential here is enticing, but Herrera has but a half-season at Double-A, so expect him to spend much, if not most, of 2015 back in the minors. Keeper leaguers should add him sooner than later, though, especially since Murphy is a free-agent-to-be.

    Jurickson Profar, 2B, Texas Rangers

    Initially ranked No. 25 on this list, Profar is now here only to alert owners that his troublesome shoulder—which cost him the entire 2014 season—has not healed properly and requires surgery that could keep him out for much, if not all, of this season, too, as Evan Grant of the The Dallas Morning News reports. Yikes. Profar could have been an intriguing post-hyper with a chance to unseat Rougned Odor, but he's now an unfortunate don't-bother. Here's hoping the former consensus top prospect in the sport can recover and then resuscitate his career.

Nos. 25-21

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    Joe Panik
    Joe PanikCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    No. 25: Rickie Weeks, 2B/OF, Seattle Mariners

    This, folks, is how shallow this position is: Weeks, who was a free agent up until a week prior to pitchers and catchers reporting, actually needs to be ranked. While the 32-year-old is a few years removed from his fantasy heyday, Weeks did show he had something left last year by hitting .274 with an .809 OPS in 252 at-bats in a reduced, platoon-like role. Now a Mariner, he'll soon be adding multiposition eligibility—"he'll be given the opportunity to play multiple positions," general manager Jack Zduriencik said via Ryan Divish of the Seattle Timeswhich should help owners desperate for some versatility in very, very deep formats.

    No. 24: Omar Infante, 2B, Kansas City Royals

    On one hand, Infante wasn't half-bad in fantasy, as he scored 50 runs and knocked in 66—a career high, by the way. But on the other, the 33-year-old's first season in K.C. showed some serious regression at play, as both his .252 average and .632 OPS were his worst since 2005. If you draft him, even in AL-only play, you're primarily doing so because you are required by rule to fill the middle infield position.

    No. 23: Nick Franklin, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays

    A solid second base/shortstop prospect with the Seattle Mariners a few years ago, Franklin was something of a throw-in in last July's three-team deadline deal that sent David Price to the Detroit Tigers and Drew Smyly and shortstop prospect Willy Adames to Tampa Bay. The Rays jettisoned incumbent keystoner Ben Zobrist, so there will be a position battle between the soon-to-be 24-year-old Franklin, a switch-hitter with some pop and speed, and also-ran Logan Forsythe. Watch this one during the spring, because Franklin could be a sneaky fantasy pick.

    No. 22: Joe Panik, 2B, San Francisco Giants

    Giants fans probably are going to be up in arms over the fact that Golden Boy Panik isn't the No. 1 overall fantasy player, let alone second baseman, but this ranking is more than fair given the 24-year-old's limited skill set. While Panik should hit for a respectable average and, as a starting major leaguer, accrue enough runs and RBI to be a useful deep-league middle infielder, there's really not much else he'll offer. Hey, the former first-rounder's rookie season was just what San Francisco needed on the way to winning its third title in five year. Be happy with that.

    No. 21: Aaron Hill, 2B, Arizona Diamondbacks

    Many liked Hill as a bounce-back candidate a year ago, but it's looking more and more like the clock has run out on the nearly 33-year-old's formerly borderline top-10 fantasy second base production. Sure, he'll run into double-digit homers, maybe steal a handful of bags and approach 50-60 runs and RBI, but you need more, even at the shallow 2B and MI spots.

Nos. 20-16

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    Rougned Odor
    Rougned OdorAssociated Press

    No. 20: Scooter Gennett, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers

    Gennett was able to build on his better-than-anyone-expected 2013 debut by smacking 43 extra-base knocks, including nine homers, scoring 55 runs, driving in 54 and even thieving six bases—all while hitting a very solid .289. After splitting time with former Brewers starter Rickie Weeks last year, the 24-year-old has second even more to himself in 2015, but that might not be such a great thing: Gennett has gone just 10-for-78 (.128) with a 24-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio against lefties in his career. Elian Herrera will be the caddy, and Gennett's owners might want to start him only against right-handers.

    No. 19: Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cincinnati Reds

    Yep, Phillips has fallen this far. A perennial top-five fantasy second baseman during his 20-20 days, Phillips is now 33 and coming off far and away his worst season (.266 BA, 44 R, 8 HR, 51 RBI, 2 SB) since he became a regular in 2006. Granted, a torn thumb ligament in July didn't help and lost him a month-plus, but this isn't a starting 2B anymore. Frankly, even rostering Phillips outside of NL-onlies is a crime of desperation.

    No. 18: Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/OF, Chicago Cubs

    The Cubs' offseason acquisition of center fielder Dexter Fowler threw a bit of a wrench Alcantara's way, as the 23-year-old former prospect now enters camp likely needing to win a starting job. There are some semi-openings, like second and third base, but others could fill them. That might leave the speedy, switch-hitting Alcantara—who hit 10 homers and stole eight bases in 70 games as a rook but hit .205 and struck out 90 times—as a super utility man who sees time all over the infield and outfield. On the downside, that will limit his counting stats; on the upside, his eligibility could make Alcantara a virtual Swiss army knife.

    No. 17: Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Baltimore Orioles

    If you're deep in your draft and scrounging for a second baseman who could "take the leap" in 2015, consider Schoop (as well as the next youngster on the list). Schoop was rushed to Baltimore, playing all of last year at 22, simply because the Orioles didn't have anyone else worth starting at second on a regular basis. While he struggled (unsurprisingly) with a .209 average and a 25 percent strikeout rate, Schoop did smack a robust 16 homers. One of the O's better prospects entering last year, the 6'2", 210-pounder's power is legitimate, and if he can adjust now that he has a season under his belt, this could be a fringe top-10 2B by year's end.

    No. 16: Rougned Odor, 2B, Texas Rangers

    Referenced earlier in the Jurickson Profar section and alluded to in the Dilson Herrera one, Odor took over when the former couldn't stay healthy, thus making him the youngest player in MLB last season, born a month after the latter. Odor's rookie stats won't knock your socks off (.259 BA, 39 R, 9 HR, 48 RBI, 4 SB), but he's still more raw than refined in terms of talent. Taking his age into account, that's a damn promising start, and there's definitely more in there. Possibly a lot more. Especially now that he's locked in as the starter with Profar's shoulder requiring surgery that could cost him all of this season, too, according to The Dallas Morning News.

No. 15: Brett Lawrie, 2B/3B, Oakland Athletics

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    Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .247 BA, 27 R, 12 HR, 38 RBI, 0 SB (282 PA)

    From the point of view of just about every fantasy owner, 2015 just might be Brett Lawrie's last shot at making good on what seemed like such a promising career when he broke into the bigs with a fantastic quarter-season in 2011 at age 21.

    Now 25 and with the Oakland Athletics after being the key get in the Josh Donaldson deal, Lawrie still has all kinds of time to get healthy and get right, but it's that first part that has proved to be the primary problem. Lawrie's games-played totals have dwindled from 125 in 2012 to 107 in 2013 to just 70 last year, as he's dealt with various strains, sprains and fractures.

    Should Lawrie's luck turn and allow him to play even 120 games, he would do enough with the bat—he's no longer a threat to run—to make him a passable starting option, especially since he's eligible at 2B (as well as 3B) this year.

No. 14: Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Laurence Kesterson/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .270 BA, 74 R, 11 HR, 78 RBI, 10 SB (664 PA)

    On one hand, Chase Utley put together yet another season of double-digit homers and steals—the eighth time he's done so in his 12 years—and he did so by staying healthy the entire year, which had been a problem for oh-so long.

    On the other hand, in order to accumulate the 11 homers and 10 steals and cross the 70 runs/RBI thresholds, Utley needed to stay healthy for 155 games. The chances that he'll do so again at age 36? Yeah, not likely.

    There's just enough left here that Utley can fake it as a starting second baseman in fantasy, but more on a per-game basis than a full-season one. If you draft him, try to pair him with some high-upside youngster we've already discussed, which would improve your odds of getting starter-worthy stats from the position as a whole.

No. 13: Martin Prado, 2B/3B, Miami Marlins

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .282 BA, 62 R, 12 HR, 58 RBI, 3 SB (573 PA)

    Often a solid mid-round pick as much for his versatility/eligibility as for his production, Martin Prado was doing a whole lot of nothing in the first half of 2014 as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, hitting a "meh" .270 with but five home runs.

    Upon being traded to the New York Yankees, however, the 31-year-old found some new life and batted .316 with seven long balls—in not even one-third the number of plate appearances he had in the desert.

    But let's not get overly excited here, even if Prado now gets to share a lineup with Giancarlo Stanton. Prado is what he is by now: a fine-if-you-must starter at 2B, but someone you're always looking to replace with someone who possesses more something. More anything.

    That's cool, though, because Prado fits better as a plug-in who puts in his four at-bats when your starting second or third basemen have an off-day or hit the DL.

No. 12: Jedd Gyorko, 2B, San Diego Padres

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .210 BA, 37 R, 10 HR, 51 RBI, 3 SB (443 PA)

    That Jedd Gyorko, fresh off an injury-plagued sophomore campaign in which he played just 111 games (plantar fasciitis) and barely hit .200, would be on the cusp of the top 10 should tell you all you need to know about the depth (or lack thereof) at second base.

    While you could argue that Gyorko doesn't deserve to be in this spot—this high—he is entering his prime at 26 and offers one of the best power profiles among all second basemen.

    Don't forget: Not only did Gyorko rake throughout his minor league career, he also bashed 23 homers as a rookie in 2013. And while spacious Petco is the exact opposite kind of park where a power hitter might be expected to thrive, Gyorko has to get some sort of boost from being surrounded by, you know, actual major league hitters for once. Right? 

No. 11: Daniel Murphy, 2B, New York Mets

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .289 BA, 79 R, 9 HR, 57 RBI, 13 SB (642 PA)

    Daniel Murphy did well enough in following up his career year in 2013, but he dipped a tick in every fantasy category save for batting average, which was almost identical, anyway after a .286 mark the year prior.

    Murphy, who turns 30 on April 1, is safe and sound, but not at all sexy, because he doesn't excel in any one area.

    Unless you happen to have some persuasive reason to think 2015 Murphy is going to regain what he lost from his 2013 version—the one who set career bests in runs (92), homers (13), RBI (78) and steals (23)—you're best letting him drop to you in the draft rather than seeking him out sooner than you should.

No. 10: Neil Walker, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Al Behrman/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .271 BA, 74 R, 23 HR, 76 RBI, 2 SB (571 PA)

    Just when Neil Walker looked to be settling in as a solid-but-little-more bat after a few good-not-great years, the 29-year-old very quietly had his best all-around season in 2014.

    The biggest jump came in the power department, as Walker upped his career high in homers by seven to 23, which tied for the most among all second baseman. He's always had pop, and although the home run-to-fly-ball rate (13.9 percent) was a career high, it wasn't outlier-ish.

    The Pittsburgh Pirates lineup is better than you think, and the switch-hitting Walker is at the center of it. That's the recipe for a similar season in 2015.

No. 9: Howie Kendrick, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .293 BA, 85 R, 7 HR, 75 RBI, 14 SB (674 PA)

    Howie Kendrick more or less has been the same player for the past handful of years, give or take a few home runs or some runs scored. While that has made him wholly unexciting, he gets points for being reliable and steady at a position that is filled with players who are anything but.

    The switch from one L.A. team to the other could nudge the 31-year-old Kendrick's overall numbers down ever so slightly, simply because the Angels topped the sport in runs in 2014, and the Dodgers offense no longer features Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez.

    Ultimately, you won't love what you get from Kendrick, but you'll like it. A lot.

No. 8: Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .249 BA, 52 R, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 20 SB (433 PA)

    Kolten Wong's rookie campaign was almost a disaster. He got off to a poor start along with the rest of the St. Louis Cardinals offense, and, as if the club needed a scapegoat, Wong was sent to Triple-A.

    To his credit, the 24-year-old Wong took the demotion in stride, making it back to the bigs three weeks later. In 93 games from mid-May through the rest of the season, the lefty swinger hit all 12 of his homers, stole 17 of his 20 bases and scored 47 of his 52 runs—in a little more than half-a-season's worth of plate appearances (357).

    While Wong isn't likely to maintain that kind of 20-30 pace over 150 games, he is a former first-round draft choice who could push his way toward the top five among fantasy second basemen if he gets anywhere close to those totals in year two. That would be the opposite of a disaster.

No. 7: Dee Gordon, 2B, Miami Marlins

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .289 BA, 92 R, 2 HR, 34 RBI, 64 SB (650 PA)

    Dee Gordon is a one-trick pony, but boy, is that one trick pretty darn valuable from a fantasy perspective.

    Gordon, 26, led all of MLB with 64 stolen bases last season, making him one of the best value adds an owner could have pulled off. Remember, this is a guy whose career was so stuck in neutral this time a year ago that Gordon was roundly undrafted, so chances are you snatched him on the waiver wire after his hot start.

    Speaking of said start, following a solid 6.8 percent walk rate prior to the break, Gordon's dramatic drop-off in the second half to a ghastly 1.6 percent is the sort of indicator that could spell doom. And yet, he still hit only eight points worse (.284 versus .292) with a BABIP just four points higher (.348 versus .344). He also swiped 21 bases in 57 games, which wasn't all that far off his first-half pace of 43 in 91 contests.

    So despite all the doubts and calls for regression, it's possible Gordon, now the Miami Marlins leadoff man, could steal 50-plus again. But draft him for 40, and know full well that's pretty much the only category you're getting. In roto scoring or head-to-head formats, Gordon's stolen base prowess carries a lot more weight than in points leagues.

No. 6: Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .278 BA, 72 R, 7 HR, 53 RBI, 6 SB (609 PA)

    No matter how you slice it, Dustin Pedroia's 2014 was an utter fantasy disaster. He was a consensus fourth- or fifth-round pick because of his name and prior production, but Laser Show stood out in exactly zero of the standard five-by-five categories after dealing with injury for a second straight season.

    With Pedroia, 31, coming off a winter of rest for his injured hand/wrist that required surgery last September, ending his year prematurely, the bet here is he has one more very good fantasy season left in his aging, beat-up body.

    "Last year, I couldn't grip a dumbbell," Pedroia said, according to Ricky Doyle of NESN.com. "Upper body, obviously if you can't do the things you want to do, you're not going to have the bat speed that you normally have. That's changed (this offseason)."

    Not only that, but the Red Sox's new and improved lineup (hello, Hanley and Pablo!) should help Pedroia keep up his counting stats (runs and RBI). Ultimately, though, a little better health for Pedroia wouldn't, ahem, hurt.

No. 5: Brian Dozier, 2B, Minnesota Twins

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .242 BA, 112 R, 23 HR, 71 RBI, 21 SB (707 PA)

    A sneaky, under-the-radar late-round selection last season, Brian Dozier made those who took a gamble on his power-speed combo look like fantastic fantasy forecasters when he reached the 20-20 mark in mid-August.

    And yet, questions abound over how such a little guy (5'11", 190) hits for as much pop as Dozier does. He does hit a large percentage of fly balls (41.2 percent career), which can lead to a so-so BABIP (.272 career) and average (.241 career). But his career-high 11.3 percent HR/FB rate in 2014 is hardly egregious.

    Add it all up, and Dozier has hit 41 homers the past two seasons, which is—get this—tied for the most among second basemen with Robinson Cano.

    Even if you choose not to totally buy into his over-the-fence ability, the 27-year-old also gets on base (89 walks last year), runs when he's aboard (21 steals) and circles the bases with the best of 'em (112 runs). If you like him more than the next guy on this list, well, we won't argue.

No. 4: Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .240 BA, 61 R, 6 HR, 41 RBI, 22 SB (555 PA)

    Last draft season, just about every fantasy pundit around considered Jason Kipnis the surefire No. 2 at 2B behind Robinson Cano. Turns out, that didn't turn out so well, huh?

    Kipnis, who started slowly in both 2012 and (especially) 2013, did much the same again in 2014, hitting just .234 with through April 29. He did, however, at least smack three April home runs in 27 contests.

    To make matters worse, that's about the time he suffered a right oblique strain, a tough injury for a lefty swinger like Kipnis to get over. Even once he made it back, hitting the ball with authority proved problematic, and he posted a .241 average with but three homers over 102 games.

    Kipnis will be 28 in April, so this is an in-his-primer with two very fantasy-friendly campaigns in his last three. We'll bet on a bounce back to something close to his previous 15-homer, 30-steal ways, and because of his poor 2014 he should come at a discount this time around.

No. 3: Ian Kinsler, 2B, Detroit Tigers

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .275 BA, 100 R, 17 HR, 92 RBI, 15 SB (726 PA)

    Despite his advancing age (32) and oft-cited (but no longer as applicable) injury history, Ian Kinsler refuses to quit being a high-end fantasy second baseman.

    The nine-year veteran's first season as a Detroit Tiger went extremely well, as he finished in the top three among second basemen in runs (100), doubles (40) and homers (17). And his 17 swipes was good for sixth at the position.

    Oh, and here's something you might not have noticed if you've been too busy buying into the injury-prone label: Kinsler, who spent much of his time leading off, played 161 games and led the MLB with 726 plate appearances.

    OK, so maybe don't expect that again. But considering Kinsler is likely to stick in the top spot of a still-dangerous Detroit lineup, the counting numbers will be there as long as Kinsler is.

No. 2: Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros

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    RICH SCHULTZ/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .341 BA, 85 R, 7 HR, 59 RBI, 56 SB (707 PA)

    Jose Altuve is going to be one of the more divisive players as owners get set to pick players this February and March. That's what happens when a diminutive, lesser-known, easy-to-doubt player is facing the tall task of proving a breakout season was for real. That said, the 24-year-old deserves to be recognized and ranked this highly.

    After all, Altuve did (ahem) lead all of Major League Baseball with a .341 batting average, while also swiping 56 bags to tie him for the second most behind fellow second sacker Dee Gordon.

    Of course, the risk is that Altuve won't maintain his elevated .360 BABIP (second-highest in the sport), and thus the elite average that came with it. Same goes for the fear that his stolen base total might drop to “only” 30-40, where it was in 2012 and 2013.

    Because one, if not both, of those two categories will dip—that's almost a given—the key is how much of the 2014 gains Altuve will give back in 2015. While he's not a nothing in the power statistics, Altuve won't do enough in homers or RBI if he's not well above-average in runs and, especially, average and steals. That's why Altuve comes in second at second.

No. 1: Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle Mariners

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    JOHN FROSCHAUER/Associated Press

    2014 Fantasy Stats: .314 BA, 77 R, 14 HR, 82 RBI, 10 SB (665 PA)

    In his first year as a Seattle Mariners, Robinson Cano's home run total was cut almost in half (from 27 to 14) and he lost more than 20 percent off his RBI tally (from 107 to 82)—and still this is the top second baseman on the board.

    Despite the above, the 32-year-old pulled off the exact same batting average and on-base percentage in 2014 as he did in his final season with the New York Yankees (.314 and .382, respectively). And that says a lot about his consistency, which is oh-so-important in fantasy, especially at a time when offensive performance has been anything but.

    And if you want more about Cano's consistency, look only at the fact that the man played 157 games a year ago and that was his lowest total since—wait for it—2006. In fact, he's been so good at staying on the diamond for MLB action that the only serious injury he's endured—a fractured toe from being hit by a pitch—happened to come this past November, during the Japan All-Star Series in the offseason. After missing about a month, Cano is, of course, fully recovered.

    Should you feel like blaming Cano's decreased power numbers on spacious Safeco Field, well, don't; he actually hit nine of his 14 long balls at home. So even as he's getting up there in age, there's a fair chance he could return to the 20-homer plateau in 2015, especially considering he knocked at least 25 each year from 2009-13.

    With the M's bringing in some more bats, like Nelson Cruz, Seth Smith, Justin Ruggiano, Rickie Weeks (and a full year of Austin Jackson), Seattle's one-through-nine should be better. That would only benefit Cano in the runs scored and RBI categories.

    The value of Cano comes from his durability and consistent high-level production, particularly at a shaky position. Safety can be sexy, and Cano—a worthy late first-round pick—is as safe as it gets.

    Statistics are accurate through the 2014 season and courtesy of MLB.comBaseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

    To talk baseball or fantasy baseball, check in with me on Twitter:@JayCat11

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