2014 Second Base Tier Rankings: August

If you’d like to check out my tiered second-base rankings from last month, click here.

TIER ONE

Jose Altuve
Anthony Rendon
Robinson Cano

Rendon’s awful month of May sure does feel like it happened ages ago. Since the calendar turned over to June, Rendon has hit eight homers and stolen eight bases, with a .294/.353/.498 slash. He also leads the entire National League in runs scored for the season. Rendon is a true five-category fantasy stud, and moves up from Tier Two into Tier One this month.

TIER TWO

Dee Gordon
Ian Kinsler
Brian Dozier
Jason Kipnis
Neil Walker
Josh Harrison
Chase Utley
Daniel Murphy

Kinsler and Dozier both scuffled in July; Dozier struggled to the point that I felt compelled to write about his declining production. I noted in that piece that Dozier needed to make an adjustment to the fact that pitchers were throwing him more offspeed stuff than ever before, and it seems that he is doing so — he has eight hits and five walks in his last five games. I’m not particularly worried about either long-term, so they each only dropped a spot or two this month.

Harrison finally gained 2B eligibility in most leagues last month, so this marks his debut in my tiered rankings. There haven’t been many hotter hitters than Harrison over the last month. You want five-category contributors? Look at what Harrison’s done in the last 30 days: .309 AVG, 17 R, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 6 SB. On the season, he’s now the No. 9 fantasy second baseman, and that’s with 100+ fewer plate appearances than every single guy from No. 1 through No. 8.

TIER THREE

Ben Zobrist
Kolten Wong
Howie Kendrick
Brandon Phillips
Matt Carpenter
Arismendy Alcantara
Dustin Pedroia

Through the first three months of the season, Zobrist was barely holding onto a spot in the top 25 fantasy second basemen. It had been a full year-and-a-half since he had shown any power, and he had completely stopped stealing bases. So of course, pretty much right after I wrote my aptly titled article, “Stick a Fork in Ben Zobrist,” the 33-year-old had his most productive month since June 2012. I like to think that Zobrist read my article about him and used it as motivation to stop being so worthless in fantasy leagues. Whatever the reason, the guy had a great month, and thusly I have moved him all the way up from Tier Four to the top of Tier Three. Let’s not overreact though — this is the same guy that hadn’t even pretended to be a top fantasy 2B option in a long time before July.

Wong has been ridiculously awesome ever since returning from his shoulder injury. How awesome, you ask? .286/.310/.584, with six homers and seven steals in just 21 games, I respond. He’s your No. 2 fantasy second baseman of the last month, behind only Harrison. Read more of my thoughts on Wong here.

I really like Alcantara, and recently wrote him up.

Pedroia=UGH. Remember that piece I wrote about Zobrist being done? Let’s just pretend I wrote that about Pedroia instead. Even after his bomb last night, the guy has five homers and three steals. For the entire season. He’s still been getting on base, but he does literally nothing else for fantasy owners anymore. Not-so-fun fact: Pedroia is 3-for-9 on stolen-base attempts this year.

TIER FOUR

Brett Lawrie
Aaron Hill
Luis Valbuena
Scooter Gennett
Martin Prado
Jed Lowrie
Dustin Ackley

Ah, Tier Four. The “he’s a guy” tier. This is where we start getting into players that shouldn’t be sniffing a lineup in standard leagues. (Hey, you! Yeah, you. The guy in the 12-team mixer who’s still starting Martin Prado. FIND SOMEONE ELSE.) The players in this tier are fine if you’re an AL/NL-only player, or if you have a deep mixed league with a MI slot.

TIER FIVE

Emilio Bonifacio
Jedd Gyorko
Jordy Mercer
Yangervis Solarte
Tommy La Stella
Omar Infante
Alexi Amarista
Rougned Odor
Mike Aviles
Brad Miller
Gordon Beckham
DJ LeMahieu

In many ways, Tier Five is far more interesting than Tier Four, if only because of its volatility. I view both Bonifacio and Gyorko as decent lottery tickets at this point in the season. Bonifacio will be used as a utility knife with the Braves, and should see plenty of playing time, allowing him to snag some steals. Gyorko hit .162/.213/.270 before hitting the disabled list with plantar fasciitis. Since his re-activation, he’s 8-for-21 with two homers, two doubles and three walks.

I’ve been the proud conductor of the Jordy Mercer Hype Train™ since last June. “The Mercernary” — as no one other than me likely calls him — got off to a slow start this season, but has really picked it up as of late. He’s hit .295/.342/.445 over the last two months. Feel free to board the Jordy Mercer Hype Train™ at your convenience, for The Mercernary is still lightly owned in fantasy leagues.

Bonifacio, Gyorko and Mercer all have the potential to out-produce the names in the tiers above them, but none is really more than the aforementioned lotto ticket. They’re the only ones in this tier that I’m touching with a ten-foot pole in a redraft league.

TIER SIX

Kelly Johnson
Rickie Weeks
Sean Rodriguez
Munenori Kawasaki
Steve Tolleson
Jonathan Schoop
Alberto Callaspo

This Schoop situation is just getting worse and worse. The Orioles tried to give his job away to Ryan Flaherty, but Ryan Flaherty is Ryan Flaherty, and so now Schoop is back in the lineup. The 22-year-old is hitting .210/.248/.319, numbers that are actually trending downward after his atrocious .179/.191/.269 slash in July. He failed to draw a single walk between June 11 and July 27, while striking out 31 times. Schoop should absolutely not be in the majors right now, but instead of honing his craft in Triple-A, he’s starting nearly every day for the top team in the AL East.

TIER UGGLA

Dan Uggla

Interestingly, for as much crap as Uggla gets (all of which is 100% deserved, because he got paid so much money to suck), he’s only No. 17 on the list of worst players by WAR in 2014, with his -0.9 WAR. The worst player in all of baseball this year so far was the Rangers’ Michael Choice, who managed to cost his team nearly two full games before being demoted in July. As for my personal “worst player of the year” pick, I’ve gotta go with Justin Maxwell, who needed just 45 plate appearances to compile a -1.1 WAR. That’s pretty amazing.




Print This Post

Scott Strandberg is a writer by day and musician by night. He is the film critic for The Norman Transcript, and his baseball writing has been featured at The Hardball Times and MLBDepthCharts. He enjoys cooking and professional wrestling. Follow him on Twitter @ScottStrandberg.


35 Responses to “2014 Second Base Tier Rankings: August”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. joe says:

    I’m not sure if there is any more Kipnis can do to prove he’s not a tier 2 2B. What scoring system are you using?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • The standard 5×5 scoring system, in which he was the No. 7 2B last month because he hit three homers and stole seven bases. He seems like he’s finally getting over the oblique injury (or at least getting to the point where he can be productive while riding it out), and since these are rest-of-season rankings, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect him to keep up the level of production he showed in July.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • danwatson19 says:

      I’d have to agree. He’s been dealing with an oblique injury all year which has robbed him of his power, and it’s likely to hurt him for the rest of the season. I’d put him back in the top 4 to start next year, but he’s going to be a fringe starter for the rest of this year.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. kdm628496 says:

    where would asdrubal cabrera slot in, as he figures to gain 2B eligibility? thanks.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Emcee Peepants says:

    Freddy Galvis gave Maxwell a pretty good run for his money though, with -0.9 in 46 PAs, including 2 hits in 42 ABs. On related notes, four Phillies made the bottom 30 and I just stuck a thumbtack in neck to feel alive again.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Sean says:

    What tier would Baez be, if he starts at 2nd?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. joser says:

    Actually the slot Brett Lawrie has occupied for a couple of months now is “DL”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. cs3 says:

    Having 11 players in the top 2 tiers seems totally counter productive when most leagues feature 12 teams.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Isotopes GM says:

    Where would Danny Santana slot in leagues where he has 2B eligibility? Better than Wong rest of season?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Zak says:

    Is Scotter Gennett so low because he only starts against RHP? Because I would take a 2B with his numbers any day.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Why would you want a 2B with his numbers?

      April: .692 OPS
      May: .667 OPS
      June: 1.139 OPS
      July: .719 OPS

      One of these things is not like the other. He was the No. 21 fantasy 2B in July. He is the poster boy for an empty batting average.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Scooter Gennett says:

        bc hes been hurt

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • “He was hurt” doesn’t explain away an entire career of being an empty batting average. Over four minor-league seasons, he had 26 homers in 2,048 PA. He also had 46 steals and was caught 24 times. What about this is not an empty batting average?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Who is Zorbist? says:

    A second baseman with a .150 ISO and a .365 OBP….yeah, let’s not stick a fork in Ben Zobrist.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • He was the No. 24 fantasy second baseman through the first three full months of the season. He finished at No. 11 overall in 2013. July was easily the best month he’s had in over two years. Let’s not get *too* carried away here. Is it encouraging? Hell yes, that’s why I moved him up so far. But still, it’s a one-month sample following nearly two years of decline.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Who is Zorbist? says:

        I just think it’s hysterical. Fangraphs’ formulas, in some people’s view, overrated Zobrist for a half decade. Not mine, but when you tell people that Zobrist was the best player in baseball in 2009, and a top 5 MLBer since 2009, they think you are crazy. “Who’s Ben Zobrist?”, the casual National League fan replies. Now, a Fangrapher finally says Zobrist is overvalued, and he puts up MVP numbers since the day you wrote the article.

        Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think? A little too ironic, and yeah I really do think…

        I happened to agree with you when you wrote the article, but since I didn’t write it, I get to kid you for being right in the reasoning, but wrong on the outcome. I think Ben read the article, and got pissed.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Haha, yes, I am nearly certain that my article lit a fire under his ass. The timing was simply far too perfect. I should have my people contact his people about giving me a cut of any performance-related bonuses he may have in his contract.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Who is Zorbist? says:

        It’s the Rays, so even if you got 10% of his bonus, it’s still only a $25 gift certificate to Red Lobster. Now if he wins the MVP, you’ll probably be in line for some free dry cleaning.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Scooter Gennett says:

    You have Brandon Phillips and an unproven Alcantara ranked above me?? Check the numbers they don’t lie.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • I honestly can’t tell if people are tongue-in-cheek joking about Scooter, of if you guys really think he’s that good. Scooter was great in his insanely fluky June. Half of his homers (4 out of 8) and nearly half of his runs (20 of 42) came in June. He has provided near-zero value in every other month. He was barely a borderline top 20-25 fantasy 2B in April, May and July.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Pudge, Jeurys and Mexecutioner says:

    Amazing how little attention Harrison is getting. The guy has a career high in home runs, even though his HR/FB is actually lower than last year. Increased FB%, increased LD% (which would be partially responsible for the high BABIP), increase in strikeouts is mirrored by changed plate discipline numbers and has the feel of someone who has actually changed his approach, he is actually ON the batted ball distance leader board this year unlike 2013 (though that may be a PA thing?)…He really looks like one of those guys you accidentally ignore just because you think you know what he is.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. D says:

    It is too premature to put Rendon in tier 1. Just like Segura last year, it’s premature to stick a guy in tier 1 after a couple hundred good at bats and not realizing what their true talent level is.

    This is true for Rendon because he had never put up great numbers in the minors. He could very well be Howie Kendrick.

    Just look at his Steamers projections ROs: 270 , 5 HR, 3 SB. Not tier 1 material bro.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Oh goodness. You serious, ‘bro’?

      “He never put up great numbers in the minors.” First off, scouting > stats in the minors. Secondly, he only had 326 minor-league PA in his entire career. Third — and most important in wiping out your argument — the numbers he compiled in those 326 PA were *awesome*. Did you even look at them? .269/.408/.531 career with 55 walks and 57 strikeouts.

      “Just like Segura last year.” Stop right there. Rendon was a consensus Top-30 prospect in all of baseball for two years in a row. Segura was a Top 50-60 prospect, but a huge part of the reason for that was credited to his defensive abilities. That’s a terrible comp.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Lyndon Cox says:

    i will be starting prado until he is dead

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. bruce says:

    eh im still gonna play lowrie over alcantra

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. Jed Lowrie says:

    I’m a SS dammit!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>