August second base rankings

Instead of using Oliver’s projections, as we did for the first two installments of the August rest of season rankings, we will be using ZiPS’ ROS projections from here on out. Hopefully this will iron out some of the quirks.

Most fantasy rankings are forged on “gut calls” and the whimsical notions of whoever is compiling the list. Some experts don’t pay for saves, some don’t pay for steals, some wait on pitching, some value upside, some value reliability, and so on. While it might be nice to see plenty of different opinions, it probably doesn’t truly help unless you understand the biases of each individual ranker. This is why some of the writers here at The Hardball Times have created their own, objective valuation methods, outlined here and here (reading, or at least skimming, these introductory articles will give you a much better understanding of the rankings that follow and should help to answer most potential questions).

In accompaniment with Oliver’s ZiPS’ rest-of-season forecasts, we will use these objective formulas to create objective rankings. You may not agree with a particular rank, but you will know how the ranking was calculated and you won’t have to guess what the ranker was thinking. This should make adding your own personal adjustments and biases much easier. And perhaps this type of ranking will introduce some potential buys and sells that you may have otherwise overlooked.

These rankings will assume a 12-team league in adjusting for league average. The ordering of players, however, is unaffected; players will rank in identical order for leagues of all sizes.

Previous installments:
First Basemen {/exp:list_maker}

1Robinson Cano22535103620.3021.272.1311.83
2Ian Kinsler21436827100.2711.061.5711.24
3Brandon Phillips2183273160.2840.771.2410.46
4Jose Altuve22129321110.2940.460.789.61
5Neil Walker2132963240.2770.320.559.22
6Dustin Pedroia1992962460.2860.300.529.16
7Jason Kipnis2143162770.2620.280.409.10
8Ben Zobrist1883172760.2550.220.298.95
9Aaron Hill1972662640.279-
10Danny Espinosa2183072470.234-0.16-0.427.91
11Dan Uggla2013292910.234-0.18-0.337.84
12Howie Kendrick1972552350.274-0.23-0.357.71
13Kelly Johnson1892672250.238-0.45-0.867.09
14Kyle Seager1972642440.264-0.46-0.657.08
15Emilio Bonifacio16924110130.266-0.53-0.906.89
16Rickie Weeks1772672040.243-0.54-0.936.86
17Dustin Ackley2092941850.249-0.68-1.006.47
18Mike Aviles1702042150.265-0.70-1.156.42
19Darwin Barney2092621840.273-0.77-1.016.22
20Chase Utley1312051940.26-0.79-1.306.18
21Omar Infante1782131830.281-0.88-1.255.94
22Gordon Beckham1902552120.247-0.89-1.365.90
23Jemile Weeks2012611580.249-0.93-1.405.79
24Steve Lombardozzi2052221650.268-0.98-1.455.64
25Daniel Murphy1571722120.293-1.00-1.445.59
26Marco Scutaro1892231630.265-1.09-1.615.34
27DJ LeMahieu1591511730.296-1.21-1.775.02
28Tyler Greene1431931470.231-1.21-2.045.02
29Ryan Theriot18021 1450.272-1.24-1.784.93
30Ryan Roberts1541941750.227-1.24-2.094.93
31Jordany Valdespin1401531360.257-1.26-2.104.87
32Orlando Hudson1512231730.238-1.29-1.984.81
33Pedro Ciriaco1311611560.26-1.31-2.084.75
34Sean Rodriguez1471941740.224-1.34-2.214.67
35Maicer Izturis1261621350.262-1.36-2.154.61
36Alexi Amarista1631821640.252-1.38-2.154.56
37Daniel Descalso1572121620.255-1.40-2.064.50
38Mark Ellis1411821340.255-1.44-2.224.40
39Ruben Tejada1722011420.273-1.44-2.054.39
40Alexi Casilla1261711160.254-1.46-2.304.32

*Full season = the raw (non-adjusted) full season pace roto score using the roto points-above-replacement method. This is, essentially, the amount of expected roto points each player would score above an empty spot in a lineup over a full season.


Jose Altuve— I like Jose Altuve a lot, and ZiPS does, too. He produces his value in the three categories—runs, steals and batting average—that many fantasy owners seem to value less, but this doesn’t mean that those categories count less.

While Altuve won’t drive in many runs hitting atop an abysmal Astros lineup, he does have some power—five home runs with a .124 ISO—so he shouldn’t be a complete black hole in the home run category. Think Starlin Castro at second base, with a little less power, and a little more speed.

Altuve makes a lot of contact and has drastically improved his plate discipline upon what he did in 2011. He cut his swing rate by 12 percent, and is chasing at far less pitches outside the zone. This has helped him nearly triple his walk rate, albeit only up to 5.9 percent. Altuve, though, has a blossoming skill set and doesn’t look in immanent danger of dropping off in the final two months of the season. I’d probably still take Pedroia over him, but I really like the aggressive ranking here.

Chase Utley— ZiPS’ projection for Utley is very cautious, calling for just 131 more at bats (35 games). The trepidation is not without merit, however, as Utley has played in only 56.8 percent of the Phillies’ games over the past three seasons.

He missed 43 games in 2010 with a torn ligament in his right thumb. In 2011, he missed the team’s first 45 games with right knee problems, but did play 103 of the remaining 117 games after returning. This year, he lost 76 games to left knee issues, but has played decently since his return (.333 wOBA). Those are three pretty serious injuries, but that’s the complete list of Utley’s DL stints, not just over the past three seasons, but since the 2007 season. What I am trying to say is that Utley doesn’t yo-yo on and off the disabled list, and none of his injuries have been reoccurring issues. Once he heals, he is usually good to go, at least for a while.

Since returning from his latest DL trip, Utley has hit .236/.330/.449, but that line is accompanied by five home runs and three stolen bases, a good sign his knees are feeling well.

If I were to arbitrarily adjust Utley’s ZiPS’ projection for at-bats, I would bump it up to around 171, which would give him a rest of season projection of 26/7/25/5/.260. This would raise his expected roto values to -0.07 (rPAA) and -0.20 (EYES), and would bump him up to 10th among second basemen.

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Where would Jeff Keppinger fall in these rankings?  He’s actually been awesome since he returned from injury, but no one seems to be talking about him.

Jesse Sakstrup
Jesse Sakstrup

ZiPS only has Keppinger projected for 138 at bats (16/2/14/0/.283), so that would rank him just outside the top-40. With a bit more playing time he could bump up into the top-30, but once Evan Longoria comes back, his playing time outlook will become much more cloudy.