It is cold here in Minnesota and while the spring sunshine may feel light-years away, there is no better time than now to discuss Fantasy Baseball and the 2016 Second Base Busts.
To start with, I will explain my definition of a bust. I utilize the term “bust” as a player who falls well short of their draft value. Certain players may be more of a bust than others. Some players had average seasons and suddenly exploded with output. Whether the player will return to their successful ways in 2016 or not is the big question.
Other players will not struggle mightily, but may fall short of their expectations. When it comes to second baseman, the position is deeper than it has been in many years. It is a position mixed with aging veterans and young and upcoming players. The difference between second base busts and busts at the OF or SP positions may seem minimal, but positional depth allows for this.
It is harder to pinpoint potential second base busts because many of the below mentioned players will still hold Fantasy value. The main concern is whether their output, health and their draft values equate to success.
With that, let’s look at a few second base busts I foresee disappointing Fantasy owners in some capacity in 2016.
Second Base Busts
Mixed League Busts
Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
Pedroia is now 32 years old and was plagued with injures last season allowing him to only play in 93 games. Pedroia, however, did not play like an aging veteran who was riddled with injuries. He hit for power with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs in 425 at-bats. He also hit for average with a slash line of .291/.356/.441.
These are definitely not terrible numbers, and if you owned Pedroia and were able to plug in another player while he was out, you were rewarded for waiting. This year I have fears that his tendency to get injured and play injured will remain while his numbers will regress. As I mentioned above, my definition of a bust isn’t a player who returns no Fantasy value, as much as misses his draft value and projections.
Pedroia fits the bill for a player who will not hit for as much power, his speed is all but gone, and his average will certainly decline. I am fine with rostering Pedroia in seasonal leagues, and especially AL-Only leagues. He may indeed finish as a Top 10 second baseman in 2016, but I am not willing to pay what his name will likely cost.
Dee Gordon, Miami Marlins
Gordon was without a doubt a phenomenal value and Fantasy player in 2015. He continued to destroy the base paths with 58 steals, and hit for a .333 batting average. Gordon should be able to continue his dominance on the base paths, high average and runs scored in 2016. This should by default make Gordon an easy Top 3 candidate at the second base position.
However, much like Pedroia, regression simply has to be a reality for the 2016 season. His average will most definitely dip, but should hover around .300. His stolen base numbers may decline too depending how well his surrounding lineup performs. Depending on his ability to get on base, and most importantly if those behind him in the lineup can knock him in, will improve his opportunities to be aggressive on the base paths.
A healthy Giancarlo Stanton and an improved young surrounding lineup could greatly improve on Gordon’s opportunities. However, second base is deeper than it has been in many seasons, so spending an early pick on Gordon may not be worth the potential disappointment.
Deep League Busts
Joe Panik, San Francisco Giants
Panik is about as vanilla of a second baseman as you can get. In many NL-Only leagues and deeper formats, owners will be utilizing the youngster. He is definitely not a bad player, and as he showed last season, he can hit for average and play solid defense.
Panik, however, may not have a much higher ceiling, and if and when you draft him, you can count on a higher average and near double-digit power. That is about it. Panik also fits the bill to be a player who will disappoint and end up on Fantasy league waiver wires.
He may not be a high draft choice and deemed as a risky pick, but Panik may not provide much for owners and he can be easily replaced mid-season with the deeper second base player pool in 2016.
Devon Travis, Toronto Blue Jays
Travis had a scorching hot start to 2015 and was a Fantasy starlet until an unfortunate injury derailed his season. He will likely be starting the season the DL and Ryan Goins will likely get the nod at second until Travis is ready to return.
His torrid start may not be repeatable for Travis and although his draft position will be lower due to starting the season injured, he may not be worth the pick solely based on his start to 2015.
I don’t doubt he will have value in AL-Only formats and even some mixed leagues. However, there is still a chance for decline and not to mention the terrifying platoon if Goins gets off to a solid start.
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