Welcome to the 2016 Second Base Projections and Profiles for the National League, a part of the “So-Called” Fantasy Experts Fantasy Baseball Draft Package.
While the American League has most of the elite bats at second base, the National League is deeper than most people realize. This depth might allow you to wait a little longer to grab a second baseman and still get a useful player in the later rounds.
What follows are the 2016 Second Base Projections and Profiles for the National League. The players are listed alphabetically to make it easy to find the player you’re looking for. We’ve used the 20-game played threshold for position eligibility. If a player did not play 20 games at any position, we used the position they played the most games at. So even thou a player like Danny Espinosa is slated to start at short in Washington, we list him at second base because of his 2015 playing time.
The initial run of projections and profiles will focus on players with clear roles. As Spring Training approaches and rosters start to solidify, we’ll add names so that we can satisfy not only the needs of mixed league owners, but the traditionalists out there that play in 12-team AL-only leagues. These 2016 Second Base Projections and Profiles will be updated all the way up to Opening Day, so remember to check in occasionally to get the latest news.
Danny Espinosa, Washington Nationals
Espinosa appears to be in line to start at shortstop for the Nationals, but he’s likely only eligible at second base to start the season. Espinosa played decent in 2015. The Nats went through more than their fair share of injuries, so Espinosa used his flexibility and had a decent season. His average will remain below .250, and his strikeouts will be aplenty, but Espinosa has shown he can hit for double-digit HRs and knock in some runs from time to time. The Nationals also have Trea Turner waiting in the minors, so a slow start could turn Espinosa back into a utility player by June. – Chris Meyers
Scooter Gennett, Milwaukee Brewers
Gennett has planted himself in the starting role in Milwaukee and although he has been in a platoon role most of his career versus right-handed pitching, he may finally get a chance to play full-time in 2016. If he can he show improvement against southpaws, he will have potential to be a very nice value play at second base in 2016. A full season with a .277/.311/.407 slash line along with 10 homeruns and 25 doubles isn’t out of the question. – Chris Meyers
Dee Gordon, Miami Marlins
Baseball’s reigning steals champ will enter 2016 as the top option in the category. Lost among the 56 swiped bags was that Gordon also led the NL in average last year with a .333 mark. When comparing to someone like Billy Hamilton, this is a dream. While Gordon’s BABIP was in the clouds at .383, an average in the .290 range is very realistic this year. You are never going to see much power out the speedster, but average, steals, and runs should be available in spades. – Graham Briggs
Cesar Hernandez, Philadelphia Phillies
There is no denying that Hernandez has no power stroke whatsoever, but he does have plenty of speed. In 2015, he managed 110 hits, 40 walks, and racked up 19 steals. That isn’t too shabby on a Philadelphia team that didn’t do much to impress anyone last season. Hernandez should be healthy going in to 2016 and he can hit for an average of .260-plus, score some runs and steal around 20 bags. Not fantastic, but he may be a nice bench stash for deep leagues or a Free Agent target if you need a backup. – Chris Meyers
Enrique Hernandez, Los Angeles Dodgers
Hernandez did some nice things for the Dodgers and he was in the mix for the second base job until the re-signing of Howie Kendrick. Hernandez was looking like your basic defensive minded middle infielder until 2014 when he tweaked his stance and and showed some signs of life. Hernandez’s defense should keep him on the team, but unless he gets a shot at full-time duty there is a little upside that would make him interesting even in NL-only leagues. – Doug Anderson
There was a time that Hill was a near-elite option at second base. That time is gone. The 25-plus HR power he’s displayed at various points in his career is gone. The double-digit stolen base potential has vanished. One positive is that with the recent trade to Milwaukee, it looks like Hill will have the playing time to rebuild his value. He’ll likely start at third for the Brewers with maybe some time at second against left-handed pitchers. Even so his recent history says he’s nothing but a deep league option with very little left in the tank. – Doug Anderson
Micah Johnson, Los Angeles Dodgers
Johnson was a trendy sleeper in 2015, but his inclusion in the three-way trade that saw Todd Frazier end up in Chicago, was hardly noticed. He struggled in his brief trial in Chicago and the main culprit was a 26.3% K-rate; a number that is out of line with his minor league numbers. Right now Chase Utley and Enrique Hernandez look to battle it our for the second base job in L.A., but both have their shortcomings, leaving room for Johnson to insert himself into the equation. Johnson is pretty much a one-trick pony, but it could be a very nice pony, as he stole 84 bases across three minor league levels in 2013. In all likelihood he starts the season in the minors, but at some point Micah Johnson could be a nice waiver wire pickup for those looking for serious speed. – Doug Anderson
Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Dodgers
Except for some extended time on the DL 2015 was a typical year for Kendrick. He doesn’t do anything well enough to be a real value, but he does just enough to keep him on a roster. He’ll once again start at second base for the Dodgers, and there’s talk he might get some time in the outfield as well. Either way, he’s the player you settle for and not the player you chase.
DJ Lemahieu, Colorado Rockies
Coors Field does magical things. For example, it turned LeMahieu into a Fantasy asset in 2015. However, there are some warning signs that this was an aberration. The 23 stolen bases are a career high and unlikely to be duplicated, while his 2015 BABIP of .362 is 35 points over the average of his previous two seasons with the Rockies. Expect correction here. With enough power to crack about five homers out of the park in Colorado, a regressed average, and closer to his typical number of steals. LeMahieu is a great candidate to be over drafted this year so let someone else have him. -Graham Briggs
Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals
Daniel Murphy became a household name late in the 2015 season by playing a huge part in the Mets’ postseason success. Now he has moved on to Washington and may be poised to have a career season. His surrounding lineup is more formidable, and he has a manager in Dusty Baker who is already promoting a more aggressive style of play. This may allow Murphy to steal some more bases as well. Don’t value him according to his postseason heroics, but do expect a solid season, similar to what Murphy has done for the last three years. – Chris Meyers
Chris Owings, Arizona Diamondbacks
Owings’ minor league numbers say there’s a lot more here than we’ve seen so far. It’s hard to ignore how much he’s struggled at the Major League level though. He showed a bit of promise in 2013, but has completely bombed since then, with a 26.1 K% topping off his 2015 crapcake. While it’s hard to project a breakout for Owings, his power/speed potential makes him a nice stash in deeper leagues. A 10 HR/20 steal season is not out of the question and that’s more than you can say for a lot of middle infielders in his draft neighborhood. – Doug Anderson
Jace Peterson, Atlanta Braves
Peterson got to the All-Star break with a .252 average and eight stolen bases and seemed to be a potential fill-in in mixed leagues. His .221 average and four stolen bases after the break probably paint a more realistic picture of his offensive abilities. He’s been able to hit for average in the minors, but there are no signs of power and he was caught on 10 of his 22 stolen base attempts in 2015. NL-Only owners can hope for a small bump in his average and a few more SBs, but it’s doubtful Peterson will be of use in all but the deepest of mixed leagues. – Doug Anderson
Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds
It seemed during the offseason that the Reds had packed Phillips’ bags and done everything short of driving their second baseman to the airport in a deal with the Nationals. Phillips had other plans and did not waive his 10-and-5 rights as a 14-year veteran which effectively vetoed the trade. The 34-year-old looks like he will begin the year at the keystone for the Reds surrounded by a team hammering away at rebuilding. Phillips had his best season in three years in 2015, but some warning signs say regression is on the way. The batting average was thirty points higher than his career norm and should sink back down to the .260-.275 range that has been typical for Phillips. While the homeruns, RBIs, and runs scored could increase, expect a decrease from the 23 stolen bases he had last year. This was the most steals for him since 2009 and is likely an outlier. Phillips does hold value, but his advancing age and expected regression coupled with a rebuild surrounding him puts a cap on his upside. – Graham Briggs
Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals
Rendon is without a doubt a player with an elite skill-set and MVP potential, but he has struggled to stay on the field with a myriad of injuries. If he can play a full season as he did in 2014, Fantasy owners should be overjoyed. They will also likely be drafting a solid backup just in case. The skills and surrounding lineup are there, but will the health be there? – Chris Meyers
Cory Spangenberg, San Diego Padres
The good news is that Spangenberg enters 2016 as the Padre’s everyday second baseman and is penciled in to the leadoff spot for San Diego. The good news ends here. This team lacks punch in their lineup and will likely be near the bottom of the league in scoring by year’s end. Expect some regression in the batting average along with about 100 combined runs and RBIs for 2016. It would be a surprise if Spangenberg hits double digit homers, although he could provide some help in the steals department. In most mixed leagues Spangenberg is not worth targeting, but he could be a last resort pick in very deep or NL-Only leagues due to his likelihood of getting every day at-bats. – Graham Briggs
Trea Turner, Washington Nationals
Baseball America ranks Turner as the Nationals No. 2 overall prospect entering the 2016 season. After being drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft, he’s rocketed through the minors and looks ready for the show. He brings plus speed, some decent power, and a .322 average from his time in the minors to the table. His cup of coffee last year in the majors was less than overwhelming, but this small sample size shouldn’t deter potential owners. He started out slow in the minors as well before cranking it up. Turner’s biggest problem is not his skill set, but Dusty Baker’s affinity for veterans. Daniel Murphy should be the everyday second baseman and Danny Espinosa could start out the year at shortstop. Just to add insult to injury, the Nationals also picked up Stephen Drew which could push Turner back to Triple-A to start the year. However, with just Espinosa and Drew blocking him, the Nationals will likely give Turner a shot well before the All-Star break. A solid spring would certainly help his chances and this should be watched to help determine his value in drafts. If he does start out in the minors, keep an eye on him for a mid-season call up. -Graham Briggs
Chase Utley, Los Angeles Dodgers
Utely’s career had been in a decline in recent years due mainly to leg injuries, but the bottom fell out in 2015 and he didn’t hit even when healthy. Utley re-signed with the Dodgers and was slotted into the second base job until LA also re-signed Howie Kendrick. Now Utley will likely get some time at third base along with occasional starts at second and off the bench. He should be roster in NL-only formats, but it’s looking like his days of mixed league value may be a thing of the past.
Neil Walker, New York Mets
Neil Walker is now with the New York Mets and should once again be a somewhat under-valued second baseman in 2016. He is in his 30s now and his power dipped to under 20 homeruns in 2015, but he still remained consistent with his career numbers. Walker can likely be penciled in for a .260 – .270 avg, 65 – 75 runs, 15 – 20 HRs, and 65 – 75 RBIs in 2016. – Chris Meyers
Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals
Kolten Wong either improved or held steady from his rookie numbers in 2015, his first full-season. He hasn’t quite turned into the impact player we were hoping, but he’s still young enough to break out, and the gradual progression is a good sign. Wong has the potential to be a 20/20 second baseman, but for now he is a very solid player at the position and likely more of 15 HR/20 SB guy in 2016. 2016 will likely show us whether Wong can be a top option at his position or just a solid useful player. – Chris Meyers
Ben Zobrist, Chicago Cubs
Talk about consistency; Zobrist’s numbers over the past three years are virtual carbon copies. He did step up the HR/AB a bit last year, which could be a result of getting out of Tropicana Stadium or just normal variance. He joins a Cub lineup that should score plenty of runs and he’ll likely be slotted in at the top of the order. We’re not likely to see a return to his 20-homer days, but hitting in that lineup should help him bump up his stat line across the board. Don’t reach because there’s not much more upside, but Zobrist is definitely a solid option in all formats.
We’ll be updating the 2016 Second Base Projections and Profiles for the National League right up until Opening Day. There will undoubtedly be some names we add to the list and some we need to get rid of. Check back regularly and let the “So-Called” Fantasy Experts get you ready for the 2016 Fantasy Baseball season.
Also please check out the rest of our 2016 Projections and Profiles
NL Catcher | AL Catcher | NL First Base | AL First Base | NL Second Base | AL Second Base | NL Third Base | AL Third Base | NL Shortstop | AL Shortstop | NL Oufield | AL Outfield | AL DH | NL Starting Pitcher | AL Starting Pitcher | NL Relievers | AL Relievers |
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