Listed below are the positional rankings put together by Ryan Boyer, Nate Grimm, Nick Nelson, Matthew Pouliot, D.J. Short, Dave Shovein and Drew Silva. There are ultimately going to be some disagreements, presenting an opportunity for the writer to explain why they’re higher or lower on that player than the rest of the group.
Second Base Outliers
Matthew Pouliot had Rougned Odor 2. The composite ranking was 3.43.
In the last 20 years, eight players have hit 33 homers at age 22 or younger. In order, they were Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Odor. That’s a pretty nice group and certainly one in which nobody would expect to find a 5-foot-11 second baseman. Odor’s breakout campaign doesn’t look like a fluke, though. He hit 25 homers in 812 at-bats at ages 20 and 21. He actually had a higher OPS+ in 2015 than he did last season (107 to 105). There’s more upside to be found here if Odor refines his approach at the plate. He walked just 19 times last year, which was good for giving him more chances at homers and RBI, but definitely a negative overall. He wasn’t quite as impatient in the minors, and he’s not a huge strikeout guy. He’s also plenty fast enough to steal bases, and he improved his technique last year, finishing 14-for-21 after going just 10-for-24 in his first two seasons. Those steals are why I give him a clear edge over Robinson Cano as my No. 2 second baseman. He’ll keep upping his batting average with experience and maturity, and while he’ll probably open the season batting fifth as a result of the Mike Napoli signing, it’d be no surprise if he ends it batting third. – Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot)
Ryan Boyer had Dee Gordon 11. The composite ranking was 6.43.
I might have Gordon too low in my rankings. It’s certainly much lower than my colleagues, as well as where he’s generally ranked in the industry. However, I’m going to avoid speed-only guys this year if I have to use a single-digit round pick on them. Yes, stolen bases are down around the game and getting a Gordon or a Billy Hamilton can set you up nicely in that category. However, home runs are way up, and if they stay up in 2017 you’re going to really be playing catch-up if you use an early pick on a guy who gives you nil in that department. I also must note that Gordon doesn’t look to be bankable with his average anymore after he hit .311 from 2014-15. He batted just .268 in 2016 in a year when he served an 80-game PED suspension. I’m going to pass on Gordon this spring and find my speed later on with guys like Rajai Davis and Jarrod Dyson. – Ryan Boyer (@RyanPBoyer)
Drew Silva had Jason Kipnis 4. The composite ranking was 7.29.
Kipnis has been a very up-and-down fantasy performer throughout his six-year MLB career, but I’m super high on him for the 2017 season because of the power he showed last year and the talent around him in the Cleveland lineup. Kipnis slugged a career-high 23 home runs in 156 games last season and he also scored a career-high 91 runs while hitting second. I don’t know that he’s going to top that home run total this year, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. I do believe he’s going to top 100 runs scored with guys like Francisco Lindor, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Ramirez, and (maybe) Michael Brantley stacked up behind him. Kipnis isn’t as aggressive on the basepaths as he used to be, but there should still be plenty of juice in those 29-year-old legs. He was an efficient base stealer in 2016, going 15-for-18 on his attempts. Maybe that moves his light from yellow back to a certain shade of green. Indians manager Terry Francona is not afraid of trying new things. – Drew Silva (@drewsilv)