Fantasy Sleepers: 4 Options at Second Base in 2016

Second base has the reputation of being a shallow position on draft day. It’s time to dispel that notion with some savvy draft day selections.

Many players are going to take a second base option early in the draft to get assured production. If you’re playing in leagues with a middle infield spot, these sleepers will give you solid production with the chance to even convince owners that they are better than their starters.


Devon Travis

Devon Travis started off 2015 as hot as any hitter in the league. From the start of the season until May 6th, Travis was batting .297/.366/.574 with seven home runs, 20 runs, and 23 RBIs. His resulting shoulder injury plagued him the rest of the year including two DL stints.

First things first, Travis will likely go undrafted in your league as the shoulder surgery Travis had in November will keep him out 4-5 months. This makes him less a draft day selection — unless you’re in deep leagues — and more likely a May add with the chance for upside. While some questioned his success, Travis has a sizzling batted ball profile and had success upon return from his injury, batting .357/.402/.488 in a month midseason.

Travis will have to prove to the Blue Jays he can stay healthy and will have to win the job back from Ryan Goins. Travis is a mature hitter and is someone to target in 2016. Both his ESPN Rank and his Yahoo! ADP are low enough to buy on Travis with any risk.

Projected 2016 Season Stats

GRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLG
12772166848957.291.356.463

Jonathan Schoop

Rarely do you see the kind of power from a second baseman that Jonathan Schoop displayed in a half a season in 2015. In just 86 games, Schoop hit 17 doubles to go along with his 15 home runs. When you draft Schoop, you’re drafting him for the power he provides at a position that typically doesn’t sport that production.

Schoop doesn’t come without some major flaws; he strikes out 25 percent of the time and his walk rate is almost nonexistent. While he won’t be a guy you target in points leagues, he has undeniable potential in roto formats. His hard hit percentage ranks 2nd in the league at his position and his BABIP rose due to commitment in going to all parts of the field in 2015. If Schoop can develop a bit of patience at the plate, he can ensure the production he is capable of reaching.

Schoop is ranked just outside the top 25 on ESPN and his Yahoo! ADP is 35th at second base. He is a solid last round snag for some unexpected power so Schoop him up (I’m so sorry…).

Projected 2016 Season Stats

GRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLG
141762574241265.273.304.451

Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia came into 2015 with a goal to hit for more power. In 2016, Pedroia has slimmed down and worked on his agility to improve his speed. While we can hope that Brock Holt spells Pedroia to keep him healthy, his competitive spirit will assuredly work against that.

Be cautiously optimistic about Pedroia in 2015. Due to his new approach for this year, I don’t think he will keep his power pace he had early last season. However, Pedroia will be at the very top of one of the most dynamic offenses in the league with the Red Sox. Look for Pedroia to return his line drive rate to career averages, a good bet to score 90 runs and 75 RBIs in 2016.

Pedroia’s name value has driven his ADP way higher than his ranking, a difference of over 40 spots. Regardless, Pedroia is worth the round 15 draft pick, with a top five finish among second basemen within reason. Take him as a backup with the potential for him to be your starter; The Laser Show isn’t quite done just yet.

Projected 2016 Season Stats

GRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLG
1509314836212912.276.349.452

Joe Panik

Joe Panik has sneaky value in leagues that don’t follow the standard scoring categories. While he doesn’t have elite speed and will be pressed each year to hit double-digit home runs, his production from the two-hole is a great asset for your fantasy team.

As I mentioned before, Panik’s value is limited in standard leagues but if your league scores for SLG, XBH, or OBP, his value is driven way up. Panik led the league in OBP last season and was top three in slugging. This is due to his tremendous ability to hit doubles, 27 in only 100 games to pair with his 30% Hard Hit rate. If not for an injury cutting his season short, he was well on his way to scoring 90+ runs for the Giants. If you look at the stats closely, Panik and Jason Kipnis are almost mirrors of each other except in the speed department.

You should gladly take Kipnis production at a third of the price. While Kipnis is ranked 7th overall, Panik slides on at 21 on the ESPN Roto Rankings and is a good bet to provide top 10 value for the 2016 season. If you find yourself without a solid second baseman late in the draft, don’t Panik, Joe is here (I’m so sorry, that was terrible).

Projected 2016 Season Stats

GRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLG
15293127266706.307.375.452

There are other players that man the second base position that I believe are poised to surprise fantasy owners. Brandon Phillips was brought back to life in 2015, though the Reds offense will hurt him. Starlin Castro was a top option at shortstop before falling off the rails last season. Though the chance is small, keep an eye on rookies Javier Baez and Jose Peraza as injuries or trades could open up a regular spot for them in the lineup.