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Top 15 fantasy second basemen for 2017

By Casey Musarra • Mar 16, 2017 at 4:30 PM

A ranking of the 15 best second basemen to target in fantasy baseball drafts for the 2017 MLB season.

1. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

Altuve won the AL batting title for the second time in three years with a .338 average and had at least 200 hits for a third straight season, hitting a league-high 216. He finished third in the AL MVP vote. Altuve had career bests in home runs (24), RBIs (96), runs (108), OBP (.396) and slugging percentage (.531). The 26-year-old's 30 steals were a career low but also came on his fewest attempts in a full season, and still tied for second among second basemen. Now that he's transitioned from a leadoff man to a legitimate No. 3 hitter, Altuve's one of the game's few five-category threats.

2. Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners

That's the Robinson Cano we know and love. After two down years, by Cano's standards, the slugging second baseman returned to form last season, hitting .298 with career highs in home runs (39) and runs (107) while driving in 103 runs. It was the first time Cano eclipsed 100 runs and RBIs in the same season since 2011. At 34, it'll be tough for Cano to maintain those figures, but even at his worst, he's one of the few top second basemen.

3. Trea Turner, Washington Nationals

Turner emerged as the next big star in Washington last season. The 23-year-old got called up for good just before the All-Star break and did some serious damage in just half a season. He slashed .342/.370/.567 with 13 home runs, 40 RBIs, 53 runs and 33 stolen bases in just 73 games. His .388 BABIP is unsustainable, so his batting average likely will dip, but he has a career .321 average between the majors and minors. Turner mostly played centerfield last season, but with Danny Espinosa gone and Adam Eaton added to the mix, he'll move to his natural shortstop. It'll take him 10 games in most formats to gain shortstop eligibility. He already has dual eligibility after 30 games at second base and 45 in the outfield last year. In a loaded lineup with Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy, Turner is poised for a big year.

4. Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals

In his first season with the Nationals, Murphy proved his power display in the 2015 playoffs with the Mets wasn't a fluke. The adjustments he made to his swing carried over and led him to finish second in NL MVP voting. Murphy hit .347 with a career-best 25 home runs and led the NL in doubles (47), slugging percentage (.595) and OPS (.985). Hitting in the middle of a stacked lineup with Adam Eaton, Trea Turner and Bryce Harper, Murphy should be able to eclipse 100 RBIs for a second straight year. While primarily a second baseman, Murphy also played 21 games at first base, giving him dual eligibility.

5. Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins

There was a surge in home runs across MLB last season at 5,610, second all-time behind only 2000. Dozier helped that number along. The slugging second baseman had a career year, and while he was known for his power, he reached a new level in 2016. Dozier hit a career-high 42 home runs, tied for third in the league and a record for AL second basemen, and ranked in the top five among second basemen in runs (104) and RBIs (99). His mix of power and speed -- at least 12 steals in each of the last four seasons -- make him a solid four-category performer, but he's a .246 career hitter.

6. Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers

Kinsler has long been known for his above-average contact rate (88.1 percent career), but he dropped off to 85.2 percent and struck out a career-worst 115 times last season. Kinsler hit 28 home runs, his best since 2011. Even with the concern about Kinsler's increased strikeout rate, he's one of the most consistent players around. He's scored at least 85 runs, driven in at least 72 runs and stolen at least 10 bases in each of the last six seasons. At 34, he may be trading contact for power, but if he can continue to hover near his .277 career average, he'll be a solid five-category contributor.

7. Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers

Most of Odor's offensive statistics have increased year over year, but the 23-year-old has become less patient. He had a career-high 21.4 percent strikeout rate and a career-low 3 percent walk rate. Despite that deficiency, Odor bumped his batting average by 10 points to a career-high .271. He also reached career-highs in home runs (33), RBIs (88), runs (89) and steals (14). Odor's a bit of a risky pick because of his tendency to swing at pitches outside of the strike zone, but because he finished third in home runs among second baseman last season, he can be worth it.

8. Jean Segura, Seattle Mariners

The move to Arizona worked wonders for Segura, but after one season there, he's on the move again. Playing half the season at hitter-friendly Chase Field, Segura led the NL with a career-high 203 hits. He also slashed a career-best .319/.368/.499 with career-highs in home runs (20), RBIs (64) and runs (102). Segura has been a stud on the basepaths throughout his career, with at least 20 steals in each of the past four seasons. Safeco Field often is considered one of the least hitter-friendly parks, but it actually had the most homers of any stadium in 2016 with 234. It also ranked in the bottom 10 in runs and hits the past five seasons, though, according to ESPN Park Factors. The transition to a less hitter-friendly park likely will hinder Segura to some extent. Though Segura primarily played second in Arizona, he'll move back to his natural shortstop with Cano manning second. He has eligibility at both middle infield spots after logging 142 games at second and 23 games at shortstop.

9. Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals

Over the last two seasons, Carpenter has transitioned from a contact hitter with a high on-base percentage to more of a power source. Carpenter hit at least 20 home runs for a second straight season despite an oblique injury that limited him to 129 games. Even with his added power, he continues to get on base at a high clip -- his walk rate was a career-high 14.3 percent and he had a .380 OBP last season. The versatile Carpenter has eligibility at first base, second base and third base, after logging at least 40 games at each position last season, giving him a boost in value.

10. DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies

LeMahieu has become one of the most disciplined players in the game. He's reaped the benefits of playing half of his games at Coors Field, winning the NL batting title with a career-best .348 average. His splits were much better at home -- .391/.473/.591 in 75 games in Colorado compared with .303/.353/.395 in 70 games on the road. For the first time in his career, LeMahieu hit double-digit home runs (11), and scored at least 100 runs. LeMahieu, 28, also had a career-best 10.4 percent walk rate last season. What he lacks in power he makes up for with his high contact rate (87 percent in 2017).

11. Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians

While Kipnis' speed has fallen off a bit from his first few full seasons in the big leagues, he's found his power stroke. He had a career-high 23 home runs and .469 slugging percentage in 2016. Kipnis, 29, still swiped 15 bags, but it's a long way from his two-straight 30-steal seasons in 2012 and 2013. Likely hitting in the No. 2 hole of a deep Indians lineup, Kipnis should continue to be a run producer after scoring a career-high 91 last season and driving in 82.

12. Dee Gordon, Miami Marlins

Coming off a career year in 2015, Gordon was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for performance-enchancing drugs last April. The speedster, who led the majors in steals in 2014 and 2015, still swiped 30 bases in 79 games in 2016, about on pace with his 162-game average of 64. Elsewhere, Gordon's numbers declined. He won the NL batting title with a .333 average in 2015, with help from a career-high .383 BABIP. Gordon's BABIP fell to .319 last year, and with it his average dropped to .268. Gordon's essentially a two-category performer with his speed creating steals and runs.

13. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox

Pedroia returned to form in 2016 after injury-ridden seasons in 2014 and 2015. He slashed .318/.376/.449 with 15 home runs, 74 RBIs and 105 runs. It was the first time Pedroia scored 100 runs since 2011. Now that Mookie Betts has emerged as a power hitter, manager John Farrell plans to move Pedroia up to the leadoff spot, where he'll have ample scoring opportunities in a stacked lineup. At 33, he's likely not going to reach double-digit steals like he used to, but if he can stay healthy, he's a solid four-category contributor.

14. Ben Zobrist, Chicago Cubs

The World Series MVP is one of those reliable, yet unsexy players who quietly gets the job done. Last season he had a .272/.386/.446 slash line with 18 home runs, 76 RBIs and 94 runs. Zobrist has always been patient at the plate and logged a career-best 0.85 strikeout to walk ratio. His versatility -- Zobrist has second base and outfield eligibility and played five different positions last season -- adds to his value.

15. Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles

The youngster lacks patience, evident by his career 23.2 percent strikeout rate and 3 percent walk rate. Despite the bad numbers, he's improved in both categories in each of his first three full seasons. After playing in just 86 games in 2015 because of a knee injury, Schoop, 25, played in all 162 games last season and hit .267 with 25 home runs, 82 RBIs and 82 runs. He won't help in leagues that measure walks or OBP, but his power in a lineup loaded with just that makes him a strong three-category player.

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