Rankings Review: Second base is getting mighty crowded
Scott White addresses some of the changes he made to his rest-of-season rankings, highlighting Devin Mesoraco, Ryan Howard, Dee Gordon and Tyson Ross as risers.
If you're not the exploring type, you may have yet to discover our rest-of-season rankings, and if you have yet to discover our rest-of-season rankings, you're missing out on the most valuable resource Al Melchior, Michael Hurcomb and I have to offer.
It's our take on every player. I repeat: every player. Between Fantasy Baseball Today, the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast, columns and blog posts like this one, we address what we consider to be the most relevant players of the day, but the only place we get to all of them is the rankings.
So that should be the first place you go for every decision, be it a trade, add-drop or even start-sit situation. Knowing how we value a player for the rest of the season should give you the confidence you need to act.
Of course, for them to serve that purpose, they need to be up to date, and while none of us are able to update ours as regularly as we'd like, I try to give mine a good once-over three or four times a week. And each time, I find at least one change to make at every position.
Rather than just show you the results, I thought I'd share the thinking behind some of those decisions with this latest update. It's something I'll make a habit of doing over the course of the season.
- Devin Mesoraco 's strong start has officially moved him into the top 12 at catcher. I had been hedging my bets with him, saying I wouldn't predict him to outpeform Jason Castro and Yan Gomes the rest of the way but didn't see the harm in swapping one out for him in leagues shallow enough that he's still available. But in all honesty, I think he has more upside offensively than those two, and I wouldn't let either prevent me from adding him.
- Now that he's back playing regularly, Josmil Pinto looks every bit like the player who hit .342 with four home runs in 76 at-bats down the stretch last season. His minor-league numbers never made him out to be anything less. Maybe his playing time suffers when Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia return from injuries, but the chances it doesn't are high enough to gamble on him over uninspiring A.J. Pierzynski and Dioner Navarro types.
- In case you missed my take on Ryan Howard on Monday's Fantasy Baseball Today, in short, I think reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. I still think Corey Hart has a clearer case for a 30-homer season, having done it more recently, but hopefully this new ranking identifies Howard as a similarly underrated power source.
- I'm more likely to take a flier on Justin Morneau or Chris Colabello than Lucas Duda , who has long been a favorite of mine. They both have their flaws, but if everything goes right for them, they have more to contribute overall than Duda, who strikes me as a three true outcomes player. Justin Smoak has basically dropped off my radar in mixed leagues.
- I think Anthony Rendon is better than Jedd Gyorko . Aaron Hill , too. There, I said it.
- Neil Walker gets a slight bump with his early season power surge, but at age 28, I don't see him having much room to improve on his numbers from the last two years. Maybe with better health, he approaches 20 homers, but with so-so peripherals, it won't be the most impactful 20 homers.
- I recently added Dee Gordon to the "too obvious" list at shortstop in my weekly start-sit hitters column, but second base is so deep that he'll have a hard time earning the designation there. I at least have him up in Jed Lowrie territory now, moving him past the similarly abled but notably less exciting Emilio Bonifacio and Kolten Wong , who needs to get hot soon to avoid fading from mixed-league relevance with Mark Ellis back in the mix, but I don't see how anyone can give up on Phillips or Murphy for him just yet. Gordon has fooled us before, after all.
- Giancarlo Stanton is clearly more valuable than Bryce Harper right now, and at least in Head-to-Head point leagues, Jose Bautista is, too. I regret taking so long to come around to it.
- I don't know where Domonic Brown 's power has gone early this season, but it was so inconsistent last season that its disappearance is a moderate concern -- enough for me to prioritize Wil Myers and Jayson Werth over him, as well as Starling Marte in Rotisserie leagues.
- Charlie Blackmon just keeps moving up. I'd be willing to go as high as 38th with him, slotting him between Michael Cuddyer and Khris Davis , if I trusted Walt Weiss to play him against lefties. I still think it's just a matter of time.
- Eric Young and Michael Brantley are now ranked high enough that they should be owned in most leagues. Young's steals potential was underrated from the beginning, but at least in Head-to-Head points leagues, Brantley could make the bigger impact in the long run. He rarely strikes out, so if this early season power surge is a sign of him becoming a 15-homer type, if not better, at age 26, he could be another Martin Prado -type contributor (without the versatility, of course).
- When Marcell Ozuna showed up in the big leagues hitting .300 last year, I said his lack of plate discipline couldn't sustain it. He did regress, but now that he's hitting well over .300 again, I'm thinking the regression had more to do with a thumb injury that ended his season prematurely. I'm not saying he's must-own, but ranking him 70th among outfielders prioritizes him over popular minor-league stash Gregory Polanco .
- Chris Sale falls only a couple spots despite his recent elbow injury. All signs point to it being a short-term thing, with general manager Rick Hahn even suggesting a minimum DL stint. You don't want to sell low.
- On the verge of returning from the DL, Cole Hamels and Mike Minor are back in the top 24 at starting pitcher, with room to rise from there. Hisashi Iwakuma is a little further back, but then again, he's a little further from returning as well.
- I don't care what his record is; Jeff Samardzija is dealing right now and has long had the makings of an ace. He's far from an open-and-shut case, but moving him ahead of Marco Estrada , Zack Wheeler and Lance Lynn isn't too much of a stretch, given the upside.
- Tyson Ross made the biggest leap of anyone in the starting pitcher rankings. Given the way his last two starts have gone and the explanation for the turnaround (check out his player page for more), I'm more convinced than ever that his 2.93 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings in the second half last year were legit. The leap is most evident at relief pitcher, where he joins Alex Wood in the top 10 as a must-start SPARP.
- I've become a full-fledged believer in Martin Perez as well. Whether or not he develops into a strikeout pitcher -- a legitimate possiblity given his pure stuff -- is irrelevant if he consistently pitches deep into games, and the efficiency he's shown so far suggests he will. As he is now, he's at least as good as Kyle Lohse , who I've also elevated to must-own status, and certainly has the potential for more.
- Francisco Rodriguez continues to climb the relief pitcher rankings with his stellar start, jumping ahead of "more secure" types like Addison Reed , John Axford and Huston Street . Is anyone still thinking Jim Henderson overtakes him at some point?
- Though he hasn't gotten a save yet, I prefer Pedro Strop to Kyle Farnsworth among the newcomers to the closer role. He didn't fall into the role like Farnsworth did, giving him more staying power.
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