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State of the Position: Second Base

A look at how fantasy baseball GMs should attack the second base position.

World Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Houston Astros - Game Five Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Welcome to an entire week devoted to the keystone, ladies and gents. Be sure to scope out Catcher Week and First Base Week if you missed those. Let’s dive in.

The Superstar: Jose Altuve

Altuve is being drafted second overall in most places. It feels a bit costly, but even a floor projection for Altuve is better than the rest of this rabble. Steamer is a bearish on Altuve, projecting a .309/.369/.479 slash with 19 home runs and 24 steals. Interesting, since Altuve has clocked 24 home runs in each of the last two years and stolen 30 and 32 bags over the same time period. Steamer projects a .170 ISO, despite Altuve managing marks of .194 and .202 from 2016-2017. Steamer also projects a .327 BABIP, a mark that would be a five-year-low for Altuve and below his career .339 mark. Squarely in his prime at 27 years old, I see no reason for this absurdity. It’s a moot point, anyway—Altuve’s floor is still elite, and that’s why you pay up for his services in the first round.

The Veteran Tier: Jose Ramirez, Brian Dozier, Dee Gordon, Daniel Murphy

You know what you get with these guys, and you’ll have to pay for that familiarity. At FantasyPros, Ramirez, Dozier and Gordon are all ranked between 32 and 35 overall. Murphy lags slightly behind at 44th overall, but you get the idea. None of these guys have age-related fears (like the 35-year-old Robinson Cano) and that fact is baked into their respective ADPs.

The Bounce-back: Rougned Odor

Odor’s batted ball profile remained pretty steady last year, with no significant differences in line drive percentage, ground ball percentage, and fly ball percentage. His HR/FB% was in line with career norms. He pulled the ball only slightly more and still made plenty of hard contact (36.7%). His walk rate jumped by nearly two percent to 4.9% (still bad) and his strikeout rate ballooned a few percent to 24.9% (still not good). His ISO of .193 resembles his .197 career mark and is a tad lower than 2015-2016 levels (.204, .231). His BABIP, however? A disgusting .224, well below his career .274 mark. For a guy who had no significant changes in his profile, we call that pretty darn unlucky. Steamer projects a far more normal .278 BABIP and tolerable .256/.303/.480 slash for 2018...and that I can buy into for a guy who has gone 30/14 and 33/15 over the last two seasons.

The Avoid...

This is difficult. Second base is a position of one elite (Altuve) and a few dependable veterans. After that, it’s a mess of guys who have differing profiles (a 20-homer type vs. a 5HR+20SB type). You can target a different sort of player depending on what your team needs, but it’s tough to find an avoid. I do think people are reaching too much for Whit Merrifield, as his 92 overall ranking on FantasyPros illustrates. It’s even worse on Fangraphs, as Merrifield has an ADP of 71.4, ahead of Jean Segura (78.0) and Robinson Cano (83.1). Yikes. I don’t hate Merrifield, but I feel like he’ll be drafted aggressively by many who are blindly expecting another push for a 20/20 season. I’ll grab him if he falls, but I’m not going out of my way to target a guy on a terrible team who waited until age 28 to have a breakout season.

That said, second base is so terrible that I understand why someone would reach for him in the middle rounds, since I expect his speed to stick. Hence, it’s tough to call him a full avoid.

The Breakouts: Yoan Moncada and Ozzie Albies

The fun begins here! Moncada (132.9) has an early Round 12 ADP, while Albies (143.2) is ranked as a late Round 12 pick. Both represent the end of a clear Top 15 according to Fangraphs ADP data, as the next second basemen doesn’t pop up until pick 186, and that is the uninspiring Jonathan Villar. On that note, I’ll pass on Villar and take Ian Kinsler (190.7) a few picks later. Anyway, scope out the Fangraphs projections for these two future studs and vote for your favorite one below.

Albies vs. Moncada

Name Team G PA AB HR R RBI BB SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS wOBA wRC+
Name Team G PA AB HR R RBI BB SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS wOBA wRC+
Ozzie Albies Braves 135 595 540 12 72 58 42 20 10 0.273 0.329 0.417 0.746 0.32 95
Yoan Moncada White Sox 134 592 513 18 72 60 66 20 11 0.237 0.327 0.394 0.72 0.313 94

Pretty similar, eh?

Poll

Who will have a better season?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Yoan Moncada, White Sox
    (59 votes)
  • 63%
    Ozzie Albies, Braves
    (102 votes)
161 votes total Vote Now