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Second basemen: The elite, the middle and the bargain

Three second basemen targets for three fantasy tiers.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Second base is where I’m looking to grab some speed for my team. According to NFBC ADP and Steamer projections, of the first 13 second basemen off the board, only three aren’t projected to steal more than 10 stolen bases. We’ve hit about a 10-year low on stolen bases across baseball, so any little bit you can get helps—and in a position where it’s abundant, you’d be wise to draft them.

What follows are three targets, depending on how you want to tackle the position and how much you want to spend.

The Elite

Dee Gordon (NFBC ADP: 28)

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Like I said, I want speed from this position. Thanks to a move to the outfield in Seattle, this will most likely be Gordon’s last season with second base eligibility. There are some who believe patrolling centerfield will take a toll on his legs to the point where it’ll affect his steals. I don’t buy that. Gordon is known for his legs. That’s why Seattle traded for him and they’re not going to start capping him now. Expect a .280/.325/.360 slash line to go with a minimum of 45 steals.

The important thing to remember when drafting Gordon is to build around him. If you took Nolan Arenado in the first, chances are you’ll be in a good position to take Gordon on your next pick. That’d be an excellent pairing. If you took Jose Altuve or Mookie Betts, I’d maybe stay away because you’re hindering yourself now in power. Gordon has the ability to elevate you to the top half of your league in steals. Don’t fall for the “one-category contributor” fallacy. He will get you runs and hit for average too.

The Middle

Yoan Moncada (NFBC ADP: 133)

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know how it happened, but I’m all in on Yoan Moncada this year. Maybe it’s that the prospect shine wore off a bit and he’s reasonably priced in drafts. Maybe it’s that from Sept. 1 and on he slashed .261/.357/.447. Maybe it’s that I know his upside is a true 30/30 infielder. Between Triple-A and the majors, he went 20/20 in 134 games. If he qualified, his 12.6 BB% would have been 22nd best, tied with Freddie Freeman.

There is some average risk here but I think the projections that have him in the .230s are too pessimistic. He is a really special talent and should adjust enough to finish in the .250s at worst. In OBP/OPS leagues, don’t be afraid to reach as this price is a steal in those formats. At this ADP, Moncada can return something like 18 home runs and 22 stolen bases and easily be profitable. But the allure here is that he can break out and be one of the reasons you win your league.

The Bargain

Jose Peraza (NFBC ADP: 202)

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

So you’re past the 15th round of your 12-team draft and you realize you kind of forgot to draft speed. Peraza is here to help you out. Projected to be the starting shortstop on Opening Day, the 23-year-old is ready to turn in a Dee Gordon-lite season. Expect five home runs, 30 stolen bases and about a .270 average. He makes for a better middle infielder than a shortstop if you can help it, but if you can’t, it’s no big deal.

Remember what I said earlier about Dee Gordon and the one-category fallacy? OK, it might actually apply here. Thanks to Billy Hamilton, Peraza will hit in the bottom half of the Cincinnati order. As such, the RBIs and runs might combine for just 85 or so. But remember we’re here for the steals and after pick 200 he’s the only infielder who’ll give you this much.