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2018 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Second Base

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Which underrated players could help your fantasy team in 2018?

MLB: Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

We will continue second base week with second base sleepers. You can check out everything else from this week here. Now let's get into the list!

Chris Owings, Arizona Diamondbacks

In the first two months of last season, Owings was hitting .316/.355/.484 with six home runs and nine stolen bases. After his hot start, however, he was hitting just .215/.238/.395 with six home runs and three stolen bases. So which Owings should we expect to see in 2018? He will probably be somewhere in-between the two halves of last season, which could still be pretty valuable.

With a 22.5% strikeout rate and 21.8% line drive rate last season Owings will most likely be someone with a batting average around .260. However, if he can lower that strikeout rate closer to what we saw in 2016, then we could see him get closer to the .280 mark.

Owings did make some serious strides in the power department last season, but we will most likely see a drop-off in power from the 26-year-old this season with the announcement of the humidor in Arizona. Even without the humidor we were most likely going to see some regression from Owings, as he ranked 366th in exit velocity on fly balls among batters with at least 30 batted ball events with 90.6. To put that in context Chase Headley and Stephen Strasburg ranked 375th and 376th with 90.5, so I feel pretty confident when I say that Owings will not be on pace for 20 home runs like he was last season.

The real reason Owings make this list is his ability on the basepaths. With stolen bases at such a premium this season, players with any stolen base potential are being taken within the first few rounds. In 2016 Owings only had 466 plate appearances, but was still able to muster 21 bags. With his speed he could easily steal 20 bags, but with the emergence of Ketel Marte we may see Owings’ time on the field cut. If Owings can get a starting job at some point during the season, then he could be just what your fantasy team needs down the stretch.

Devon Travis, Toronto Blue Jays

Travis started the 2017 season off slowly as he was hitting a putrid .130/.193/.195 for the first month of the season. In May, however, he was hitting an incredible .364/.373/.646 with four home runs and two stolen bases. Sadly, shortly after that great month the Blue Jays second baseman went on the DL and missed the rest of the season.

He has struggled to stay healthy the past three seasons, but his potential makes him a superb fantasy sleeper. Over his major league career, Travis has a great career swinging strike rate of 8.0%. With this ability to make consistent contact and his undisciplined approach at the plate, I would expect his strikeout rate to be somewhere around 18.0%. When you take this contact ability and add it to the 26.4% line drive rate and 18.8% soft contact Travis posted last season, we could see him hit for a .300 batting average for the third time in his career.

Not only does Travis have the ability to hit for average, but he is also a dark horse candidate to hit 20 home runs. Last season Travis hit 34.0% of his batted balls with an exit velocity of at least 95 mph. This is around the average for major league hitters, but with his low strikeout and walk rates he has a lot more batted ball events than many other players. This high amount of batted ball events and ability to make hard contact will give him a good amount of chances to put up a decent amount of home runs in 2018.

Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics

Lowrie could have a breakout season at 33 years old. He is every analytically-inclined fantasy owners dream player. Last season he had an incredible 27.1% line drive rate, 0.68 GB/FB and 34.5% hard contact rate, which is foreshadowing the potential of a high batting average player who also has 25+ home run potential. That’s not even mentioning the fact that he had the ninth-best soft contact rate at 12.1%, which ranked above players like Cody Bellinger, Freddie Freeman, and Giancarlo Stanton. Lowrie’s underlying numbers and durability last season will have me drafting him as my last pick in every league I play in to fill my corner infield spot—and for the cost, I recommend you do the same.

If you want to read more about Lowrie, here is a piece by Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan

Poll

Which fantasy sleeper do you think will have the best 2018 campaign?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Chris Owings, Arizona Diamondbacks
    (69 votes)
  • 53%
    Devon Travis, Toronto Blue Jays
    (134 votes)
  • 18%
    Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics
    (46 votes)
249 votes total Vote Now