Welcome to Second Base Week, for better or for worse. Better than catchers, at least. Sadly, due to other priorities, this article is coming out a little later than planned. But you know what they say, better late than never. Right?
Second base is another position that is lacking star power once get past the Top 3. Although there may not be a lot of excitement surrounding the position, there is still a lot of value to be had late in your drafts. These are just a couple of potential sleepers who could end up having a breakout season for you in 2019.
Lourdes Gurriel, Toronto Blue Jays (ADP: 220.3)
Gurriel will likely come as a huge discount in 2019 as his Fangraphs hard contact rate is 14.5% lower than his Statcast hard contact. Coming up through the minor leagues he was a contact-oriented hitter. This ability to make hard contact should help him be on pace to hit 25+ home runs next season. His strikeout rate did jump to 22.4% during his Major League debut, but with his aggressive approach at the plate and a healthy contact rate, I expect that to improve. Due to that aggression at the plate, he won’t draw many walks and will likely make soft contact at times. For his ADP, though, Gurriel offers a ceiling that is hard to find.
Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks (ADP: 228.1)
Marte is one of the industry’s favorite sleepers for second base. He had the 18th best contact rate last season among all qualified batters, right in front of players like Joey Votto and Anthony Rizzo. His increasing exit velocities and above-average plate discipline should help lead him to a batting average around the .275 mark. His exit velocities do leave a lot to be desired, but with his high ground ball rates and a more pitcher-friendly park in Chase Field with the humidor, he may not have that 20+ home run breakout unless changes are made. His speed and ability to get on base also give him the potential of swiping around 15 bags next season. Even if he gives you a 15/15 season with a .275 batting average, that is still quite valuable for his ADP.
Jed Lowrie, New York Mets (ADP: 271.9)
Lowrie was easily my most talked about sleeper last season, and the fact that he is still going outside the Top 250 is baffling to me. He offers one of the safest floors among players going past the Top 100, as his plate vision and batted ball data are both well above average. His ability to make consistent contact and drive the ball with hard contact give him the potential of a .275 hitter who can put up 25+ home runs. I am fine with taking him somewhere around the 200th pick to fill out my middle infield spot in upcoming drafts.
Jeff McNeil, New York Mets (ADP: 273.3)
It is still unsure where McNeil will fit in the Mets lineup after their busy offseason, but he still has the potential to become a Top 10 second baseman in 2019. His extreme contact rates are unheard of in today’s game, which helped him have a batting average greater than .300 at three different levels last season. He has moderate power, but his high amount of batted ball events and healthy fly ball rates should help him be on pace for 20+ home runs at the Major League level. If he can find a way to regularly get into the Mets lineup, McNeil should return significant value at his current ADP.
Luis Urias, San Diego Padres (ADP: 364.6)
Urias is a Top 100 prospect whose skills make him more valuable in real life rather than fantasy. With that being said, his current ADP is outside the Top 300 and that is a steal for someone with his potential. Coming up through the minor leagues, Urias was known for having some of the best exit velocities compared to his counterparts. Sadly, his ground ball heavy approach will likely keep him from reaching 20+ home runs in the Majors, but it’s not inconceivable. With his plate skills and batted ball data, he reminds me a lot of his current teammate Eric Hosmer. If that’s the case, then I’m comfortable with taking a flier on the 21-year-old second baseman.
If you want to catch up on everything else related to second base, you can check that out here.