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Staff Post: Second Basemen to Avoid

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The Fake Teams writers tell you who to avoid at the keystone in 2019.

MLB: NL Wild Card-Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

Second Base week is now at a close, which is awesome because we are one step closer to pitchers and catchers reporting. At SB Nation’s Fake Teams, in our proverbial books already are the following positions:

Catcher

First Base

Second Base

Shortstops are next week (rejoice!) but for now we’ll close out the keystone with our second basemen to avoid. As always, let us know who you think we missed. And if you missed our targets from this morning, here’s the link to that propaganda.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Javier Baez, Cubs (Zack Waxman)

NFBC ADP: 13.84

I will not own Javier Baez in redraft leagues. He is going to have to fall to around the third round for me to select him. He is almost a lock to strike out 25% of the time, his career line drive rate is nothing to write home about, and he has poor plate discipline—so an encore to his .290 batting average is sure to disappoint. He also stole 21 bases but was caught nine times. I believe he will get his homers, runs, and RBIs, but I would bet against the batting average and steals that vaulted his ADP up for 2019. I believe the reason he is being selected over players like Aaron Judge, Freddie Freeman, and Paul Goldschmidt is because people want to lock in a five-category contributor as their first hitter. In addition to those hitters, I’d opt for any of the stud pitchers over Baez because I don’t believe he will be a five-category contributor in 2019. To summarize, I believe there is a higher probability to lose from this transaction than to break-even.

Note: Matt Williams is also avoiding Baez in 2019. Verbatim: “I’ll keep it short since it’s obvious: Baez.”

Also, Mark Abell had this to say about Baez:

I agree with Zack on this, his [Baez’s] ADP is too high for one season where everything seemed to go right for him. I think he regresses to his previous season, which shows runs and RBIs in the mid 70s. That is not a bad stat line but it is bad if you are selecting him in the first two rounds. Sometimes you have to buy in early if you really believe in a young talent, but I need to see a longer history of success before I risk a Top 20 pick on a player.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros
Dee looks really happy for someone who only contributes in one category routinely...two at best.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Dee Gordon, Mariners (Heath Capps)

NFBC ADP: 113.07

My aversion to Gordon is the same as my aversion to Hosmer. I dislike both of their profiles. Gordon does make more sense as a second baseman than Hoz does as a first baseman, primarily because second base is a weak position overall and one that we generally want to have speed at. However, much like Hosmer doesn’t offer much power—but is sort of decent everywhere else—Gordon ONLY offers speed but is bad at everything else. I’d like Gordon more as my MI option than my starting second baseman, but per his ADP at NFBC he’s in the same area as guys like Sean Doolittle, Eloy Jimenez, Wil Myers, A.J. Pollock, Robbie Ray, and Charlie Morton (to name a few). Most of those guys have some sort of “flea,” be it an injury history, age, or being untested. But I’d much prefer any player that will contribute in more than one category, instead of a guy like Gordon who is destined to drag down at least three of my five hitting categories—if not four of five.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at San Diego Padres
Cano made our targets list, but now he’s an avoid?
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Robinson Cano, Mets (Punk is Dead)

NFBC ADP: 127.55

Robinson Cano is fine. But he’s not Top 10 option at second base, nor is he a Top 100 player overall—which is his current ADP on FantasyPros. You also have to worry about age. Cano could hit 20 home runs with a decent average, but he offers little upside in my eyes. He is better in points leagues. Also, Javier Baez... don’t draft him.

MLB: NLCS-Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers
Dozier is now a member of the Washington Nationals.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Dozier, Nationals (Joe Gentile)

NFBC ADP: 143.67

Dozier really struggled last season, and if you dive into his numbers you will see that it was not just bad luck. Over the past three seasons he has relied heavily on his ability to make hard contact due to his lack of line drives and a fly ball heavy approach. Last season his hard contact rate dropped all the way down to 28.4% according to Statcast. This is very concerning and is one of the biggest reasons he had the second-lowest xAVG among batters with at least 500 plate appearances last season. There is a chance he finds his power stroke again in 2019, but I would rather pass and take my chances on someone like Lourdes Gurriel, Ketel Marte, or Luis Urias a couple of rounds later.

And that’s it for Second Base Week! Tell us who you like or who we missed!