Welcome to the SCFE 2018 Fantasy Baseball Preview and Rankings, as I provide my Fantasy analysis on the Second Baseman position. Please take a moment and see my rankings and evaluation of the catcher position.
Second base is noteworthy in its makeup among Fantasy Baseball positions. While there is surprising depth, the true value lays in the Top 7 players. Each of which will have to be secured within the first five rounds. After that tier of players, it becomes an assortment of similar productive players with 15 HR/15 SB upside.
If I am in a 12-team league and I determine that there isn’t much difference between the second basemen I have ranked seventh and the second basemen I have ranked 15th, I might as well wait on filling my second baseman slot for a long time once the Top 7 come off the draft board. Why waste a mid-round pick on the position when you can get a similar option much later?
Who is the best option after Jose Altuve? Which rookies should you target for the 2108 season? Which second baseman will break out in 2018? The answers to these questions and more will be dissected and answered in the 2018 Fantasy Baseball Second Base Preview and Rankings.
2018 Fantasy Second Base Preview and Rankings
Jose Altuve is the consensus No. 1 second baseman. Who should be ranked as the 2nd best second baseman?
Unless you get one of the top two picks, you will not be able to draft Jose Altuve. Who is the next best option at second base? All three options are fairly priced and can be the center of a championship contending team. Let’s take a look at the best options:
Jose Ramirez, 2B, CLE
Jose Ramirez was an integral part of many Fantasy baseball championships last season. He hit .318/.374/.583 with nearly 7 WAR along with a career-high 29 homers, league-leading 56 doubles, 107 runs, 83 RBI and even stole 17 bases. He also drew 52 walks while striking out only 69 times.
Ramirez has hit .315 over the past two seasons and his elite contact rate says he is a decent bet to repeat. Ramirez’s BABIP last season was .319, which is not as outrageous as one might have thought. It shows that he wasn’t getting overly lucky, which lends itself to believe that his breakout was for real and he is highly likely to repeat his success.
Jose Ramirez brings everything to the Fantasy table that owners desire. He is part of an explosive offense and has multi-position eligibility and a player that should be selected as the second baseman following Jose Altuve in the second round.
Brian Dozier, 2B, MIN
The worst season of his career was when he put up 18 homers and 14 steals in his first full season. His career has been on a steady climb ever since. He has improved as a complete hitter and is no longer the rate-category risk he used to be. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier finished the 2017 regular season with a .269 average, 34 home runs, 93 RBI, 106 runs scored and 16 stolen bases. He was especially effective in the second half, producing a .301/.391/.587 slash line.
From 2013 to ’17, Dozier has averaged 29 home runs, 34 doubles, 81 RBI and 99 runs scored, and he has hit .252 with a .798 OPS while playing in an average of 153 games per season. He’s had at least 101 runs every season since 2014. He has hit career-highs in batting average in each of his last seasons, .268 in 2016 and .271 in 2017. He had a hard hit percentage of at least 34.1% in both of these seasons, which was a big reason why his average improved.
Brian Dozier can be penciled in for somewhere around 30 home runs, 100 runs, 85 RBI, and 15 steals to go with a .260/.345/.490 slash line.While some players might carry a higher upside, few come safer than Brian Dozier, a five-category guy that you can select in Round 3.
Dee Gordon, 2B, SEA
Dee Gordon is going to play center field for the Mariners this season, but will still carry second base eligibility. He posted a .308/.341/.375 slash line with 60 stolen bases last season. He led all second baseman in both runs and steals last year, and was Top 5 in batting average.
Gordon has led the Majors in stolen bases three of the last four seasons. Steals are not easy to come by, but he is one of the elite base stealers.
The Mariners have a potent lineup, which should leave Gordon with plenty of opportunities to score a ton of runs. He has a floor of 50 steals with the upside for 60-plus. Gordon might start the season slowly as he needs to adjust to a new ballpark and new league. I like the lineup he lands at the top of in Seattle, and as long as you properly strategize for the lack of power, Gordon feels like a safe Top 3-4 round pick.
Are there any second base rookies or prospects that I should target in my drafts?
Gleyber Torres, 2B, NYY
After Tommy John surgery ended his season early, Torres is competing to be the Yankees every day second baseman this Spring Training. Torres is everything you want in a prospect. He can hit for power, average, and hits line drives to all parts of the field. Nearly all the scouting experts agree on Torres’ talent, with ESPN’s Keith Law placing Torres second overall in his prospect rankings last year.
Torres hit .287/.383/.480 with seven home runs in 55 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season; however, after his call-up to Triple-A, he was hitting .309/.406.457 with two home runs in 23 games. There are questions coming into 2018 as to whether Torres would need time to sharpen up after a long layoff. In addition, it makes sense beyond the service-time aspect to start the prized prospect in the minors.
His greatest strength for Fantasy purposes will be his ability to get on base.He owns a career on-base percentage of .360 over parts of four minor-league seasons. The best case scenario for Torres is he gets the starting job at second base and he bats either first or second. If he gets on base in front of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez, he will be a great source of runs with 100-plus potential, .270 average, and 20-plus stolen bases.
He will most likely start the season in Triple-A as the Yankees will be able to control him for another season but he will arrive in the Bronx this season. Dynasty league owners should jump all over owning Gleyber Torres. In seasonal leagues, owners should draft and stash him at least with the notion that by midseason, he is producing in a very potent Yankees lineup.
Franklin Barretto, OAK
At just 21 years of age, Franklin Barreto is more than five years younger than the average Triple-A player. In 2017, he hit .290/.339/.456 with 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases in 111 games at Triple-A Nashville. Barreto is young and loaded with tools, and has raked at every stop on his minor league career. He is the future in Oakland in the middle of the infield. He is likely to be eased into action after a brief taste of the majors last year.
Barreto isn’t a perfect prospect. He struck out a combined 174 times in 540 at-bats last year in Triple-A and the major leagues. In an effort to reduce that number, Barreto has made a slight mechanical adjustment and is using spring training to shorten up his leg kick in two-strike counts. Even with these struggles, he still had a solid offensive season in Nashville. Unfortunately, those contact issues likely won’t fly in the majors.
Additionally, walk rate is a decent representation of pitch recognition and selection. However, he has never done well in that measure either. He offsets that with his hit tool, putting a solid amount of balls in play with excellent results. If Barreto can tighten up his approach, he could be a long-term offensive asset at an up-the-middle defensive position.
Barreto brings a balanced tool set to the table. He has excellent gap power with the upside to develop 15-25 home run power down the road along with enough speed that 20 steals per season shouldn’t be out of reach. His power and speed combo should find its way into the A’s lineup regularly and warrants an end-of-the-draft flier in deeper leagues.
Scott Kingery, PHI
Scott Kingery emerged last season as a major piece of the Phillies’ future. He hit .304, 29 doubles, 26 homers, 65 RBI and registered a .889 OPS along with 29 steals between Double-A and Triple-A. He was also one of just two players in affiliated baseball to hit 25 homers and steal 25 bases.
MLB Pipeline ranks Kingery, 23, as the top second-base prospect in baseball. Before Kingery arrives, the Phillies have to find a place for him to play. They have an abundance of outfielders and an everyday player at all four infield positions, including Cesar Hernandez at second base. Hernandez has been one of their better players over the last few seasons. The Phillies are giving him reps at third base, shortstop, and center field during camp in an attempt to increase his versatility. This will afford him more routes to major-league playing time.
Kingery is seen as the Phillies’ second baseman of the future. Part of that means he’ll likely open the season in the minors in order for the Phillies to secure an extra year of team control. That extra year of control will be great for the Phillies if Kingery ends up being the player they think he will be. While he still appears unlikely to break camp with the Phillies, he should be up at some point in the middle of the season.
Kingery will have the ability to receive starts at several different positions. Scott Kingery offers 20/20 upside and should be a reliable run-producing bat in the two slot in the Phillies lineup. It will be prudent to monitor the status of the Phillies’ lineup, as anyone falters or gets injured, Kingery will step in and help the Phillies and Fantasy owners in multiple categories.
Who is this year’s Whit Merrifield?
At this time last season, you may not have even heard of Whit Merrifield, he was a merely a light-hitting infielder who offered nothing of value offensively. Merrifield spent the first month in the minors before becoming a fixture in the Royals lineup. He then went to slash .288/.324/.460 along with 19 home runs and American League-leading 34 stolen bases. He scored 80 runs while driving in another 78 and finished in the Top 15 in steals (2nd), and in home runs (10th).
Whit Merrifield was a huge piece of many Fantasy championships last season. Which second baseman will break out and lead to Fantasy championships?
The Cubs used Ian Happ all over the field last season. He played 82 games in the outfield, 44 games at second base and four games at third base. After 115 games, he finished with a .253 average, 24 home runs, 68 RBI, and 62 runs scored. Surprisingly, Happ showed off some speed by stealing seven bases.
His one major flaw last season was that he struck out too often (31 percent). However, he has never posted a strikeout rate higher than 24 percent in the minors. He is still a better hitter than his competition for playing time. Furthermore, Fangraphs numbers say he was the best defensive center fielder for the Cubs. Ian Happ needs to be in the lineup every day!
His versatility on the field and his powerful swing should allow him to approach 500-plus trips to the plate. Last season in 529 plate appearances between Triple-A and the majors, Happs hit 31 home runs and collected over 160 runs produced. He has the potential for 30-plus home runs and stealing 10-plus bases with a possible .280 season. The breakout for Ian Happ will happen in 2018.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Second Base Rankings
|RANK||Updated 2/28/2018||ECR||VS. ECR|
|ECR: Expert Consensous Rankings|
|1||Jose Altuve, Astros (2B)||1||0|
|2||Jose Ramirez, Indians (2B/3B)||2||0|
|3||Brian Dozier, Twins (2B)||3||0|
|4||Dee Gordon, Mariners (2B/OF)||4||0|
|5||Jonathan Schoop, Orioles (2B)||8||+3|
|6||Daniel Murphy, Nationals (2B)||5||-1|
|7||Robinson Cano, Mariners (2B)||7||0|
|8||Rougned Odor, Rangers (2B)||10||+2|
|9||Whit Merrifield, Royals (2B/OF)||9||0|
|10||Ian Kinsler, Angels (2B)||13||+3|
|11||DJ LeMahieu, Rockies (2B)||11||0|
|12||Ozzie Albies, Braves (2B)||16||+4|
|13||Paul DeJong, Cardinals (2B/SS)||21||+8|
|14||Chris Taylor, Dodgers (2B/SS/OF)||12||-2|
|15||Ian Happ, Cubs (2B/OF)||18||+3|
|16||Eduardo Nunez, Red Sox (2B/SS/3B/OF)||19||+3|
|17||Jason Kipnis, Indians (2B/OF)||24||+7|
|18||Starlin Castro, Marlins (2B)||27||+9|
|19||Javier Baez, Cubs (2B/SS)||14||-5|
|20||Scooter Gennett, Reds (2B/3B/OF)||23||+3|
|21||Yoan Moncada, White Sox (2B)||17||-4|
|22||Marwin Gonzalez, Astros (2B/1B/SS/3B/OF)||20||-2|
|23||Jonathan Villar, Brewers (2B/OF)||22||-1|
|24||Cesar Hernandez, Phillies (2B)||25||-1|
|25||Tim Beckham, Orioles (2B/SS)||28||+3|
|26||Jose Peraza, Reds (2B/SS)||26||0|
|27||Josh Harrison, Pirates (2B/3B/OF)||29||+2|
|28||Jedd Gyorko, Cardinals (2B/1B/3B)||33||+5|
|29||Gleyber Torres, Yankees (2B)||46||+17|
|30||Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (2B/SS/3B)||37||+7|
|2018 Fantasy Baseball Rankings powered by FantasyPros|
|Rank||Player. Team||ECR||VS. ECR|