Second base isn’t an incredibly exciting fantasy position. Beyond the elite bats, the position falls off rather fast. In general, even the top names don’t provide the same level of production as the rest of their infield counterparts. Fortunately, many of these players provide speed, and the high-end talents chip in some power as well. Securing a second baseman that provides both is ideal, but if not, there are still some hidden gems in the pile.
The long-term outlook of second base is hard to pin down because of how often it changes. It’s the infield position that many shortstop prospects are eventually moved to if they can’t handle the defensive duties. the general prospect landscape looks solid right now, led by Triple-A bats Curtis Mead and Connor Norby. Further down the pipeline, Termarr Johnson and Jace Jung are a pair of exciting names from the 2022 MLB Draft.
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- The second base rankings could look much different next year if Jazz Chisholm’s move to centerfield remains permanent. He’ll likely lose eligibility for the 2024 campaign, though I think he may see more time in the infield again over the next few years. Assuming that holds true, Ozzie Albies looks ready to take the top spot at the position. Albies has already belted seven homers in 2023 with a .792 OPS despite an unfortunate .241 BABIP. He’s yet to attempt a steal this season after going 3-for-8 in stolen base attempts in 2022. I still have some concerns about his consistency, but Albies has the tools to carry this position for years.
PA AVG OPS HR SB Jazz Chisholm 860 .250 .766 37 46 Ozzie Albies 1066 .255 .774 45 23
- Miguel Vargas hasn’t exactly hit the ground running at the MLB level but he still possesses an elite plate approach. He’s sporting a disappointing .213/.354/.338 slash line but has strikeout and walk rates of 19% and 17%, respectively. Long term, it’s unclear if he’ll stick around at second base, as he had more experience as a corner infielder. The 23-year-old hasn’t displayed the pop he had in the minors. Vargas has just two home runs through 44 career MLB contests. In general, he could benefit from swinging more but the advanced plate skills at his age should provide a solid long-term floor.
- Nico Hoerner continues to flash a strong hitting tool. After hitting .286 across 179 games in 2021 and 2022, the 25-year-old is slashing .328/.367/.437 with eight extra-base hits and 10 steals through 128 plate appearances this season. His strikeout rate is under 10% and it’s beginning to feel like he can be an elite stolen base contributor. The acquisition of Dansby Swanson has pushed him to a full-time role at second base where his skillset makes more sense from a fantasy perspective. Hoerner will probably top out at 15 homers at best but the safe floor for average and speed has his value on the rise.
- Tier 4 (Lowe/Muncy/Morel/Stott/Gorman) Tier 4 might be the most interesting section of the list. It features a pair of exciting prospects in Connor Norby and Termarr Johnson, as well as some young breakout players in Bryson Stott and Nolan Gorman. Stott is hitting .317, while Gorman has an .878 OPS with six homers. Tier 4 is also home to some veterans off to great starts, including Brandon Lowe (7 HR, .856 OPS), Max Muncy (11 HR, 1.071 OPS), and Luis Arraez (.438/.500/.551). Finally, Christopher Morel is having an incredible season with Triple-A Iowa. After surprisingly being left off the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, he’s slashing .363/.463/.835 with 20 extra-base hits through 108 plate appearances.
- Jorbit Vivas is one of the hottest prospects in baseball. The 22-year-old is slashing .346/.458/.667 through 21 games with Double-A Tulsa. Last year, he hit just .269 in High-A but drew more walks (63) than strikeouts (58). Despite a hit-over-power approach and a smaller frame, Vivas doesn’t add much speed; he’s collected 39 steals in his minor-league career but just 13 in 254 games since the start of 2021. He’s made quality contact in 2023 and can spread the ball across the diamond. Vivas should make the jump to Triple-A at some point this season and should see his name popping up on top-100 lists as early as midseason.
- Curtis Mead is off to a rough start with Triple-A Durham, slashing just .221/.286/.360 through 98 plate appearances. He was considered one of the best hitting prospects in the game coming into the season and it still seems likely that he’ll debut with the Rays at some point in 2023. I’m not too concerned with the slow start, but it’s something to monitor.
- Whit Merrifield has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. He’s slashing .321/.376/.413 through 21 games. The veteran utilityman has swiped four bags with seven doubles, though he’s yet to go deep. Merrifield’s batted-ball data isn’t exactly impressive and his high BABIP will likely regress back to the mean over the course of the season.
- After a disappointing 2022 campaign with Double-A Chattanooga, Matt McLain is crushing the Triple-A level this season. He’s slashing .304/.439/.598 with 13 extra-base hits and seven steals. The 23-year-old is also sporting a 20:26 BB:K and his rising stock should result in an MLB debut later this year.
2023 Dynasty Second Base Rankings