This position is getting really interesting over the last few seasons. The second base position has long been thought of as a defense-first position, filled with a bunch of slap hitters. Not anymore. Nowadays we have power bats like Rougned odor and Jonathan Schoop along with speedsters like Dee Gordon. Not to mention the plethora of young talent set to bust out and a pint-sized hitting ninja leading the way. Yeah, I think this position will be just fine over the next decade or so.
The Top Dog – Jose Altuve
No surprises here. Altuve is the unquestioned top option at this position and a universal top-three overall pick in fantasy drafts this spring. He’s gone from a three-category star to a five-category dynamo in just a few short seasons. He checks off all the boxes for a player you’d want to anchor your dynasty or keeper league team. Altuve has hit .334 over the last four seasons, while leading the American League in hits each season, and has averaged 24 HR, 88.5 RBI, 110 R, and 31 SB over the last two seasons. He’s consistent, durable, and won’t turn 28 for another couple months. What else could a dynasty owner want?
On the Rise
Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves
Ugh, we have to listen to Eric ramble on about Ozzie Albies again? Yes, yes you do. Albies is the type of talent you need to tell the world about. Your sister, grandfather, high school science teacher, a random stranger at the bus stop, they all need to know about the greatness of Albies.
You’ll see I ranked the 21-year-old wonder kid fourth in the rankings below. He’s already forced his way ahead of established stars like Robinson Cano and other young phenoms like Yoan Moncada. The sky is the limit with this kid, and I want him in every league imaginable, especially dynasty and keeper formats.
Across Triple-A and the Major Leagues last season, Albies combined for a .286 average, 15 home runs, and 29 stolen bases in 32 attempts. He might be diminutive in size, but that’s worked out just fine for Altuve. Little guys can hit, too. Albies was a career .304 minor league hitter and hit the ground running in the Majors with a .286 at-bats in 217 at-bats with the Braves last season.
He’s not just an average and speed guy, either. There’s some budding power here as well. After hitting just a lone home run over his first two seasons (592 AB), Albies hit six in 2016 and 15 overall last season. Don’t mistake Albies for a 30+ home run masher, but 20 home runs, give or take a few, is a realistic area for him to be most seasons.
So, we have a likely .300+ hitter with 15-25 HR pop and 40+ steal wheels. Oh yeah, he’s only 21, too. The time is now to invest heavily in this rising stock. The price will never, I repeat, NEVER be lower than it is right now.
Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles
At a position starving for power, Schoop is emerging from the phone booth as one of the best power options at the position. After smacking 25 homers in 2016, Schoop bettered that with 32 homers in 622 at-bats last season. Only Brian Dozier was able to top that number, barely with 34. Schoop also led the position with 105 RBI, was 7th in runs, and hit a career-high .293.
Like his teammate Adam Jones, Schoop seems set on making a living with his swing-happy approach, and it’s working for him so far. If power is more your style, then Schoop is your man. Still only 26, the best might still be to come for Schoop.
On the Decline
Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox and Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals
Older players and injuries go together like peanut butter and taco sauce. Both Pedroia and Murphy underwent off-season surgeries and are likely to miss some time at the start of the season. The Red Sox have already ruled Pedroia out until June, and according to Dr. Mike Tanner of Fantrax, don’t expect to see Murphy anytime soon, either.
Now not only are their values for 2018 taking a hit, these injuries likely will have long-term ramifications for the two veterans. Murphy and Pedroia and 32 and 34, respectively. Not exactly what you’d call spring chickens.
The demise of Pedroia isn’t much of a surprise. He’s still a productive player when he’s out there, but staying on the field has been an issue. The man has played every pitch at 150% for the last decade. You had to figure that would catch up to him eventually. He’s also not hitting for as much pop as he used to, and his speed is a non-factor at this point. It’s likely only going to get worse from here on out for the former MVP.
Murphy, on the other hand, might have a few more good seasons left in the tank. But it remains to be seen how he comes back from this surgery. He not a factor at all on the bases, so Murphy needs to produce handsomely in the other four categories to retain his high value. With his age getting up there and coming off this surgery, it’s very plausible that the best years for Murphy are behind him.
Keep an Eye On…
Keston Hiura, Milwaukee Brewers
There are thousands of players in the minor leagues, and I’d challenge anyone to find 10 that have a better hit tool than Keston Hiura. The Brewers selected him with the 9th overall selection last June, and all he did after that was hit a robust .371 in his first 167 professional at-bats. This follows a collegiate career where he hit .375 in three seasons at UC Irvine. The man can flat out hit. Unfortunately, the power and speed are lagging behind the hit tool, but Hiura profiles as a .320/20/10 threat in his prime.
Thank you for reading another edition of Dynasty Dugout here on Fantrax. I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a question that I didn’t cover here? Follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask there.