Early 2020 Positional Preview: Second Base
Welcome to the next installment of my early positional previews for the 2020 fantasy baseball season. We have made it through the catcher position as well as first base. Now we move on to our second base preview. Time flies when you’re having fun!
With that said, these are my “too early” 2020 fantasy baseball second base ranks and overall outlook on the position. Yes, plenty will change, and players will be moving up and down this list as more information is provided and signings or trades occur.
This list will be updated throughout the offseason. Until then, I will break down my ranks as they now stand, provide tiers and discuss players individually. Lastly, I included the 2020 steamer projections as well!
I quickly want to clarify. The players listed are CURRENTLY second base eligible. The players that may gain second base eligibility once the season begins are not included.
If you aren’t playing your fantasy baseball leagues on Fantrax, you’re missing out on the deepest player pool and most customization around.
Early 2020 Second Base Preview
Tier One: The Standouts
This tier highlights the clear standouts at the position. Second base as a whole offers a lot of solid options. It lacks the true elite talent we see at every other position but what it lacks in elite talent, it makes up for in depth.
Even without the stolen base upside, I still believe Jose Altuve offers the most upside at the position. He also manages to offer the highest fl0or in the process. Having Altuve at number one at the second base ranks was an easy call.
Yes, people will have actual concerns about the whole sign-stealing ordeal. I do not have any concerns about that. His home and road splits were almost identical in 2019. I have zero questions or concerns about Altuve and he is the only player at the position I can say that about.
Beyond Altuve it becomes a matter of preference. For me, Ketel Marte is my number two second baseman. There was a tangible change in his profile and although I do not expect over 30 home runs again in 2020, I like the overall five-category upside. The solid, high floor paired with the multi-positional eligibility is what has me so high on Marte.
If you have not heard, Gleyber Torres is ONLY 22 years old. Many will have Torres as high as first in their ranks and I understand it. My concerns remain with not totally buying into the power. I understand he remains in one of the best lineups and one of the best hitter’s parks in all the league. Unfortunately, his metrics do not completely back the near 40 home run total he posted in 2019. At the end of the day, I would not fault anyone for taking Torres as the top second baseman off the board. This is exactly why I prefer a tier-based approach to drafting.
Ozzie Albies has really grown on me. He has truly become the high floor type of player. He is a compiler and due to getting so many at-bats he just falls into the production it seems. There is a safe, five-category floor to be had with Albies. My concern is the upside. It exists but I feel more confident in the players ahead of him to reach the ceiling. All-in-all, Albies is a solid and safe option for second base entering 2020.
Keston Hiura is arguably the most interesting of this group. What makes him so appealing are his minor league numbers and what he flashed in his stint during the 2019 season. I think this is where the first potential bust could be of the position. He has the upside to be the best second baseman, but we’ve seen time and time again how players can struggle in their sophomore campaigns. Ultimately, Hiura is a very boom or bust type of player this season at his draft-day cost.
Tier 2: Next Best Thing
This tier offers two names that provide a good floor but also still provide a high ceiling for the second base position. Somehow I view these players very similar in value, but they are typically taken at very different points in the draft.
Johnathan Villar is sometimes taken as early as late second round or early third round. Furthermore, he is sometimes the first second baseman off the board. He broke out, again, last season in Baltimore. There is a decent floor and 20-home-run and 40-steal upside as we have seen but if he is traded this year he could lose playing time and having the home park in Camden definitely helps the power play. The metrics do not really back the power production and the sprint speed is still good but only in the 72nd percentile. He made gains in the walk and K-rates and also made gains in the contact rates.
If he sustains all these gains, I think 30-plus steals remains likely. The concerns of the power and batting average dipping closer to the expected stats are enough for me to drop him this low. I know steals are at a premium but I feel it may come at a hit in most the other categories this year. While Villar offers the far higher ceiling it seems, Whit Merrifield offers a much higher floor.
Whit Merrifield took a step back last season. There is no denying that. The price has taken a dip in return and rightfully so. I feel Merrifield may be a solid fall back for a little power/speed combination type of producer in the middle rounds. Although the power and speed may be less than that of Villar, the potential for a .300 batting average keeps the floor higher and offers less volatility.
Tier 3: Solid And Safe
Solid and safe says it all. There is a lot to like here and all these players you can grab on draft day, set in your lineup and forget them.
Max Muncy finds himself roughly top 10 at every position he is eligible at. The power potential is there and he can easily be a 30-plus home run threat every season. The multi-positional eligibility is also a big bonus. The batting average can be a concern but hitting between .240 and .250 is not as bad as it once was.
D.J. LaMahieu and Jeff McNeil feel as though they are the same exact player. McNeil was getting LeMahieu comps entering the 2019 season as it is. I feel these two are as high of a floor you can get. D.J. LeMahieu flashed a level of production we never saw from him even in Colorado. I have a hard time completely buying into a 31-year-old breaking out in this fashion.
He spent a good portion of his career with Colorado and suddenly he hits like never before AFTER leaving Coors. That is unheard of. With that said, I anticipate he will be hitting at the top of the lineup and still be a solid producer for runs and batting average. He may still hit 20 home runs but the high RBI total seems unlikely to repeat. Again, not bad at all, but I think he will still be a step back from last season.
As far as Jeff McNeil goes, I believe it’s basically the same idea. Just a solid and stable piece to any lineup. You can set him and forget him in your lineups. He is not exciting but not every pick for a team needs to be exciting. Sometimes the “boring” players are the reason behind a winning fantasy team.
Tier 4: Upside And Potential
Every player in this tier offers some form of upside. They are either coming off a solid year or appear to be in line for one. Some of these players have more questions than others but at these draft prices, all of them have plenty of upside and should be owned on all teams entering 2020.
I love this tier. I will own a lot of shares of players here. Some of these players offer some of the highest potential at the position if things fall right. Gavin Lux is definitely one of the most boom or bust players of the position.
As the Dodgers roster currently stands, there doesn’t appear to be an everyday spot for playing time. There has been a ton of speculation around the Dodgers making trades this off-season. This could potentially clear up the playing time issues. This is a situation to keep monitoring.
Cavan Biggio is a good power/speed combination this year. The price is steadily rising on Biggio as these early drafts take place. He could have issues in the batting average department but there is five-category upside and that skill set is hard to ignore.
Mike Moustakas is annually under-appreciated. He is basically good for 30 or so home runs with a .250 to .260 average. Where he lands as a free agent could move him up or move down the ranks.
Eduardo Escobar is my biggest regression candidate for the 2020 season. He overachieved in most categories and I expect him to come back down to earth. Even if he sustains part of the growth in production, he offers similar home run and batting average output to Moustakas. Since he lacks the track record of that production, he slides in just behind him.
I am torn on these final two in this tier. I am all about Brandon Lowe. He will be on a number of my teams and there is good power/speed to be had. There is more power than speed of course. I want Lowe on every team. My only concern is he is potentially a platoon player. Albeit the strong side of the platoon.
I have moved Garrett Hampson up and down multiple times. I want to see what the Rockies do prior to moving him back up again. The speed is very real. He also finished the 2019 season strong. With that said, the biggest concern is playing time. Brendon Rodgers, Sam Hilliard, Daniel Murphy, Ryan McMahon and Ian Desmond all are fighting for playing time. Not to mention any player they may end up signing. It is an absolute mess and until it clears up I cannot move Hampson up further.
Tier 5: The Fallback Options
I actually love this tier too. This is where I would like to address my middle infield position. In 15-team leagues, I would actually be just fine having one of these players as my second baseman entering 2020 as well.
There are a lot of interesting players to be had in this tier. Kevin Newman and Tommy Edman almost belong in their own tier. Both offer late speed in drafts. Edman appears to offer more but Newman seems to be in line for more of a sure thing as far as playing time goes with the Pirates.
There are a lot of mouths to feed in St. Louis. If Tommy Edman earns a full-time gig, there is some real value to be had and I would adjust appropriately. The speed is very real and so are the contact skills. Take him where he is going and if the playing time concerns alleviate, reap the rewards.
Danny Santana continues to be someone tough to place a value on. The batting average will likely be troublesome but the 20/20 potential can’t be ignored. If you find yourself in need of speed, a little power and some multi-positional eligibility then Santana is for you. My only issue is that you can get a couple of the players I have ranked ahead of him even later in your drafts. I’m big on value and if he is going ahead of some of these other guys I value more, then I am going to pass on him and wait.
I briefly mentioned Ryan McMahon earlier in the article as a player caught up in a mess for playing time over in Colorado. That may true but as of now he his a projected starter per Roster Resource. It is November so a lot can still change. McMahon did have a strong finish to the 2019 season. He also has Coors to call home and a real chance to start again. I think there’s good value here and he’s worth a late-round pick in most leagues. It also doesn’t hurt that he is multi-positional eligible.
I really like Nick Solak as a sleeper this year. There is a bit of power and speed upside to be had with Solak. He flashed it in the minors and it wouldn’t surprise me to see some growth this year after his short stint in the majors in 2019.
Tier 6: Late Round Targets
This is where second base shows its depth. These are all late-round targets but there are still a few options with solid upside and a few others with somewhat of a floor.
I am not a huge fan of Michael Chavis. I know he lit the world on fire when he came up last year but he came back down to earth. Late round power to target and multi-positional eligibility. Yes, there is upside but I don’t buy in on it as much as others.
Cesar Hernandez is who he is at this point in his career. Late steals source with some batting average help as well. What Hernandez offers is not all that exciting but it gets the job done.
Carter Kieboom has the most breakout potential of anyone in this tier. My reservations remain in the playing time. If he is named a starter coming into the 2020 season, expect him to shoot up the ranks. Until then, I am watching and waiting. The upside and prospect pedigree is there. He’s a great lottery ticket as of now.
Tommy La Stella is a player who committed to the swing change trend. He added lift to his swing and the home runs followed. With such a high likelihood of a solid batting average, if he can hit 20 home runs with that swing change, he offers a pretty high floor to grab late in drafts.
Rougned Odor definitely frustrates the fantasy community. He hits for a good amount of power and steals some bases in the process. The issue here is the lack of batting average. Batting average is hard enough to come by and if he cannot improve it, he can really hurt your team in that category. You need to set up your roster take that hit in batting average in order to bring Odor on to your team.
Kolten wong offers late stolen bases and some batting average. Playing time could become a concern.
It is no secret that Robinson Cano is beyond his prime. That doesn’t mean there isn’t value here. There’s still a little pop and some batting average floor with Cano. At this point, he’s a late-round type of player to target for the decent floor he can still offer.
The final two players in my top 30 are Luis Arraez and Luis Urías. Both offer some floor with some upside. Arraez is all the rage this offseason. Yes, he will likely hit for a very high average. He may even sprinkle in a few steals but I am not buying in on all this hype. Outside of the batting average, I see little upside.
Luis Urías showed some gains in the power department while down in Triple-A last year. It didn’t really translate a ton when he got the call back to the majors but there’s still time for him to grow into the power. I am not sure what to exactly expect from Urías but I do like the chance at a solid floor and he could do well in what should be an improved and healthy Padres lineup entering 2020.
That is going to do it for the early second base preview. A lot has yet to happen in regards to signings, trades and spring training. Stick around for updates as the offseason continues. Fantasy baseball season never ends over her for us at Fantrax. We are just getting started.
Fantrax is one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2019. With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.