Arguably the hardest part of fantasy baseball drafts is deciding where to make sacrifices. It’s impossible to draft an elite player at every position and picking the best spots for trade-offs is imperative. At each position, there are players that go later than their peers that could end up producing at a similar level. Nailing down those later-round ADP jackpots can be the driving force behind a league-winning roster.
Of course, there is a reason why players that could provide value better than their draft position have fallen to where they are. There may be injury or playing time risks, or the players could be coming off of down 2022 campaigns. Most of the time, they simply haven’t performed as consistently as the top names at their position. Despite the red flags, these second basemen have the ability to outproduce their ADPs and allow earlier picks to be put to better use.
Note: The NFBC ADPs listed are from March 1st through the publish date.
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Exploiting Second Basemen ADP in 2023
Second base is considered a fairly weak position for fantasy baseball this season. On average, no second basemen are drafted in the first two rounds and only the top six are being taken before pick 100. The first four, led by Marcus Semien, all provide strong power/speed upside. Rounding out that group at pick 51.4 is Ozzie Albies. Despite a down 2022 marred by injuries, there’s not much of a discount on him.
Albies is just one year removed from a 30-homer, 20-steal campaign. There’s still upside with him entering his age-26 season but there’s reason to believe his peak base-stealing days are behind him. He was caught five times in just eight attempts last year and was barely above average in sprint speed. Over his last 21 games in 2022, Albies had two homers with a .684 OPS and no stolen base attempts.
Last season was a small sample size (269 plate appearances) due to injuries, including a broken foot. However, his batting average has progressively dropped over the last three seasons., from .295 in 2019 to .247 in 2022. During that stretch, Albies has posted a 104 OPS+ while playing 249 out of a possible 384 games. He had a career-low 26.5% hard-hit rate last season and his low walk rate resulted in a sub-.300 OBP. There’s room for him to return to an All-Star level but there are other second basemen that could offer similar production later in the draft.
Andres Gimenez – ADP: 77.5
There’s not a massive discount on Andres Gimenez compared to Albies but the two-round difference could be enough to wait. Gimenez had a terrific breakout 2022 season, slashing .297/.371/.466 with 46 extra-base hits (17 homers) and 20 steals. His OBP was slightly inflated due to being hit by a pitch 25 times, the most in the AL. The 24-year-old had pretty consistent results throughout the year with an .835 first-half OPS and an .838 mark in the second half. Gimenez was shifted 42.3% of the time and registered a .393 wOBA when he wasn’t.
Gimenez’s batted-ball data isn’t exactly eye-popping. The main area of concern at this point is that he chases too much and doesn’t hit the ball hard consistently. His power will likely be capped around where it was last season, but his 17.6 xHR suggests that his high-teens homer production wasn’t a fluke. On top of an improved plate approach, Gimenez would also benefit from moving up in the lineup. Because he primarily hit in the bottom half of Cleveland’s lineup, he totaled just 135 runs + RBI in 2022.
Gimenez could unlock another level and become an elite base stealer due to his 94th-percentile sprint speed. His floor in that category is high and the new bases could boost him over the 30-steal mark this season. Compared to Albies, Gimenez should provide more speed and at least a similar slash line, even if the other counting stats don’t stack up. If he can produce as he did in 2022, Gimenez can flirt with a 20-30 season and easily outperform his ADP.
Gleyber Torres – ADP: 108.9
Gleyber Torres burst onto the scene with an .849 OPS and 62 homers in his first two MLB seasons before turning 23. After two disappointing years, he bounced back in 2022 with 24 long balls and a .257/.310/.451 slash line. He may never reach his early-career heights but Torres is now a bit underrated after showing that he’s still a legitimate fantasy asset. It looks sustainable, too, as his barrel rate jumped back over 10%, and his hard-hit rate and average exit velocity were both in the 75th percentile or better.
The 26-year-old swiped 10 bags last season, reaching the double-digit mark for the second straight year after totaling just 12 in his first three seasons. However, his 40th-percentile sprint speed doesn’t leave much room for improvement in that category. Torres also began to fade down the stretch in 2022. After slashing .268/.325/.484 with a 19% strikeout rate in the first half, he posted a .702 OPS and 26.8% strikeout rate in the second half.
His performance against non-fastballs this year will be important. Torres whiffed on over 32% of the breaking and offspeed pitches he faced while posting a sub-.285 xwOBA against both. Hitting near the top of the Yankees’ lineup will give him ample opportunity for runs and RBI after he tallied 149 of them last season. Torres spreads the ball to all parts of the field and has enough power to take advantage of the “short porch” in Yankee Stadium, even as a righty. His overall production in 2023 should rival Albies’ while being drafted multiple rounds later.
Vaughn Grissom – ADP: 159.1
The player here with the biggest question marks is Vaughn Grissom. He sped through the minors over the last two years, skipping Triple-A and making his MLB last season. The 22-year-old posted a .792 OPS with five steals and 11 extra-base knocks through 156 MLB plate appearances. He’s sporting a career .315/.402/.465 slash line with a 13.4% strikeout rate and 75 extra-base hits in his minor-league career
Beyond his limited MLB experience, the main problem with Grissom right now is his playing time. Thought to be locked in the shortstop role in Atlanta for this season, he’s now competing for the job with Braden Shewmake. Grissom has looked good this spring, going 10-for-31 with a .748 OPS. Even if he doesn’t begin the year with a full-time role, he should force his way into the lineup eventually.
His entire MLB career to this date is a small sample size but he did struggle down the stretch. Grissom struck out 28.6% of the time while hitting .262 over his final 20 games before striking out in each of his three postseason plate appearances. Assuming he gets playing time, he’ll likely stay in the bottom third of Atlanta’s order. If Grissom is getting on base enough, he should score a healthy amount of runs, though his RBI could be limited.
2023 Steamer Projections
Some additional later options include Brandon Lowe, Ketel Marte, Jeff McNeil, and Luis Arraez. McNeil and Arraez both provide a high batting-average floor but won’t contribute a ton elsewhere. Lowe has registered an OPS+ over 100 every year of his career and belted 39 homers in 2021. Injuries limited him to 65 games last season. Similarly, Marte played through injuries last season and it dampened his production. From 2019-2021, he posted a 139 OPS+.
For more great analysis check out the 2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!