Get ready to navigate the murky waters of drafting your starting second baseman in fantasy. Next to catcher, this is easily the thinnest position. Just seven players have an ADP inside the top 100 and you can make a case to suggest that is too many. Simply put, there are not a lot of elite hitters who are starting at the two bag. Considering stolen bases are significantly down across the MLB and it is only one category, this should not come as a big surprise.
So, what is the best strategy? Do we take a shot and risk a top round draft pick on the upper tiered players? Wait until the very end of your draft and hope for the best with a punt option? Or somewhere in-between? Similar to the Draft Targets – First Base article, let’s try to breakdown the tiers by ADP and see which players should be targeted this season. The ADP being used in these articles are from the NFBC. Check out our rankings here, to bring to your draft for an edge.
Top Tier Targets:
DJ LeMahieu (NYY) – ADP 27
Ozzie Albies (ATL) – ADP 34
Whit Merrifield (KC) – ADP 41
Cavan Biggio (TOR) – ADP 68
Keston Hiura (MIL) – ADP 70
Brandon Lowe (TB) – ADP 72
First of all, let’s get one thing clear. DJ LeMahieu is in a tier of his own. He is a leadoff hitter for one of the best offenses in the MLB. Last season, albeit shortened, LeMahieu owned an elite; .364 avg, .421 OBP, .429 wOBA, and 176 wRC+. All career highs. Even though he spent seven seasons in Colorado hitting in a lineup with Troy Tulowitzki, Nolan Arenado, and Charlie Blackmon. The main question to ask is; do you use an early 3rd round draft pick on a second baseman? Considering his multi-position eligibility and across-the-board fantasy production, honestly, his 27 ADP is still a steal.
If you look at the ADP’s above, you can tell fantasy drafters follow trends and runs. This is similar to TE’s in an NFL draft. When you see a player go off the board at a position you need to fill, often times people will panic and just select the next best guy. There is no way Ozzie Albies is worth his 34 ADP. Tim Anderson has a 44 ADP and is projected to produce at a higher level in every single fantasy category. However, due to the lack of decent 2B options, his value evaporates and will be reached for. This is similar with almost every player at the position. The issue is the gap of production between most of the 2B players in this tier versus late in the draft is not as drastic as the opportunity cost may suggest. We can discuss these players in more depth when the “Busts” article is released.
Mid Tier Targets:
Ketel Marte (ARI) – ADP 85
Jose Altuve (HOU) – ADP 96
Mike Moustakas (CIN) – ADP 121
Jean Segura (PHI) – ADP 187
Moustakas is looking to erase memories of his disappointing 2020 campaign, his first season with the Reds, which saw him hit just .230 with eight homers. He has plenty of fantasy upside as a bounce-back candidate in 2021.–Matt T – RotoBaller
This tier and even later on is where to live! If you so choose, that is. Mike Moustakas, is a beaming light that shines through this dark misery of a position. In the 10th round, you can draft a player who is projected to smack 36 bombs, drive in close to 100 RBI’s and bat a .253ish average – not great but won’t kill you. This is exceptional production during the middle of the draft at a position that lacks any sort of power. The Reds multi-tooled player is forecasting to hit 10 homeruns more than any other second baseman. That is a massive gap, considering he is being drafted as the eighth 2B off the board. If at the end of your draft, you realize your team is lacking in categories such as stolen bases or batting average, you can easily find players in the low tier to make up for the downfall. The power Moustakas can provide is not nearly as easy to find.
Cincinnati is a hitters park. If you read my last article, you would notice that Coors Field was not ranked first in HR’s. Great American Ballpark was ranked number one. Averaging, 1.3 homeruns per game. Although it was a small sample size last season, Moustakas hit five long balls at home, versus three on the road (23 and 21 games played, respectively). The addition of Nick Castellanos makes this lineup far more dangerous and the lack of infield depth will allow Moustakas plenty of playing time.
Low Tier Targets:
Nick Madrigal (CWS) – ADP 189
Gavin Lux (LAD) – ADP 234
Kolten Wong (MIL) – ADP 252
Jonathan Schoop (DET) – ADP 372
Starlin Castro (WSH) – ADP 412
In the low tier, this is where we want to draft based on team needs. If we are looking for some help in the batting average department, lean towards a guy like Luis Arraez (454 ADP). For power, late in the draft, Jonathan Schoop. For multiple categories? Kolten Wong. Hear me out. Currently, the Milwaukee Brewers are projecting Kolten Wong to lead off, as expected. This is a team who underperformed last season and should be competitive for the divisional title. He wont help a ton in the home run department. However, he will steal bases, score runs, hit for a solid average, and produce RBI’s. In the 21st round, it is difficult to find a leadoff hitter on a playoff team. He will likely be an everyday guy and improve from historical numbers to have a career year.
Show me someone who is excited about the second base position and I will show you a liar. It is not pretty. More than anything, draft strategy needs to be considered here. This is where you can really separate yourself from the competition by understanding opportunity cost and value.
For example, let’s do a comparison; Player ‘A’ has a projected stat line of 21 HR/83 runs/68 RBI/10 SB/.235 AVG and an ADP of 68. Player ‘B’ has a projected stat line of 22HR/92 runs/83 RBI/14 SB/.285 AVG and an ADP of 96. In case you don’t want to scroll up, player A is Cavan Biggio and player B is Jose Altuve. Because Biggio is ranked higher in big sites like Yahoo, CBS, and ESPN, does not mean he should be drafted ahead of a proven all-star.
Outside of DJ LeMahieu, there is no need to reach at the position. Even when you start seeing second basemen fly off the board in the earlier rounds. Feel confident in knowing you can select a player with similar fantasy production in a much later round – despite current ADP and rankings.
March 16, 2021