Targets and Avoids: Second Base

Let’s start this one off on a positive note: fantasy second base is as far as you can get from fantasy catcher. There are only two ways to mess the position up this year. First, you could accidentally forget to draft one. It would be weird, your friends would laugh at you, and people would secretly question if you know baseball well enough to be playing in a fantasy league – but it could happen. Guys keep falling, you keep waiting and taking the unexpected bounty that falls your way, and there’s just never someone you can pass up to get a second baseman. In that scenario, you probably have some serious trade bounty, and you can just trade for one and pretend it was your strategy all along. As Doctor Who says, “Do what I do: hold on tight and pretend it’s a plan.”

With the first, provided you never confess to anyone that it was forgetfulness and not a clever strategy, you haven’t actually messed up the position. I’m not sure you can mess up the position, because the second way you can mess up second base this year is that you reach for it. However, even then, it’s not second that gets messed up, it’s that you’re missing out on chances to better your team elsewhere by reaching when you didn’t need to.

I don’t like to use words like organic and natural – they are strange words. When it comes to people, nothing every happens naturally, everybody forces something somewhere. That’s doubly true in fantasy drafts. If we truly thought a draft was natural, every draft would be done on auto and strictly by ADP. There would be no risers or fallers, and theoretically, lots of parity. That said: if there was ever a natural, organic draftable position, it’s second base in 2019.

Breathe. Let it come to you. Jose Ramirez is a superstar. If he’s there at the top for you, take him and ignore the rest of this. The same could be said for Jose Altuve. You never go wrong with superstars. If they are gone, or you decide differently, it’s still no big deal. Just take a deep breath and focus on every other position. Then, when you hit that inevitable lull where everyone seems unexciting, grab your solid, steady second baseman and laugh at all the people who panicked.

Targets

Jurickson Profar

Profar is going to play second base for the A’s. That said, he’s not actually eligible there in most leagues yet. Don’t let that deter you. He’s already eligible at first, third and short for the coming season. When he adds second with the A’s he’ll be a walking infield for you. He can already cover your corner infield or middle infield spots, and 10 games into the season, he should be able to slide in at second for you.

It seems like Profar has been around forever, but he’ll only be 26 this year. The A’s line-up is miles deeper than the Texas line-up, which will only help him. Having a more set position may help his bat too. It’s easy to forget he was the consensus top prospect in the game before injuries derailed him for a while.

What shouldn’t be easy to forget is this: last year on a terrible team, in a terrible line-up, he hit 20 home runs, stole 10 bases (without being caught) and had a 105 OPS+ plus while playing multiple positions. Going to a better team, with a better line-up and playoff aspirations is only going to help him.

His average draft position is 125.77. I wouldn’t be surprised if his year-end player rating is top 100. The talent’s always been there.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Like Profar, Gurriel is shortstop eligible. Aledmys Diaz is in Houston, and Devon Travis never stays healthy. There are at-bats and playing time a-plenty in the Blue Jays’ infield.  Last season in 249 at-bats, Gurriel smacked 11 home runs. Give him 500 at-bats, and that’s 22 jacks. Most sites aren’t projecting him quite that high, but I wonder if they should be.

The ball carries well in Toronto, there’s playing time to be had, and there’s no reason not to stick with him through a slump as the Jays don’t project to be in contention. That leaves us with a simple fact: Gurriel has potential 20 home run power, is middle-infield eligible, and is being drafted outside the top 200 picks. Sign me up.

Avoids

The disclaimer:

  1. I’ve already said it’s hard to go wrong at second this year, so that also means there is no one I’m truly down on.
  2. Avoid is a yellow light. It’s not a red-light. It’s just saying, slow down and think about this.
  3. At a deep position there is no reason to reach. And for me, that’s what avoid means here. Just… Don’t… Reach.

Adalberto Mondesi

I’m aware he’s only 23. I’m aware he’s fast. I’m aware his power has been on the upswing for 2 years now. However, I don’t care about any of that. I’m not taking Mondesi unless he falls.

Right now, Mondesi is being picked ahead of Gleyber Torres, Scooter Gennett, Matt Carpenter, George Springer, Mitch Haniger, Anthony Rendon, Jesus Aguilar, Joey Votto, Jean Segura . . . all of whom have a much longer track record of success than one hot half-season. For all his talent, this is the same Mondesi who has walked only 157 times in 7 seasons, and whose minor league OBP is a mere .303.

Yes, there’s talent. Yes, there’s room to grow. And yes, those steals are attractive. But inside the top 50 picks, I want to know what I’m getting, not just hope. You might hit the lottery, but as Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano owners and Rhys Hoskins and Gary Sanchez reachers can tell you, if you take a guy that high and he flops or merely underperforms, it can wreck your season. If he’s there after pick 60? Jump on it. But don’t pass up a proven stud for a lottery ticket.

Rougned Odor

Odor hit 33 home runs in 2016 with a respectable .271 batting average, and then he hit 30 home runs in 2017 with a horrific .204 batting average. Odor only hit 18 home runs in 2018, but with a much more tolerable .253 batting average and a career-high (yikes) OBP of .326.

Listen, Odor isn’t a bad pick. He’s just not a sure thing. He’s yo-yo’ed all over the place the last few seasons. He stole 12 bases last year, but he also got caught 12 times. So if your league counts net steals, he stole 0 bases last year. His average jumps all over the place. He’s finally learning to walk, but he’s not quite good at it yet. He’s only 25 there’s room for growth, but at a deep position, I’d rather drop back another 20 picks for a Cesar Hernandez or 60 picks for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. than bank on Odor.

Don’t think I don’t recognize what I might be missing out on though. I do. However, catcher is already a gamble. Your last outfielder or 2 is going to be a gamble. Half your pitching staff will be a gamble. Why add a gamble at a position you don’t need to?

 

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Seth Bias

Written by 

I'm Seth. I love baseball, especially the Braves, and rock n' roll on vinyl. Books, sandals and tacos too, though I find most of my money for those things going to vinyl these days. Once turned Prince Fielder into Justin Verlander and Paul Goldschmidt in a dynasty league. Also ashamed to say I once cut Jose Ramirez. I don't hate your favorite team unless your favorite team is the Nationals or Phillies. May or may not have cried when David Justice hit that home run in game 6 of the 95 World Series - though if you actually ask me, I'll claim I did not.

2 thoughts on “Targets and Avoids: Second Base”

    1. Eh. Yes and no. To me he’s much more interesting than Mondesi, so I included him there. Also, he’s a year younger than Mondesi, and his minors numbers dwarf Mondesi’s – so in that sense yes. In the majors, no.

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