This week we’re taking a look at the second base landscape, which is definitely shallower than the shortstop position. Overall, second base is looking even bleaker as Jose Altuve becomes the latest injury casualty of the World Baseball Classic. However, there’s always room for finding value and hidden gems at every position. AL East: Blue […]

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See all of today’s starting lineups

# MLB Starting Lineups For Tue 5/28
ARI | ATL | BAL | BOS | CHC | CHW | CIN | CLE | COL | DET | HOU | KC | LAA | LAD | MIA | MIL | MIN | NYM | NYY | OAK | PIT | SD | SEA | SF | STL | TB | TEX | TOR | WSH | PHI

Anyone else out there have a theme song when they draft their baseball teams?

I draft hard (he drafts hard) every day of my life
I draft ’til I ache in my bones
At the end (at the end of the day)
I take home my hard-earned team all on my own
I get down on my knees
And I start to pray
‘Til the tears run down from my eyes
Lord, somebody (somebody), ooh somebody
Can anybody find me… ADP to love?

Just me? Alright.

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The Major League Baseball season is down to its final week and a host of teams are still battling for spots in the postseason. And just like MLB, there are numerous fantasy leagues that will go down to the last pitch this season.

With that in mind, fantasy owners should do everything they can to secure a title. In re-draft leagues, that means discarding anyone and everyone who is not producing and picking up the hot hand. With that in mind, this week we will concentrate on some players who have been hot the last two weeks and likely available in your league.

So let’s look at the Top 25 fantasy shortstop rankings before we focus on players you should possibly target this last week of the season.

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The fantasy baseball season is winding down, and if you are like me, you are constantly looking at your phone and the live scoring. Did Jose Altuve collect that much-needed RBI? Did Ozzie Albies swipe a bag that you have to have in order to overtake your opponent in steals. These next few days and weeks are going to be nerve wracking.

Making things even worse is if you have a player go on the IL or your second baseman is currently mired in a slump. The top players aren’t just sitting there on the waiver wire to be added, so adding the right free agent could be the difference between winning the title and being the best of the losers.

Before we talk about who some of those key free agents may be, let’s look at the rankings, taking into account that they mostly reflect what they have done for the entire season. But I’ll also touch on the players outside the rankings that should be watched or added in the next few days.

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Trying to figure out  Brandon Lowe is like a day trader trying to figure out when to buy or sell a stock. At the beginning of the season, everyone should have been selling Lowe stock. But based on past performance, they were still buying.

Once they were convinced he was a failed commodity, Lowe stock was being sold and he could be a cheap buy, but he likely cost you a lot while you held on to him. However, if you are the type of investor who plays the long game and doesn’t get caught up in the day-to-day highs and lows or if you were able to get Lowe when his price had bottomed out, then congratulations! Because right now, Lowe is carrying your team.

Throughout the season Lowe has produced home runs and RBI. Through June, he had 16 homers and 38 RBI. But he also had slash lines of .182-.301-.364 in April, .196-.312-.380 in May and .241-.337-.542 in June. Lowe also racked up 97 strikeouts in 263 at-bats – a strikeout percentage of 37 percent! But over the last two months, Lowe has been a beast at the plate. In July he slashed .288-.416-.616 with six homers, six doubles and 14 RBI in 22 games. Last month he hit nine double, nine homers and drove in 26 runs in 27 games while slashing .262-.328-.598.

Why the turnaround at the plate, at least when it comes to his slash line? The answer is pretty easy – his strikeout rate. In 180 at-bats in July and August, Lowe struck out only 48 times, a strikeout percentage of 27 percent. That is a 10 percent improvement compared to the first three months of the season. Yes, today’s game doesn’t penalize players for striking out. The easiest way to beat shifts and score runs is to just hit balls over the fence.

But putting the ball into play still matters, and Lowe is showing what happens when you put the ball in play.  In the games Lowe has played this season, Tampa Bay is 79-48, and in those 79 wins, Lowe’s slash line is .248-.366-.520 with a strikeout percentage of 30 percent and BABIP of .283. But in the games the Rays lost, his slash line is .190-.256-.430 with a strikeout percentage of 38 percent and a BABIP of .218. The Rays – and your fantasy team – are at their best when Lowe puts the ball in play.

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In many fantasy baseball leagues, the season is winding down. The difference between making the playoffs and sitting on the sideline is going to be between which players are hot and which players are not.

As I have been doing the past month with the second baseman and shortstop rankings, I am going to highlight the players you may have a chance of adding from the waiver wire. We all know Marcus Semien and Ozzie Albies are awesome. Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, and Jose Altuve are all having great seasons as well. But we all that, and all five of those players aren’t sitting around on the waiver wire.

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With the playoffs looming in fantasy baseball, owners are looking for those players who may be able to give them that little edge they need to secure a playoff spot or hold off an opponent. So let’s change things up a bit this week and talk about those who are not listed at the top of the rankings. We all know who the top second baseman are and they aren’t available to you unless you make a trade for them.

However, there are a handful of second basemen who are eligible on the waiver wire. A few of these players could be the key to you making the playoffs or watching the postseason from the outside. So, who are these magical players some of you should be adding to your roster?

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At this point of the season, we all know who the top players are at each position. Unless you already own them are can make a trade for them, players like Marcus Semien, Jose Altuve, or Ozzie Albies won’t be helping your fantasy lineup this year.

But as we gear up for the trade deadline and the final stretch of the season, the difference between winning your league and falling short could be finding that second baseman who is underrated at the moment. Who are some of those players? One of them could be Jonathan Schoop, who is still available in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues of seven percent of Yahoo leagues. He can also provide depth at first base.

Cesar Hernandez is having a solid year for the Future Guardians of Lake Erie, um, I mean the Cleveland Indians. Despite having 16 homers and 43 RBI, he is found on only 22 percent of Yahoo rosters and 36 percent of ESPN rosters. So there are still plenty of solid options fantasy for owners in need of a second baseman or middle infielder to find and add to their rosters.

Let’s get to the rankings and find out who are some other possible players who can help your team down the stretch.

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With the All-Star break upon us, now is a good time to see who has been a fantasy star in the first half of the season and who has been a disappointment.

Owners of Marcus Semien, Jose Altuve, Whit Merrifield and Eduardo Escobar have to be ecstatic with the overall performance of those four players. Semien has been the top-ranked second baseman for most of the season, while Altuve and Merrifield have been in my Tier 1 rankings for more than a month. Meanwhile, Ozzie Albies has rewarded those owners who didn’t freak out by his slow start and wanted to dump him. If you are one of those owners who did dump him, you deserve to be laughed at.

Albies is now back in the Tier 1 group and playing like the top second baseman he was expected to be this season. Escobar has been a surprise this year, at least for me, as I didn’t have him ranked at the start of the year. But when you slug 20 homers and drive in 60 runs in the first half, you deserve to be ranked as a Tier 1 second baseman.

For owners of DJ LeMahieu, perhaps your patience with him is finally starting to pay off. Like Albies, LeMahieu had a horrible start to the season and dropped out of the rankings completely. LeMahieu has not had the same rapid turnaround to his season as Alibies has, but he is now ranked among the Top 25 thanks to strong 30-day stretch. Meanwhile, players like Dylan Moore and Cavan Biggio have dropped out of the rankings at some point this season and have yet to return, though Biggio has at least shown signs of life since his early slump and stint on the IL.

So, with baseball taking a rest, let’s see who is ranked where in this week’s rankings.

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Before the season starts, we devour all the statistics we can about a player in order to determine where we should rank them ahead of our fantasy draft or auction.

We look at home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage. What was a player’s ISO, average exit velocity, and BABIP? How did a player hit over the final month, two months, and/or three months of the previous season? We need to know who was on the decline and who showed improvement.

Then there is a number I always look at – a player’s age, especially when it comes to dynasty leagues. In my preseason rankings, I valued a younger player more than an older player, especially for a redraft/dynasty league. But maybe it is time to put that bias aside and just go with the numbers and my gut.

Why, you may ask? Well, when it comes to the top second basemen this year, youth is being pushed aside by the veterans. Four of my top five ranked second basemen are 30 or older. Out of my top 10 players, seven of them are now in their 30s. So while I love the younger players, perhaps it is not wise to write off those aging players just yet.

So, just who are these veterans showing they can still play the game. Let’s find out.

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The baseball season is now two months old, and over the first third of the season, what have I learned?

I learned that Marcus Semien was a good signing by the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays didn’t care that Semien wasn’t a second baseman. All they saw was a player who finished third in the American League MVP voting in 2019 was available so they snagged him.

Meanwhile, I have also learned that I didn’t overvalue Whit Merrifield in preseason rankings as he continues to produce and steal bases, which in today’s game makes Merrifield a superstar. I learned not to underestimate Max Muncy. I had him ranked 10th in my final preseason rankings, one spot ahead of Nick Madrigal. Madrigal is nowhere to be seen in the rankings anymore while Muncy is now a Tier 1 second baseman.

Is there anything else I learned? Yep. I should have listened to my gut when it came to DJ LeMahieu. I had a debate with myself when it came to ranking him second overall because I was worried about his age. He seemed too good of a hitter for that to be a concern, but right now, I am looking really silly for ranking him that high.

Is LeMahieu still even ranked? Who has surprised this season and become a Top 10 second baseman? Let’s find out.

Please, blog, may I have some more?