I’m not sure how many leagues I’m in where I’ll be in the market for an off-the-radar second baseman, because as my drafts have gotten going over the last couple of months I’ve found myself trying to fill the 2B position earlier rather than later.  I’ve found myself willing to perhaps overpay a bit for Ozzie Albies or Whit Merrifield, or maybe gamble on an upside-without-a-long-track-record, relatively early pick of Cavan Biggio or Keston Hiura.  Things get dicey in a hurry, as I’m not remotely interested in, say, Jose Altuve or Dylan Moore at their current ADPs (which are both around 100 overall according to NFBC).  I might take a flier on Mike Moustakas (ADP #120) who qualifies at 2B in most leagues, Tommy Edman (#129), or Nick Solak (#169), but I’m not overly confident that any of those three will provide solid value at those prices, let alone confident enough to reach for any of them.

Anyway, what I’m looking at now — as we are wont to do here at Rolling In The Deep — are guys even further down the second base food chain. The second baseman list isn’t deep to start with, and since many of them are also eligible at other positions, it’s really hard to tell just how fast your cheat sheet is going to go from a handful of mediocre names to panic time where you literally having nothing left to cross off.  Hence, the following list: guys outside the top 20 ranked second basemen overall (again, according to NFBC ADP and positional eligibility) who we may need to turn to if we get desperate — or at least as back-ups/low-risk, low-reward lottery tickets — in NL-only, AL-only, and other deep leagues.

Jurickson Profar (ADP #231, also qualifies at OF).  Profar had surprisingly good stats last year; he hit .278 with an OBP of .342, and if you project his HR/SB numbers over the course of a full season he’d have gone 20/20.  Of course, we all know small sample sizes rarely hold over a full season, and there’s also the matter of exactly where and if he’ll play on a daily basis in 2021.  The Padres will likely do some mixing and matching after acquiring Ha-Seong Kim and looking to see what Jake Cronenworth can do after finishing second in last year’s ROY voting… but in deep leagues, it’s hard not to like anyone that’s even a moderate speed+power threat in the Padres lineup, even if he’s not starting every day.  Also, Profar’s still surprisingly young — I was a bit taken aback to discover that he just turned 28 this past weekend.

Ryan McMahon (#243).  I guess there’s not really any reason to believe this is the year McMahon finally has a legit breakout, but at this price there’s no reason not to take a flier that he might.  The .215 average and .295 OBP in 2020 are downright awful, and unfortunately not too far off from what are now his career numbers (.237 BA/.318 OBP).  He also didn’t steal a base last year after chipping in with 5 in 2019.  So what’s to potentially like?  He hit 9 homers in 52 games last year, he still plays half his games in Colorado, and a guy who could pop 30 homers this year and qualifies at second base might look pretty good around pick 240.

(Quick pause to mention a couple players I thought I would draft this late, but haven’t:  Scott Kingery (#323) and Ty France (#326).  I thought I would have at least a share or two of these guys by now, but just haven’t felt confident enough in their underlying skill sets to pull the trigger even late in a draft.  At a certain point I definitely like them both as fliers/bench depth, but don’t want to rely on either of them to be a part of my active lineup in even the deepest leagues.)

Kolten Wong (#347).  I’ve already drafted him once, and am feeling like he may be my late second base escape hatch in several leagues, as he was last year.  That last year thing didn’t really work out so well for Wong, so we’ll see how things go for him in Milwaukee. In my drafts so far, he’s gone as high as #248 and as low as #402, and at this point I think I’d be more than happy to take him around pick 300-350 if my team needs warranted it.  I’m concerned about the fact that as a team the Brewers were second to last in attempted stolen bases per game last year (only Minnesota attempted to run less) since much of Wong’s value is tied to whether or not he runs, but one can’t be too choosey this late.

(As I’m looking at these names I’m realizing that most of the less objectionable names at this point in a draft are NL players, so I will repeat my comment last week that if you’re in an AL-only league, be sure you survey your options before you draft so that you’re aware of just how dire the AL hitting landscape is this year.  Between picks 350 and 450 you’re looking at second base names like Jonathan Schoop, Niko Goodrum, Kiké Hernandez, and Marwin Gonzalez, all of whom it would make me a little queasy to draft even this late.  Let’s jump all the way outside the top 500 to look at a couple more guys… the good news is that these names will probably still be around even at the end of a very deep draft, the bad news is that it would likely surprise everyone involved if they manage to provide any significant fantasy value.)

Pat Valaika (#540).  Yes, it’s still February and I’ve already drafted Valaika, which if nothing else shows you that I continue to be committed to the insanity that is early drafting a super deep league fantasy baseball team.  He qualifies at first, second, and short in the league I grabbed him, so that’s handy I guess.  Like Profar, Valaika is younger than I realized (he’s also 28), probably because when he was playing semi-regularly in Colorado (110 games in 2017) I assumed he was already old since the Rockies rarely seem interested in giving at bats to anyone under 25. As you may have heard, the Orioles are not projected to be particularly good this season and who knows how many at bats he’ll get — but hearing from the folks at FanGraphs that Valaika’s xBA and xSLG numbers actually are at least mildly promising was all I needed to pull the trigger outside the top 500 in a 15-team draft and hold league.

Chad Pinder.  Well, I really just left Pinder on the list so it wouldn’t just be dregs of the Baltimore Orioles infield at this point, but maybe he’ll play enough in Oakland to stumble into just enough counting stats to warrant a pick at #549.  Oh, and he also qualifies at third.  Yay?

Freddy Galvis (#552).  He’ll probably play regularly, which is about all of the positive news I can muster here.  If you’ve read this far, hopefully you’ve learned what we all knew but may have needed a reminder about:  you really do NOT want to have to draft a second baseman at the end of a deep league draft.

Kyle Farmer (#737).  Just for fun let’s end with a name outside the top 700 — at this point, there’s really no such thing as downside.  I’m not sure Farmer exactly has anything resembling upside, and I’m not sure his quest to become the Reds’ starting shortstop has a chance in hell of happening.  At this point, though, I’m thinking he’ll at least make the opening day team, which is more than I can say for some of the players outside the top 700.  I recently took him at the end of a 50-round draft and hold league… who knows, maybe he’ll throw an RBI or two my way that ends up making a difference in the standings at some point this season.

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Ian
Ian
1 year ago

I kind of like Chris Taylor. 2B,SS and OF eligibility and expected to play some 3rd this year

Big League Wood
Big League Wood
1 year ago

What’s your take on N Solak? Appears Grey likes him and so does Masterball. They kind of slammed his ADP on Launch Angle today. So confusing. Looks like he can steal 15-20 bags.

Big League Wood
Big League Wood
Reply to  Laura Holt
1 year ago

I needed some speed in a recent auction and bought him at $8. Kind of sight unseen. The spreadsheet I was working with had him at $13. Not sure I’ll go down that path again, but, as you know, steals are scare and MI is a place they are available.

Big League Wood
Big League Wood
1 year ago

I have waited on second base in several early draft while doubling up on higher quality shortstops. Projection systems like both C Hernandez and Starling Castro. They seem to be more than adequate with this roster build. Schoop is power if needed. Wendle is a good bench option and could hold down second base while FA surfing.

Mike Rusin
Mike Rusin
1 year ago

No mention of Nick Madrigal? Has the potential of 20-30 SBs and will hit for average. Should score a lot of runs in that White Sox offense.

Bill Lumbergh
Bill Lumbergh
1 year ago

@Laura: Long time reader, first time poster. Any DEEP league targets for 2021 production you can think of who might be commonly available on waivers and have fewer than 150 career ABs? I’m talking guys like Seth Brown, Daniel Johnson, and Phillip Evans. I can get these types for free in my minor league draft and then reallocate the salary cap savings into impact bats… Thanks in advance!

Bill Lumbergh
Bill Lumbergh
Reply to  Laura Holt
1 year ago

Thanks Laura! I will get those names on my radar – already had Lewis Diaz rostered. Also looking into some of the Rule 5 guys like Ka’ai Tom and a personal favorite of mine Zach Pop.

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
1 year ago

Hey Laura, good stuff.

I’m always curious to see what you’re scribing about as I play in a deeeeeeeeeeep dynasty league, so I’m often rolling the deep too.

Something you wrote struck me odd so I thought I’d ask. What do you see that you don’t like in Ty France? Or what do you not see that you don’t like in Ty France if that’s how my question should be better phrased. I like France and I think he’s got some nice potential with a full-time gig this year. The Mariners say they’re going to play him everyday, he’ll have multi-position eligibility, and I like the Mariners’ to improve offensively the next few years as their prospects become acclimated to the league. Supposedly, France is the heir-apparent to Kyle Seager’s job at 3B. It’s just a matter of this year or next as Seager’s contract expires at the end of the season and he’ll be out of a job.

So what are your thoughts on France?

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
Reply to  Laura Holt
1 year ago

Appreciate the reply and acknowledgement. You really did let one guy scare you eh!?!

I never take any one person’s opinion too serious. Now, if several people had this same opinion, I’d have to rethink my position. I think France will be just fine. And I do believe he’ll be a .270 to .280 hitter with 20 HRs. That’s good enough for me for a guy that’s going to have 1B, 2B and 3B eligibility in most leagues. Makes for a heck of a backup when I have a guy get a day off.

Thanks!

Nathan Ducharme
Nathan Ducharme
1 year ago

Nice article but the Flying Squirrel feels disappointed that he wasn’t given any praise … at all. I mean what does Jeff McNeil have to do these day. Rodney D would say, “No respect!” Will be interesting to see how Mets play infield but if the dude had eligibility…. He gotta get some love.

JD Hassett
1 year ago

Thanks for the article Laura. What do you think about drafting Polanco? I think the Twins are going to have him play second base.

tommybones
tommybones
1 year ago

If I was going to hold off on one slot late, it would go to 2B and Schoop. Feel like he could be a sneaky, off-the-radar compiler who outearns his draft slot by a lot when all is said and done.

Nick
Nick
1 year ago

Hi sweety ,

welcome back and hopefully everything is all BRIGHT
isnt it Grey ?

as for my dynasty 2B

i had Villar ,,, dropped
i picked on the FA Tom Edman, for a breakout year
i could have taken Fletcher for avg, Moose for power, or Berti for SB
France Kingery Wong Shoop McMahon
or a younsgter like Jazz C or Hanser AL

hope i took the good one and you’d agree with me ;)

Nick

OaktownSteve
OaktownSteve
1 year ago

Took another shot at Hampson in the 230ish range. He’s also got the OF eligibility which is nice. One of the few players on the board that late with 20+ steal season in him. I also read something about him that surprised me. Apparently he’s a better than average defensive centerfielder. I know the Black won’t play the kids narrative, but I have a hunch that will break a bit this year and Hampson will see quite a few at bats.

Grey
Admin
Reply to  OaktownSteve
1 year ago

“The year is 2034, the summer has lasted into January, and fantasy baseball draft is upon us. Garrett Hampson, at only 39 years old, appears to be in line for playing time at 2nd and 3rd, and I’m looking at drafting him”

OaktownSteve
OaktownSteve
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

2034 me: “I hear he got a new Zimmer frame. Steals sleeper!”

Grey
Admin
Reply to  OaktownSteve
1 year ago

*slowly raises head* Did someone say Bradley Zimmer’s getting playing time?

FrankGrimes
FrankGrimes
1 year ago

Merrifield?!
Grey must have spit out his kombucha reading that.

Grey
Admin
Reply to  FrankGrimes
1 year ago

Oh god what was said about Merrifield please nothing good

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Laura Holt
1 year ago

Haha, good luck!