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.

 
  1. FrankGrimes says:
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    Merrifield?!
    Grey must have spit out his kombucha reading that.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Oh god what was said about Merrifield please nothing good

      • Laura Holt

        Laura Holt says:
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        I just damned him with a little faint praise! As I’m looking over things more closely, I’m starting to think I’m not going to get to an offensive position in AL-only that doesn’t completely suck.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Haha, good luck!

  2. OaktownSteve says:
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    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

      Grey says:
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      “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”

      • Laura Holt

        Laura Holt says:
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        Ha!

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

        • Grey

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

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Yeah, that’s a good call — I guess I’d written off Hampson but I actually like him at his current ADP (264 – lower than I though). He also played more than I realized last year, definitely worth a shot at this point.

  3. Nick says:
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    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

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Hey Nick, hope all is well in your world! Love the Edman pickup… I lost Villar in my AL-only league, which I’m hoping ends up being a blessing in disguise.

  4. tommybones says:
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    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.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Schoop is one of those guys that I’ve always owned at the wrong time and never the right time, so I guess I kind of have him off my radar. Since I probably won’t draft him this year, according to my past history that would mean he’ll have a big season!

  5. JD Hassett

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

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Hey JD, thanks for reading. Not a bad flier at his current price, especially if he gets 2B eligibility — if he’s healthy, could be a nice improvement from last year especially in the power department.

  6. Nathan Ducharme says:
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    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.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Hey Nathan… well, the main problem was the fact that McNeil is ranked way too high to be considered for our little island of misfit toys… he’s actually the 8th drafted second baseman using NFBC numbers right now. As to whether a pick that high (#89 ADP overall) is justified, I think it could go either way. And I do love the multi-position eligibility!

  7. Harley Earl says:
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    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?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Hey Harley, thanks for reading! I went into draft season thinking I’d stock up on lots of France shares for all of the reasons you’ve mentioned, and then read one snippet about him on FanGraphs last month that scared me off (perhaps way more than it should have). Found it: “there are some really concerning issues with France. His StatCast data is not good at all. His exit velocity is among the worst in baseball (8th percentile) and his hard hit percentage is less than 30%. I don’t know that he has a ton of power coming or will hit for a relatively strong average. Even with full time playing time, he is probably a 20 homer bat with a .260ish average and that is if the Mariners don’t decide to play other players over him because of defense or underperformance.” So while I don’t usually run for the hills based on one take like that, it was enough to at least make me pause. I’ll probably still draft him a time or two unless his ADP skyrockets, but that one little blurb managed to really harsh my mellow.

      • Harley Earl says:
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        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!

        • Laura Holt

          Laura Holt says:
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          Yeah, I don’t normally pay as much attention to things like exit velocity/hard hit % as some do, but I was really surprised to see France’s numbers there. Like I said I’ll probably try to grab him on a couple teams but I just haven’t been full on targeting him like I thought I might. I do like the fact that Seattle evidently pursued him for quite a while before finally prying him from the Padres; I think situations like that are always good for a hitter’s confidence. He’s one of those guys whose ADP could go up fast if he looks good this spring, so I may regret not taking him in at least one of my first drafts!

  8. Bill Lumbergh says:
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    @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!

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Hey Bill, thanks for reading and so glad you posted! I wish there were more guys I was excited about in that group, but I do have Johnson on my list of guys to take a flier on super late; I don’t think he’s on many radars due to his fairly disastrous call-up last year, which of course we shouldn’t need to worry about much since it was a grand total of 12 ABs. I don’t mind Brown or Evans at the end of a crazy deep draft either; you are clearly prepared! One guy I’ve grabbed a couple times already is Jared Oliva, who may have a less clear path to playing time with the Pirates signing Anthony Alford, but who I’m still going to keep a close eye on due to his speed potential. A few other guys who seem to be going around the same time as the Brown/Johnson types are Lewin Diaz, Sam Haggerty, and Brett Rooker… I also grabbed Ryan McBroom in one deep league, though I’m not holding my breath anything comes of that… definitely lottery tickets at that point. Good luck with your drafts and hope to hear from you more as the pre-season/season continues!

      • Bill Lumbergh says:
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        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.

  9. Mike Rusin says:
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    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.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Madrigal ranked 19th 2B in NFBC drafts, so he just missed my cut off. Definitely love the runs potential; I’m not thrilled with the fact that he only stole 2 bases in 29 games last year but if they turn him loose in 2021 his value will certainly rise.

  10. Big League Wood says:
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    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.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      I did the same quite a bit last year, but am not feeling as confident to try it this year… though I suspect I’ll go that route at least once or twice in 2021 as I do think it’s a valid strategy. I think part of my hesitation is the disappointment from my 2Bs last year when I used this plan (as I mentioned in my article I had several shares of Kolten Wong, along with 2 of the guys you mentioned, Hernandez and Castro) — I’m probably putting too much in last year’s weird and small sample size but it did make me a little gun shy when it comes to waiting at 2B.

  11. Big League Wood says:
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    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.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      I’m not sure what to make of Solak; he was one of my absolute go-to guys for bench depth last year — like, I drafted him on almost every one of my re-draft teams. He is actually ranked as the 15th 2B at NFBC right now by ADP, 169 overall, which feels a little high to me, so I guess that puts me in the camp that he’s being at least slightly overdrafted… maybe it’s because I got him so cheap in every league last year. He feels like one of those guys that’s going to be way more valuable in real baseball than fantasy; I was really frustrated that he didn’t run more last year. I do think 15-20 SBs is where he’ll probably end up this year, and I’ll have no problem drafting him this year if he falls to me at the right price; I just won’t reach for him because I’m not confident enough that he’ll contribute across the board.

      • Big League Wood says:
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        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.

        • Laura Holt

          Laura Holt says:
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          I think that’s a nice buy at that price!

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

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Hey Ian, good call; I’ve actually mentioned Taylor as a potential late SS pick in my next post that I’m turning in today! I’m still kind of trying to figure out how high on him I am this year but he should definitely be in the mix to consider at his current price IMO. Given the other options I”m realizing he’ll probably make more sense as a 2B, but that kind of positional versatility is always nice in a deep league.

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