One super quick word about the top 20 2nd basemen for 2023 fantasy baseball and all the 2023 fantasy baseball rankings, each ranking appears insanely long and it is, but I imagine in a lot of leagues guys won’t have eligibility, because I’m using the extremely lax Yahoo position eligibility (five games started). Without further ado because this post is longer than the combined length of the Gutenberg Bible and Steve Guttenberg’s IMDB page, I mention where tiers start and stop and all projections are mine and cannot be reproduced without the express written consent of Major League–Damn, I’m being told I did not have the express written consent to use MLB’s warning. It was expressly written for them. You guys! Here’s Steamer’s 2023 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2023 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. Subscriptions are up and running, and you can already get Rudy’s Draft War Room. Anyway, here’s the top 20 2nd basemen for 2023 fantasy baseball:
NOTE: All my rankings are currently available on Patreon for the price of a Starbucks coffee, if you get one of those extra grande frappuccino jobbers. Don’t wait for the rankings to come out over the next month, and get them all now.
NOTE II: Free agents are listed as just that and not yet projected. Once a guy signs, I will write out their blurb and add in projections, or remove them, if they sign in an unfavorable place. They are ranked currently where I think they might be if they sign on for a full-time job.
NOTE III: A discussion about the rankings:
2. Marcus Semien – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Jazz. I call this tier, “Rolling off your loved one, because 2nd basemen are giving you a headache.” There’s some real questionable questioning going in the 2nd basemen rankings. Later, and we’ll get to it, because 2nd base is gnarly. It gets especially bad when you consider a bunch of 2nd basemen will be drafted as middle infielders too (obviously, along with shortstops). Then some actual 70-IQ ding dongs might even draft a 2nd baseman as their utility guy. With roughly 25-30 of these guys being drafted even in shallower leagues, it’s going to quickly become a true yikes. Then, when you consider deeper leagues, I’m rubbing my temples, stressed out. “Baby, not tonight, 2nd basemen are giving me a headache.” “But, babe, isn’t this 1st tier reassuring enough so we can have a quickie?” “No, Semien had a terrible first two months; Altuve is old; Ozzie and Jazz missed so many games with injuries! Please, babe, raincheck.” It’s this tier, and really the 2nd basemen as a whole. I’m getting a major headache, and I’m not sure if my fantasy team can perform.
As for Semien, speaking of not knowing if one can perform. Semien spurted out of the gate, then, with the jolt of a thousand coin-operated beds, Semien exploded. There wasn’t many who were better than Semien from June through October. I get it, like a towel for the coin-operated bed, but his March and April were so bad, there’s gotta be some trepidation here. Maybe it was adjusting to a new team, but what if it wasn’t and he’s bad for two months out of the gate in 2023? Will you be patient or will you become a patient asking for a little blue pill to get your Semien going? You can claim you will be patient, but I also know that when your 2nd or 3rd round pick are crapping the coin-operated bed, you start thinking about how to rebuild the dynasty team. Hopefully, we just get a hot April as he marches to a 45-homer, 20-steal season as we all see a fireworks display of a giant lotion bottle in the sky, spelling out, “Semien.” 2023 Projections: 104/31/79/.246/22 in 637 ABs
3. Ozzie Albies – I’m doing the rankings in the order you’re reading them. Eventually, I will finish and go back to the beginning and rewrite them all, like I’m in Plato’s Cave doing fantasy baseball rankings for all of entirety. How’sever, this is my first reaction, my Blink, said Gladwell, first thought about the 2nd basemen vs. other positions: This will be the worst first tier. I sorta knew this last month when I gave you a bunch of 2nd basemen sleepers. That was a plan of attack for later. But early on? Oh, I love Albies, Semien, Jazz and teaching myself to love Altuve, but if you say these guys are super safe, you have Saltines between your ears. Just the most crackers-y take to say these guys are safe. Albies missed almost the entire previous season. Missing almost an entire season does not make one safe. Not much to even go on last year. If you prorate his season out, he was headed for a pretty terrible 15/7/.250 line. Between starting and stopping, I’m willing to throw out that season, but if he comes back and his April and May look like he’s headed for another 15/7/.250 season, you’re going to once again be asking me how to rebuild the dynasty team questions. Hate when I draft a guy with the thought, “Just throw away his previous season,” but here we are. *rubbing temples* “I honestly don’t think tonight’s a good time, sweetie, it’s these 2nd basemen.” Also, go over him in the video at the top of the page. 2023 Projections: 82/27/87/.254/14 in 579 ABs
4. Jazz Chisholm Jr. – “Twinkle Toes McKray grew up in New Orleans, but life wasn’t always easy for him, as his mother, a sugar addict, would lick sugar off beignets and use the leftover dough to clothe, T.T. McKray–” Ugh, I tried watching Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary to see if I could get any insight on Chisholm, but it’s impossible to get through one four-hour episode, let alone all 12. Jazz’s quite easily the guy I’m most excited about in this tier, and also the one that scares the bejesus out of me like I just had a reverse exorcism. How bad was his back injury? Oh, it just knocked him out for three months, then he had a torn meniscus in his knee operated on in September. If Jazz is right, he’s a 25/25 guy, but since he’s never done that it might be a pipe dream, like T.T. McKray’s drug-addled 1950s. 2023 Projections: 79/26/69/.251/19 in 557 ABs
5. Andres Gimenez – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Edman. I call this tier, “Nine to 17 cocktails.” The tier name is referring to how many drinks it takes for me to imagine anyone in this tier becoming a top 20 overall guy. I like the guys in this tier, don’t get it twisted, as they say at Wetzel’s. I just can’t get drunk enough to imagine any of these guys being huge fantasy providers. Most of the guys in this tier I can’t imagine anything more from than what I’ve projected. That shouldn’t be the deal with only the 2nd tier of a position. That’s bad, y’all! We shouldn’t be roughly 70 picks in overall in a position and not imagine better from a group of guys.
As for Gimenez, how many cocktails to imagine a top 20 season from him? I’d say 9-12. Steamer projections have him down for 19/17/.267 in 144 games. Give him another ten games, and a Tyler-Ward-in-April-type ten-game stretch and, bam, give me one more *long burp* Manhattan with an extra cherry. That was also what Peter Minuit once said. I like Gimenez a lot, but he hits a decent amount of ground balls to imagine him getting much higher in power than 22 homers, and that already seems *long burp* How about one more round? The speed might not be maxed out, and really why it’s only roughly nine cocktails or so — I’ve lost track — why Gimenez could have a huge year. 17/32+ steals would put him in the running for a top 20 season. Is 32-plus steals possible? *long burp* Make me a daiquiri, would cha? 2023 Projections: 71/16/76/.277/23 in 548 ABs
6. Gleyber Torres – What’s going to be super interesting to see, and something no one has any answer to right now, is whether the ball will be dead again. How I think it will play out, and why I have Gleyber maybe higher than other people, and above Edman, who beat him in the Player Rater last year, power will be more valuable and steals will be slightly devalued. Edman and Gleyber are great comparisons for this too, because they are basically the inverse of each other on steals and power. So, a guy like Gleyber’s 25/11/.260 is better than Edman’s 11/25/.260. Last year, I would’ve said the opposite, easily. Balls dead again? Then power is less abundant, and with limited pickoffs, steals are more abundant. Edman has other issues, which I will get to in his blurb, but I’m pretty confident in guessing — a confident guess? Is that an oxymoron like a jumbo shrimp? Virtual reality? A fantasy baseball expert? — 25/11 will be more valuable than 11/25. 2023 Projections: 81/25/78/.261/11 in 549 ABs
7. Tommy Edman – This is kinda funny *hiccup* Sorry, I’m still a little drunk from the last blurb. Last year, Edman made a run at the top 20 overall in the 1st half of the season (7/20), and didn’t have a terrible 2nd half (6/12) but seemed on the verge of losing his starting job in the 2nd half, which shows you how precarious these guys are. Edman starts off cold in April, Donovan and Gorman step in and hit, and Edman is on the outside looking in. Prolly need 17 cocktails to see Edman hitting as well as he did in the 1st half last year all year long. His strikeout rate went up, which is what will happen when a guy seems to lose sight of the strike zone. He began swinging at a lot more balls outside the zone, and less inside the zone. Yeah, not a recipe for success, usually. It might be more like 15 cocktails to see Edman do as well as last year, and, if I were dead sober, I’d warn you that he’s one two-week slump from being replaced completely in the lineup. Remember, Cards operate a Create A Player Factory, and manufacture guys all the time. 2023 Projections: 76/11/54/.260/26 in 569 ABs
8. Thairo Estrada – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Abrams. I call this tier, “Yum, yum, don’t be a bum.” This tier is some sleepers I like. Sleepers are sleepers because they’re cheaper than they should be — hence, “yum, yum.” They’re cheaper than they should be because there’s some risk involved — hence, “don’t be a bum.”
As for Thairo, already gave you a Thairo Estrada sleeper. It wrote itself on line for a Vegas buffet. 2023 Projections: 87/16/63/.262/23 in 574 ABs
9. CJ Abrams – Already gave you a CJ Abrams sleeper. I wrote it while playing Ren’s Hi Ren on repeat. This is the best song of the year. Sure, it’s only January, but it’s so good. 2023 Projections: 77/6/61/.274/31 in 573 ABs
10. Brandon Lowe – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Rojas. I call this tier, “…but ten rounds later.” This tier is filled with guys who get talked into with this very special kind of hype where a fantasy baseball ‘pert says something like, “You can draft this guy, ORRRRRRRR!!! draft this other guy who is exactly like him ten rounds later,” and that 2nd player is never exactly like them. Could see all the guys in this tier getting some boost from legacy media fantasy, think: Yahoo or ESPN. They love guys like this tier. “Polanco? He’s Altuve, but ten rounds later!” “Lowe? He’s Jose Abreu, but ten rounds later!” “McMahon is Lowe who’s Abreu, but ten rounds later!” This shizz is endless, and hardly ever accurate. There’s a reason why these guys are “…but ten rounds later!” They have major issues.
As for Lowe, backs are tricky, said a magician chiropractor, and Lowe’s got that in spades…up his sleeve! *Lowe reveals a few shovels from the hardware store, Lowe’s, up his sleeves* Tah-dah! Maybe Lowe is one guy who can return from a back injury with no problem and he can tell Don Mattingly, so Don can go back in time and actually get Hall of Fame numbers vs. being pushed as a Hall of Famer with less than stats. (I was a huge Mattingly fan as a kid too, but c’mon. If we’re being honest, he wasn’t a Hall of Famer.) So, why am I more optimistic for Jazz’s back than Lowe’s? Bit younger, and, honestly, I’m worried about Jazz’s too. But Jazz gives speed (assuming his back is okay), and Lowe gives nothing but empty dongers. Plus, Kevin Cash has so many brilliant ideas that he changes the lineup every third inning. 2023 Projections: 67/26/74/.226/3 in 494 ABs
11. Ryan McMahon – If I were to take a vote on who will appear higher on the Player Rater, McMahon or Kris Bryant, who would you choose and why? Think I’d go Bryant, but I also just find it so funny when the Rockies do anything stupid, and the worse Bryant looks, the dumber they look, so, ugh, tough call. McMahon is a 20/6/.250 hitter, and he really is Jose Abreu ten rounds later? No, he’s not. He’s Carlos Santana 20 rounds earlier. No, he’s not that either if dropping some Honest Tea on your mainframe. He’s just a boring cheap corner infielder-type who has MI eligibility. McMahon also has a very real threat of platoon breathing down his neck if Bud Black wants to get younger–HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA–Sure. 2023 Projections: 63/20/67/.252/6 in 483 ABs
12. Josh Rojas – Josh the Red, who is a Diamondback, had big expectations not that long ago. You can look at his 11 homers potential and 23 steals last year with a .269 average, and see a pretty clear way he could be Edman but ten rounds later, but the Diamondbacks seem to not want to play him, grabbing Longoria late in the preseason, which relegates Rojas to DH-slash-platoon guy with everyone who has no place to play. 2023 Projections: 61/9/51/.261/18 in 421 ABs
13. Max Muncy – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until India. I call this tier, “Hey, was the old me completely nuts?” The tier name refers to the old me who liked all the guys in this tier, either last year or at some point in the recent past. Now, with a crack team of scientists, we will take this piece of brain fragment that was extracted from my brain and try to figure out if my old self was bobkers…bobkers? Is that a word? Bobkers? It sounds like a word to me. Hey, how much of the thing in my head did you take? What’s it called again, my Brian? My Brian? What has happened to me? I don’t feel kay-oh. Oh boy my Brian is bobkers.
As for Muncy, can the bounce back happen? Absolutely. Will it? Hmm, I kinda think so, and I was so out on him last year. He’s for sure a .230 hitter now, at his ceiling, and might not get to 35 homers again, but I nearly wrote a sleeper post for him because of his walk rate, and rolling windows. His ability to hit breaking pitches is pretty wildly awful. His 41.6% Whiff% on breaking pitches has me at 100% on my Woof%. So, there’s ways to get Muncy out, but he can still damage fastballs and offspeed, and there’s enough meh pitchers that he can be valuable. 2023 Projections: 62/26/71/.219/2 in 441 ABs
14. Jonathan India – Fodor’s, your best guide for when the road is your home, describes India as the biggest jerk 2nd baseman of all-time. Well, it describes India that way, after I magic-markered my thoughts into this India travel guide, and wrote “Jonathan” in front of “India” on the cover, and now I will burn my first book. Now, now, now, it’s a new season! India no longer has to put the bomb in Bombay, or have me see Mumbai and think “Motherf***er bye.” You could see India bouncing back, because if he doesn’t bounce back and I draft him again, we’re gonna have real problems. His stats look like they were just hampered by injuries and we could chuck them out like Albies, Jazz and others. If I had 100% faith in that, I would’ve ranked him higher, so, yeah, there’s some pause India’s gonna be that Hyderabad again. Also, go over him in the video at the top of the page. 2023 Projections: 83/20/65/.256/9 in 510 ABs
15. Brandon Drury – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Donovan. I call this tier, “Check out another post, and Jeff McNeil.” As for Drury, already went over him in the top 20 1st basemen for 2023 fantasy baseball.
17. Jeff McNeil – The guys winning batting titles now are so boooooooooring. Hey, that’s the Orioles’ lineup — Get it? Nine O’s. Wonder if the Mets shaving a few feet off their right field fence will help a guy like McNeil. My wondering obviously didn’t land on an affirmative, because McNeil’s ranked this low, but I did at least wonder it. 2023 Projections: 89/10/57/.306/3 in 557 ABs
20. Bryson Stott – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Urias. I call this tier, “Googling ‘last vestiges.'” A “last vestige” is the last sign of something great, or at least I think it is, which is why I’m googling it. This tier is the last vestige (I think) of anything interesting for the 2nd basemen. For full disclosure, I flip-flopped this tier and the next two tiers a few times. At the end of the day, I figure this is around 220 to 250th overall and around the last gasp for a flyer so why not take one, but, if this were a deeper league, I could see going safer (the next tier) vs. this upside tier, so, while I usually say guys in the same tier are interchangeable, guys in this tier or the next one are kinda interchangeable. I.e., if you wanted to go Ketel Marte over Stott? Then, fine, go for it, but upside is definitely on this tier.
As for Stott, he feels way too similar to Alec Bohm. Call them Bohm-sie twins. (A very new reference, and not at all 70 years old.) Trying to find a glimmer of hope in Stott’s profile that he has a bigger ceiling for power than we’ve seen, and I can’t see it. Maybe his natural growth into power will add five to seven homers, but starting at 10 homers, doesn’t lead us to a lofty number. Hey, I didn’t say these last vestiges were great. It’s why they’re so buried. Stott could hit .300 and steal 15+ bags though, if Stott’s hawt! 2023 Projections: 64/15/70/.276/14 in 493 ABs
21. Jose Altuve – Want to believe in Altuve with all my heart, which is…*measuring my heart vs. an actual-sized cardboard of Altuve*…same size. I can’t believe in him wholeheartedly because, quite frankly, he’s the same height as me and I can’t hit one home run, let alone 30. Okay, I kid. I don’t trust him mostly because of his age. I’m trying so hard to no longer anticipate a huge age drop-off, because it doesn’t seem to happen ever as we imagine. If we’re being real here, Altuve hasn’t had a bad season ever. Say what you want about the trash cans, and plenty have, but Altuve sneakily has put up a Hall of Fame career. Only bad season he had was 2020, and everyone had a bad year in 2020. Altuve took his 5′ 3″, 147-pound frame and rode it all the way to Cooperstown, even as he couldn’t ride a rollercoaster. Truly a shame that whole Cheaty Cheaty Bang Bang scandal happened, because he’d be celebrated by more, not just those in the Geto Boys’ 9th Ward. UPDATE: Broken thumb, out 8-10 weeks. 2023 Projections: 66/18/42/.289/10 in 393 ABs
22. Luis Urias – Feels like Urias had a Polanco-type regression last year too. Dead ball affected a lot of 2nd basemen, huh? (Grey, you’ve mentioned two.) Yup, a lot! (Two, man, two.) Watch the ball be juiced to high heaven again this year and everyone bounces back. (Two guys, God damn it!) 2023 Projections: 68/20/74/.241/3 in 502 ABs
23. Jean Segura – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Merrifield. I call this tier, “Why are they playing an alarm noise?” This tier is a snoozefest, and at Snoozefest 2023 all they did was play an alarm, so that’s why they’re playing an alarm. For what it’s Cronenworth, I moved McNeil out of this tier. He’s boring, but these guys are way more snoozey!
As for Segura, here’s what I said this offseason, “Signed by the Marlins. Finally, we get to see Jazz and Jean’s play on one field, after imagining it while yacht rock plays in the background of our Toyota Sienna. Is that Chuck Mangione? No, it’s Jazz and Jean’s! If Jazz and Jean’s double plays are not nicknamed Chuck Mangione, then I don’t know how to help you, universe. Any hoo! Segura likely hits leadoff and is a better real-life move than a fantasy one. Segura’s fine for counting stats, while being pretty boring.” And that’s me quoting me! 2023 Projections: 82/12/54/.279/15 in 531 ABs
24. Ketel Marte – Member what I said about 2,000 words ago about Polanco? No, of course you don’t, but if Polanco had his homers shortened by the dead ball, Marte had them halved and maybe even quartered by the juiced ball retiring to Pompano Beach. We thought Ketel was a 30-homer hitter, and, boy, were we the ones who sounded drunk on Ketel. One dead ball and humidor later, and Ketel might not get 12 homers. Also, go over him in the video at the top of the page. 2023 Projections: 68/13/59/.258/5 in 509 ABs
25. Whit Merrifield – He feels like a guy, who has a full-time job until August, and, then he’s platooning with a guy they just acquired, or just finally benched him indefinitely because he sucks. I take no pleasure in saying he sucks. Only guy I enjoy sucking is Myles Straw, and that’s when it’s Myles wide, so I can get that extra big boba in my mouth. Speaking of straws, what about this Shark Tank idea: A mile-long straw, so I don’t have to go to the supermarket, I can just get Jimmy at checkout to put the straw’s end in a new can of Fanta whenever I’m thirsty. What are zoning permits like to drape a straw over the top of, say, 500 houses? Asking for a friend. 2023 Projections: 51/9/57/.254/15 in 461 ABs
26. Kolten Wong – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Gordon. I call this tier, “EFTLPE.” EFTLPE is what you read, if you’re reading the eye chart with only one eye open. This tier is immaculate if you have one eye shut, and can’t see some glaring flaws in these guys. As for Wong, here’s what I said this offseason, “Traded to the Mariners. The good news is if you draft Wong on a team where you have Semien, you can name your team Before and After. Or you can you use my yearbook quote, “It’s not how far you shoot, it’s where you aim.” Not sure how that made it through the censors. Clearly, they were thrown off by me attributing to a great made-up archer, Longsworth Peechute. Any hoo! Wong can’t hit lefties, and won’t be allowed to much Moore (pun noted, and intended), so that will cut down Wong — whoa, Lorena Bobbitt! — and his counting stats.” And that’s me quoting me! 2023 Projections: 58/12/51/.264/16 in 441 ABs
27. Nolan Gorman – There’s no good place to rank Gorman. I like him a lot, and you can infer from my Edman blurb that I have real reservations about Edman, and think Gorman can take over, but when? Not rhetorical. Please, Universe, tell me, when? March? April? June? Hey, Universe, I’m giving you a multiple choice here, just start raining after the month it is. …Wait a second. April showers…May it is! So, Gorman is likely going to be a boom or bust, and I purposely put him in a tier where you might be able to reach into with your last pick in 12-teamers. If the Cards are smart — and I think they are — they will make Gorman a regular. If he’s a regular, he’s a 30/7/.240 hitter this year. That’s pretty good for a 2nd baseman! If I had to take a guess on one guy after the top 250 overall who might break out from this ranking, I’d put my money on Gorman. He didn’t get a sleeper post, because I don’t know his at-bats this year, and we might not know until July. 2023 Projections: 48/20/57/.233/4 in 364 ABs
28. Rodolfo Castro – “If you were to make a full stop at every stop sign, instead of a rolling stop, you’d waste 49 hours of your life.” Mr. Prorater, I think you’re just making stuff up. “No, I don’t, it’s all researched.” Not surprised to see Mr. Prorater show up in this Castro blurb because if you prorate Castro’s last year out, he would’ve went 25/12. That seems like Mr. Peanut in the head, but Castro has done pretty much that in the minors, and watching some of his homers, well, it’s late and this is a flyer, but he could surprise a little, if the Pirates play him, and now that they promoted him, they should. 2023 Projections: 54/22/62/.224/10 in 506 ABs
32. Brendan Rodgers – This might be underselling this guy, since ya know what 70 runs, 60 RBIs, 15 homers and a .270 average are, right? All possibilities to be in Mr. Rodgers’ neighborhood. UPDATE: His shoulder sounds like toast, so he’s been removed from the rankings. 2023 Projections: 67/15/71/.274 in 559 ABs
29. Luis Garcia – I call this Luis Garcia, Rocky III, because there’s as many Luis Garcias in the majors as Rocky movies, and Rocky III is the greatest Rocky film there ever was, and I’m including the Creeds. Though, I haven’t seen the last two Creeds. My 12-year-old self is noogie’ing me for not seeing the Creeds as soon as they come out. Can also call this Luis Garcia Rocky III, because every time I search Luis Garcia anywhere he’s the third Luis Garcia listed in the dropdown menu. In fairness to Houston’s Luis Garcia, that Garcia might be Rocky III and this one might be like IV or II, but the Astros’ Garcia is Rocky I, because he was the first Luis Garcia. Any hoo! Rocky III might be lacking some upside I once thought he had. Last year’s 7/3 season in nearly 100 games was quite blehtastic. Still have some hope for upside in Rocky III, but it’s fading and he might end up Rocky V if more Luis Garcias are promoted into the majors. 2023 Projections: 54/12/51/.271/6 in 459 ABs
34. Gavin Lux – Henry Hill voice, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted Gavin Lux to be better than he really is.” UPDATE: Out for the season with a torn ACL. 2023 Projections: 61/9/54/.269/6 in 444 ABs
30. Luis Rengifo – Saw that he filled holes like Shia LaBeouf in Holes when there was no shift, and I started to giddy up for Rengifo, then I was like RenGTFO when I saw he actually hits well as a righty, but it has nothing to do with shifts. Sadly, he just hits lefties well, and there’s more righties, so Rengifo has to start hitting better as a lefty or stop switch-hitting. Also, his walk rate is so extremely bad, which is not something I usually worry about, but that leads to: How long until he gets platooned? There’s some interest here, and I almost wrote a sleeper for him, but there’s also just as many red flags. 2023 Projections: 54/15/43/.252/7 in 421 ABs
31. Nick Gordon – Was about to say it’s pretty crazy that Nick Gordon hit nine homers last year, since he’s 127 pounds, but Altuve is four-eight and hits 30 homers every year. It’s our time! The tiny guys! *runs around cheering, ducking between taller guy’s legs* 2023 Projections: 51/7/45/.266/10 in 414 ABs
32. Chris Taylor – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Ramon Urias. I call this tier, “They’re not good, but you’ve heard of them.” On its face, this tier is pretty straightforward, but it also means–Well, no, it means what you think it means. As for Taylor, he made $60M in his last contract, and I’m fine with players getting paid, but he better thank the God of Wells Fargo that he was on the Dodgers, because if he were on, say, the Rays, he would’ve never passed 350 ABs any year and would’ve made about $12M in his career. 2023 Projections: 48/13/51/.225/12 in 392 ABs
35. Jorge Polanco – It’s fun looking around at the drop-off for some guys from 2021 to 2022 when nothing in their profile changed but the ball clearly did. Polanco was one of those. He went from a 33-homer guy to a 20-ish homer guy (if you give him a full season), and all that changed was the ball he was hitting. He’s now become such a fly-ball-hitting machine that if the ball doesn’t bounce back there’s no way Polanco does, and could actually become a 15-homer, .230 hitter, or basically what he did last year. UPDATE: Will start the year on the IL. 2023 Projections: 58/17/56/.242/4 in 449 ABs
37. Enrique Hernandez – One of the guys in the 2nd half of these rankings is going to Zombino from nowhere, and we’re gonna be running around, screaming, “My brain custard! He’s eating it! And I don’t know why I’m talking with broken syntax!” And I’d guess Chris Taylor before Enrique Hernandez, but ya never know. Also, if some of you are wondering why a guy like Taylor or Enrique are being projected for less than a full season of at-bats, it’s because they kinda suck and are at the mercy of their teams finding better replacements in a trade or the minors. 2023 Projections: 63/14/52/.219/2 in 427 ABs
38. Ramon Urias – Had a brain fart and I was like, “Well, if Ramon can steal 30+ bags, he needs to be ranked higher,” then I realized I was thinking of Jorge Mateo. Urias’s stats are a lot less interesting. He’s a great example of the difference between a team that spends money and a team that doesn’t. (Notice how I didn’t say big and small market.) On a team like the Yanks, well, Urias wouldn’t make the team, or would be a backup. On the O’s, he might get 500 ABs. 2023 Projections: 56/15/61/.257/2 in 461 ABs
39. Ezequiel Duran – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Steer. I call this tier, “Yo, wake up, you missed your draft and have to pick up a 2nd baseman off waivers.” Tier name is self-explanatory, because this post is going on 7,000 words and I thought I had to cut back on long-winded explanations–Damn it! I’m doing another long-winded explanation. Okay, one more thing! After a decent number of 2nd basemen appear to have starting jobs, or at least should, above this point, this tier begins the slow descent into part-timers or who should be part-timers.
As for Duran, I saw the Rangers talking about trading him for middle relief help, and I did a little eye roll. Rangers are not well-run, but at least they spend money, so I can only hate so much. Also, I’m currently trying to recruit their GM Chris Young onto the Razzball company basketball team. Ezequiel, as the Amish named him, has 60-grade power and 15-ish steal speed, and his hit tool might not be awful either with reps. Could he be a 25/15/.250 hitter? Yes. Will he because of a lack of at-bats? No. 2023 Projections: 41/11/39/.242/8 in 308 ABs
41. Trevor Story – Once upon a time, there was a great shortstop by the name Story, and everyone was like, “Tell me a story, Story,” and he said, “Sure, but first let me hit 35 homers and steal 20 bases,” and the boys and five girls were so happy to hear that story from Story. Now, the story of Story is The Neverbending Story as he had internal bracing procedure of his right elbow in January. How do you wait until January to have surgery that needs six months to recover from? That just feels like the entire Red Sox organization right now, “Oh well, what can do?” What you can do is have surgery back in September! Sigh, guess you should never mess with aging Rockies’ shortstops, call him Trover Tulowitzory. 2023 Projections: 32/11/35/.244/7 in 284 ABs
42. Jon Berti – This is neither here nor there, but it’s wild when Steamer looks at a 33-year-old such as Berti, and is like, “Yeah, this guy will have a new high in homers.” Why? Haven’t the foggiest, but they project Berti for seven homers. Berti seems capable of stealing 40 bags again, or less than 15 and bouncing on and off the IL. Berti hurty? I can see it? Sí it, if you’re bilingual. 2023 Projections: 36/2/28/.243/21 in 289 ABs
43. Vidal Brujan – Said something above in the Chris Taylor blurb that applies here, and kinda the Ramon Urias blurb. With everyday at-bats, Brujan acclimates to major-league pitching, starts hitting like he was in the minors, and becomes a regular, and in a few years is paid well. On the Rays? He might never top 325 ABs, and be playing in Korea in five years. Stay skeptical with anyone saying the Rays are a smart organization. 2023 Projections: 29/5/26/.248/14 in 264 ABs
46. Christopher Morel – Seems capable of stealing 30 bags, and I’m capable of running across country if I were to train for 35 years straight, so maybe we shouldn’t expect it from Morel. Morel also seems capable of hitting 20 homers. And have I mentioned things I’m capable of during an episode of Fantasy Island? Yet — again in caps — YET, Morel does have 20/30 possibility. Though, he’s a righty who can’t hit lefties, had a terrible 2nd half and might hit .200, after hitting .220 in Double-A. UPDATE: Was sent down to start the year. 2023 Projections: 31/8/37/.224/6 in 255 ABs
49. Jonathan Schoop – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the end of the list. I call this tier, “Rubbing their hands together in Seoul.” The tier name will become clear in a moment. As for Schoop, saw a note that said he chose not to opt-out of his contract and I thought, “Yeah, he doesn’t want to play in South Korea.” No way any team gives him anywhere close to a decent deal if he opted out. Schoop had the 2nd worst wOBA, and only one other guy in the bottom ten had as many at-bats as him (510), and that was Myles Straw, who at least has speed. You think noodle-bat Israeli Diner Falafel is bad? Falafel’s wOBA was forty points higher than Schoop! No wonder Schoop tried stealing some bags last year, because he was so pathetic elsewhere, he prolly felt bad. Oh, and Schoop is penciled in as the Tigers’ cleanup hitter! He couldn’t even clean up after the chickpea! Um, Israeli Diner Falafel. 2023 Projections: 54/15/59/.231/3 in 467 ABs
50. Tony Kemp – This tier makes it clear there’s enough major leaguers that could go to Korea and may not even be starters on a KBO team. ACKSUALLY, the A’s might not even win a seven-game series vs. a KBO team. Not picking on KBO, but it’s well-documented that playing there is about the same as playing in Double-A. Well, yeah, the A’s might not beat some Double-A teams either. The tweet after this blurb is about Tony Kemp. 2023 Projections: 54/6/40/.241/12 in 452 ABs
This is a major league team’s projected leadoff hitter pic.twitter.com/Z18jTIQ5cN
— Razzball (@Razzball) November 29, 2022
51. Joey Wendle – One amazing quality this tier’s players all share is: The more at-bats they get, the worse they are. Somehow, if you project Wendle for 300 ABs, he has 10/10 ability, and if you project him for 500 ABs, he has 9/9 possibility. I have no idea how this happens. 2023 Projections: 43/8/38/.267/10 in 316 ABs
52. Adam Frazier – Here’s what I said this offseason, “Signed with the O’s. Of all the teams he could’ve went to, he chose the Orioles because all the teams he could’ve went to was the Pirates or the Orioles, and he wanted to try something different. Some day we’ll look back on this time in MLB history and be like, “Adam Frazier got 1,000 career games?!” By the way, he’s got 43 homers and 41 steals in his career. His career is hopefully this year from Acuña.” And that’s me quoting me! 2023 Projections: 43/5/39/.261/10 in 432 ABs
53. Nicky Lopez – I debated ranking Nick Madrigal, but there’s only room for one. Nick and Nicky? Sounds like a bad Vegas revue. Watch Nick and Nicky juggle with no power and kinda no speed! Watch Nicky breathe fire after not brushing his teeth for two months straight. 2023 Projections: 54/1/23/.262/15 in 447 ABs
Omitted but considered: Santiago Espinal, Nick Madrigal, David Fletcher, Christian Arroyo, Zach McKinstry, Michael Busch, Cavan Biggio, Taylor Walls, Diego Castillo, Edouard Julien, Connor Norby, Cesar Hernandez, Abraham Toro, Josh Harrison, Jordan Diaz, Jonathan Villar, Nick Allen, Kevin Newman, Orlando Arcia, Owen Miller, Charles Leblanc, Rougned Odor, Enmanuel Valdez, Miles Mastrobuoni, Tyler Wade, David Bote, Lenyn Sosa, Luis Guillorme, Sheldon Neuse, Terrin Vavra, Sergio Alcantara, Jeter Downs, Zack Gelof, Romy Gonzalez, Jonah Bride, Yu Chang, Buddy Kennedy, Niko Goodrum, David Hamilton, Tucupita Marcano, Harold Castro, Michael Chavis, Willi Castro, Mauricio Dubon, Garrett Hampson, Michael Massey