The start of the baseball season is fascinating because you can quickly see which owners are quick to ditch players and which owners believe in the slow and steady approach.

For dynasty leagues, owners are conditioned to ride out the slow starts and sometimes overlook the hot streaks, knowing that by the end of the season the good players will likely be good and the fringe players will likely be back on the fringes.

But for non-dynasty owners, being quick to react can be the difference between winning and losing. A lot of owners were surely thinking there is no way Yermin Mercedes would still be red-hot at the plate. But he is, and he is making those owners who snatched him up look like geniuses.

These rankings are more of a reflection of the owner’s who lead the league in adds and drops.  Thanks to a hot two or three weeks, players who were barely on the radar of fantasy players are now Top 10 second baseman. Meanwhile, expected studs such as Ozzie Albies, DJ LeMahieu and Brandon Lowe would be on the free-agent scrap heap if not for their name and track history.

So let’s see who has been red-hot and moved up the rankings and let’s find out how far Albies, LeMahieu and Lowe have fallen.

MERRIFIELD TAKES OVER TOP SPOT

Rank Name Team Previous
1 Whit Merrifield KC 3
2 Joey Wendle TB NR
3 Ryan McMahon COL 1
4 Nick Solak TEX 19
5 Ty France SEA NR

Entering the season, Whit Merrifield was my third-ranked shortstop. Out of my original Top 5, he is the only player still ranked among the five. While some other top players are seemingly playing like it is the start of spring training, Whitfield has been outstanding so far for the Royals with a slash line of .292-.333-.472 through Friday with three homers, 13 RBI, and six steals. That is filling up the stat line, especially in points leagues.

Joey Wendle jumped from not being ranked to now being ranked second. That happens when you are hitting .343 and slugging .582 while driving in 15 runs. I was lucky to nab Wendle in a few of my leagues in preseason drafts as I liked him for his ability to play second, third, and short. Now I’m riding his hot bat for as long as I can as he hit .375 with a ridiculous .750 slugging percentage over the last seven days. Ryan McMahon slipped down to third due to the outstanding play of Whitfield and Wendle. McMahon is still producing for the Rockies with six homers and 11 RBI to go with a hefty .575 slugging percentage.

Also making a move into the Top 5 are Nick Solak of the Rangers and Ty France of the Mariners. I had Solak ranked 13th in my final preseason rankings, so watching him moving up is not too shocking. But I whiffed on France. Not only did I go with Dylan Moore to be the better second baseman for the Mariners, I still didn’t rank France until this week. Consider me sold on France (well, the person. The country still has the problem of being inhibited by French people. Otherwise it is a lovely place to visit). Anyway, over the last two weeks France the player has a nice slash line of .306-.397-.531 to go with three homers and 12 RBI for the year.

PLAY THAT COOL JAZZ

Rank Name Team Previous
6 Jazz Chisholm MIA 21
7 Eduardo Escobar ARI NR
8 Max Muncy LAD 6
9 Jed Lowrie OAK 8
10 Colin Moran PIT NR

Quick, name the player with the highest slugging percentage among second baseman with more than 30 ABs after the end of Friday’s games. If you guessed Jazz Chisholm with his .630 slugging percentage, then you get to a gold star. Go ahead, look it up. I did – three times! Chisholm has been shooting up the rankings this season and could make a case to be in the Top 5 thanks to a slash line of .315-.415-.630. In addition to his four homers he has three doubles, a triple, and four stolen bases.

Eduardo Escobar has muscled his way into the Top 10 – literally. Escobar has 14 runs scored, six homers and 12 RBI, and a .520 slugging percentage. That helps offset the fact he is hitting only .227 with a .306 on-base percentage. As I did with my shortstop rankings, I’m now adding in players who qualify for second base even though it may be in only one fantasy site. So Colin Moran can thank Yahoo for currently being the 10th ranked second baseman. Moran has been solid across the board this season for the Pirates by driving in 15 runs and slugging .514.

HAMPSON CONTINUES TO IMPRESS

Rank Name Team Previous
11 Garrett Hampson COL 15
12 Marcus Semien TOR 5
13 Zach McKinstry LAD 25
14 Mike Moustakas CIN 7
15 Jonathan India CIN 4

Garrett Hampson may finally be the player everyone has hoped he would be. Like many fantasy players, I didn’t trust him at the start of the season (nor did I trust Ryan McMahon and thus had them ranked tied for 25th at the end of spring training). But so far Hampson has played well and moved up to 11th in the rankings. His power numbers aren’t great, but he has scored 15 runs and stolen five runs – so he has produced in the categories that fantasy owners have needed him to perform in.

Marcus Semien drops down to 12 from fifth mostly due to the fact that his batting average and on-base percentage are at .208 and .279 respectively. While not getting on base consistently, Semien has five homes, 10 RBI, and four steals. That is gold in points leagues. Zach McKinstry won’t be ranked 13th for long thanks to an oblique strain that will sideline him for at least two weeks. But for now, let’s not overlook his 14 RBI and .556 slugging percentage.

ARRAEZ BREAKS INTO THE RANKINGS

Rank Name Team Previous
16 Jose Altuve HOU 2
17 Chris Taylor LAD 11
18 Adam Frazier PIT 22
19 Tommy Edman STL 12
20 Luis Arraez MIN NR

In my last rankings, I completely overlooked Luis Arraez. The Twins second baseman hasn’t slugged his way into the rankings, not with only one homer and eight RBI. Instead, he has just been a steady hitter with a .305 average and .400 on-base percentage. Plenty of leagues still use batting average and OBP, and in those leagues, Arraez has been a nice surprise.

Jose Altuve was off to a good start at the plate for the Astros before missing the last week of action due to COVID. Before contracting the virus he had a nice slash line of .318-.380-.455 with 11 runs scored. Expected back in the lineup in the next few days, Altuve could be primed to move back up the rankings. Chris Taylor dropped a bit because while he has nine RBI, he is hitting only .222 for the Dodgers and entered Saturday 1-for-13 over the last seven days.

HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN

Rank Name Team Previous
21 Kiké Hernandez BOS NR
22 Jake Cronenworth SD 13
23 DJ LeMahieu NYY 9
24 Ozzie Albies ATL 10
25-T Brandon Lowe TB 16
25-T Ehire Adrianza ATL NR

The final five in our Top 25 this week houses three players – DJ LeMahieu, Ozzie Albies, and Brandon Lowe – who were not expected to be here at all. Albies and LeMahieu started the season as my top two second baseman while Lowe was ranked fifth. But all three players are off to slow, if not downright horrible, starts. Albies’ slash line is not pretty at .177-.274-.403, though he does have three home runs and nine RBI. Right now, the Baseball Gods are not smiling upon Albies. His strikeout rate is only 16.4% while his walk rate is at a career-high 9.6%. His hard-hit percentage of 38.5% and average exit velocity (AEV) of 89.8 mph are also career highs at this point. So if the fantasy owner of Albies is not paying attention and is shopping him, then make you jump on that and trade for Albies.

Unlike Albies, LeMahieu is not hitting the ball that well at all. Yes, he has a .274 batting average, but he’s slugging only .370 entering Saturday, down from his .429 career slugging percentage. His 18.9% strikeout rate hasn’t been this high since his rookie season and his 89.7 AEV hasn’t been this low since 2017. Perhaps age is catching up to LeMahieu, but I chalk it up to just a slow start, at least for now.

Lowe, however, has been trending in the wrong direction since the end of the last season. He’s hitting a paltry .182 with a .364 slugging percentage. Of course, he’s been known for his power, and he does have three dingers to go with 10 RBI. But looking at last season, nine of his 14 homers and 21 of his 37 RBI came in the month of August. In September and October, Lowe had four homers and 10 RBI, slugged only .458, and struck out 25 times in 72 at-bats. His strikeout rate has not come close to improving this season as it is 29.9% right now, and his AEV of 87.6 is 2.2 mph below last year. Unlike Albies and LeMahieu, I’m not sold on Lowe rebounding and becoming a top 5 second baseman. much less cracking the top 10.

Rounding out the Top 25 this week is Ehire Adrianza of Atlanta. Thanks to Yahoo wanting to seemingly list every player at every position he has ever played, Adrianza can play at all four infield positions plus right field, thus making him eligible to be ranked here. Adrianza makes the list thanks to driving in eight runs in his first 28 at-bats and posting a .643 slugging percentage two doubles, one triple, and two home runs.

DROPPED OUT Team Previous
Ketel Marte ARI 5-T
Gavin Lux LAD 14
Jeff McNeil NYM 17
Donovan Solano SF 18
Cavan Biggio TOR 20
Dylan Moore SEA 23
David Fletcher LAA 24
Chris Owings COL 25-T

Ketel Marte, Gavin Lux, and Chris Owens are out of the Top 25 thanks to injuries that have kept them sidelined for most of the last two weeks. But Jeff McNeil, Cavan Biggio, and Dylan Moore are out of the rankings thanks purely to poor performances at the plate. The trio has combined to hit four homers and drive in 13 runs. So those three players are not even outproducing Eduardo Escobar. McNeil is hitting .174 with one home run and four RBI. Biggio has a slash line of .135-.262-.288 while Moore is at .107-.239-.214. At least he has four steals.

Numbers like those are the reason McNeil, Biggio, and Moore are currently on the outside of the Top 25 rankings. I’m not high on Moore and basically had him ranked in the preseason top 25 due to his speed. But I would still try to get Biggio and McNeil on my team if you don’t already own them, and right now other owners who don’t have patience may be selling low.

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Earl
Earl
1 year ago

What no Kolten Wong anywhere? What is Wong with you??

John Oldrods
John Oldrods
1 year ago

Great read! Would you rather have Muncy or Albies ROS? 10-team H2H cat 5×5. Thanks.

LG Baseball
LG Baseball
1 year ago

Great stuff Jakkers. Wild position at the moment.

Just traded Adell for Jazz in a keeper. You think Jazz is for real and what’s a reasonable expectation going forward for dynasty?

Thanks!
LG

David
David
1 year ago

Similar question, Biggio or France in a dynasty league? Also, Grilchuk or Robles? Thanks

Chucky
Chucky
1 year ago

Has Biggio entered ‘teats on a bull’ territory. Take a look at Odor’s upcoming schedule and matchups. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.