Happy Mother’s Day! If you are a mother reading this, I just wanted to wish you a wonderful day and appreciate all you do. I know I wouldn’t who I am without the guidance of my mom. And I know my household would be a disaster without the leadership of my wife and mother of two.
OK, so with the important stuff out of the way, let’s talk some baseball. With the weather heating up, we are finally seeing some players who were ice cold in April starting to find their groove at the plate. That’s right, we are looking at you DJ LeMahieu and Ozzie Albies. Top 5 second basemen entering the season, you left millions of fantasy owners nearly bald as they were pulling out their hair watching you look like Freddie Patak at the plate.
Meanwhile, some players who I was hesitant to rank at the start of the season continue to produce, such as Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson of the Rockies. I’m still waiting for the bubble to burst, but that is because years of expectations for these two have always left me shaking my head wondering why I kept having them on my teams. Guess the secret for them to produce was for me to finally dump them from my teams. So all you McMahon and Hampson owners, you’re welcome. I expect you owners to post kind words about me now.
Enough small talk. Let’s get to the rankings and discuss who’s hot and who’s not.
The top three players can be shuffled between first, second, and third in the rankings, with the current rankings basically reflecting who was hotter the past two weeks. Thus Nick Solak takes over the top spot in the rankings this week. Solak has been a bright spot for the Rangers all season, slashing .289-.364-.484 with seven homers and 16 RBI to go along with 23 runs scored. In the last two weeks, that slash line was .309-.356-.473 entering Saturday’s games with two homers, five RBI, and nine runs scored.
Solak has been improving each year since breaking into the majors in 2019. As a rookie, Solak slashed .293-.393-.491 in 116 at-bats. Looking deeper at his numbers, he had an 88.6 average exit velocity (EV) with a hard-hit percentage of 34.6. Last season his slash numbers didn’t match his rookie season, but his EV increased to 89.5 while his hard-hit percentage rose to 40.1 percent. This season Solak is hitting the ball even harder with an EV of 90.0 and a hard-hit percentage of 42.4. His line drive percentage is at 26.1 percent, compared to 22.8 last season, leading to a BABIP of .353 this year.
Ryan McMahon continues to put up numbers great this season with eight homers, which leads all second basemen, and 21 RBI while slashing .264-.313-.504. Over the past two weeks, he hit only .245, but he drove in 11 runs and scored nine times. Meanwhile, Whit Merrifield has struggled a bit the last two weeks with a slash line of .222-.310-.320. Despite the low batting average, he did drive in eight runs and swipe four bases. And Merrifield’s 21 RBI tie him with McMahon for second among second basemen.
Marcus Semien started the season slowly when it came to his average, but he was hitting with power and stealing bases. Now he is hitting for average as well and has vaulted into the Top 5 with a No. 4 ranking. Over the last two weeks entering Saturday’s games, he had a slash line of .333-.400-.556 with two homers, six RBI, and two steals, upping his season totals to .254-.324-.459 with seven dingers, 16 RBI six steals, and 14 runs scored. Those numbers do not include the three-run homer he hit against Houston Saturday night in the ninth inning to seal an 8-4 win.
While the Los Angeles Dodgers have struggled on the field, one player who hasn’t is Chris Taylor. The versatile player had a fantastic two-week stretch, scoring 13 runs and slashing .333-.434-.533. For the year he now has 25 runs scored, a .400 OBP, and is slugging .485.
If you are in leagues that still use batting average, Eduardo Escobar isn’t leaving a smile on your face with a .233 average, and his .290 OBP isn’t helping you there either. But Escobar is doing damage when he does get a hit, slugging .475 with seven home runs and 18 RBI, ranking second and fifth respectively among second basemen. I know Jazz Chisholm has been hurt, thus not helping any fantasy owner right now, but he is expected to head out on a rehab assignment and hopefully return to action by the weekend. So with his return on the horizon, I left him ranked seventh.
After bragging about Joey Wendle and how hot he was at the plate two weeks ago, he decided to go ice cold the last 14 days, hitting .200 with a .257 slugging percentage. For the season he still has a good slash line of .293-.349-.475 with 16 RBI and 20 runs scored. I still like Wendle and have him on a few of my teams, but after cooling off at the plate it has dropped him into Tier 2, a tier he will more than likely remain, if not drop down a tier. But I don’t expect him to vault into Tier 1 the rest of the way.
Jed Lowrie and Colin Moran maintain the same ranking they had two weeks ago. Lowrie has cooled a little at the plate, but he leads all second basemen in RBI with 22 and still has a nice slash line of .282-.349-.444. Moran, meanwhile, didn’t hit any homers the last two weeks, but he still has 19 RBI this season and a slash line of .300-.355-.473. Considering the poor output of a host of second basemen this season, if you don’t have one of the top 10 second basemen then take advantage of the fact Moran is eligible at second base in Yahoo.
After nearly dropping out of the rankings, DJ LeMahieu and Ozzie Albies are finally heating up. LeMahieu slashed .300-.407-440, looking more like the player everyone expected him to be entering the season. He also scored 13 runs and slugged two homers, moving his season numbers to .283-.372-.400 with three homers, nine RBI, and 21 runs scored.
Albies finally found his stroke at the plate as well, putting up a .298-.365-.532 slash line with two homers and five RBI. For the season he now has five homers and 14 RBI with a slugging percentage of .459. Meanwhile, Josh Harrison vaulted from the unranked to 12th. For the season he is hitting .325 with a .416 OBP and a .494 slugging percentage with 12 RBI, seven of which came in the last two weeks.
Josh Harrison sneaks into the Tier 3 rankings after getting on base at a .377 clip and slugging .457 and driving in seven runs. For the year the veteran is hitting .325 with a .416 OBP and .494 slugging percentage.
Max Muncy is emblematic of the Dodgers’ hitting woes recently, excluding Saturday night’s 14-run outburst. Entering Saturday’s game against the Angeles, Muncy was hitting .212-.409-414 for the year with five homers and 14 RBI. The last two weeks have been even worse for him as he posted a slash line of .111-.396-306. While Muncy has struggled at the plate, Josh Rojas and Asdrubal Cabrera have red hot in the Arizona desert.
Rojas moves into the rankings at 18th thanks to an eye-popping .389-.405-.806 slash line the past two weeks. He scored nine runs, hit five homers, and drove in eight to give him 15, 5, and 11 for the season and a slash line of .263-.344-.500. Is Rojas going to continue to put up numbers like he has the past two weeks? Of course not. But can he continue to be a top 20 second baseman? I think so. He hit in the minors in the Astros system before heading to Arizona in the Zack Greinke trade. In 2019 with three teams at the AA and AAA level, Rojas hit 23 homers, drove in 83 runs, and stole 33 bases while posting a slash line of .332-.418-.606. I waited too late to snag him off the waiver wire in my leagues. But if he is still available in your league, then snatch him up.
Diamondbacks teammate Asdrubal Cabrera had a solid two weeks in which he slashed .324-.425-.441. For the year, he is now at .255-.377-.394 with two homers and 12 RBI. With the Tier 5 players being a little inconsistent, I jumped Cabrera over those players and into the Top 20. Not sure how long he will stay here, but if you need an injury replacement or you are streaming your middle infielder, Cabrera is a good add right now.
Ty France took a tumble this week. I was riding high with him two weeks ago, but since then he has struggled to make solid contact, hitting .170 with a paltry .255 slugging percentage while driving in only one runner. He should turn that around, but his overall numbers are now pretty pedestrian and his No. 5 ranking two weeks ago was a reflection of his hot streak, not where he will end up the season. His current rank is more in line with what I expect from him this season with a shot to move into the fourth tier but probably not much higher than that.
Meanwhile, I continue to hold out hope for Brandon Lowe, even though I probably shouldn’t. I have detailed the struggles he went through over the last half of the 2020 season during the preseason and touched on him two weeks ago. I guess the only thing keeping him in the rankings is the fact he is still hitting for power. For the season, he has five homers and 14 RBI, hitting three the past two weeks with six RBI. But that is about all he is doing at the plate. Owners can at least be thankful for those numbers because his slash line this season is .186-.287-.354.
Zach McKinstry has been sidelined too long to keep him in the rankings and Kike Hernandez being on the IL after entering the rankings two weeks ago has led me to drop him from the top 25. But two players making an exit are no longer ranked not due to injury but plain lack of production. Mike Moustakas and Jonathan India of the Reds have not had a good two weeks.
Moustakas put up a slash line of .129-.176-.258 and is now at .221-.313-.426 this season with three homers and nine RBI. The Reds don’t rely on him to hit for average, but they are counting on him to slug homers and drive in runs, something he just isn’t doing right now. Meanwhile, India is showing signs of being a rookie. After exploding onto the scene, India has hit rock bottom, slashing .077-.25-.077 the last two weeks with no runs scored, no homers, and no RBI. After driving in 14 runners in his first 18 games, India hasn’t collected an RBI since April 23.