Well, just over one week into the season, who is ready to dump Ozzie Albies and who is ready to trade the farm for Chris Owings? OK, no one with a functioning brain will do any of those two things, but that is the reaction some fantasy owners are feeling at this point of the fantasy season.
If this were the middle of July, a bad week from Albies and a hot week from Owings wouldn’t move the needle much in the fantasy world. But when the season is brand new, who’s who and who’s not leads to excess celebration or hair pulling. These rankings will reward those who produced and punish those who had a bad stretch of play – though there are always exceptions as we have to look forward and not always in the rear view mirror.
With that in mind, you won’t see Albies sitting at the top of the rankings as the best second baseman – but he is still ranked. Six players who weren’t ranked in the final preseason rankings are now listed below, though one of them – Jonathan India – was a player to watch during those final rankings. So let’s stop wasting time and get to the rankings.
WHERE HAS THIS RYAN McMAHON BEEN?
Ryan McMahon as the top second baseman? Really? As I said above, these rankings are going to reward those who produced on the field, and McMahon more than delivered for the Rockies through Friday, slugging five home runs, driving in nine and producing a slash line of .333-.353-.848. Will he continue to have an OPS of 1.201 throughout the season? Absolutely not. However, he has long teased fantasy owners with what he COULD do, but never has. So for one week, let’s recognize the great start he’s had .
Jonathan India, welcome to The Show! What a great start for the Reds’ newest second baseman. Aside from hitting .393, he seemed to collect all his hits at the right time by driving in 11 runs. I guess we now know why the Reds were moving Mike Moustakas back to third base and Eugenio Suarez to shortstop the last week of spring training. I didn’t have Marcus Semien ranked in the final preseason rankings because he was not eligible as a second baseman yet. But now that he is, he quickly vaults into the top five thanks to his three homers and two stolen bases.
Jose Altuve isn’t new to the rankings, just new to the top five as he moves from sixth to second. The new leadoff hitter for the Astros has done what a leadoff hitter is supposed to do for the Astros – get on base at a .405 OBP and 11 score runs. Meanwhile, Whit Merrifield produced a .375-.393-.792 slash line for the Royals en route to being the only top five second baseman to remain ranked in the top five. The only thing he hasn’t done is steal a base yet – the category in which he is supposed to help fantasy owners the most.
Ketel Marte gets honorable mention in the top five because he won’t be there in two weeks after suffering a strained hamstring running to first base and landing in the IL. But before the injury, Marte was red-hot for the Diamondbacks by hitting .462 and posting a 1.346 OPS.
JED LOWRIE STILL PLAYS BASEBALL?
If you didn’t know Jed Lowrie was a baseball player, you are probably a Mets fan. In two seasons with New York, Lowrie ranked up a whopping eight plate appearances in two seasons – all coming in 2019. But Lowrie is now back in Oakland, for the third time, and makes the jump from not ranked into the top 10. With a host of hitters struggling for the Athletics, Lowrie hit .294 with a homer and five RBI to spark the Athletics offense against Houston in taking two of three games. Mike Moustakas made a big move up the charts, scoring nine runs for a scorching Reds offense thanks for reaching base 50 percent of the time thanks in part to drawing seven walks.
IS GARRETT HAMPSON FOR REAL?
My final preseason rankings had Garrett Hampson tied with Ryan McMahon at 25th, with my thinking that at least one of them would get off to a good start and hopefully have the kind of season fantasy owners have been waiting. Well, not only has McMahon started hot, so too has Hampson. He didn’t hit five homers, but he did rack up six RBI while stealing four bases.
One of the worries for many fantasy owners entering the season was how much playing time was Jake Cronenworth going to get after the Padres signed Ha-Seong Kim during the offseason. Thanks to the unfortunate injury to Fernando Tatis Jr., Cronenworth owners aren’t going to have to worry about playing time, and it looks like they won’t have to worry about him producing either after posting a .364-.462-.485 slash line to open the season.
SOLANO, THE SLEEPING GIANT
Donovan Solano should have been on my list of players to watch. He doesn’t do one thing great, but after hitting .330 in 81 games in 2019 and .326 last season in 54 games, he can’t be overlooked anymore. All he has done to start the season is hit .333 for the Giants.
Brandon Lowe, Cavan Biggio, Jeff McNeil and Keston Hiura were in the top 10 rankings ahead of the season. Now, the foursome are now residing outside the top 15 as they combined to hit a paltry .140 with four homers and nine RBIs. I expect all four players to find their groove at the plate and climb the charts. However, if one player does give me pause, it is Lowe. He struggled in September and throughout the postseason last year and struck out in 10 of his first 24 at-bats this season. It is a small sample size, but if pitchers have found a hole in Lowe’s swing, he needs to fix it soon or it could be a long season.
The final two slots are to recognize the play of Zach McKinstry and Chris Owings, two utility players who took advantage of the playing time they got to open the season. McKinstry put of a slash line of .292-.308-.542 for the Dodgers while Owings put up an eye-popping .533-.588-.1.133 slash line as he collected three doubles and three triple in only 15 at-bats.
DROPPED OUT – BUT COULD BE BACK
|Tommy La Stella||SF||17|