Have you ever returned home from a trip to the grocery store, look at what you bought and then wonder if you forgot something? You haven’t? Well, then you either have a personal shopper or you are still living at home with the parents. But for us old timers, it happens more than we like to admit. Doesn’t matter if we have our list and checked it twice, there is always something that we forget after hearing some nagging voice from the other room asking if you got the toothpaste or enough food to cook well balanced meals for the week. Hey, I remembered to add extra cookies and ice cream, what more do you need?

Anyway, that is kind of how it feels when revisiting the Top 25 Second Baseman for 2021 Fantasy. Everything that was on the shopping list was piled up in the cart, especially the protein, vegetables and fruits. Knowing I had enough food to prepare some good meals, I paid for everything, got home and then heard that voice from the other room, “are you sure you remembered everything?” Hmmm, did I get enough dairy and grains? Do I like the dairy and grains that I got? Do we really need dairy and grains?

I guess we do need dairy and grains, and certain players are like dairy and grains – you need them, but you aren’t really sure how much you need them. Well, after doing the initial second basemen rankings, that voice from the other room asked “Dylan Moore doesn’t make your top 25? Speed is real but hitting a fluke last year?” Crud, did I overlook that block of cheddar cheese at the store? In short, yes. I’m still not sold on Moore. But he is deserving of a spot in the Top 25. So let’s examine Moore a bit further.

First, Moore is 28, making his debut with the Mariners at the age of 26. That is ancient if you are a rookie and likely means you are not expected to be a great player. And if you prefer dynasty leagues over redraft leagues, you don’t rank 28-year-olds highly unless they are established players. Second, last season he struck out in 27 percent of his plate appearances. I guess the good news is that is down from a 32.6% strikeout rate in 2019. While his whiff rate fell, his walk rate remained the same at 8.9%. Third, and really taking a deeper look, Moore’s slash line in five minor league seasons was .259-.349-.419. It’s kind of easy to see why he didn’t make it to The Show until he was 26. In short, he’s not a great hitter.

But he does do some things well. One one of those is steal bases.  In 151 career games, covering 441 career plate appearances, he has 23 steals. Those steals are nice, but he has also been caught 14 times. If you’re in a league that penalizes players caught stealing, that hurts his value. The other thing he does well is collect extra base hits. Of his 86 career hits, 42 have gone for extra bases and 17 of those are homers. His extra base percentage is an amazing 48.8%!

When it comes to Moore, will he make enough contact to consistently take advantage of his power and speed? Will he get enough at-bats to make it matter? Those are big questions. So Moore is worth bringing of being ranked, and right now he is sitting at 25th with Kolton Wong. In shallow leagues he provides depth. In deep league, he may get starts for you and help you win every now and then.

And now for the a look at the rest of the bi-monthly rankings.

Tier 1 – The Protein

Rank Name Team Age
1 Ozzie Albies ATL 24
2 Cavan Biggio TOR 25
3 DJ LeMahieu NYY 32
4 Whit Merrifield KC 31
5 Keston Hiura MIL 24

My trip to the store was really successful here. Every good meal needs some meat, and the top five are Grade A steaks. If you are in a dynasty league, Ozzie Albies and Cavan Biggio are filet minion. With Keston Hiura moving to first base, it may mean he doesn’t get enough time at second to maintain position eligibility there in the future. But if he hits 30 bombs and drives in 90 runs, who cares – you now have a top first baseman! Whit Merrifield and DJ LeMahieu may be getting close to their expiration dates if you are a dynasty player. But if re-draft leagues, be happy to have them on your team.

Tier 2 – The Vegetables

Rank Name Team Age
6 Jose Altuve HOU 30
7 Ketel Marte ARI 27
8 Brandon Lowe TB 26
9 Gleyber Torres NYY 24
10 Lourdes Gurriel Tor 27

This tier remains unchanged as well, because you always need a solid serving of vegetables. I covered Jose Altuve, Ketel Marte, Gleyber Torres and Lourdes Gurriel previously. Brandon Lowe is an interesting player to watch. Do we look at 2020 as an outlier? Appearing in 58 games, Lowe smashed 17 homers and drove in 51 while slugging .514. Over 162 games, that is 46 homers and 138 RBI. I don’t see him matching those totals, but his home run percentage has gone from 4.1 to 5.2 to 6.3 percent the last three years. Entering the prime of his career, I’m betting he continues to be a big run producer.

Tier 3 – The Fruit

Rank Name Team Age
11 Jeff McNeil NYM 28
12 Nick Madrigal CWS 24
13 Max Muncy LAD 30
14 Tommy Edman STL 25
15 Ian Happ CHI 26

A good piece of fruit is always a nice treat. But there are so many choices out there, each offering a different flavor. Nick Madrigal being ranked 12th ahead of Max Muncy drew the ire of some, as Madrigal won’t help you with homers and RBI but he has value with his speed and ability to hit for average and getting on base. Jeff McNeil is a stronger Madrigal as he is a career .319 hitter with a career OBP of .383 while also being able to reach double digits in homers. But I don’t think he matches his 23 dingers from 2019. That season he slugged .531 compared to .471 in 2018 and .454 in 2020. His home run percentage those two years was 1.2% and 1.9%. In 2019, it was 4.1%. High average, some power – a stronger Madrigal without the speed.

Tier 4 – The Dairy and Grain

Rank Name Team Age
16 Chris Taylor LAD 30
17 Jake Cronenworth SD 27
18 Mike Moustakas CIN 32
19 Nick Solak TEX 26
20 Tommy La Stella SF 32
21 David Fletcher LAA 26
22 Andres Gimenez CLE 22
23 Gavin Lux LAD 23
24 Ryan McMahon COL 26
T-25 Kolten Wong MIL 30
T-25 Dylan Moore SEA 28

Now we have to round out the meal, and finding the right type of grain or dairy isn’t an easy task. What if you are lactose intolerant? What if you need a gluten free diet? Who in this tier is dairy and who is gluten? This tier is for those who want a nice French loaf or a refreshing glass of milk because you want to be a kid again.

I added Dylan Moore to this tier, and a host of other players could be listed here as well. Two players to watch are Garrett Hampson and Jon Berti. Hampson has been around and we probably know what we are going to get from him – 10-13 homers and 15 to 20 steals. If Berti can get a full season of at-bats, he can swipe 30 bags and hit enough home runs to make you happy. If you are in a dynasty league, maybe now is the time to take a flyer on Gavin Lux if he is available. Yes, the re-signing of Justin Turner probably hurts Lux, especially for this season, but it wasn’t too long ago that he was one of the top prospects in baseball. I’m still bullish on him.

Let me know what you think. These ranking will come out every two weeks, so lots of time to digest and discuss.

  1. gino napoli says:

    What about Starlin Castro? I get that he didn’t make the cut for the top 25, but at least an Honorable mention for a dude who will likely bat 5th (according to Roster Resource) in a strong Washington lineup.

    Frankly I’m worried about the Milwaukee lineup. If Hiura and Cain continue their downward trend, what else do they have outside of Yelich. Omar Narvaez? Avisail Garcia? Travis Shaw?

    Kolten is a descent average guy, but not even a .290 hitter. His hard% has only been over 30% (34) once in 8 years … and that was the infamous 2019. He does have good contact skills and plate discipline. He might steal a few more than 20 bags, but Milwaukee was 29 out of 30 in stolen bases last year, so it makes you wonder if that was by design, and if so, that would limit the SB upside. He might hit 10 to 12 home runs, but if what has been whispering about the “damping” of the baseball by MLB is true, Wong might not crack double digit home runs.

    To me I see Castro with more upside, even if is not likely to steal more than 4 bases, because I see Washington as a stronger lineup.

    • Jakkers

      Jakkers says:

      Gino, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. You have some good points on Castro, and this is the beauty about rankings – everyone has something different they look for and thus weigh more heavily. Personally, because more leagues take into account on-base percentage, Wong is going to help you more than Castro in the area.

      Steals are also a stat that is getting harder and harder to find. So I like Wong more than Castro in that area. I don’t think the Brewers ran much last year because Yelich never got on base and Cain didn’t play.

      But if you are looking more at the power stats, then yes, Castro should provide more help there as he should hit more homers and slug better than Wong. At least that is what Castro’s career numbers show compared to Wong.

      But we are quibbling about a player ranked 25th. If you are like me and play in deep dynasty leagues, finding the right player out those ranked 24th, 24th or just missed the cutoff is extremely valuable. For those playing in 12-team leagues, Wong or Castro likely never make a team except as DL replacements.

  2. Robert Stack says:

    Jeff McNeal is better

    • Jakkers

      Jakkers says:

      Than who? Me? Yes he is. Better than those I rank in the Top 10 at this moment? No, I will stick with how I currently rank those players. I question McNeil’s 2019 season right now. What he did in 2020 is a lot more in line with what he did in 2018.

      I may be proven wrong as the season unfolds, and if so, my rankings will reflect that.

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Big Perm says:

    Polanco is primarily a 2B this year. Where does he rank here?

    • Jakkers

      Jakkers says:

      In mixed leagues, as of now I would only rank him as a Tier 4 player. It looks like 2019 was an outlier season as his2020 season was more in line with his career numbers. Second base is not as deep as the shortstop position, but I still don’t think he is a top 15 second baseman.

  4. 183414 says:

    Altuve over Lowe. You must be joking.

    • Jakkers

      Jakkers says:

      Altuve’s had one bad half season while Lowe had one outstanding half season. But let’s look at the Steamer projections for a quick simple comparison. Altuve’s line is 96 runs, 22 homers and 80 RBI with 10 steals and a slash line of .275-.340-.353. Lowe is 75-26-78-6 and .243-.323-.453. Outside of home runs and a tie in slugging, Altuve is better across the board.

      Looking at the Player Rater and you will see Altuve ranked fourth (two spots higher than where I currently rank him) and Lowe 12th, which I obviously think is a little low considering I have Lowe ranked 8th. Taking an even deeper dive into last season, Lowe was a monster in August, hitting 9 homers with 21 RBI while slugging .632. Then came September, when those numbers dropped to 4-9-.465.

      I don’t dislike Lowe, but right now I’m still giving the edge to Altuve based on his career and not one poor half season.

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    • foxman says:

      Didn’t you get the memo?
      It’s all ball bearings nowadays.
      Irwin M Fletcher

      • Jakkers

        Jakkers says:

        You can never go wrong with a Fletch reference!

        • foxman says:

          Is the draft order set for tomorrow’s RCL draft?

          • Jakkers

            Jakkers says:

            It shows you drafting third. I snagged the top pick and now doing mental gymnastics on which dude to take. Looking forward to tomorrow night.

            • Foxman says:

              Champagne problems
              We could be worried about getting prices for a Fluke DSX8000 Cable Analyzer in a fantasy baseball chat room! See you in the draft tomorrow

              • Jakkers

                Jakkers says:

                See you there.

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