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
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
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
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
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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.