In just a few short days, the screams of “play ball” will be yelled on baseball fields across Major League Baseball  – finally. The darkness of winter is finally giving way to the warmth of the sun and the sounds of baseball. Even better, the cheers of fans will once again be heard in baseball stadiums in anticipation of the first pitch.

The start of the season also means the endless hours spent pouring over statistics and coming up with intricate formulas to create the perfect ranking list for players at each position is coming to an end. Instead, we can all rank a player based on his actual current performance. That gut hunch you had about Gavin Lux will either be proven right, making you look smart for taking him a three rounds ahead of the his ADP,  or  leave you looking foolish for reaching on an unproven player.

These rankings first appeared more than a month ago, at a time when drafts had yet to happen or were just starting. The rankings weighed several factors – position eligibility, re-draft league value, dynasty league value and just the good ol’ gut hunch factor. With the season nearly here, the top 25 second baseman rankings have some players in new slots and some new players being ranked altogether.

The biggest difference is the absence of three players from my original rankings – Gleyber Torres (9th),  Lourdes Gurriel (10th) and Ian Happ (15th). The reason for this is aside from Yahoo leagues, those three players aren’t eligible to play second base in ESPN or Fantrax leagues. If your in a Yahoo league, I would happily snatch those players up and slot them at second base. Otherwise grab Torres as your starting shortstop or Gurriel and Happ as one of your starting outfielders.

Some movement in these rankings is also due to looking at players less through a dynasty value and more at what they can do for me today. At this point, looking three years down the line is not as important as who is going to help me Opening Day and next week in daily lineup leagues. So, lets get on with the rankings.

TIER ONE

Rank Name Team Prev. Rank
1 Ozzie Albies ATL 1
2 DJ LeMahieu NYY 3
3 Whit Merrifield KC 4
4 Keston Hiura MIL 5
5 Brandon Lowe TB 8

Moving into the Top 5 is Brandon Lowe with Cavan Biggio dropping down to the next tier. Maybe his lack of postseason success clouded my judgment on ranking him higher originally, or it could have been the fact that most of damage last season came in August. However, if he matches last season’s output this year, that puts him into 30 homer, 100 RBI territory – huge numbers at a position that is not deep in those departments.

TIER TWO

Rank Name Team Prev. Rank
6 Jose Altuve HOU 6
7 Ketel Marte ARI 7
8 Cavan Biggio TOR 2
9 Jeff McNeil NYM 11
10 Max Muncy LAD 12

As mentioned above, Cavan Biggio dropped from being ranked second among second baseman to now ranking 8th. I still love Biggio as he plays multiple positions, hits with power and can steal bases for you. But much of his ranking was based on his dynasty value and the numbers he will put up over the next three to five years.  Biggio has some holes in his game with his low batting average and strikeout percentage, but his power-speed potential still keeps him ranked in the top 10.

With Lourdes Gurriel and Gleyber Torres being removed from these rankings, Jeff McNeil and Max Muncy move into the top 10. I’ve gone back and forth on Muncy vs. Nick Madrigal – the power and RBIs vs. the average and stolen bases. After looking more into the two players and the lack of power overall at second base, I’ve changed my mind and give the edge to Muncy being ranked higher – though the two are still close in the rankings together. And in two weeks, I may flip the two again!

TIER THREE

Rank Name Team Prev. Rank
11 Nick Madrigal CWS 11
12 Tommy Edman STL 13
13 Nick Solak TEX 19
14 Chris Taylor LAD 16
15 Mike Moustakas CIN 18

My tier three group has three new faces. Chris Taylor’s age was one reason why I ranked him lower initially as my bias is for younger players. But Taylor is a fantasy owner’s dream player in that he plays multiple positions in the infield and outfield, giving you great versatility. More importantly, he can hit as he has slugged .444 or higher in each of the last four seasons.

Texas’ Nick Solak makes the biggest jump in this week’s rankings. Like Taylor, Solak can play multiple positions. Though his power numbers dropped last year, his stolen bases increased. And while everyone should take spring training numbers with a grain of salt, Solak has clubbed four home runs and driven in nine, giving a possible view of what he may do this season for the Rangers. Mike Moustakas does one thing very well, and that is hit home runs. He’s topped 20 dingers five times in his career and was on pace to sock 22 last year. Playing in a hitters park, Moustakas should once again top 20 homers and probably surpass 25 this season.

TIER FOUR

Rank Name Team Prev. Rank
16 Jake Cronenworth SD 17
17 Tommy La Stella SF 20
18 David Fletcher LAA 21
19 Andres Gimenez Cle 22
20 Gavin Lux LAD 23
21 Kolten Wong MIL T-25
22 Dylan Moore SEA T-25
23 Jazz Chisholm MIA NR
24 Adam Frazier PIT NR
25 Ryan McMahon COL 24
T-25 Garrett Hampson COL NR

In 12-team leagues, this group will either be a middle infielder for many teams or provided depth. But there are three players who I think can move into Tier Three quickly if given the playing time. Gimenez should be the starting shortstop for the Indians, which may hamper his eligibility at second base in the future but increase his value this year, as more starts equals more steals. The drawback for Lux is will he even get enough playing time to be of value this year. If he can claim the starting job with the Dodgers, 20 homers and 10-plus steals is easily within reach.

Jazz Chisholm had a lousy debut with the Marlins last year, hitting .161 in 56 at-bats. However, thanks to a strong spring in which he has hit three homers and swiped four bags, he should be the starting second baseman on Opening Day. His ability to hit with some power to go along with his speed makes him a player who can jump into the Top 15.

OTHERS TO WATCH

Every rankings list has to end somewhere, and this one ends at 25 players (OK, 26 because I can’t figure out who will start at the second base for the Rockies and neither can the team itself). But there are a few players who should be watched. Kiké Hernandez doesn’t hit for a high average, but he can hit for power and has had a strong spring. With Andres Gimenez the likely starter at shortstop and the Indians giving Ahmed Rosario some looks in the outfield, Cesar Hernandez could (should?) be the starting second baseman for the Indians. His stolen bases have dropped from 19 to nine to zero the last three seasons, but you can pretty much expect 15 homers, 70 RBI and a .275 batting average him.

David Bote has won the starting spot at second for the Cubs as Nico Hoerner has been sent to Triple-A. I still like Hoerner more, especially for his future value. However, for now, the Cubs are going with Bote, who slugged seven home runs in 125 at-bats last year and has torn the cover off the ball in the Cactus League, slugging 1.036 this spring. In deep mixed-leagues, Bote is certainly a player to watch – at least until the Cubs decide Hoerner is ready to return to Chicago.

The Reds are tinkering with moving Mike Moustakas to third base, which is his natural position, and Eugenio Suarez to shortstop. Why? Because they may be making room for Jonathan India at second base. India is one of the club’s top prospects and has had a solid spring, posting a slash line of .333-.462-.595. Should he take over the second base job at some point, he is certainly worth watching.

 

 
  1. Kevin Knowles says:
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    Where would you put France and polanco once he has eligibility

    • Jakkers

      Jakkers says:
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      France is kind of like Dylan Moore to me – was last year a hot streak (if it was a normal 162-game season) or did he figure something out when he got to Seattle. Over 162 games, he averages 16 homers and 68 RBI with a .265 batting average and .326 OBP with no steals. He’s banging the ball this spring, so really someone to put on the “others to watch” list but not in the top 25 yet.

      I think Polanco took advantage of the live ball in 2019 as his career averages don’t match what he did that season. I think in really deep leagues he could be a contributor – especially at a position that just doesn’t have a lot of depth. But because he has shown the abiltiy to drive in runs, I think he is 25th or so as he is more proven than any of the Rockies.

  2. Norman Ginsberg says:
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    No mention of Ty France? Gotta be close.

    • Matt McClure says:
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      I’m 100% with you. I’m ranking Ty France around 12-14 with the upside to finish in the top 8. He also has 2B/3B eligibility in Yahoo.

      The other thing that caught my eye was Ryan McMahon all the way down at #25. I get it, I’m not exactly a huge fan of McMahon either but it still feels close to 10 slots too low. Any player projected to bat 2nd in Colorado deserves attention. He had 24 HR and 83 RBI the year before COVID and it’s not like he was pathetic last year either.

      Conversely, why is Hampson still being mentioned at all (not that this particular article is heaping praises on him). Even with Rogers out for the season and Arenado gone, he still isn’t going to start. The only reason I can think of is that a few years back there was buzz simply because it appeared he was on track to become a regular starter. That didn’t really happen (unless you consider 299 AB a starter) and more importantly he still sucks at baseball. My real hot-button is Nick Madrigal, a nice fielder with great plate discipline… and no power or translatable speed. My comp is Fletcher… no thanks.

  3. Norman Ginsberg says:
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    As an infield bench bat, Ty France or Jonathan India?

    • Jakkers

      Jakkers says:
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      Is this for a dynasty league, or a redraft league? If dynasty, I’d go with India. He was drafted fifth overall in 2018 by the Reds, and with the team playing at Suarez at shortstop and Moustakes at third base this last week of spring, it appears they are set to give India the chance to nail down the job. With his upside, he is the clear choice in dynasty leagues.

      In a redraft league, it is a bit closer. The Reds could send India down for a while to manipulate his service time while the Mariners won’t be doing that with France, who will either be at second or be the designated hitter. But I still lean toward India. My bias is to always go with the go with the most upside, and I think that player is India.

  4. Lucky Dog says:
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    Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doesn’t qualify as a top 25 2B? I had him with Lowe, since he’s got power + better Ave.

    Perplexing. Is he ranked as OF only?

    • Kruk_Ain't_An_Athlete says:
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      Lourdes Gurriel Jr. played 24 games at 2B and 46 games at SS in 2018.

      In 2019, he played 63 games in the outfield, nine at 2B, and three at 1B.

      Last year, he didn’t play any games at 2B (53 at OF, 3 at DH, and 1 at 1B) so I don’t think he fits into their future plans, either, after the Semien free agent signing in January.

      • Lucky Dog says:
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        He qualifies in Yahoo, that’s all I care about this year.
        ;)

        • Jakkers

          Jakkers says:
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          As I mentioned in the article above, I took Gurriel, Torres and Happ out of the rankings because they are only 2B in Yahoo leagues, but if you play in a Yahoo league, grab them if you can.

          • Lucky Dog says:
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            Ah, sorry, somehow I missed that blurb – was reading on my tiny phone. I took him in the 10th in a 10-team Yahoo league last night & was pretty pleased. If you were to rank him with those above, where would you slot him into the “top 26”?

            • Lucky Dog says:
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              Disregard – I now see you said 10th. Thanks again for the article!

              • Jakkers

                Jakkers says:
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                Thanks for reading. Good luck this season.

  5. Vash says:
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    This too me is Ryan McMahon’s last year to prove he can play. Same with Hampson. He has the playing time and sometimes guys are just frustrating to own.

    McMahon just seems like he should put up bigger power numbers especially in colorado. I own shares in both in my keeper and yeah…

    • Jakkers

      Jakkers says:
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      Both have done nothing but disappoint for years. But it’s too hard to just write them off – as you well know. Maybe Brendan Rodgers can stop getting hurt and take over the position, but I’m not counting on that happening soon.

  6. CTFDU says:
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    Where will you rank Gurriel if eligible?

    • Jakkers

      Jakkers says:
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      I ranked him 10th before removing him. Torres I ranked 9th and Happ 15th as he is more unproven at this point.

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