Welcome to my inaugural post for the top 50 Middle Infielder rankings for the rest of the 2020 fantasy baseball season.  Throughout the year, I will be updating my rankings and calling out those movers and shakers.  For those of you here looking to gather some insights, welcome.  For those of you looking to steal my rankings and use them against me, I am not afraid!

Let’s take a quick look at the landscape up the middle of the diamond.  Middle infield is deep this year, more specifically shortstop is stacked.  This isn’t Jason Bartlett’s shortstop class of 10 years ago.  The top four all have an argument for being first round picks.  After that, there are all-stars abound with blemishes (Can Altuve hit without a buzzer?  How often will Gleyber play against Baltimore?  Will Tatis regress or grow?).  Once we get past the top 20-25, there is a steep cliff that will leave you wishing you had invested earlier.

Now let’s get into a few key guys standing out from the pack in the rankings.

 

3 Up!

Ketel Marte – Marte as the 5th overall middle infielder, are you crazy?  Well yes I am, but that has nothing to do with this ranking.  Let’s’ do a blind comparison:

Player A: 96/38/90/5/.278

Player B: 89/29/86/11/.281

Player C: 97/32/92/10/.329

They are all close in their 2019 stat lines, but Gleyber Torres (A) and Javier Baez (B) are going nearly two rounds before Marte (C).  At the same time, Marte showed substantial growth in 2019 with an increase in his Hard%, FB% and Barrel%.  This is a 25+ HR, 10+ SB and .300 Avg floor in 2020 with multi-position eligibility.

Marcus Semien – There has always been potential, but last year Semien really broke out.  Let’s list out the career best marks in roto: HR, R, RBI and Avg.  So, the question is what do the underlying metrics look like?  We have the highest Hard% of his career while showing much improved plate discipline.  Up until last year, his best K% was 18.6% but he bested that by nearly five points (13.7%).  All while improving his BB% (11.6%), dropping his chase% by four points and nearly doubling his barrels!  I do expect some light regression, but for a 7th round ADP he is a buy all day.

Tommy Edman – All Tommy Edman has ever done is hit the baseball well and run fast.  Across AAA/MLB last year he put up a 98/18/65/24/.304 line.  Edman had a power surge last year that he had not displayed in prior seasons.   I expect some regression in the power, but he consistently hits the ball hard and increased the rate at which he hit the ball in the air pointing to some true underlying improvements.  The reason we buy guys like Edman is his ability to be a plus contributor in a scarce category or two (SB & Avg) while being respectable across the rest of his line.  Edman’s only real question is playing time where I fully expect him to play everyday and all over the diamond.

 

3 Down!

Gleyber Torres – Torres was two different players last year.  When he was facing Baltimore he hit .394/.467/1.045, but merely .263/.318/.465 against the rest of the league.  I know he hits in a great lineup and has room for development at his young age.  However, he is essentially a three-category contributor with some extra Yankee glow.  Similar production without the price can be found much later with guys like Max Muncy or Mike Moustakas.

Manny Machado – Machado had been consistently on the field over the past five seasons averaging over 150 games which is an exceedingly valuable trait.  Unfortunately, on August 8th Manny was hit by a pitch and only hit 16/6/16/.212/2 over his last 46 games of the season.  Pair a lingering injury concern with a rising K% and the lowest contact rate since his rookie year, we have some red flags.  Let somebody else chase the rebound.

Brandon Lowe – I have seen some love for Lowe as a sleeper coming into this spring, but I just don’t understand it.  Lowe would have led the league with a 34.6 K% and had the 4th highest BABIP if he had enough at bats to qualify.  While the power may be real, I am not signing up for the xBA of .244 and his regression risk.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lowe in the minors after a few months.  I never want to bet against the Rays and their player development, but I am steering clear this time around.

 

3 To Watch! 

These guys are outside the Top 50 but deserve a long look as we move into the spring.

Carter Kieboom – A disappointing 43 plate appearances during 2019 has many overlooking Kieboom going into the spring.  If he can win the job, he will shoot up the list.  He is a .280 hitter with 20-25 HR power at his peak, but it may take time for him to round into form.

Scooter Gennett – How about a line of 83/25/95/.303/4?  Scooter averaged that line from 2017-2018, which is basically Jeff McNeil during 2019.  How Gennett is still unemployed after a lost season due to a groin injury is confounding.  Depending on where he lands, he is an intriguing bounce back candidate for basically nothing at draft.

Brendan Rodgers – There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about Rodgers as injury and position concerns are enough to leave him on the waiver wire.  However, this is a top 3 pick from the 2015 draft getting to play half his games in Coors.  That is enough to keep him on radars going into the spring, but we all know that Rockies aren’t friendly to prospects.  Let’s take a wait and see approach.

 

Rank Name Position Team Change
1 Francisco Lindor SS CLE
2 Trevor Story SS COL
3 Trea Turner SS WSH
4 Alex Bregman 3B, SS HOU
5 Ketel Marte 2B, SS, OF ARI
6 Jose Altuve 2B HOU
7 Fernando Tatis Jr. SS SD
8 Xander Bogaerts SS BOS
9 Ozzie Albies 2B ATL
10 Gleyber Torres 2B, SS NYY
11 Javier Baez SS CHC
12 Keston Hiura 2B MIL
13 Whit Merrifield 2B, OF KC
14 Adalberto Mondesi SS KC
15 Marcus Semien SS OAK
16 Jonathan Villar 2B, SS MIA
17 DJ LeMahieu 1B, 2B, 3B NYY
18 Bo Bichette SS TOR
19 Carlos Correa SS HOU
20 Manny Machado 3B, SS SD
21 Jeff McNeil 2B, 3B, OF NYM
22 Max Muncy 1B, 2B, 3B LAD
23 Cavan Biggio 2B, OF TOR
24 Eduardo Escobar 2B, 3B ARI
25 Tim Anderson SS CWS
26 Mike Moustakas 2B, 3B CIN
27 Corey Seager SS LAD
28 Tommy Edman 2B, 3B, OF STL
29 Elvis Andrus SS TEX
30 Jorge Polanco SS MIN
31 Gavin Lux 2B LAD
32 Jean Segura SS PHI
33 Paul DeJong SS STL
34 Amed Rosario SS NYM
35 Didi Gregorius SS PHI
36 Danny Santana 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF TEX
37 Lourdes Gurriel Jr. 2B, OF TOR
38 Nick Solak 2B, 3B TEX
39 Ryan McMahon 1B, 2B, 3B COL
40 Scott Kingery 2B, 3B, SS, OF PHI
41 Dansby Swanson SS ATL
42 Garrett Hampson 2B, SS, OF COL
43 Kolten Wong 2B STL
44 Brandon Lowe 1B, 2B TB
45 Michael Chavis 1B, 2B BOS
46 Kevin Newman 2B, SS PIT
47 Dee Gordon 2B SEA
48 Jon Berti 3B, SS, OF MIA
49 Cesar Hernandez 2B CLE
50 Luis Arraez 2B, 3B, OF MIN

 

 
  1. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Great stuff, man! Happy to have you on the team!

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      Glad to be here! Thanks for letting me contribute to the Razzball movement!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Long live, JB!

  2. Pat

    Pat says:
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    Good read Jeremy. Welcome to the team.

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      Thanks for having me Pat.

  3. thatguy says:
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    Adalberto at 14?????????????? Nuts

    • 183414 says:
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      Hope this new guy drafts in my leagues.

      • Jeremy Brewer

        Jeremy Brewer says:
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        When do we draft!? Did I miss the invite?

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      His ADP this spring has been in the 10-12 range for Middle Infielders. That being said, I have always been a low guy on Mondesi. I see a guy who is average in 4 categories but elite in streals. I tend towards guys that contribute across the board producing a higher floor.

      That being said, I sure hope he blows away projections and steals 60+ bases. He will be fun to watch prove me wrong!

    • Bandwgn09 says:
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      Tim Anderson underrated. He goes 20/20 like Kris Davis hits .247.

      • Jeremy Brewer

        Jeremy Brewer says:
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        You are not wrong here with Anderson love! Anderson has been very reliable the last 3 years in the power and speed categories. You have to think he gets a little boost from the improved lineup as well. He did overachieve last year in the batting average category, but I think I would take the over on the projection systems tossing him in the .275-.280 range.

        Shortstop is incredibly deep to have a guy like Anderson as a low end SS or high end MI.

  4. Me says:
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    Escobar over Moose? Surprised

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      Those guys were really packed close for me and I project a little more BA upside with Escobar. I would not argue with flipping them around as the profiles are very similar in value.

      Thanks for the read and making me look at those two again.

  5. Chris says:
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    Fangraphs just put out an article pooping on Edman and his playing time. Poop I said.

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      So let’s be frank here, everything FG says on Edman is true. On the contrary, each time I hear Shildt gushing over Edman and a full year of contributions pushing the cardinals, I start to believe. In a league with daily lineups Inam not concerned, but I can be convinced to knock him down a few pegs in weekly contests.

  6. 183414 says:
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    Yikes. Tatis 7th; Mondesi 14th; Segura over Amed; Polanco over Gurriel and Kingery ?
    Good luck with your new gig Jeremy.

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      I almost highlighted Tatis knowing he has a strong case for top 5. He owns the highest HR/FB and BABIP On my list. I think skill growth will cover up much of the regression as he is still so young.

  7. Whatever says:
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    I understand the negativity on Machado but 20th? And mondesi at 14? Okie dokie

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      I will be playing close attention to Machado this spring. If he is showing healthy, don’t be surprised to see him moving up the ranks. 15-20 are all going to be tight and an argument can be made for any. Actually, the more I look at Correa At 19, I wonder how much penalty I will be placing on Houston players at the draft table.

      Glad you stopped in and look forward to the debate this season.

  8. Jolt In Flow says:
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    Great format, JB. There’s something about having things in a neat and tidy format; birthday cake, sand castles, Lego.

    Just one problem; I feel I wanted more. More I tell you!

    Much appreciated. Keep the stories rolling.

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      Thanks Jolt! More will come…Glad you appreciate the clean lines and format.

  9. Eric says:
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    Dude’s just jealous I’ve got a couple of cheap Gleybers in our leagues. Nah kidding, he knows his stuff. Great work Brew!

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      Thanks Eric! There is a price for almost any player to be a value.

  10. wild says:
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    I need to keep 5. Bichette, Mondesi, Puig, O. Mercado, Tatis, Aquino, J. Polanco, Lux, Biggio, Trea T, Encarnacion, Bieber, Berrios, Morton, Sale, Soroka,

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      That is quite the group to pick from, kudos!

      A few are clear keeps: Tatis, Trea, Bieber

      The next tier all have questions: Sale (Injury), Morton (Will he retire after current deal), Mondesi (high ceiling, low floor)

      With this being Roto, I would add Sale and Mondesi to the earlier group.

      The rest all have a ton of potential but I wouldn’t be holding potential in Keep 5 league.

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