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Second Base Ranking Tiers (2021 Fantasy Baseball)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Mar 5, 2021

Second base is an intriguing position this year. And you can take “intriguing” any way you want, and it probably fits.

There are no players at the position going within the first two rounds of standard 12-team drafts according to NFBC ADP, but there are three going between picks 25 and 40. After that, there are a ton of question marks.

The question with the position is whether or not you’re willing to invest in one of the second basemen in Round 3 or 4, or if you’re OK waiting for a bounceback candidate (José Altuve, Jeff McNeil), a wildcard (Nick Solak, Andrés Giménez), or a player in a good spot (Kolten Wong, César Hernández). 

As always, when it comes to rankings, tiers are the best way to go about them, as it allows you to group a set of players together so that you know when you need to take a specific player at a position before that tier runs out.

We’ll take a look at second base ADP based on FantasyPros composite ADP and break them down into tiers for you, so you know when to grab the guy who you like.

We should note that these tiers are based on a 12-team standard roto league, so adjust accordingly for your league scoring.

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Tier 1: The top guys

You’ll see these guys go in Rounds 3 and 4, normally. With speed and pitching pushed up, the top second basemen tend to fall. 

If you get LeMahieu, whose value is still elite after resigning with the Yankees, you’re getting a near MVP-level player who can offer across-the-board production. The position flexibility to have him fit wherever you need him to on the diamond is important.

We’ve yet to see Albies best year. I firmly believe that. The question, though, is whether or not the deadened ball will impact him this year. You’re looking at a 20/20 guy if not.

Merrifield is on the older side, but he gives you – or should, at least – the elite speed that you need. If that goes away, well, he’s a bust.

Tier 2: The young guns

Biggio is a solid MLB player, but he’s one of the top players who will be hurt with the deadened ball. He’s only worth his ADP in OBP leagues.

Are we forgetting just how dominant Torres was pre-2020? I was out on him at his ADP then, but man, has the pendulum swung too far in the other direction. He’s a main target in drafts with his 30-homer upside.

Tier 3: Bounceback?

Lowe’s 2020 is exactly what you should expect from him. It’s a rollercoaster ride along the way, but the end-of-season numbers will be there. Like LeMahieu, you’ll be using him at second base, most likely, over first or the outfield.

We’re also pretty down on Hiura in 2021 after his bad 60 games in 2020. These are the guys you need to target in drafts. Fantasy baseball players overreacted to a tiny sample more than anyone else. The strikeout rate will be high, but it will be 24 percent high or so.

Like Hiura, we’ve gone the other way quickly on Marte after a down 2020. He’s a prime rebound candidate, but the deadened ball could make his power slightly decrease from his 2019 breakout year, which has been an outlier as of now. He’s still crushing the ball in Spring Training, for what it’s worth.

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Tier 4: Mixed nuts

The projections really like Gurriel, and it’s easy to see why. He had a big breakout season in 2020, and he’s hitting in a loaded lineup that should help him with his counting stats while posting a .270 average with 28 homerrs.

McNeil is a roll of the dice. He’s a safe average guy, but if he doesn’t hit for power, you’re looking at a rich person’s David Fletcher. That’s fine, but not around pick 100.

Muncy had a forgettable 2020 season, but nothing under the hood really should concern you for 2021. He’s a great bounceback target in your drafts.

Altuve put together a great postseason for the Astros. So much so, that it’s surprising that it didn’t elevate his ADP at all. If we can just get 15 steals out of him, he’d be a value pick here.

Moustakas is a lock for 30 homers in Cincinnati. Underrated value this year.

Tier 5: 2020 was real

There were skeptics on Edman heading into 2020 – myself included – but he backed up his 2019 season pretty well. I’m still on the fence with him this year, but I get the appeal with his multi-position eligibility and safe profile. 

Mooer was red hot at the beginning of the season and after returning from injury. His peripherals back up the play, and his speed is much-needed for fantasy managers, but there’s always a reason to be skeptical about late-age breakouts who didn’t have a ton of pedigree. 

Happ had the breakout season everyone clamored for in 2020, as he was kind of left for dead. It’s a surprise that he’s going this late with the power he brings, but he needs to shore up the average a bit. He gets a boost in OBP leagues.

Villar is going to be a utility guy who won’t play enough to matter outside of deeper leagues.

Tier 6: Question marks

Like every other catcher, we’ll just play them there even if they have weird eligibility like Nola does. It’s like Austin Barnes a few years back when he had 2B eligibility. 

Solak is this year’s Trent Grisham. Last year was fine as a rookie, but expect him to take a step forward as a top 12 option at the position. Having the outfield eligibility is nice, too.

Cronenworth would be higher, but he doesn’t have everyday plate appearances guaranteed to him with Ha-seong Kim and Jurickson Profar on the team. He could play some first base if the Padres sit Eric Hosmer against lefties.

Segura is starting at second, which is fine, I guess. He’s someone you can wait on if you miss out on Moore earlier. The speed isn’t what it once was, though.

Giménez will play every day thanks to his defense, but there’s no power to speak of. He’s a nice steals source late, though.

It sucks that Taylor is going to play a lot for the Dodgers because that means that Gavin Lux will be sitting. Taylor had a fine season, and while he’s better than Josh Reddick was in Houston, it’s a similar situation where Reddick was blocking the more talented Kyle Tucker from playing.

Madrigal can’t hit for power. I’m not sure he’s a big-league player, quite frankly. But if he is, he can give you a .300 average with 20 steals. He’s a risk.

Fletcher is a bargain version of McNeil who goes much, much later. He’s a great batting average boost late in the draft.

Tier 7: The rest

Lux disappointed in 2020, but he’s the perfect post-hype player to get – especially in dynasty leagues. He’s going to follow the Kyle Tucker path to playing time.

I never got the excitement over Escobar. He overperformed his peripherals drastically in 2018 and 2019.

If not now, then when for McMahon? The trade of Nolan Arenado should set McMahon up for regular at-bats at third base. It’s sink or swim time for him.

Here he is—my favorite target at the position. I wait in almost every draft and just scoop up Wong late. He’s leading off for Milwaukee, and he should set a career-high in numbers across the board. He’ll play nearly every day as a huge boost to the Brewers’ defense.

Berti is projected for the seventh-most steals in the Majors this year by ATC projections. That’s awesome and all, but how often will he play?

Key Takeaways

  • If you want to stand out at the position, you have to be willing to take LeMahieu, Albies, or Merrifield early on. If you hit on your first two picks with a speed guy and an elite arm, it’s worth taking one of them – probably LeMahieu – in the third.
  • I tend to wait at the position. I target Wong late, or I shoot for Solak, Altuve, Hiura, or Marte, depending on how the draft falls.
  • Outside of Solak – and even including him, if you’re not a believer – Tier 6 is an easy one to just pass on. There are a ton of question marks here. 
  • If you are in a deeper league or just want to wait as long as you can at the position, there are some guys outside the top 30 who are great values this year. Tommy La Stella, for one, is a guy I like. He’ll be starting every day for San Francisco and should put up top 15 numbers. Other guys I like are Jonathan Schoop (hitting cleanup), Ha-Seong Kim (the upside is intriguing, and you could pair him with Cronenworth), Garrett Hampson (see McMahon, Ryan), and César Hernández (a steal in OBP leagues).

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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