Early Fantasy Baseball Second Base Rankings: Trevor Story, Josh Rojas, Thairo Estrada (2022)
There is a lot of sports action happening right now. The BNFL, World Cup soccer, fantasy baseball draft prep… it’s a great time to be alive. And thanks to a brief vacation, yours truly was able to slog through the second base position for the first time for the 2023 fantasy baseball season.
Fair warning, though – this position gets dicey in a hurry. There are some excellent rebound candidates, to be sure. And we will all be digesting a lot of injury information with regard to the keystone this offseason. But even if several injured players rebound, this position still reads pretty thin with players you can safely count on.
Players are separated loosely into tiers, and I’m assuming a 5×5 backdrop. Eligibility is strictly NFBC, as that is where most actual drafts are happening right now.
These two players deserve top billing for their consistency, though it is worth mentioning that both are 32 years old, and banking on the speed to last might not be overly wise. Still, these two are guaranteed producers due to their skills and volume.
These two pose more risk than the top two but also offer plenty of tools. They are different, however. Ozzie Albies is a career .271 hitter with a career strikeout rate of 17.3%. He’s considerably safer than the toolsy Jazz Chisholm Jr., as these team contexts couldn’t be more different. Also, Chisholm Jr.’s strikeout rates are consistently closer to 30% than they are to 20%. Jazz is a career .243 hitter with a career 28.4% strikeout rate. Another large difference is Albies’ recognition inside the zone, where he consistently rates among the MLB leaders in zone swing rate. Jazz is young and on an upward trend, but I give a strong nod to Albies here due to his superior team context and plate skills.
Tommy Edman probably deserves to lead this grouping due to his consistency, but I’m always slanted more toward power. Trevor Story was a flop during his first year in Boston, but he still gave us a 16/13 season in under 400 at-bats, was 13-for-13 on the basepaths and batted .340 over his second half sample (just 50 at-bats). I won’t be avoiding Story after the top four second basemen are gone, and I think he’s closer to Jazz than he is to Andres Gimenez.
Josh Rojas looks like a draft-day gem, with an ADP around 200 as the 13th man currently being drafted at second base. I’ll be comfortable drafting Arizona’s swiss army knife a little sooner than pick No. 200, however. Last year’s performance on the bases (23-for-26) was superb. Rojas has the skill set to continue this production, too. In 2022, he posted a chase rate in the 96th percentile and a walk rate in the 81st percentile. From a floor perspective, there’s a lot to like, not to mention his eligibility and improving team context. Arizona has a sneaky solid offense that looks to continue improving in 2023.
Thairo Estrada outperformed his xBA (.246) and xSLG (.352) in 2022, with real-life marks of .260 and .402, respectively. But his speed (21-for-27 on the bases) was his best asset. His versatility also means he should play nearly every day. Estrada’s Steamer projection is nice, a .259/.318/.415 slash line accompanied by 17 homers and 16 steals. I think he’s one of the safer bets to reach the 20-steal plateau, though.
Welcome to the glut, gamers. This grouping has many question marks due to consistency and last year’s injuries. If you draft Max Muncy, you do so hoping that his poor first half was the result of anomaly and/or injury. His second half .230/.340/.451 slash with 12 home runs was more in line with what we’ve come to expect from him.
Jake Cronenworth is a player who compiles steady (if unspectacular) stats, while Luis Arraez and Jeff McNeil are your batting average boosts. For what it’s worth, McNeil’s projection of 13 homers far exceeds the seven projected for Arraez. However, Arraez had more batted balls and a slightly higher barrel rate in 2022. Regardless, these players are very similar, and the current ADPs are side by side, as they should be.
Jean Segura is a Philadelphia Phillie in your draft applets only. Pay attention to the landing spot for the 32-year-old. He’s an underrated source of power and speed, though you could say the same for a guy like Kolten Wong, who barely missed my top-20 second basemen. There’s also youth on a bit of an upswing at this position in players like Bryson Stott, Vaughn Grissom, Gavin Lux and Christopher Morel. We will need to monitor the health reports on DJ LeMahieu, but for now, he did not make my cut.
What say you? Who is too low or too high? You can find me on the Twitter machine @HeathCapps if you’d like to talk it over. I do enjoy a good haggle.
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