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Fantasy Baseball Draft Rankings, Tiers & Strategy: Second Basemen (2023)

Jan 27, 2023
Fantasy Baseball Draft Rankings, Tiers & Strategy: Second Basemen (2023)

The middle infield positions are collectively deeper than the corner infield positions in fantasy baseball this year, but let’s not give too much credit to the second basemen, who are mostly just basking in the shortstops’ glory.

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Fantasy Baseball Draft Rankings, Tiers & Strategy

According to FantasyPros ADP data sourced from three different platforms, no second baseman has a top-20 average draft position, only two second basemen are inside the top 50, and only seven are inside the top 100. (And one of the top-100 guys, Trevor Story, recently underwent a major medical procedure that’s expected to keep him out for at least half of the season.)

The outlook at second base isn’t entirely bleak, however. If you don’t get one of the upper-tier players at the position, you’ll have a wide variety of flavors to choose from later in the draft.

Seeking power? Max Muncy and Brandon Lowe are 30-HR threats.

Need speed? Whit Merrifield, Josh Rojas and Joey Wendle could give you 20 stolen bases.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy: Second Basemen

What if you loaded up on power and speed early in your draft but sacrificed batting average? Jeff McNeil and Luis Arraez won’t give you much power or speed but should bat around .300.

It makes sense to be malleable with your second base strategy. If you’re presented with good value on one of the top-tier second basemen, go for it. Otherwise, wait a while and then grab a second baseman who best fits your roster construction. Power, speed or batting average — what do you need most? Target a category rather than a particular player.

Let’s take a look at the second base tiers. In addition to the rankings and tiers themselves, I’ll offer a few words about some of the players from each tier.

Please note that these rankings are limited to players who appeared in at least 20 games at second base or played more games there than at any other position.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Rankings: Second Basemen

Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen Tiers & Draft Advice

Tier 1

There’s little separation between the denizens of this tier. Talk to four fantasy managers, and they’ll probably have these guys ordered in four different ways They all offer multi-category help. They all come with concerns. Your preference comes down to the type of risk you’re most willing to live with.

The 5-foot-6 Jose Altuve continues to be an unlikely power source. Before his age-29 season, he had never hit more than 24 home runs. In his last three full seasons, he’s hit no fewer than 28 homers. The 32-year-old Altuve was a prolific base stealer as a younger man. The speed dried up for a while, but then he swiped 18 bags last year. The one constant: batting average. Aside from the Covid-shortened 2020 season, Altuve has batted at least .276 in each of his 12 MLB seasons, and he’s a lifetime .307 hitter. The only concerns are age and the possibility that Altuve’s base stealing goes back into hibernation.

After belting 45 home runs in 2021, Marcus Semien cleared the fences “only” 26 times in 2022, but he had a career-high 25 stolen bases at age 31. Semien has topped 100 runs in each of his last three full seasons, and he should be good for 80-100 RBI. But like Altuve, the 32-year-old Semien is at an age where his skills could start to erode. The other issue is that with a .255 career batting average, Semien probably won’t help you in that department and could be a liability.

Jazz Chisholm has the potential to be the king of second basemen. The toolsy youngster from the Bahamas offers an intoxicating blend of speed and power. The problem is that Chisholm has missed significant time with injuries in each of his first two seasons. A stress fracture in his back cut his 2022 season short after just 60 games. Chisholm strikes out too often and takes too few walks, but there’s 30/30 potential here if he can stay healthy.

Ozzie Albies might have the greatest five-category potential of any player from this tier, but injuries limited him to 64 games last season, and it’s possible he hits sixth or lower in Atlanta’s batting order, which could hinder his RBI and run totals.

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Tier 2

Andres Gimenez was terrific for the Guardians last year, batting .297 with 17 HRs, 69 RBI, 66 runs and 20 stolen bases. He’s only 24, so the future looks bright. Just realize there could be some major regression in batting average. Gimenez had 36% of his batted balls fall in for hits in 2022, and that elevated hit rate isn’t likely to stick.

Tommy Edman stole 32 bases last year after stealing 30 in 2021. He’s also topped 90 runs in each of the last two seasons, and he’s not a liability in batting average or the power categories. The only reason Edman isn’t on Tier 1 is that the Cardinals had him batting ninth in 31 games last season, and there were another 18 games in which he batted sixth, seventh or eighth. If the Cardinals find a new leadoff man — a distinct possibility since Edman draws few walks and has a career OBP of .322 — the stolen bases could dry up.

Gleyber Torres might never match the glory of his 2019 season, when he smacked 38 home runs and batted .278, but at least his 2022 season put the brakes on an alarming two-year power slide. Torres hit 24 homers last year and provided double-digit stolen bases for a second straight season. He’s only 26, so he could give us another monster season at some point if his health cooperates.

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Tier 3

Jorge Polanco‘s 2022 season was a disappointment, but knee and back issues may have had a lot to do with his struggles. His flyball rate reached a career-high 48% last year, which could bode well for his 2023 power numbers. But Polanco had a career-low .235 batting average last year — possibly a result of the Faustian launch-angle bargain that he struck.

Perhaps this is too low for Max Muncy, who’s expected to spend much of the 2023 season batting cleanup in a potent Dodgers lineup. Muncy will provide power, but at a cost. He’s a career .231 hitter who batted .196 last year. (Muncy is far more valuable in OBP leagues than in BA leagues, as he draws plenty of walks.) He’s never had 500 at-bats or 600 plate appearances in a single season.

Whit Merrifield is a trusted brand name, but be careful. He’s 34 now, and there was some stolen base slippage last year. He went from 40 steals in 2021 to 16 in 2022. The move to the Jays would seem like a good thing, but Merrifield will probably hit near the bottom of a loaded Toronto lineup.

Vaughn Grissom flashed power and speed for the Braves last season while making a late-season debut at the tender age of 21. There’s 20/20 potential here, but a 10/10 season might be more likely as Grissom gets used to big-league pitching.

Brandon Lowe is only two years removed from a 39-HR season, but he batted only .221 last season and was limited to 65 games due to back problems. There’s thunder in Lowe’s bat, but he’s likely to be a drain on your team batting average even if he can stay healthy.

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Tier 4

Kolton Wong has provided double-digit homers and steals in each of his last three full seasons. He hit a career-high 15 home runs for the Brewers last season, but the power could dry up with the move from Milwaukee to Seattle.

It’s not too late for 25-year-old Gavin Lux to start living up to his prospect hype, but the last two seasons haven’t been particularly encouraging. Lux batted .276 last year, but we’re still waiting for the power and speed to show up.

I might be too low on Jonathan India, the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year. India’s 2022 season was marred by a hamstring injury that limited him to 103 games and may have affected him for much of the season. He provided an intriguing blend of power, speed and plate patience two years ago, and the Great American Ball Park could help India get to 25 home runs if his health cooperates.

Is there a more perplexing player than Ketel Marte? He batted .329 in 2019 and .318 in 2021, but his batting average plummeted to .240 last year (although a hamstring issue may have been to blame). Marte belted 32 homers in 2019 but hasn’t hit more than 14 home runs in any other season. His OBP has been all over the place throughout his career. Honestly, I have no idea what to make of this guy.

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Tier 5

Christian Arroyo stands to gain playing time now that Trevor Story is likely to miss a big chunk of the season for the Red Sox. Arroyo batted .286 last year in 280 at-bats and might be capable of double-digit homers and steals.

After hitting 23 home runs with 75 RBI and 77 runs in 2021, Luis Urias had only 16 home runs, 47 RBI and 54 runs in 2021. Urias is entering his age-26 season and could certainly rebound. But with a .239 career batting average, he’s probably destined to be a liability in that category.

Jake Cronenworth had 88 RBI and 88 runs last season, and he’s provided 39 home runs over the last two years. But Cronenworth’s batting average keeps falling year over year, slipping to .239 last year. He draws plenty of walks, however, so bump him up a tier in OBP leagues.

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Tier 6

Luis Garcia raked immediately upon his June call-up last season, hitting .327 over his first month. Then he had a strange every-other-month thing going, batting .227 in July, .327 in August, .226 in September and .304 in October. There might be some power potential here, but Garcia’s swing-at-everything plate approach could impede his growth.

Cardinals youngster Nolan Gorman belted 14 home runs in only 283 at-bats, but he also batted .226 and struck out in 32.9% of his plate appearances. The power is alluring, but Gorman offers no speed and could do significant harm to your team batting average.

Trevor Story underwent an internal brace procedure in January to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He has vowed to play in 2023, but it seems highly unlikely he’ll be back before August. Unless you have unlimited injured reserve spots, Story isn’t worth drafting. And even with unlimited IR spots, he’s an end-gamer at best.

Beyond our fantasy baseball content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – which optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.

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