2018 Fantasy Baseball: Generation Next– Second Basemen
The crop of second basemen coming up through the ranks is a potentially exciting group. It’s hard ranking young players when they first come up. You don’t want to use their pure numbers because they will almost always come up on the short end of the stick. Yet, you don’t want to give in to too much hype either. So, we keep them separate from the positional rankings. We will look at their major league and minor league numbers from this past season.
Also, we should point that players are selected based on the likelihood that they will contribute during the 2018 season and not necessarily on their long-term prospects as a player. Certainly, a couple of these players wouldn’t have been selected if we were looking at only the best prospects. Some are simply in the right place at the right time.
Ozzie Albies– Atlanta Braves
ML: .286/.354/.456, 6 HR, 34 Runs, 28 RBI, 8 SB
Minors: .285/.330/.440, 9 HR, 67 Runs, 41 RBI, 21 SB
It’s rare for teams to have two good prospects ready to contribute simultaneously at the same position, but that seems to be the spot for the Braves. Albies seems to be the favorite to get the spot before Spring Training, but you never know how that competition will go. In terms of fantasy value, he brings more to the table as he hits for more power and has more speed. Teams don’t care about that as much as overall production and defensive value. Albies was the guy that took over for Brandon Phillips and he more than held his own in the last two months and as you can see by the numbers above he was fairly successful at the plate. However, it should be noted that his big league numbers were better than his minor league numbers. Normally, that is a cause for concern.
Johan Camargo— Atlanta Braves
ML: .299/.331/.452, 4 HR, 30 Runs, 27 RBI, 0 SB
Minors: .301/.345/.474, 4 HR, 18 Runs, 20 RBI, 1 SB
Camargo briefly took the shortstop position away from Dansby Swanson when he just couldn’t seem to get it going. So, he played an equal amount of games at short and second base. Given the relative lack of power and speed relative to Albies, he might end up sticking as the primary utility infielder. It’s also possible that they will end up going with an old-fashioned performance platoon (ie the hot hand approach). He isn’t likely to be a regular, but could end up getting enough plate appearances to be a fantasy factor. Positional flexibility is also a major consideration.
Marco Hernandez— Boston Red Sox
ML: .276/.300/.328, 0 HR, 7 Runs, 2 RBI, 0 SB
Minors: .286/.304/.421, 4 HR, 18 Runs, 16 RBI, 2 SB
Wally Pipp famously lost his position to Lou Gehrig when he took a day off. Hernandez is no Gehrig and Dustin Pedroia is no Pipp, but Hernandez will get about two months to prove that he belongs in the big leagues. In seven minor league seasons he has a .283/.320/.396 slash line. Maybe he will flash some spectacular defense, but otherwise there isn’t much to go on here. It should also be noted that Brock Holt has some experience playing second base in prior seasons. If Hernandez doesn’t hit he won’t keep his job for long.
Yoan Moncada— Chicago White Sox
ML: .231/.338/.412, 8 HR, 31 Runs, 22 RBI, 3 SB
Minors: .282/.377/.447, 12 HR, 57 Runs, 36 RBI, 17 SB
Moncada combines the best of all worlds as an offensive player. He gets on base at a very good clip, shows impressive pop with the bat, and steals enough bases to be dangerous. He combined to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in between AAA and the big leagues. If he is able to hit for a decent average he should easily qualify as a top 20 second baseman if he gets to play every day. The question will be exactly where he should be ranked in the second base universe. Out of the players here, he will have the longest rope and has the strongest pedigree as the former number one prospect in all of baseball. If he last until the middle rounds he could end up being a steal.
Dixon Machado— Detroit Tigers
ML: .259/.302/.319, 1 HR, 17 Runs, 11 RBI, 1 SB
Machado was a backup who will now get the first crack at starting for the Tigers. He sported -0.5 bWAR this past season coming off the bench, so I’m sure the Tigers will hope to get something more out of the position than Machado. He hit .246/.323/.317 in his minor league career, so there is little to go on here. However, since he will get the opportunity we list him here in lieu of prospects that probably won’t get their crack this season. The calendar hasn’t turned to January yet, so there is always the chance that the Tigers will sign a cheap option at second to get them through until a more substantial prospect can crack the lineup.