Fantasy Baseball

2021 Fantasy Baseball: Top Ten Fantasy Second Basemen

here are any number of formats we could evaluate, but my personal favorite has always been total points. It has a number of advantages. First, it is a growing format in that daily fantasy sites use it exclusively (although they may have different formulas). Secondly, it apportions an appropriate weight per event. In other words, it doesn’t overemphasize any event over another based on perceived scarcity. Second base sees more significance than other positions because stolen bases are given way too much weight.

The third and final advantage is that it allows you to compare players from different positions because it tells how much better one player is than another. This can help not only with positional rankings, but overall rankings as well. It helps to know the relative depth of a position when making those rankings. Knowing the difference between say the seventh and eighth best second baseman is dreadfully important

We will look at the top ten second basemen for the coming year according to two metrics. The first is total points over the past five seasons and the second is points per game. Generally speaking, the more data you have the better off you are and that is particularly true given the abbreviated nature of the 2020 season. We will also include a projection from baseball-reference for the 2021 season.

Total Points= TB + Runs + RBI + BB + SB + HBP – SO – CS- GIDP

Jose Altuve–Houston Astros

Games: 623

Points: 1887 (1st)

PPG: 3.03 (1st)

Projection: .275/20 HR/79 Runs/62 RBI/9 SB

Altuve hit over .300 with five home runs in the playoffs this year. If you combined the playoffs and the regular season he would have hit ten home runs in just 61 games played. So, even if you buy the lower batting average (with a BABIP 84 points under his career average) he is still hitting for good power and has good speed for the position. He hardly ever strikes out, so he is considerably more valuable in this format than he might be in traditional five category formats.

D.J. LeMahieu– New Yorkl Yankees

Games: 624

Points: 1811 (2nd)

PPG: 2.90 (2nd)

Projection: .297/20 HR/88 Runs/73 RBI/6 SB

This always depends on the bias of what have you done for me lately. LeMahieu was an MVP candidate in both 2019 and 2020. Had he played an entire season he would have produced between 7 and 8 wins according to bWAR. I’m personally betting Altuve is a little better than the numbers above and LeMahieu is likely on par with the numbers here.

Jeff McNeil– New York Mets

Games: 248

Points: 682 (13th)

PPG: 2.75 (3rd)

Projection: .298/17 HR/70 Runs/64 RBI/6 SB

If you haven’t figured it by now, total points favors either high contact or high walk guys. If you happen to be both you are in really good shape. With the trends moving in the direction of high power/high strikeouts you can get some value here in terms of batting average. McNeil does enough of the other things where it won’t kill you.

Ozzie Albies–Atlanta Braves

Games: 404

Points: 1082 (8th)

PPG: 2.68 (4th)

Projection: .278/16 HR/66 Runs/54 RBI/9 SB

Again, BR is putting way too much stock into what happened last year. In 2018 and 2019, Albies was a picture of health and hit 24 homers in both seasons with 14 and 15 steals respectively. I see no reason why he shouldn’t produce another 20 home run/10 stolen base season.

Mike Moustakas–Cincinnati Reds

Games: 514

Points: 1284 (4th)

PPG: 2.50 (5th)

Projection: .242/23 HR/56 Runs/69 RBI/3 SB

There is an episode of the Simpson’s where the bartender (Moe) has a business card that reiterates that he is in fact a surgeon as well. It is easy to forget that Moustakas is actually the second baseman in Cincinnati since he spent so much time at third in Kansas City and Milwaukee. The multiple position eligibility makes him play up some, but a draft at this point is based on more than 23 home runs.

Cavan Biggio–Toronto Blue Jays

Games: 159

Points: 381 (19th)

PPG: 2.40 (7th)

Projection: .244/21 HR/90 Runs/69 RBI/15 SB

He is penciled in at second base for the moment, but he can also play third and in the outfield. The addition of George Springer likely locks him out of the outfield, but it also adds another potent to an already budding offense. He is a high strikeout guy, but he is a high walk guy. The OBP will play up in six category leagues.

Luis Arreaz–Minnesota Twins

Games: 124

Points: 300 (20th)

PPG: 2.42 (6th)

Projection: .305/7 HR/57 Runs/41 RBI/3 SB

It might be best to think of him as a poor man’s Jeff McNeil. He makes a lot of contact and therefore will carry a better average than most. His projection is based on 400 plate appearances. We can probably bet on more than that with Marwin Gonzalez likely moving on. So, he might approach ten homers, 70 runs, and 50 RBI. That’s not half bad but might play lower in standard leagues.

Ketel Marte–Arizona Diamondbacks

Games: 532

Points: 1211 (6th)

PPG: 2.28 (8th)

Projection: .285/18 HR/69 Runs/64 RBI/7 SB

It’s so hard to figure out what the Dbacks are up to these days. They seem to sell sometimes and then buy in others. Looking at the division they realistically won’t finish much higher than third. Marte plays into that some because he can play second or center field. Having him eligible at both is a bonus.

Brandon Lowe–Tampa Bay Rays

Games: 181

Points: 395 (18th)

PPG: 2.18 (10th)

Projection: .258/26 HR/73 Runs/81 RBI/8 SB

It felt like Lowe quietly put things together last year. He definitely should rank higher in a traditional format. He is a heavy swing and miss guy and that will always hurt you in total points formats. He could even be a top five second sacker in five category leagues.

Keston Hiura–Milwaukee Brewers

Games: 143

Total Points: 292 (21st)

PPG: 2.04 (12th)

Projection: .258/28 HR/77 Runs/77 RBI/10 SB

2020 was a forgettable year for the whole Brewers team. Hiura looked like he was poised to join Christian Yelich as a pretty dynamic one-two punch in the order. Neither showed up looking like themselves. I’m prepared to chalk that up to just a bad year and it looks like BR is prepared to do the same.

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