The second base position brings us to a bit of controversy. As everyone knows, the sign stealing scandal has dominated the offseason and that is nowhere more true than here in Houston. No one is really busting down any doors to select Martin Maldonado for their fantasy team and the interest in Yuli Gurriel has always been tepid as well. Yet, where we place Jose Altuve is destined to be a huge issue. As per usual, I try to take myself out of the equation as much as possible.
Therefore, what we have done is take five different projection systems and taken the aggregate in the five primary categories. Whether those are accurate or not is anyone’s best guess and as it pertains to any player specifically it is fair to wonder. However, we take a good cross-section in hopes of being as accurate as possible.
Jose Altuve–Houston Astros
Prediction: .299/24 HR/99 Runs/88 RBI/13 SB
We can get stuck in the weeds awfully quickly. Someone actually studied the trash can banging and found Altuve had the lowest percentage of trash can assistance on the Astros. Then, there was the buzzer scandal in Game 6 of the ALCS last season. If we ignore that, we find that Altuve was close to his old self once he returned from the disabled list last season.
Ozzie Albies–Atlanta Braves
Prediction: .286/23 HR/92 Runs/83 RBI/16 SB
The Braves lost Josh Donaldson and gained Marcell Ozuna. That’s probably a wash at this point and so we should probably expect more of the same from Albies and the other Braves. It’s hard to believe with the Nationals postseason run that they have been the class of the NL East two seasons in a row and probably could do it again.
Ketel Marte–Arizona Diamondbacks
Prediction: .295/24 HR/90 Runs/84 RBI/9 SB
With all of the hysteria over sign stealing we have nearly forgotten about the controversy over the ball. Will they use the same ball they used last season or will it go back to its normal self? That could have a dramatic effect on power numbers for players that weren’t traditional power hitters. Think 1894, 1930, or 1987. 2019 might be one of those seasons.
Keston Hiura–Milwaukee Brewers
Prediction: .268/28 HR/81 Runs/88 RBI/12 SB
The NL Central shapes up to be the most interesting division in the game yet again. Hiura quietly put up very good numbers is limited action last year. Second year players are always a crap shoot because the league now has a book on them. If he makes adjustments he could be the sleeper at second base.
Mike Moustakas–Cincinnati Reds
Prediction: .257/36 HR/82 Runs/97 RBI/3 SB
The Reds might be the 2020 version of the Minnesota Twins. They don’t have the pitching to be true contenders, but they could get to October with their offense. Moustakas was one of the more quiet acquisitions this winter and when you add him to Nicholas Castellanos you see how deep and dangerous the Reds offense could be this summer.
D.J. LeMahieu–New York Yankees
Prediction: .289/19 HR/92 Runs/74 RBI/6 SB
Like Moustakas, he will have third base and second base eligibility. Multiple position eligibility is always a bonus. There were some that thought he was the MVP last season. That was patently absurd, but he was definitely the best free agent bargain of the 2019 offseason. He likely won’t be that good this year, but he should still be solid.
Whit Merrifield–Kansas City Royals
Prediction: .283/14 HR/87 Runs/65 RBI/23 SB
The Royals actually plan to employ Merrifield in center field this season. That’s an unusual position profile and that should make his value play up at least temporarily. The problem is that he is worth more to the Royals than any other team. He would produce better elsewhere, but he would also look a little more ordinary as well.
Jean Segura–Philadelphia Phillies
Prediction: .287/15 HR/82 Runs/68 RBI/14 SB
The last look at rosterresource.com showed that they have him penciled in at second. He has also been playing third in camp. It probably comes down to whether the Phillies would rather play Scott Kingery at third or Josh Harrison at second base. If he plays both spots he will retain both positions and possibly shortstop as well in terms of eligibility.
Rougned Odor–Texas Rangers
Prediction: .229/28 HR/72 Runs/76 RBI/13 SB
WAR isn’t an official fantasy category in 99.9 percent of leagues. Sometimes in fantasy sports you have to suspend disbelief and go with the numbers and not what is happening beyond the numbers. Odor is one of the worst players in the league, but he puts up numbers in a standard five category format. So, hold your nose and draft accordingly.
Jonathan Villar–Miami Marlins
Prediction: .255/17 HR/79 Runs/61 RBI/34 SB
Again, the Marlins might be moving him to third, so this situation bears watching. Villar fills up the stat sheet more than just about any other player at the position. Whether he plays third or not, he will retain eligibility at second base.
Brandon Lowe–Tampa Bay Rays
Prediction: .247/24 HR/71 Runs/74 RBI/7 SB
Lowe might have been the rookie of the year last season if he hadn’t gotten hurt. He is just another of the Rays that are solid players. Like with the Rays in general, he might be greater than the sum of his parts. Batting average is the only major weakness and if you include the sixth category he would look better.
Ryan McMahon–Colorado Rockies
Prediction: .263/21 HR/68 Runs/75 RBI/5 SB
McMahon quietly put up very good numbers last season in his first full season. He has first base and second base eligibility in most formats. His numbers aren’t great when you consider they are coming a mile above sea level, but fantasy formats don’t care about that.
Cavan Biggio–Toronto Blue Jays
Prediction: .233/20 HR/76 Runs/65 RBI/13 SB
Biggio might draw more walks than any other player at the position. However, in five category leagues his average will drag him down. The Jays have a number of young players ready to blossom at the same time. It should be interesting to see how that affects them all individually.
Kolten Wong–St. Louis Cardinals
Prediction: .263/12 HR/64 Runs/58 RBI/17 SB
The development of prospects has always been fascinating to watch. Some get it over night and others take a while longer. Wong seemed to come into his own last season. He will never make anyone forget about Tommy Herr, but he is just another solid player.
Starlin Castro–Washington Nationals
Prediction: .282/17 HR/63 Runs/71 RBI/3 SB
Castro is an accumulator. Before too long he will have more than 2000 hits, 1000 runs scored, and over 100 home runs. In terms of value he is never there, but he is like another Odor. He will likely be year to year from now on as teams look to fill holes with decent players.
Author’s note: The Hall of Fame Index Part II is now available in digital and paperback formats. You can go here to pre-order your digital copy for $5.99 or the paperback version for $14.99.