Second Base Position Preview - Projected Leaders
Justin Vreeland analyzes the top three players projected to lead a variety of statistical categories and offers some players that could finish top three come season's end!
Welcome to the third edition of the second base preview! This week we are going to use collective projections from ZiPS, Streamers, ATC, and THE BAT and look at who the top three projected for each category (HR, runs, RBI, SB, and AVG). This can help you establish who gives you the biggest boost in certain areas. For this experiment I used the NFBC’s second base eligible players. I will also include my thoughts on each, let’s dive in!
1.Gleyber Torres – Collective Projection: 34.75
2.Mike Moustakas – Collective Projection: 34.75
3.Max Muncy – Collective Projection: 31.0
This seems to be the clearest category of them all and I would be surprised if these three didn’t finish as the top-three in home runs among second baseman. Torres swatted 38 home runs last season as a 22-year old, leading the position. Moustakas finished second at the position with 35 and has totaled 101 home runs over the past three seasons. His move to the Great American Ball Park won’t hurt any as the Reds home field ranked eighth in home run factor last season. Muncy has bashed out 35 home runs in two consecutive seasons and there is no reason to believe he won’t club another 30+ this season. Probably the two guys with the best chance to crack the top-three (that aren’t projected to do so) are Rougned Odor and Ketel Marte . Odor has hit at least 30 home runs in three of the past four seasons. As for Marte, he had a breakout campaign last year and finished with 32 home runs.
1.Ozzie Albies – Collective Projection: 96.5
2.Jose Altuve – Collective Projection: 96.25
3.D.J. LeMahieu – Collective Projection: 92.75
No surprises here really, all three of the above should be near the top. They finished second (DJL), fourth (Albies) and fifth (Altuve) in runs at the position last season. Last year’s leader at the position, Jonathan Villar , didn’t come close to cracking the top-three, but that isn’t all that surprising given his new team and new ballpark. Two names that I believe could crack the top-three (that are not projected to) are Whit Merrifield and/or Jeff McNeil . Merrfield finished third at the position last season and he’s a very solid hitter. What hurts his chances is the poor Royals lineup that he hits at the top of. As for McNeil, he appears to be locked in as the Mets leadoff hitter as we head into the season. He will hit for a high average and have guys like Alonso and Conforto coming up shortly after him to drive him in.
1.Gleyber Torres – Collective Projection: 101.75
2.Mike Moustakas – Collective Projection: 96.25
3.Max Muncy – Collective Projection: 89.75
It almost seems like home runs and RBI kind of go hand-in-hand (sarcasm). Not at all surprising to see these same three here, as they are power bats that will hit in the middle of their teams lineups. However, it was actually D.J. LeMahieu who led the position last season with 102 RBI. A repeat seems unlikely though, as its pretty tough to rack up that high of an RBI total hitting out of the leadoff spot. Torres finished with 90 RBI last season while Moustakas had 87 and Muncy had 98. Two other names that could potentially challenge for a top-three spot are Keston Hiura and Ryan McMahon . Hiura probably isn’t all that surprising, considering he had 49 across 84 games as a rookie last season and is projected to hit in the middle of the Brewers lineup. McMahon may seem a bit bold, but there are a few reasons to believe in him as a possibility. He had 83 RBI across 480 at-bats last season, he is slated to play on a near everyday basis, he plays half his games at Coors Field, and he will hit after guys like Arenado, Blackmon, and Murphy (all guys who could potentially hit over .300).
1.Jonathan Villar – Collective Projection: 36.25
2.Whit Merrifield – Collective Projection: 22.5
3.Dee Gordon – Collective Projection: 20
My initial reaction here is: Yuck. I already broke down why I don’t like Villar in last week’s piece, which can be found here. Merrfield isn’t a bad target, as he is pretty solid across the board, just not spectacular at anything. He only had 20 steals last season, so his projection makes sense, but keep in mind he did have 45 steals in 2018 and 34 steals in 2017. Pay for 20 steals and hope he gives you 30. That brings us to Gordon, whose collective projection of 20 is being heavily swayed by ZiPS lofty 30 stolen base projection that they have for him. I don’t like Gordon at all. He is starting to slow down and I don’t see him playing enough games to really be beneficial in any way to your fantasy roster. Kolten Wong and Garrett Hampson are two guys that I believe could crack the top-three in this department. Wong finished second at the position last season with a total of 24. As for Hampson, it boils down to playing time. I don’t see him playing enough to do so, but injuries do happen and if Hampson gets enough playing time, he could easily steal north of 20 bags.
1.Luis Arraez – Collective Projection: .310
2.Jose Altuve – Collective Projection: .303
3.Ketel Marte – Collective Projection: .295
The biggest thing that stood out to me when looking at batting average was the fact that not a single projection system has Jeff McNeil finishing in the top-three of batting average at this position; which seems odd considering he has finished second at the position each of the last two seasons. His collective batting average projection is .291, which again, seems oddly low for a guy that has hit .329 and .318 in his first two big league seasons and hit .311 across seven years in the minors. The projections do seem to have a lot of faith in a guy with just 326 career at-bats at the MLB level (Arraez) though. That being said, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him lead the way, but he doesn’t provide anything else in fantasy. Altuve has at least .298 in six straight seasons and has a batting average of .327 in that span. Here is where it gets more confusing to me with Marte; he hit .329 last season, but he also hit .260 or lower in the three seasons prior to 2019. McNeil seems like he would be a safer bet for a higher average this season, in my opinion. Whit Merrifield would be another guy that wouldn’t be surprising to see crack the top-three, as he has hit .304 and .302 the last two seasons, respectively.