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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Second Basemen, #1-20

1) Jose Altuve, Houston Astros, (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 1)

Playing through injury to end the season, Altuve’s overall numbers took a small step back in 2018, most notably in his steals total. Altuve failed to reach 30 steals for the first time in his career. Hopefully you listened to Dr. Mike on the  Dynasty’s Child pod where explained that he expects the speed to return in full in 2019, so you’re not too worried. If you didn’t, let me also point out that even while playing hurt, Altuve was able to increase his launch angle, exit velocity and walk rate. Coming into 2019, Altuve will be firing on all cylinders once again. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

An Altuve Haiku:
A very small man
Swinging a very large stick
He’s Pablo Sanchez

2) Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs, (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 10 SS)

2018 was the breakout season we were waiting for from Baez. Setting career marks across the board, Baez did it all. 34 homers, 21 steals, slashing .290/.326/.554 and showing off his raw hitting ability by barreling double the MLB average at 12.1%. Baez was even able to decrease his strikeout rate by 3% (although it was still pretty high). Even if he regresses a bit in 2019, his underlying stats are sufficient enough for him to still contribute in all categories. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

A Baez Haiku:
The total package
More than just a flashy glove
That glove is wild though

3) Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees, (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 9 SS)

Torres might very well be Javier Baez with half the steals and twice the walks, which is actually exactly what he was in 2019. Torres appeared in 123 games in his first taste of the majors and was able to slash .271/.340/.480 knocked 24 homers and stole 6 bags. He did all of that while walking 8.6%, barreling 9% of his balls and lunching at a remarkable 18º *Star Eyes Emoji*. The kid put up this line at 21 years old. The sky is literally the limit here. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

A Torres Haiku:
Launch angle like that
He sends balls into orbit
Uh oh, watch out moon

4) Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves, (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 6)

Albies literally game out of the gate swinging in 2018. Following in the footsteps of Francisco Lindor’s profile, Albies started sacrificing some batting average for power last season and it worked. Impressing with his power that had previously graded out at a 20 on MLB.com, Albies hit 24 homers in his first full season while slashing .261/.305/.452. Albies increased his hard hit rate by 3% while keeping strikeouts in check (17% k rate), which is very promising to see. Even if the average stays in the .260-.270 range, the fact that he is a perennial 20/20 player is enough to make him one of the more valuable players not just at his position, but overall as well. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

An Albies Haiku:
Need a song for him?
Sing, OZZIE OZZIE OZZIE
OY OY OY………. OY OY

5) Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals, (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 13)

Merrifield had a breakout 2017, so I guess that means his 2018 was a break out of his break out. Many people, including myself, thought his 2017 season was his peak and then he upped a ton of his numbers. Swiping 45 bags, Merrifield lead the league in steals for the second straight year, and added a .304/.367/.438 slash to go with it. His power numbers dipped but you’re getting so much from the rest of his profile who cares. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

A Merrifield Haiku:
Call him Merry-In-The-Field
I guess he just stole my heart
I’ll see myself out

6) Scooter Gennett, Cincinnati Reds, (Age: 29 Previous Rank: 23)

Gennett has been a pretty reliable player at the keystone for a few years now. Last season was no exception and he continued to improve. He hit over .300 for the first time since his pro debut and year over year he has increased his launch angle. Just as impressive, he decreased his strikeout rate and increased his walk rate from the previous season. It seems like Gennett has settled into the “who he is” phase of his career and it’s a pretty darn productive version of himself. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

A Gennett Haiku:
He just scoots around
Guess that means he’s doing the
Boot Scootin Boogie

7) Keston Hiura, Milwaukee Brewers, (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 12)

Hiura bring us to our first prospect on the list, and boy is it deserved. Hiura’s carry tool is his hit tool, and he makes plenty of contact with it. Contact isn’t the only result though, as he has the power to consistently hit 15-20 homers at the major league level and steal 15-20 bases annually. Hiura should be quick to the majors, as he reached Double-A last season a mere season and a half after being drafted. Kid’s got a bright future. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

A Hiura Haiku:
This kid is special
He is baseball’s Beyonce
He has all the hits

8) Yoan Moncada, White Sox, (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 5)

Moncada has been near the top of this list for a few years now and finally cracked the White Sox’ rostor his first full season at 23. He came with so much hype that his surface-level numbers left a lot to be desired, but he has age and his underlying raw talent still just screams stud. His launch angle and exit velocity are well above average at 90 MPH and 15º, he barreled an impressive 9% of his balls and boasts a stellar 44% hard hit rate. He strikes out what can only be described as a butt load, but his approach at the plate isn’t all that bad as he pairs it with a double digit walk rate. Prospect fatigue is real and I don’t fault you for it if you’ve hit it, but I still believe he’s going to put it together and shine. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

A Moncada Haiku:
He should be better
But he is not better yet
He is still good though

9) Dee Gordon, Seattle Mariners, (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 8)

2017 was probably Gordon’s peak. He paired a solid slash line with 60 steals and wasn’t just a one category player. 2018 saw some significant steps back as Gordon was not able to reach base at a .300 clip for the first time since 2012. He doesn’t hit the ball far, or hard, or in the air. He does steal a bunch of bases and this ranking is probably a testimate to state of the league in that regard. However, if Gordon isn’t able to turn things around with his slash line, he is just a one category player. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

A Gordon Haiku:
You could do worse here
He will get a bunch of steals;
Those are hard to find

10) Jonathan Villar, Baltimore Orioles , (Age: 27 Previous Rank: 22)

Villar is rapidly trending towards the middle-class Dee Gordon. In 2016 he hit his pinnacle, hitting for average, power, and speed, but has struggled to get back to that. He’s still a bet for a ton of steals, but I’m hesitant to commit to double-digit homers given his underlying numbers. His launch angle is a paltry 2.5º and he barrels at a below-average rate. The good news is he isn’t being challenged by anyone for playing time so his steals opportunities should be good and plenty. Expecting that to be enough to carry him to top 30 overall production is pipe dream at this point *cough* Kyler Jesanis *cough*. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

A Villar Haiku:
This guy puzzles me
He had a great season once
Since it’s been meh, though

11) Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers, (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 10)

I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that Rougned Odor is only 24. Let’s see: He debuted and played 114 games at 20. Played in the ALDS at 21. Hit 33 bombs and slugged the snot out of Jose Bautista at 22. Hit another 30 homers and fell flat on his face at 23. And, finally, had hamstring injuries dog his age-24 season. What a ride for a still-young man. He’s so young and already so accomplished that we’ve probably seen the best and worst sides of what he has to offer. Like Schoop, Odor is known for an all-or-nothing approach at the plate. That can work out well, or it can blow up in one’s face. As we’ve seen. Regardless, as a dynasty owner, one could do worse than betting on an Odor rebound. In spite of the risks, but there is a ton of talent and youth in this veteran. (Jonathan Merkel)

12) Nick Madrigal, Chicago White Sox, (Age: 21, Previous Rank: N/A)

Nick Madrigal rides a wave of draft hype to our 12th rank. The ChiSox’ 4th overall pick is sure to be a First Year Player Draft darling. His extraordinary plate approach gives him a safe offensive floor. Though he lacks any power upside, Madrigal puts a charge into the ball, hits to all fields, and is a very tough out for pitchers. He also has 70-grade wheels and looks like a Gold Glove second baseman. Across the board, his tools and style comp pretty well to Ozzie Albies. And as talented as he is, Madrigal’s wait won’t be long for The Show. Indeed, as an advanced college talent, he already made quick work of both Rookie and A-ball before concluding 2018 at the Advanced-A level. He should debut sometime in 2020 or 2021. Get him where you can because this little guy looks like the next big thing. (Jonathan Merkel)

13) Robinson Cano, New York Mets, (Age: 36, Previous Rank: 9)

Robinson Cano enters the twilight stage of an illustrious career looking to redeem himself as a New York Met. He brings with him a resume that includes 56.3 WAR, 311 homers, and a career slash of .304/.355/.493. That’s amazing. Cano is also emerging from an 80 game suspension for PEDs. That’s… not great. Now, at 36, we have to wonder how much he has left, and how much his performance was aided by doping. We still believe in Cano. He is locked into the middle of the Mets’ order and his underlying offensive numbers still look like money in the bank. While one might worry about the impact of Citi Field and health on his production, I believe he’ll continue to offer owners a high-floor of 75/24/80 with solid ratios for the next few seasons. I mean, this is Robinson Cano we’re talking about. (Jonathan Merkel)

14) Garrett Hampson, Colorado Rockies, (Age: 24, Previous Rank: N/A)

Hampson should bring 70 speed and a sound plate approach to Coors Field full-time in 2019. That mix makes him exciting upside play at second for those drafting with a win-now and win-later strategy. Hampson will be solid. His only major downside lies in the Rockies’ front office. It’s unfortunate that I should even have to ask, but my biggest question with Hampson is, “Will the team let him play?” I assume they will. It would make a lot of sense. He’s really good. The last thing a dynasty owner ever needs is unnecessary obstacles in a player’s path to playing time. Until I see his name penciled into the lineup on Opening Day, I’ll be wary. Please forgive my bitter apprehension; this front office does not instill a ton of confidence in fans, despite the talent at their disposal. Maybe they think having talent at their disposal means they must dispose of it? That’s my best stab at an explanation. (Jonathan Merkel)

15) Daniel Murphy, Colorado Rockies, (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 7)

Daniel Murphy reminds me of Justin Turner in that he’s one of the best hitters in the game when healthy, it’s just that he’s not always healthy. That’s a problem. The good news for Murphy is that he’s now a member of the Rockies, and will play half his games at Coors. If anything should be music to an ailing, aging hitter’s ears, it’s that exact news. Right now Steamer is projecting Murphy to put up 83 R, 22 HR, 88 RBI, 4 SB in a season where he bats over .300 once again. I can see that happening. Murphy is a dynamic hitter, after all. I just wonder how long he can do it. Teams in win-now mode would be wise to keep an eye on Murphy. His age and injury history should make him available for a great price in dynasty drafts, and his bat could make him a steal. (Jonathan Merkel)

16) Jonathan Schoop, Minnesota Twins, (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 4)

I chaired the Schoop for President Committee last year. He was an All-Star in his prime, and had done major damage for fantasy owners by crushing over 30 homers at the keystone. Looking back, it’s clear I neglected the risks associated with his all-or-nothing profile. Owners who bought into Schoop were forced to watch as the floor fell out from under him. He delivered a very forgettable 61/21/61, and his .233/.266/.416 slash was enough to keep him off the field during a forgettable stint in Milwaukee. Now, two teams removed from an All-Star appearance, I’m somewhat surprised to see him ranked at 16. Doesn’t he need to be lower? In OBP leagues, maybe. But everywhere else? Not so fast. Schoop is a player that should experience positive regression in 2019 and is a near lock to flirt with 30 homers in a full-time job for the Twins. Plus he’s still in his prime. Don’t give up on the kid quite yet. (Jonathan Merkel)

17) Brian Dozier, Washington Nationals (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 3)

Brian Dozier suffered through 2018 much like Jonathan Schoop did. Like Schoop, Dozier was coming off of an incredible 2017. Like Schoop, all that awaited Dozier in 2018 was a trade, some tremendously unfortunate batted-ball luck, and a spot on his new team’s bench down the stretch. His performance last season wasn’t worth forgetting altogether. He did finish the year with 21 homers, 81 runs, 72 RBI, and 12 steals. Sure, his average was horrendous, but again, his BABIP was .240. That’s his lowest mark ever. While Dozier may not ever be a fantasy juggernaut again, there is plenty of skills and upside here for owners to take a chance on. (Jonathan Merkel)

18) Cesar Hernandez, Philadelphia Phillies, (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 25)

Cesar Hernandez moves up seven spots in our ranks after putting up his most productive campaign. Owners who invested in him last season were rewarded with 91 R, 15 HR, 60 RBI and 19 SB. He also maintained a strong BB/K ratio and OBP as the Phil’s primary leadoff man. And he did all this despite playing through a broken foot he suffered in July. The injury, which was only revealed later, clearly aligned with a major second half slump. I like Hernandez to continue contributing in a meaningful way for a fairly modest price on draft day. His blend of speed and power is helpful even if it’s not particularly awe-inspiring. Dynasty owners could do better, but they could also do much, much worse. (Jonathan Merkel)

19) Luis Urias, San Diego Padres, (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 20)

Long an apple of my dynasty eye, Luis Urias has been one of the minor league’s toughest outs throughout his development. A spectacular hitting approach is his calling card. While some knock him for a lack of power and so-so defense, Urias compensates by putting the ball in play and getting on base. Now the 21-year-old is on the cusp of a full-time role in San Diego. What can we expect? For one, he’s bound to spend much of 2019 at shortstop after the arrival of free agent Ian Kinsler. Second, and most important, while Urias held his own in a cup of coffee at the end of last season, I’m anxious to see how the youngster continues to fare against MLB pitching. Will he be neutralized by the powerful arms at the MLB level? Or can his contact happy approach keep him in the lineup as a steady offensive asset? Time will tell, but this guy has a high floor if you don’t mind sacrificing dingers. (Jonathan Merkel)

20) Jeff McNeil, New York Mets, (Age: 26, Previous Rank: N/A)

Jeff McNeil, like Luis Urias, is ready to deliver value via a sound approach and consistent contact; not by loud power and fireworks. Though he does have some pop, McNeil is now blocked at second by a player with a lot more: Robinson Cano. By far the greatest concern for anyone investing in McNeil on draft day must be, “Will he play enough to matter?” Right now it appears he’s in line for a utility role. That’s just unfortunate. Steady contributors in this mold–the Jeff McNeils and DJ LeMahieus of the world–don’t become fantasy assets by pinch-hitting and playing every other day. They need a full-time role to return a profit. They’re like boxers who never knock anyone out, but always go the distance and win on a split decision. The biggest knock against this mold of athlete is usually that they don’t sell tickets. McNeil is a big league talent with a high-floor to boot, but in New York, big league isn’t always big enough. (Jonathan Merkel)

 

Where They’d Rank- Second Basemen, 1-20

Travis Shaw, Miluakee Brewers- 8th, behind Keston Hiura

Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds- 10th, behind Yoan Moncada

 

*ranked as though all were included in the list.

 

The Author

Ian Hudson

Ian Hudson

Ian is an editor for The Dynasty Guru and a bowtie enthusiast. If you guessed one of those things about him you could probably guess the other.

He's also an attorney in Tampa, Florida.

Go Rays.

3 Comments

  1. 71sullivan
    January 15, 2019 at 8:05 am

    Dozier signed with the Nationals two days ago.

    • January 15, 2019 at 9:31 am

      Good catch- updated!

  2. Hayden
    January 19, 2019 at 12:41 am

    Hiura over Senzel in a H2H points dynasty league? I currently own both and was looking to deal one of them before the season starts. Who would be the better chip?

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