THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2021 TOP 50 DYNASTY LEAGUE SECOND BASEMEN, #1-10
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Without further ado, it’s time to continue our 2021 consensus rankings by looking at the 1-10 second basemen in dynasty leagues.
1. OZZIE ALBIES, ATLANTA BRAVES, (AGE: 24, PREVIOUS RANK: 1)
Despite coming off a “down” season by Albies’ standards, he retains the crown of the number one ranked dynasty second baseman for 2021. However, his season wasn’t as down as you may think. Albies played just 29 regular-season games and battled a bone contusion in his wrist that forced him to the injured list in early-August. Prior to the IL stint, it was clear he wasn’t himself, hitting just .159 over 44 at-bats, with one home run and a 13/2 strikeout to walk ratio. Ozzie returned to the lineup on September 9 and set the world ablaze hitting .338 over 74 at-bats with five home runs, three steals, and posted a .372 on-base percentage, much closer to or even better than, his career averages. Further, his successes carried into postseason play slashing .333/.367/.593 and leading the Braves to the NLCS. Entering 2021, Albies appears healthy with no lingering effects of his injury and belongs at the top of your second base rankings. (Greg Gibbons)
2. GAVIN LUX, LOS ANGELES DODGERS, (AGE: 23, PREVIOUS RANK: 4)
The former top prospect, Lux shot up the rankings and into the Dodgers lineup after a breakout 2019 season and entered 2020 as the favorite to be the Dodgers opening day starter. However, Lux missed time early in camp (undisclosed, speculation was COVID related) and then didn’t receive a call-up until late-August. Over 63 regular-season at-bats, Lux was held to a .175 average with three home runs and a nearly 30% strikeout rate, and notably, in late-September and October, he was limited to only a handful of pinch-hit opportunities, including only one postseason at-bat that resulted in a strikeout. Although the 2020 season didn’t go as dynasty managers would have hoped for Lux, I view this season as more of an anomaly than a make-or-break season for the recently turned 23-year-old. It feels like ages ago, but we are only one year removed from a .347 average with 26 home runs, 10 steals and a .421 on-base percentage over two minor league stops prior to his MLB debut. The number two ranking is reflective of the smooth-swinging lefty’s immense upside in addition to the shallow company of his second base colleagues. (Greg Gibbons)
3. KESTON HIURA, MILWAUKEE BREWERS, (AGE: 24, PREVIOUS RANK: 2)
Coming off a monster 2019 season, expectations were high for the Brewers keystone but unfortunately, we saw Hirua take a step back in 2020. Over 59 regular-season games, Hiura slashed only .212/.297/.410 with a strikeout rate rising from 30.7% in 2019 to 34.6% in 2020 and a decreased walk rate from 7.2% to 6.5%. Further, the righty’s year-over-year exit velocity dropped four miles per hour and BABIP decreased by nearly 130 points leading to below average results across the board. Hiura was known for his hit tool coming out of college, however, these skills escaped him in 2020, as evidenced by his chase rate of nearly 50% on offspeed pitches and an increase of 60% on his swing-and-miss rate on fastballs in the zone. He still possesses the elite upside that we saw in 2019 but it is largely dependent on his hit tool improving. Hiura did provide decent counting stats, finishing second in home runs (13) and RBI (32) for his position, but managers are surely looking for more heading into 2021. (Greg Gibbons)
4. KETEL MARTE, ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS, (AGE: 27, PREVIOUS RANK: 14 OF)
Marte’s ranking here may be riding the coattails of a breakout 2019 season in which he hit 32 homers, with 92 RBI, and 10 steals across 144 games while slashing .329/.389/.592 in route to what has been his career year, thus far. However, some significant regression in 2020 is painting a different picture of the type of player we should expect in 2021 and going forward. Marte showed his elite bat-to-ball skills, ranking in the 98th or higher percentile for strikeout rate and whiff rate, however, it came at the expense of his power and coupled with a dip in walk rate, the standout attributes from 2019 (power and OBP) are trending below average. I expect his production will normalize somewhere between his 2018 and 2019 seasons, maybe a tick closer to the former than the latter. Given the shallow nature of the second base group, you can do worse than Marte, but he may never be a 30-homer threat again. (Greg Gibbons)
5. CAVAN BIGGIO, TORONTO BLUE JAYS (AGE: 26, PREVIOUS RANK: 11)
Biggio followed up a breakout 2019 season with an equally impressive 2020 regular season, highlighted by his power/speed combination and the ability to get on base. The lefty leaves more to be desired in batting average leagues but was on base at a .375 clip (over 15% walk rate) to go along with eight home runs and six stolen bases while handling duties atop the potent Blue Jays lineup. The soon to be 26-year-old will bounce around the field as well, so he likely has multiple position eligibility in your league. There are some contact concerns you’ll want to monitor going forward that may cap his overall upside, but he’s just entering his prime; if you have the opportunity to add his services to your fantasy team, don’t hesitate. (Greg Gibbons)
6. BRANDON LOWE, TAMPA BAY RAYS (AGE: 26, PREVIOUS RANK: 13)
Lowe broke out in a big way during 2020 finishing the season with a .269 average, 14 home runs, 37 RBI, and three stolen bases. Most importantly, he hit versus left-handed pitchers, which was his biggest concern coming into this past season. The 26-year-old slashed .300/.417/.720 in 50 at-bats vs. LHP, a dramatic improvement from 2019, which all but quieted the rumbles of a future platoon role and should solidify his presence as an every-day player at the top of the Rays order in 2021. A drastically decreased chase rate helped improve upon a 34.6% strikeout rate in 2019, lowering to 25.9% in 2020, but strikeouts remain one of Lowe’s biggest concerns moving forward. The Rays like to move their players around, so Lowe may have outfield eligibility in your league as well which gives him another bump to an already desirable profile. Lowe has some lofty projections for 2021 and I expect over a full season he lands somewhere between his 2019 and 2020 seasons. (Greg Gibbons)
7. DJ LEMAHIEU, FREE AGENT, (AGE: 32, PREVIOUS RANK: 8)
LeMahieu followed up a stellar New York debut with an even better 2020 season. Over 50 games, the righty won the American League batting title while slashing .364/.421/.590 including 10 home runs and 27 runs batted in. The 32-year-old is simply one of the best pure hitters in the game. That said, one of the biggest variables going into 2021 is where DJ will call home. At the time of this writing, LeMahieu is a free agent, and it’s very uncertain as to whether he will resign with the Yankees. Without a doubt, he benefited from the friendly confines of Yankees Stadium, so wherever he lands may impact his projections going forward. However, didn’t we say that when he left Colorado? Hitters will hit, and if you’re a contending dynasty team you won’t regret having DJ on your roster. However, it may be reasonable to temper expectations in the power department, regardless of which jersey he is wearing come April. (Greg Gibbons)
8. JOSE ALTUVE, HOUSTON ASTROS, (AGE: 31, PREVIOUS RANK: 3)
Scan Altuve’s 2020 statistics and you may think his downfall has begun. During his age-30 season, Altuve hit just .219 with five home runs and only two steals to go along with a career-high strikeout rate and finished in the lower half of the league in nearly all batted ball data. During postseason play, however, Altuve was a completely different player, slashing .375/.500/.729 over 13 games, with five home runs and underlying metrics much closer to his career averages, or better. The small sample size of the 2020 regular season may play games with his ranking and ADP, but assuming he is fully healthy entering 2021, there is no reason to believe he can’t finish within the Top-5 on this list once again. Similar to LeMahieu, I’d temper expectations in the power and speed categories beyond 2021. (Greg Gibbons)
9. NICK GONZALES, PITTSBURGH PIRATES, (AGE 21, PREVIOUS RANK: NR)
A newcomer to the Top-10, Nick Gonzales was the seventh overall selection of the 2020 MLB Draft out of New Mexico State. The 5’10’’ righty immediately hit Top-100 prospect lists due to his advanced hit tool, lauded as one of the best in his class. He pairs his above-average hit tool with growing power and decent speed, having been compared to Keston Hiura by MLB Pipeline. Gonzales is an easy first-round target in your first-year player drafts, generally coming off the board after Spencer Torkelson and Austin Martin. With the development lost due to COVID in 2020, Gonzales will need some seasoning in the minor leagues, but it’s not hard to envision him with the Pirates full-time by 2023, especially since there is no one within their organization blocking his progression. (Greg Gibbons)
10. VIDAL BRUJÁN, TAMPA BAY RAYS, (AGE: 22, PREVIOUS RANK: 9)
A prospect who would surely be number one in most organizations, but within the Rays organization happens to take a back seat to uber-prospect Wander Franco, Vidal Brujan makes his second straight appearance within the Top-10 dynasty second basemen. Brujan brings star potential, highlighted by double-plus speed (103 steals over 2018 and 2019 seasons) with growing power and fits the mold of an elite leadoff hitter. The 22-year-old spent the entirety of the 2020 season at the Rays alternate site and was named to their 40-man player pool for the postseason, though he didn’t make an appearance. Prior to 2020, Brujan had reached Double-A and with a good showing to begin 2021 he could push his way into some playing time in Tampa with an eye on a full-time role by 2022. (Greg Gibbons)