The Dynasty Guru’s 2021 Top 50 Dynasty League Second Basemen: Second Basemen to Avoid
This is a companion piece to our annual Top 50 Dynasty League Second Basemen series. The opinions below are my own and do not reflect the TDG consensus.
Usually, I choose the Target pieces to write, as it is way more fun to be optimistic about the good things a player does, rather than focus on the bad. But it is always good to get out of one’s comfort zone, so here we are, ready to discuss a couple of second basemen that will not be on (m)any of my teams in 2021. Second base is a position that, for as long as I can remember, has been the position I will fill with a later choice, either one that brings steals (a la Jon Berti), or average (a la Luis Arraez) or whatever statistic my team is deficient with. As steals have become scarcer this strategy has waned a little bit in recent seasons; however, after looking at our list there are a lot of good second base options in the 20-40 range. Depending on the roster size and league set-up I will usually take two or three second basemen and figure that one of them will produce, and more often than not it works. If I was doing the targets, that is range I would choose from. So while you now know I will avoid many of the top second basemen as a rule, the following two stand out as ones to particularly avoid:
GAVIN LUX, AGE: 23, LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Yes, he is our number two rated second baseman for 2021 but we all do not agree (you all should see the debates on our overall lists; it’s really something) and as for Lux I have a problem. Lux was drafted 20th overall back in 2016 after he hit .531 as a senior at Kenosha High where he was also the Gatorade player of the year in Wisconsin, yet does not appear on a top 100 prospect lists (that I could find in limited searching) until 2019, after he went from Double-A to Triple-A to the Majors. His 49-game stop at Triple-A Oklahoma City in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League caused the jump. His line was bananas: 13 homers, 54 runs, 39 RBI, 3 steals, a slash of .392/.478/.719 with a 14% walk rate and only 18% strikeout rate. Those video game numbers show why he jumped onto top prospect lists, but when looking at Lux’s other minor league seasons the 27 steals in Single-A in 2017 stood out but he never approached that number again in any other season. He has been developing power, increasing his home run total in every minor league season (from 0 to 7 to 15 to 26), so that is a nice development (I just cannot go full negative).
At best he could hit .300 with 30 homers and steal 15 bags with a bunch of Runs and RBI on a good Dodgers team, which is quite valuable at the keystone. But that upside is primarily based on a really hot streak at Triple-A, so while players can and do make improvements all the time Lux had difficulty at the big-league level in 2019 and 2020, basically losing the second base job twice. With only one post-season at-bat for the Dodgers, it is not guaranteed Lux is their starting second baseman in 2021 (or beyond), though the Dodgers would be silly to give up on Lux after only 42 big league games. It would be ill-advised to draft him as a starter for 2021 (hence his NFBC ADP at the time of this writing of 222, and the 22nd second baseman off the board). In Dynasty leagues, I would (and have) put him on the block to see what comes.
JAKE CRONENWORTH, AGE: 26, SAN DIEGO PADRES
It is never a good sign when your team signs a big-time free agent (Ha-Seong Kim) at your position, but the soon-to-be 27-year-old Cronenworth was a virtual unknown heading into last season (in two Dynasty leagues I am in with 16-team, 65-player rosters, he was not rostered until the first week of the season) so maybe he thrives on being doubted. The Padres will try and use him in the outfield, so that extra position eligibility will be nice, but not really needed, as second base should be the only position he is a fantasy starter. If we simply extrapolate out his 54 games in 2020 (for ease I am just going to multiply by three) he would’ve had a line of 26 runs, 12 homers, 60 RBI, 9 steals and a .285 average. Perfectly adequate, but nothing special. If anything, the steals will go up, as he proved proficient in stealing bases in the minors. Compared to the home runs, where he should top out at ten, at the most.
Cronenworth had a rough second half of 2020 and probably cost himself rookie of the year, so he also has that working against him as well. He hit poorly versus left-handed pitching in 2020 (although only in 61 plate appearances) but after reviewing his minor league seasons a platoon is not necessarily in order; if that occurs his fantasy value sinks even more. Cronenworth’s current ADP for NFBC leagues is 152 and he is the 15th second baseman off the board, in from of Nick Solak, Nick Madrigal, Jean Segura, David Fletcher and the aforementioned Gavin Lux, among others. As a second-year player who apparently lost his starting job through no fault of his own, Cronenworth’s ADP is a little inflated and should be avoided. Though as we near March drafts his ADP may slide as Ha-Seong Kim’s rises, and if you still really like Cronenworth, that is the time to pounce.