THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2022 TOP 50 DYNASTY LEAGUE SECOND BASEMEN, #11-30
Continuing with our highlights of the league’s top Second Basemen, as judged by our collection of industry experts, below are the 11th through the 30th ranked players in the league.
11. Vidal Bruján, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 10)
Bruján really got the hype machine rolling last May. He hit seven homers in his first 16 Triple-A games, outperforming teammate Wander Franco, the top prospect in baseball at the time. If you traded him on Memorial Day, you probably did good, because the rest of his year wasn’t nearly as fun. He hit just five more HR in the minors and went 2-for-26 without a walk or extra-base hit during a brief MLB callup in July.
Bruján’s year wasn’t too bad overall. His 41.4% flyball rate in Triple-A was a career best, and even though the May surge looks a little suspect, he’s capable of decent HR totals if he keeps hitting it in the air. More importantly, he kept doing what really drives his fantasy value – stealing bases. He had 44 thefts at Triple-A and one with the Rays, and Statcast clocked him with 90th percentile sprint speed despite his limited MLB time. The steals should get you through the growing pains as he adjusts to the big leagues. (Ben Sanders)
12. Tommy Edman, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 26 at 3B)
You can count on Edman to steal bases, as he was one of just six MLB players to swipe 30 bags last season. You can also count on him to hold down an everyday job thanks to his defense – he just won a Gold Glove at 2B, and can play several other positions competently. That combination gives him a nice fantasy floor as a cheap steals source. The question is whether there’s any upside beyond that.
Edman has posted an OPS under .700 the past two seasons, but there are reasons to think he can do better with the bat. He slashed .304/.350/.500 with 11 HR in just 92 games in his 2019 debut. That power was no fluke – in 2021, he posted a 112.9 max exit velocity, good for 87th percentile in the league. The issue is that the switch-hitting Edman only gets to his power from the right side – he had a .219 ISO vs. lefties last season, but just .097 facing righties. He may never be an OPS monster, but Edman is only modest improvements away from being a fantasy stud in the mold of Whit Merrifield. (Ben Sanders)
13. Nolan Gorman, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 19 at 3B)
Gorman was the Cardinals’ 3B of the future, but now they’ve got some other guy named Nolan holding down that spot. He played mostly 2B last season in the minors, and though the Cardinals have Tommy Edman there, they could shift him many other places to make room for Gorman. He could even DH if the National League allows it. One way or another, St. Louis is going to want to get his bat in the lineup soon.
Gorman hit 25 HR last season in 523 PA split between Double-A and Triple-A, which was no surprise given his big raw power. More encouraging was the K-rate, which he cut to 19.2% at Triple-A. Not bad for a guy who was at 29% for his career entering 2021. The reduced strikeout version did come with fewer walks and more groundballs, so maybe it wasn’t entirely a good thing, but his overall progress was impressive for a 21-year-old. He should make his MLB debut this season and there’s potential for 30-plus homers somewhere down the road. (Ben Sanders)
14. Luis García, Washington Nationals (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 14)
García is an easy player to overlook. Many baseball players share his name right now, including a Phillies infield prospect of the same age, so that can create confusion. Those who are clear on which Luis García this is may know him as that guy who keeps putting up boring numbers while everyone gushes about how young he is relative to the competition.
So if you’ve tuned out, I get it, but it might be time to tune back in. García crushed Triple-A last season at age 21, slashing .303/.371/.599 with 13 HR in just 159 PA, finally flashing some power to go with his contact skills. His MLB line of .242/.275/.411 shows there’s still work to be done, but his 17.4% K rate was encouraging. He needs to improve a groundball rate that’s never been under 50% at any level, and it wouldn’t hurt if he’d walk a little more often. The finished product isn’t here yet, but it’s coming into view, and this may be your last chance to get García at a reasonable price. (Ben Sanders)
15. Nick Gonzales, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 9)
Gonzales differs from Luis García in that his numbers look much better without context. His career college line of .399/.502/.747 is nonsensically good, but he played in an extremely friendly offensive environment at New Mexico State. He then slashed .302/.385/.565 in his minor-league debut, but that 27.4% K-rate was a little troubling for a 22-year-old at High-A. An early-season injury that kept him out over a month may be partly to blame. He didn’t really take off until August, hitting 12 of his 18 HR in the final two months.
Gonzales has big power potential for a 2B, and that gives him top-5 upside at the position. I’d feel more confident about his ability to get there if he showed more consistency and cut down the whiffs. We should learn more about him this season at Double-A. (Ben Sanders)
16. DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 7)
LeMahieu’s 2021 line of .268/.349/.362 was a major disappointment after two big years as a Yankee, but it’s not all that different from the numbers he put up during his time in Colorado. Looking at his career stats, it’s the 26-HR season in 2019 that jumps out as the outlier. LeMahieu has always been a contact-first hitter with a high groundball rate, and that’s not likely to change at his age.
LeMahieu has bounced around the infield in New York, spending time at 1B, 2B and 3B. The Yankees have other options at all those positions and may still add to their infield post-lockout, so everyday playing time isn’t guaranteed, although worst-case scenario he’s probably still a 500 PA super-utility type. It’s probably best to assume you’ll get a good batting average with 10-15 HR, and consider anything beyond that a bonus. (Ben Sanders)
17. Nick Madrigal, Chicago Cubs (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 15)
Madrigal is remarkably good at making contact, hitting .317 with a 7.4% K-rate so far in MLB. He’s also remarkably bad at hitting for power, with a 105.4 max exit velocity and .089 ISO through 324 PA. You can trust him to carry you in batting average and score a lot of runs, and you can forget about HR and RBI.
The swing category is steals. If Madrigal doesn’t run, he’ll be an exceedingly boring two-category player, but even 10-15 bags could make him a worthy fantasy starter at 2B. He put up good SB numbers in the minors, but so far he’s just 3-for-6 on steal attempts in MLB. He’s coming off a season-ending hamstring injury, and his 75th percentile sprint speed is good but not great. On the bright side, the White Sox often batted him ninth and aren’t very aggressive on the basepaths, so his trade last season to their northern neighbors can only help. (Ben Sanders)
18. Kolten Wong, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 19)
Wong was a different hitter in his first season in Milwaukee. He ditched the patient approach the Cardinals encouraged, added a leg kick and went after pitches earlier in the count. The result was 14 home runs in just 116 games and a .447 slugging percentage, both career bests. His walk and strikeout rates suffered a little, but the trade-off made his game more fantasy friendly.
It’s too bad Wong didn’t make these changes before he turned 30. He’s been a good base stealer throughout his career and had 12 thefts last season, but his sprint speed was just 43rd percentile in the league per Statcast. If he stops running, he’ll go back to being a bit dull for roto purposes even with the added power. Ideally the next couple years will be a sweet spot where he produces 15-plus homers and steals, scores a bunch of runs atop the Brewers lineup, and is a reliable fantasy starter at the keystone. (Ben Sanders)
19. Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 26)
I claimed in our bold predictions roundtable last spring that Rodgers would be a top-five fantasy 2B. My chances of being right were gone the day after the article published, when the hamstring injury I dismissed as minor turned out to be anything but. Hey, I’m not a doctor. Maybe if I were, I’d be more cautious about this guy’s upside, as his injury history is not great.
But there is upside. Rodgers is a former third overall pick and top prospect with big power. His minor league numbers were impressive for the most part, and he had a solid 2021 season, slashing .284/.328/.470. He also gets to play his home games at Coors Field… which was somehow a bad thing last season. His OPS was 150 points higher on the road, and he hit just three of his 15 homers in Colorado. If he stays healthy and starts taking advantage of the thin mountain air, Rodgers should produce big numbers. (Ben Sanders)
20. Jeff McNeil, New York Mets (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 52 at OF)
McNeil’s future with the Mets is murky after they made a flurry of offseason moves before the lockout. That’s partly his own fault, as his .251/.319/.360 line didn’t do much for his job security. He’s been mentioned in trade rumors, and if he does stick with the Mets, it’s likely to be in a utility role.
McNeil hit comfortably over .300 with an OBP in the .380s in each of his first three MLB seasons. There’s value in that, although the lack of power or speed doesn’t leave much room for error. The 23 homers he hit in 2019 will probably end up his career high, although perhaps a more power-friendly park could help. McNeil is still a good hitter but he comes with more question marks than he did a year ago. (Ben Sanders)
21. Michael Busch, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 24)
In 2020, Michael Busch rose up prospect rankings on the back of bullish alternate site scouting reports. In 2021, he poured a bit of cold water on the 2020 buzz, striking out considerably more than expected. Still, the scouting reports remain strong, and his 2021 numbers suggest he should stick as an above average bat in the major leagues, with patience and 25 home run power, but an upper 20s K% and few stolen bases. He’ll need to either trim the Ks or untap a new level of power to raise his ceiling further. (Jordan Rosenblum)
22. Abraham Toro, Seattle Mariners (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 36 at 3B)
Mid-way through 2021, Houston shipped out Abraham Toro in what immediately looked like a big win for Seattle. Toro had destroyed Triple-A pitching earlier in the year, improving upon his long minor league track record of success. Before landing in Seattle, he had struggled in a small sample of MLB plate appearances. In Seattle, he slashed his K% while improving his BB%, barrel %, and hard hit %, soaring up dynasty rankings. He only hit for a 99 wRC+ in Seattle thanks to an unlucky BABIP, but dynasty leaguers and projection systems were smart to notice his skill improvements. I have his 2021 predictive wOBA, which only accounts for his K%, BB%, and barrel rate, at .345, well ahead of his .303 wOBA (this simple model has been shown to maximize predictiveness, a testament to the magical barrel %). He is entering his prime and should continue to hit, offering a good balance of patience, power, and contact skills, and he steals bases at a league average rate. (Jordan Rosenblum)
23. Jean Segura, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 36 at SS)
Jean Segura will give you a strong batting average driven by superior contact skills, as well as 15-ish homers and 10-ish steals annually. He’ll lead off for the Phillies in 2022, giving him a chance to rack up the counting stats. Dual 2B/3B eligibility is an added bonus. Segura is a reliable, low-upside option at the keystone. (Jordan Rosenblum)
24. Adam Frazier, Seattle Mariners, (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 52)
Adam Frazier is basically replacement-level defined in a 15-team context. Expect about 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases with a solid batting average driven by strong contact skills. He will likely hit near the top of the lineup in Seattle, giving him a chance to rack up solid counting stats. (Jordan Rosenblum)
25. Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cub (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 17)
Nico Hoerner pairs strong contact skills with minimal power and solid speed: expect 10-ish home runs and 10 to 15 stolen bases annually. He should play every day in Chicago and will offer dual 2B/SS eligibility in 2022 and perhaps beyond. He hasn’t yet entered his prime and could add a bit of pop as he ages. Even without added pop, he should be a safe low-end middle infielder in a 15-team context for years to come. (Jordan Rosenblum)
26. Xavier Edwards, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 18)
I project Xavier Edwards to walk as much as he strikes out, a rare feat that only a handful of prospects accomplish. He also offers elite speed and should push 25 stolen bases annually at peak. A total lack of power highlighted by a single career MILB home run limits his overall upside, but FanGraphs 40 future raw power grade hints at an achievable 5 to 10 homers at peak. Given his extreme speed, one can dream on him getting more aggressive on the base paths, but this is more wishful thinking than something you can confidently rely upon. Still, 5 to 10 homers, 20 to 25 stolen bases, and excellent K% and BB% rates gives him more upside than a handful of the players ahead of him. He should start 2022 in Triple-A. (Jordan Rosenblum)
27. Otto Lopez, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
Otto Lopez offers an under-the-radar, modest blend of speed, pop, patience, and contact ability. I project him for 11 home runs, 16 stolen bases, an 8% walk rate, and a 16% strikeout rate at peak. Versatility—he played all over the place in 2021—should keep his bat in the lineup during his prime years. He could even get a chance at significant playing time in 2022 if the Blue Jays don’t sign someone, as the underwhelming Santiago Espinal is currently a projected starter in the infield. (Jordan Rosenblum)
28. David Fletcher, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 38 at SS)
David Fletcher will give you a solid batting average, 10 to 15 stolen bases, very little power, and weak counting stats likely batting near the bottom of the lineup. Like Frazier a few spots earlier, he is replacement-level defined in a medium-depth context. Strong defense should keep his bat in the lineup every day, giving him more value in deeper leagues. (Jordan Rosenblum)
29. Justin Foscue, Texas Rangers (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 39)
Texas’ 2021 first round pick was touted more for his contact than power coming out of college. He flipped the script in his professional debut in 2021, hitting for massive power with a higher-than-expected K%. I have his peak major league translation for his 2021 minor league performance at 8% BB, 28% K and a whopping .309 isolated power in 267 PA across High-A and Double-A (translations take a minor league performance and ‘translate’ it to its equivalent peak major league performance). While this isn’t what folks expected, we should be happy to take the extra strikeouts if it comes with power like this. He offers far more upside than your typical 29th ranked 2B. (Jordan Rosenblum)
30. Oswaldo Cabrera, New York Yankees (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
Oswaldo Cabrera had a breakout 2021, playing all over the infield and earning a promotion from Double-A to Triple-A at season’s end. My peak major league translation for his performance is exciting at .240/.299/.472, with 8% BB, 25% K, and 15 stolen bases per 600 PA. He has middling power grades and was significantly worse earlier in his career, however, and he never ran very much pre-2021, so significant regression is a reasonable expectation—if he were judged on 2021 performance alone, he probably ought to be ranked significantly higher. I’m comfortable with my peak projection for him: slightly below average K% and BB%, mid-20s home runs, and about 10 stolen bases. (Jordan Rosenblum)