THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2023 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 players ranked #11-30.
11. Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 15 OF)
Volatility, thy name is Ketel Marte. Marte has moved up and down the ranking lists and was one of the more hotly debated players for these rankings. The volatility in his ranking is directly correlated with his unpredictable production. In 2019 and 2021, he put up very impressive numbers, especially in the lively ball year of 2019. In each of those years, he benefited from an extraordinarily high BABIP (.342 and .352), which is not sustainable. His stat lines will be better than this past year when he hit .240/.321/.407, but he doesn’t project to reach 2019 levels again.
Marte’s contact rates are consistently high, and over the next few years as his BABIP regresses to the mean, he’ll settle in at .270 BA/.340 OBP and 15 to 18 home runs. The Arizona lineup is getting an injection of talent, which will give Marte the opportunity for more runs, more RBI, and more at-bats if he stays at the top of the lineup. He remains a solid choice for the position while you wait for the prospects on your roster to make it to the majors. Marte only offers second base eligibility this year, and with the crowded outfield in Arizona, he is not likely to get outfield eligibility back. (Drew Klein)
12. Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 4)
Jonathan India hit everyone’s prospect radar in 2018, his junior year at Florida when he hit .350 with 21 home runs. Over the next two years, he slid down the ranking lists, hitting .240 in rookie ball and Low-A in 2018, and .259 across two levels in 2019. How does this player become NL Rookie of the Year in 2021? Health. In 2019 he was battling a wrist injury and actually hit .270 in Double-A in the last half of the year. The power didn’t return right away, but it rarely does with wrist and hand injuries. Much of 2022 was lost to injury due to a hit by pitch, significantly not a recurrence of the wrist injury, and reports from the Reds are that he’s moving very well and will be fully healthy and playing second base. I acknowledge that the numbers show a swinging strike issue with an overall contact percentage of 78% as a major leaguer, but in-zone contact is 87.6%. With age comes discipline; I project he’ll swing less at pitches out of the zone and give you .270 with 20+ home runs, especially in the Great American Ballpark. (Drew Klein)
13. Luis Arraez, Miami Marlins (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 31 at 3B)
Before discussing his productivity, I want to take a moment to highlight Arraez’s position eligibility. In 2023, he’ll provide eligibility at first base, second base, and outfield, and with the return of Carlos Correa, he won’t be adding shortstop to that list (and he won’t be doing it in the cold of Minnesota, either, as the Marlins acquired him last week). Arraez is a “roster construction” player in fantasy baseball. He will provide a significant boost to your BA and OBP, and is a great player to have if you are filling some other spots with power hitters who sacrifice those categories. He puts the ball in play, and even when he swings at balls out of the zone, he makes contact 89% of the time, and his overall contact rate is over 92% for his career. If you need power or stolen bases from this position, look elsewhere, but if your roster needs BA/OBP and runs, Arraez is your guy. (Drew Klein)
14. Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins(Age: 29, Previous Rank: 10)
The first thing that comes to mind is, “How is he only 29 years old? He’s been around forever!” He debuted as a 20-year-old in 2014, so while that’s not forever, he’s been around a while. I took a look in the archives to refresh myself on what we’ve said about him over the years. In 2017 he was (still) a “diamond in the rough” and in 2018 he was “the forgotten Twin.” Looking forward, he remains difficult to define. Before his season was derailed by a knee injury last year, he was having the worst production of his career, batting .235 with a 21.3% K rate. Interestingly enough, along with that increase in strikeouts, his walk percentage doubled (14.4% compared to 7% in ‘21). He did swing at fewer pitches out of the zone, but his contact percentage on those pitches also went down; I cannot find a statistical reason for that increase in walks. That means I don’t think the increased OBP is sustainable. My advice is not to overpay for the career year he had in 2021 and keep an eye on that injured knee. (Drew Klein)
15. Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 8)
The ugly fact about Jake Cronenworth’s fantasy value is that there has been a steady decline in his statistics since his major league debut in 2020. Batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging average have all declined, and the 2022 slash line of .239/.332/.390 is not going to help many lineups. Not only did his contact percentage fall to 84%, creating that increase in K rate to 19%, but he also hit more fly balls (47.7%) with career lows in home runs to fly ball percentage and barrel percentage. In short, it may be time to move on from Cronenworth. Maybe Tampa Bay knew what they were doing when they traded him in 2019. (Drew Klein)
16. Jeff McNeil, New York Mets (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 20)
Jeff McNeil led the National League in batting average last year. I wish I could stop there, because I really respect that fact, however, I’m writing about dynasty fantasy baseball, and McNeil doesn’t help us much there. He puts the ball in play, softly, and 89% of his hits were singles. He has a career 43% ground ball rate with a hard hit rate under 25%. Last year’s BABIP of .353 is not sustainable, he’ll provide fewer than ten home runs and less than five stolen bases. His contact rate indicates that he’ll still be a .275 to .285 hitter going forward and therefore can support your BA or OBP, and as long as he’s in the Mets lineup he’ll be a source of runs, but that’s tenuous. (Drew Klein)
17. Termarr Johnson, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)
As soon as he was drafted, Termarr Johnson became the Pirates’ top prospect. He’s likely to move quickly through the system as he`s shown he’s capable of leveling up. He got off to a slow start in rookie ball, but that’s a very small sample size and the scouts weren’t worried by anything they saw. MLB scouting grades Johnson with a 70-grade hit tool and 60-grade power. Johnson barrels the ball with elite bat speed. If you watch some of the videos of his at-bats, you’ll see that his bat speed allows him to wait on pitches, and as a result, he’s less likely to be fooled on off-speed and breaking balls. He possesses decent game speed but won’t steal many bases. As he ages and gets closer to the majors, he’ll rise up this list quickly. (Drew Klein)
18. Gavin Lux, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 17 at SS)
I learned a lot about playing dynasty leagues from Gavin Lux. I started in 2015, and in 2016 I drafted Lux in my first FYPD. I held on tight to Lux, though many trade offers came in. In 2019, I thought I had made the right decision, as he hit 28 home runs across three levels, including two in the majors, with a slash line of .347/.421/.607. But now I wonder if I could go back and talk to myself in 2019, would I tell myself “stock up on toilet paper,” or “trade Gavin Lux at peak value?” He’s very patient at the plate, which provides a double-digit walk percentage but also a 20% strikeout percentage which is too high for a player who isn’t providing power. The potential may be there for a breakout, but I don’t see any metrics that indicate it’s likely. (Drew Klein)
19. Connor Norby, Team (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 42)
When Connor Norby came out of college, nobody doubted his hit tool. He possessed excellent bat-to-ball skills and twice hit over .400 in college. However, any reference to power in those scouting reports projected that doubles in the gap would be what his line drives would provide. Norby’s rise in the rankings, and through the Orioles’ system, is due to the fact that he was able to tap into his power last year. In 252 at-bats at Double-A Bowie, he had a slash line of .298/.389/.571 with 17 home runs. In three levels last year, including nine games at Triple-A, he hit 29 home runs which were tops in the Orioles organization.
His defense is average, but that shouldn’t keep him from the starting job in the long run. The Orioles may not be done making moves and it’s unsure if Norby will be in the Opening Day lineup, but Adam Frazier shouldn’t block him for too long. If the power’s real, Norby will be a valuable dynasty asset. (Drew Klein)
20. Thairo Estrada, San Francisco Giants (Age: 27, Previous Rank: NR)
Estrada was signed by the Yankees as a teenager and spent seven years slowly working his way up their system before making his debut in 2019. In 2021 he was traded to the Giants and has developed as a useful utility infielder who may also get outfield eligibility. He’s a ground ball hitter and has good contact skills, with a little bit of pop in his bat which may peak at double-digit home runs. The most intriguing aspect of his profile is that he stole 21 bases last year. With the rule changes and hitting on the top of the Giant’s lineup, he projects to be a good source of steals, but not much else. Roster him for now, but I’m sure the prospects behind him on this list will be moving past him soon. (Drew Klein)
21. Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 19)
Rodgers had been a prospect forever, at least it seemed that way, doesn’t it? Well, he finally got a full-time job with the big-league club, after spending parts of 2018, 2019, and 2021 between Triple-A and the bigs. Though, when finally got a full season of plate appearances (581), he did not do much with it. Ending as the 112th hitter on the 2022 Razzball Player Rater; Rodgers produced 13 home runs, no steals, 155 Runs + RBI, and a slash line of .266/.325/.408. That didn’t do much to move the needle, and now we find him ranked here. The bright spots of 2022 were his excellent 17.4% strikeout rate and 7.9% walk rate, which makes him a bit more valuable in OBP leagues (although we rank for OBP leagues, and he’s still here at 21st, so take that as you will). His baseball savant page shows more red than blue, so there is a possibility he under-performed a bit last season; but can we expect that much more? If you are, then this ranking is low, and you may find some value in your leagues.
The Rockies hit Rodgers in between the 2nd and 6th spots in the lineup all season long, and he saw the most at-bats from the 5th and 3rd spots in the lineup, so the team obviously sees him as one of their better hitters (though that says more about the state of the Rockies lineup than Rodgers skill). Rodgers has hit lefties much better throughout his career, so a platoon is quite possible as well. If I was in a startup, Rodgers would be a solid, albeit unspectacular, MI, but I would be hesitant to make him my starting 2B. (Phil Barrington)
22. Bryson Stott, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 31 at SS)
The former first-round pick (14th overall), Stott went from Single-A to Triple-A in 2021 and lasted all of ten games at Triple-A in 2022 before spending the rest of the season in Philadelphia. While not the most exciting or productive rookie year, there were still some bright spots. He struck out only 19.1% of the time, lower than his career minor league amount, and still went 19/12 in 466 Plate appearances. The bad was a batting average of .234; however, that came with a BABIP of .274, which is well below his minor league average of over .350. Stott also walked at a 7.7% rate, well below his rate in the minors. An extreme pull hitter in 2022 (his ten homers in 2022 were all to right field); he hit lefties better than righties in 2022, which bodes well for avoiding a platoon.
Stott will move over to second base with Trea Turner taking over shortstop for the next decade. A stacked Phillies lineup for the foreseeable future will move Stott to the bottom of the order, which will affect his Runs and RBI opportunities. If he can go 15/15 with 150+ Runs + RBI and improve his slash line, there is value to a fantasy league team. If he can’t, then he’s waiver-wire fodder. It’s a thin line, for sure. (Phil Barrington)
23. Nolan Gorman, St Louis Cardinals (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 13)
The lefty slugger coming straight outta Phoenix made his major league debut last season, appearing in 89 games for the Cardinals; 14 home runs were the highlight while a .226 batting average was the lowlight. He was originally going to be the Card’s third baseman of the future, but then Nolan Arenado came to town, and over to second base it was. The Cardinals played him at second base almost exclusively (one game in left field and 16 games as a DH notwithstanding.) The team gave him all he could handle as well, batting him most often out of the two and five holes. Those two things tell us the Cardinals believe in him.
Now 2022 didn’t end on the best note; Gorman struggled through early September and was sent down on September 19th, though he rejoined the team for the playoffs, gaining one at-bat (a hit). Strikeouts are always going to be an issue with Gorman (32.9% K rate in 2022; 27.9% in his minor league career) but so is big-time power. As such, there are two ways to look at Gorman long-term. Is he going to hit enough home runs (and thus more RBI and higher OPS) to be a top-five second baseman at his peak; or is he going to strike out too often and the Cardinals are going to move him to a bench role? Gorman will turn 23 in May, so there is still plenty of time to figure it out, though the Cardinals do have other options if the bad September of 2022 carries over into 2023. He really didn’t warrant the drop of ten spots on our list, and I would be looking to buy this offseason to capitalize on his rough end to 2022. (Phil Barrington)
24. Jean Segura, Miami Marlins (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 23)
Segura signed a two-year deal (with a third-year team option) with the Marlins and they have him penciled in at third base for the upcoming season. Thus he will only qualify for second base going into 2023 (in prior years he also held SS eligibility) but will look to add 3B early on in the season if the Marlins hold to their December plans. Truth be told, Segura has been slightly above average for the last six years, going back to 2017 (with a wRC+ average of 105).
He is a 10/10 guy with a possibility of a little more; the batting average and OBP are where he can provide a bit more value, but still, that’s only one category. Segura’s name recognition has outweighed his actual value in fantasy, so I would put him on the block if you have him, and see if you can net a decent draft pick or minor-league player from another manager who still believes he’s the Segura from 2016. (Phil Barrington)
25. Nick Yorke, Boston Red Sox (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 9)
Astute fantasy managers knew to add Yorke to their teams during First-Year Player Drafts in 2021; and he proved those clever managers right, in 2021, between Single-A and High-A, Yorke hit fourteen homers in 378 at-bats slashing a promising .325/.412/.516. He moved up the Red Sox prospect list, and onto the top 100 industry lists (and the top 50 on many). It was clear, the guy can hit. 2022 looked promising, as Yorke returned to High-A Greenville.
Unfortunately, 2022 didn’t go as planned, as he skidded to a .231/.303/.365 slash line; a bright spot was 11 home runs, but a wrist injury may have contributed to the subpar showing. Some of the shine has worn off of Yorke, and many prospect lists will drop him out of the top 100. But trust the skills here; Boston sent him to the Arizona Fall League, where Yorke was healthy and, in 76 at-bats, hit a couple of home runs, slashed a fine .342/.424/.526, and had just 16 strikeouts compared to 12 walks. How quickly prospects can fall, I guess, but I think this one is a bit premature. A perfect buy-low opportunity in the making so do what you have to do. (Phil Barrington)
26. Kolten Wong, Seattle Mariners (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 18)
Is it just me, or does it feel like Wong has been around forever? He made his big league debut in 2013, and Covid 2020 has messed up time before that, so maybe it just feels like he’s been around since 2000. In any event, Wong has had two straight productive seasons in Milwaukee, and that led the Mariners to acquire him in a deal for Jesse Winkler and Abraham Toro. Wong chose the nickname “the Pebble,” for himself and the story goes: he was trying to convince Hunter Pence to join the Cardinals, and he said, “I know you know the Rock, but come to St. Louis and you can play with the Pebble.” A nice story, no?
By this point, we know what we (should) get out of Wong; 15/15 with a .265/.340/.435 slash, and depending on where the Mariners bat him in the lineup, either Runs or RBI in bunches. A big-time pull hitter, all 15 of his 2022 homers were to right field. For a couple more seasons we should expect this kind of production, and that has value on a dynasty league team…just not that much. This off-season I would hold Wong (lol) unless a Mariners fan comes knocking with an overpay. (Phil Barrington)
27. Edouard Julien, Minnesota Twins (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 76)
Found on exactly one top prospect list from last season (ranked #335 by FantasyPros) of the 13 I track; 2019, 18th round pick from Auburn had a coming out party playing for the Double-A Wichita Wind Surge. If you ever drive through Kansas, you may note that it is strange that they have gates to actually prevent people from going on the highway when Tornadoes are nearby. After living in earthquake country, I’ll surely take those over tornadoes every time.
Anyway, Julien is firmly on the prospect radar now, after 2022 which saw him accumulate 508 plate appearances, hitting 17 home runs with 19 steals and slashing a robust .300/.441/.490. Julien did even better in the AFL, hitting .400 with an OPS of 1.248 with five homers in 96 plate appearances. This all came with a 19% walk rate. Assuming that the Twins will start him in Triple-A to begin 2023; they will find a place for him if he performs, as they added him to their 40-man Roster this off-season. The left-handed hitting Julien played exclusively at second base in 2022 (and saw time at DH), and, while his arrow is definitely pointing upward, there may be a small window to buy yet. (Phil Barrington)
28. Michael Busch, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 21)
Busch has climbed prospect lists slowly, cracking the top 100 prior to last season on the 13 lists I track. He started 2022 at Double-A and was promoted to Triple-A after 31 games appearing in 111 for the Triple-A. In last year’s write-up, our own Jordan Rosenblum had this to say about the future outlook for Busch, “He’ll need to either trim the Ks or tap into a new level of power to raise his ceiling further.” Well, he didn’t cut his strikeouts (26% was the same as in 2021), but he did add some power, hitting 31 home runs across the two levels with a .881 OPS and a respectable .274 batting average. In a less talented organization, Busch probably has already made his big-league debut.
The left-handed hitting Busch is not a good fielder, but the Dodgers are keeping him at second base (for now), and he may very well be their DH of the future (though JD Martinez may take most of the DH at-bats in 2023). It’s wise to bet on a good hitter, and Busch is that. It would be prudent to check in to see if prospect fatigue has caught up with his current manager, and if so, pounce. (Phil Barrington)
29. Jon Berti, Miami Marlins (Age: 33, Previous Rank: Unranked)
Your 2022 MLB stolen base leader (with 41), Berti stole more bases than his total stolen bases over his MLB career through 2021. Needless to say, it kind of came out of nowhere, as Berti didn’t debut until 2018 (his age-28 season), and then looked like a utility guy. In 2022 he only brought stolen bases to the table for fantasy teams; though a .324 OBP with a 10% walk rate helped his managers in two categories. The biggest question with Berti going into 2023 is: can he steal 40+ bases again? (I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking). The other benefit of Berti is the multi-position eligibility. He appeared in ten or more games at second base, third base, shortstop, and outfield. Those types of guys, especially ones that steal, are pretty valuable in daily leagues as fill-ins. If you keep expectations low, then you won’t be disappointed, this is the best advice I can give in regard to Berti. (Phil Barrington)
30. Michael Massey, Kansas City Royals (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 67)
Massey has really jumped up the list; from unranked to ahead of some of the most recent top middle infielder prospects like Nick Gonzales, Vidal Brujan, Jace Jung, Justin Foscue (and more, you’ll see). Personally, I don’t buy it. Massey isn’t listed as a starter as of this writing on Roster Resource, and if he can’t beat out Nicky Lopez for the second base job in Spring Training I wouldn’t roster him. Fangraphs had him as the 18th-ranked prospect in the Royals Organization going into last season; and while he maintained above-average production in the minors, nothing really stood out about his stats. Only rostered in 64% of Fantrax leagues; I cannot with good conscience recommend drafting or adding Massey to your teams. (Phil Barrington)