TDG’S 2024 TOP 50 CONSENSUS SECOND BASEMEN: #1-#10
Here are our 2024 Consensus #1-#10 Second Basemen!!
In the shadow of greats like Joe Morgan, Rogers Hornsby, and Jackie Robinson, these ten are the cream of the crop at the keystone. For dynasty managers lucky enough to roster them, these guys bring it each night and can be counted on to be major contributors for years to come.
Mookie Betts is as consistently elite as it comes and the Dodgers have announced that he will be their everyday second baseman in 2024. Over his ten seasons in the league, only once has his wRC+ fallen below 120 (107 in 2017). Coming off his finest season since 2018, Betts delivered with a career-high in homers (39) and walk rate (13.9%), scored 126 runs, knocked in 107, and swiped 14 bags. He ended up as the fourth best player on Razzball’s player rater and was the MVP runner up. Mookie’s Statcast page tells us that he consistently hit the ball harder than ever (92.4 mph) at a higher launch angle than ever (20.6). The ingredients are there for another dominant season in 2024, especially with Shohei Ohtani joining the Dodgers lineup. We may not get another season of career-highs (he is 31 years old after all), but Mookie is as sure a bet as it comes to anchor dynasty managers’ lineups at the position.
Unlike Mookie, Ozzie Albies is just beginning the prime of his career. After an injury-riddled 2022, Albies used 2023 to show dynasty managers how good he can be. Albies had the best season of his career with 33 homers (career-high), 96 runs, 109 RBI (career-high), 13 stolen bases, and triple-slashed .280/.336/.513. The one knock on Albies is that he does not get on base at a high clip (7.0% walk rate). Albies will make up for that deficiency with RBI, hitting behind Ronald Acuña, Jr., who basically lives on second base. For me, the barometer for Albies is his Max EV–if he can hit a ball over 109 MPH, then we are in store for a strong season. At 27 years old and a switch hitter, Albies is poised to be a consistent, five-category contributor for dynasty managers.
Marcus Semien continues to rack up strong numbers and at 33 years old, he should continue to lead off for a Rangers offense that is poised to be one of the best in the league. In 2023 (and for that matter, 2021 and 2022), leading off has resulted in Semien leading all of baseball in plate appearances while producing a triple-slash of .276/.348/.478. When reviewing his counting stats, among all qualified players with second base as their primary position, he was second in runs (122), third in homers (29), third in RBI (100), and 9th in steals (14). Overall, he ended up 13th on Razzball’s player rater. Outside of a slow start to 2022 after signing his big contract with the Rangers, Semien has been consistently excellent over the past few years. I see no reason for this run to end any time soon, especially while Semien has strong plate discipline metrics (87th percentile in Chase %, 90th percentile in Whiff %, 91st percentile in K %, and 64th percentile in BB %). Dynasty managers should continue to love the volume that Semien produces at the keystone for next season and beyond.
Over the past couple of seasons, dynasty managers have seen who the real Gleyber Torres is and at age 27, he is rock solid. After teasing us in 2019 with a 38-homer season, he eventually leveled off around 25 homers, which in 2023, was tied for the fifth-highest total among second basemen. Torres has also consistently produced 10-15 stolen bases over the past few seasons, which seems repeatable. Torres did take a step forward last year in his plate disciple metrics; he increased his walk rate by about three ticks and decreased his strikeout rate by eight percent. Assuming Torres produces another season of 25/10, I think we can see a nice boost in his counting stats next year with the addition of Juan Soto to the Bombers lineup. Roster Resource has him batting 5th, which should produce ample RBI opportunities (he only had 68 RBI last year), even if it results in a small decrease in runs scored (he ended up with 90 last year). An end-of-season line of 85 runs, 25 homers, 85 RBI, and 10 stolen bases would be a huge season for dynasty managers and it feels very much in play, and if Soto resigns with the Yankees, then you could pencil those numbers in for years to come.
Jose Altuve just keeps on producing. After recovering from a broken thumb suffered during the World Baseball Classic, the diminutive superstar had another stellar year in 2023 when he put up a triple-slash of .311/.393/.522 with 17 homers and 14 stolen bases in 90 games. Altuve’s consistency is remarkable; since 2014 he has put up a wRC+ of 124 higher in every season but one. When looking at his Statcast page, I have two takeaways. First, his 154 wRC+ in 2023 may have been a bit lucky as his Statcast measures appear more in line with 2021 and 2015 (where he produced wRC+s in the 120s) than 2022 and 2017 (where he produced wRC+s in the 160s). Secondly, Altuve still has elite plate discipline and still crushes fastballs. To me, even if he is more of a 130 wRC+ player for the next few seasons, Altuve will produce strong results for dynasty managers as long as he is crushing fastballs, avoiding whiffs, and taking his fair share of walks.
The new kid on the block, Matt McLain, made a strong impression on our rankers in the 2023 season. A first-round pick in 2021, McLain began 2023 in Triple-A where he obliterated the league to the tune of a 184 wRC+ over forty games with 12 homers and 10 steals while walking nearly as much as he struck out. McLain made his Reds debut on May 15, 2023 and was the National League Player of the Week just two weeks later. Over his 89 games in the majors, McLain had 65 runs, 16 homers, 50 RBI, and 14 SB en route to a fifth-place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting. The one concern for McLain is that he struck out 28.5% of the time. I do think we will see some improvement because he has improved his strikeout rate in the past; in 2021, he struck out a similar rate in Double-A before improving significantly in Triple-A in 2022. In today’s game, a mid-20’s strikeout rate is passable, especially when playing half of your games in the Great American Ballpark. McLain is set up to succeed for the long run in that park and as long as his ISO stays about .200 and he steals 15+ bags, the youngin’ will outlast the vets who outranked him this year and should rise steadily toward the top of this list.
Ketel Marte reminded our rankers of the type of hitter he is when right–he played 150 games and scored 94 runs, hit 25 homers, knocked in 82, and stole 8 bases. Health issues and consistency plagued Marte over the years, so during the offseason leading into 2023, he worked on getting his body back to where it was in 2019. For those who need a reminder, Marte was 4th in the MVP voting in 2019. In 2023, he hit almost exclusively first or second for a young DBacks team, allowing Marte to rack up counting stats. And let’s not forget that he has always hit the snot out of the ball (90th percentile or higher in Max EV every season since 2016), which means that as long as he barreling up the ball, he will get his power numbers. Being a foundational piece of a team with championship aspirations, Marte is positioned to remain a steady producer for dynasty managers as long as he stays on the field.
Nico Hoerner’s 2023 provided a glimpse of the type of player that dynasty managers can hope for over a full season. In his biggest season yet, over 688 plate appearances, he scored 98 runs and stole 43 bases, while chipping in 9 homers. He also had a triple-slash of .283/.346/.383. Hoerner spent the season batting first or second for the resurgent Cubs, giving him a chance to really rack up counting stats. And the speed is elite with Hoerner stealing the fifth most bags in the majors. At 26 years old, dynasty managers can count on years of three-category production from Hoerner, and know that he is not a complete dud in the power department (upside of 10 home runs a year).
Ha-Seong Kim arrived in 2023. In his third year in the league, Kim rewarded dynasty managers who were patient enough to hold during his rookie and sophomore seasons. Kim hit 17 homers and stole 38 bases. To me, the biggest sign of comfort for Kim is that his walk rate hit 12%, which is where it was during his final season in the KBO. I do have some concerns about his homer total moving forward. Looking at Kim’s Statcast page, if he had played at a less hitter-friendly park, his total could have been as low as 5 home runs (Camden Yards). Kim is signed through 2024 (with a 2025 mutual option), so there is a risk that he will move to a worse home park, which could bring his homer total down. Even if that does happen, similar to Hoerner, Kim should be an elite three-category producer, assuming his plate-discipline gains stick.
Andrés Giménez took a bit of a step back in 2023 after his breakout 2022. Giménez was still a strong producer with 15 homers and 30 stolen bases, but he dropped nearly 60 points in on-base percentage. He also took a step back in nearly every Statcast measure except the Whiff% and K%. For dynasty managers, 2023 may be the floor of what to expect from Giménez, but at second base, that is still a valuable player. With his defense, you can expect Giménez to get his at-bats. At 25, Giménez has yet to hit his prime, so I would bet on him producing somewhere between his 2022 breakout and his 2023 floor, and that is a player who can still be a solid contributor for dynasty managers.