2021 Fantasy Baseball Second Base Preview: Sleepers, Breakouts, Busts, top prospects, rankings and more

Reports surfaced recently that MLB is changing the composition of the ball used in play, with the intended effect of deadening a ball that has soared out of the park at record numbers in recent years. The impact may not be massive, but small differences can make a significant impact for Fantasy value, and that might be more true of second base than any other position. Because second base might be the single position that has benefited most from the power surge. 

Second base was long the weakest non-catcher position in Fantasy, but the emergence of more power hitters has helped flatten the differences. In 2019, four second-base eligible players hit at least 30 homers, and seven more had at least 20; in 2018, there were zero 30-homer guys at the position and only seven reached 20.

All of a sudden, guys who were maxing out in the mid-teens in homers like DJ LeMahieu and Ketel Marte were elite Fantasy options with homer totals in the mid-to-high 20s. It’s not that LeMahieu, Marte, and the rest were suddenly bulking up and muscling more balls out of the park; their balls were just traveling further. Second base has no shortage of strong contact hitters who have benefited from that change, but if the ball is even just a little less bouncy, we could see those homers turning into doubles or even harmless fly outs.

LeMahieu had the third-lowest average home run distance in baseball in 2020, and Cavan Biggio was 10th. We’re talking about pretty fringey power here, is the point, and Scott White mentioned both players as two of the five hitters who could have the biggest change in value as a result of the ball change, but they won’t be alone. If there’s a change in the offensive environment that leads to less power, second base could be hit hard. It’s all largely speculative, but it’s something to keep in mind as you prep for the season. 

  • Position Previews: C | 1B

2021 Draft Prep

Second Base Preview

2021 Draft Prep

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2021 Draft Prep

Second Base Sleeper, Breakout, & Bust

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2020 Draft Prep

Second base Top Prospects

Age (on opening day): 24
Where he played in 2019: high Class A, Double-A, Triple-A
2019 minors: .311 BA (473 AB), 4 HR, 35 SB, .792 OPS, 44 BB, 16 K
2020 majors: .340 BA (103 AB), 3 2B, 2 SB, .745 OPS, 4 BB, 7 K 
Madrigal’s contact skills are unmatched among prospects and will ultimately be his carrying tool even if the White Sox free him up to run more. This ranking presumes that they do, which would make him an exciting Rotisserie target, but if not, his lack of power puts his upside somewhere in the
David Fletcher range.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: pencil him in

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2019: high Class A, Double-A
2019 minors: .277 BA (429 AB), 4 HR, 48 SB, .735 OPS, 37 BB, 61 K 
Brujan is kind of the go-to prospect for stolen bases, which are normally difficult to project for a minor-leaguer, but his 80-grade speed makes them a foregone conclusion. A switch-hitter who mostly aims to put the ball in play, Brujan has shown enough pop from the left side of the plate to make a Rafael Furcal-like 15-homer ceiling possible.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: midseason hopeful  

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2019: Double-A
2019 minors: .220 BA (395 AB), 21 HR, 16 SB, .761 OPS, 52 BB, 147 K
2020 majors: .161 BA (56 AB), 2 HR, 2 SB, .563 OPS, 5 BB, 19 K  
Chisholm is the ultimate boom-or-bust prospect, and the Marlins didn’t do him any favors by rushing him to the big leagues to provide a playoff spark. He may never develop an approach that allows him to get the most out of his tools, but if he does, his power/speed combo is exactly the kind that Rotisserie players long for.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: fighting this spring  

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2019: low Class A, high Class A
2019 minors: .322 BA (503 AB), 1 HR, 34 SB, .771 OPS, 44 BB, 54 K 
Having come over from the Padres in the Tommy Pham deal last year, Edwards is so much of a Vidal Brujan redundancy that it’s unlikely the Rays commit to both. But provided he plays enough, whether in Tampa Bay or elsewhere, he could win you the stolen base category while also reaching base at a good clip.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: midseason hopeful

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2019: Rookie, low Class A
2019 minors: .125 BA (24 AB), .496 OPS, 7 BB, 5 K 
Busch is exactly the sort of player Billy Beane would have gone after in Moneyball, not really caring how his glove played as long as he got on base. Changing priorities make Busch less of a shoo-in, but if all breaks right, he gives the Dodgers another Max Muncy in waiting.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: midseason hopeful  

So which 2021 Fantasy baseball sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy baseball rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Will Smith’s huge breakout last season, and find out.

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