Second base lacks the depth of talent available at the other positions in fantasy baseball this season. Don’t overlook these players who will quickly gain 2B-eligibility.
We have all been there. You load up on the best-available players in the first 12-15 rounds and then one-by-one, watch the players left in your queue disappear.
After the realization that the none of the second basemen you had planned to draft are still available, comes the big decision on whether you reach to grab one of the last uninspiring second basemen (looking at you Neil Walker).
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Taking a mediocre second baseman a couple of rounds earlier than his ADP feels so wrong, and then you risk missing out on drafting your favorite breakout starting pitcher.
Do you ignore the gaping void at second base on your roster and accept that you will be rolling out Howie Kendrick or Kolten Wong every week?
The following three players will not appear when you are scrolling down hunting for second basemen, but they will gain eligibility within the first couple of weeks (subject to your league’s eligibility rules).
In standard leagues, with non-customized rules, players need five games to gain eligibility in CBS leagues, 10 in ESPN and five starts (or 10 appearances) in Yahoo.
Brad Miller (SS/1B-TB)
Before last season, the former second-round pick had only hit 29 home runs over three years in the majors, with a .707 OPS, gaining him the nickname of Bad Miller. The 27-year-old emphatically broke out in 2016 with 30 home runs and 80 RBI, splitting his time between shortstop and first base.
With the Rays’ acquisition of Matt Duffy to play shortstop this season, Miller was expected to be their everyday first baseman. He was unhappy about the permanent move from the middle infield, so the trade of Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers was beneficial, opening up a path to playing time at second base.
Brian Dozier, Rougned Odor, and Robinson Cano were the only second basemen to hit more than 30 home runs last season. Miller will be a drain on your batting average, and he doesn’t get on-base, but with an ADP of 158, he looks exceptional value as, what would be, the 18th second baseman off the board.
Jose Ramirez (3B/OF-CLE)
He is another player who enjoyed a magnificent breakout season in 2016. By signing him to a long-term deal, the Indians have identified Ramirez as one of their core players of the future. The 24-year-old slashed .312/.363/.462 with 11 home runs and 22 stolen bases last season, which ranked him just ahead of roto-superstar Starling Marte on the ESPN Player Rater.
Despite the incredible strength in the top tier of third base, Ramirez finished as the eighth best third baseman last season. A phenomenal return for a player that was undrafted in most leagues.
Ramirez has an advanced approach at the plate (44 walks to 62 strikeouts), and his 88.8% contact rate is among the best in the league. These skills, coupled with his power to all fields and the speed to swipe 20+ bases, should enable the switch-hitter to continue to provide excellent fantasy value in 2017.
Brandon Drury (3B/OF)
The 13th rounder from the 2010 draft finally got his opportunity in 2016 for everyday at-bats with the Diamondbacks. The 23-year-old slashed .282/.329/.458 with 16 home runs and 53 RBI.
He finished the season red-hot with six home runs and 1.049 OPS over his last 26 games in September/October. Drury enters the 2017 season with dual-eligibility in most leagues but will quickly add to that as he has been confirmed as the starting second baseman for the Diamondbacks.
The right-hander has an ADP of 253 and is possibly the most interesting player on this list, given the patchy quality of the second basemen available at that part of the draft.
Multiple position eligibility is often an underrated quality in fantasy. There is an inevitability that players on your team will pick up injuries, so it is a distinct advantage to have the option to switch from within your own roster, rather than having to scour the waiver wire.
Unless you land Jose Altuve or Trea Turner, second base is disappointingly uninspiring this year, so remember to look out for Miller, Ramirez, and Drury in drafts.