We take a look at the second base prospects that will impact fantasy baseball leagues in 2018.
Second base in fantasy baseball this season is the weakest position behind catcher. Second base in the minors looks even less impressive.
Fortunately, there is the inevitability that several of the players listed within our shortstop prospects article will move across to second base. Until then, we only have the following players to evaluate.
Although there are many prospect lists available, as our name suggests, our interest is Just Fantasy Baseball, so the top-5 prospect list is dedicated to the players that are expected to have the biggest fantasy impact this season.
In addition, we will take a look at a few players that you need to know if you play in dynasty formats.
The second base prospect with the best production on a per game basis was the Braves’ Ozzie Albies. The 21-year-old hit six home runs with eight stolen bases in 57 games, with an impressively mature 9% walk rate and 15% strikeout rate. Unfortunately, he has lost his dual 2B/SS-eligibility, but as second base-only, he is still an enticing pick in fantasy this season.
The third prospect to lose his rookie-eligibility was Cuban Yoan Moncada who entered last season as one of the two or three best prospects in the game. He hit eight home runs with three stolen bases in 199 at-bats while striking out 32% of the time. Moncada is a lesson to the fantasy baseball world that many young hitters, no matter how impressive their Minor League credentials, need time to adjust to the majors.
These second base prospects are unlikely to have fantasy value this season but are important players to know for dynasty leagues.
Keston Hiura (2B-MIL)
The 21-year-old is one of the most intriguing prospects from the 2017 draft when the Brewers took him with the ninth overall pick. He destroyed Rookie ball and Single-A to the tune of 1.033 OPS, with easy extra-base power producing four home runs,14 doubles, seven triples in 167 at-bats. That is elite production from second base.
Unfortunately, a partially torn elbow ligament limited the right-hander to DH, and it is unclear whether his future is at second base. His fantasy value will depend upon where he plays. ETA 2019.
Isan Diaz (2B-MIA)
The Puerto Rican took a step backward after this 20 home runs and 11 stolen base season in 2016, by slashing 222/.334/.376 in High-A (110 games) with 13 home runs, 20 doubles, 59 runs, 54 RBI and nine stolen bases. The struggles were not surprising given his age, and the 21-year-old was expected to be an interesting bounce-back candidate. The opportunity to buy-low in dynasty leagues might have vanished after Diaz’s inclusion in the high-profile Christian Yelich trade threw him into the headlines. ETA 2020.
Nick Solak (2B-NYY)
The second-rounder from the 2016 draft had double-digit home runs and stolen bases in 130 games between High-A and Double-A, scoring 72 runs, 53 RBI with 63 walks to 100 strikeouts and a slash line of .297/.384/.452. The 23-year-old offers five-category production from second base. ETA 2019.
Garrett Hampson (2B-COL)
In 603 plate appearances in High-A, the 23-year-old walked 56 times to 77 strikeouts as part of .387 OBP, and he hit eight home runs with an astounding 13 triples and 24 doubles. Best of all from a fantasy point of view was the 51 stolen bases. Speed will still be in short supply when the third-rounder from the 2016 debuts next season or in 2020. Hampson is a player you need to own in dynasty leagues. ETA 2019.
Max George (2B-COL)
Colorado likes base-stealing second basemen. The 21-year-old swiped 30 bags in 40 attempts in 117 games in Single-A with 13 home runs and a .252/.344/.425 slash line. A repeat in Double-A this season will catapult the speedster to be a must-own hitter in dynasty leagues. ETA 2019.
Brandon Lowe (2B-TB)
Between High-A and Double-A, the 23-year-old slashed .298/.375/.493 with 11 home runs, 70 runs, 58 RBI and seven stolen bases with 49 walks and 91 strikeouts in 410 at-bats. Most of the production was at the lower of the two levels. If he makes adjustments this season, expect the former third-rounder to offer fantasy value as early as next season if he can squeeze into the Rays’ packed infield. ETA 2019.
Esteury Ruiz (2B-SD)
The Dominican destroyed Rookie ball with power and speed. He hit four home runs, 10 triples and 20 doubles and an eye-popping slash line of .350/.395/.602 in 52 games (225 plate appearances), and stole 26 bases. He is only 18-years-old, so he is a long way from having fantasy relevancy, but if you are in a dynasty with long-term ambitions, Ruiz needs to be owned. ETA 2021.
Shed Long (2B-CIN)
The former 12th round pick from the 2013 draft demolished High-A last season with 13 home runs and a slash line of .312/.380/.543, before struggling in Double-A with .680 OPS over 42 games.
Despite the struggles at the higher level, the 22-year-old improved his walk and strikeout rates, which along with his track record for hitting, gives optimism for his second stint at Double-A.
After this breakout last season, Scooter Gennett will be the Reds’ Opening Day starter at second base, and unless he regresses dramatically, he will hold the job all year with former top prospect Dilson Herrera riding the pine. MLB Pipeline suggests a 2018 ETA to the majors for Long, but that looks unlikely unless the Reds are decimated by injuries.
Don’t be too anxious to draft Long for 2018 fantasy impact but monitor the situation in Cincinnati. Before the season started last year, who knew that Gennett would take the second base job and run with it?
Kevin Kramer (2B-PIT)
In a Triple-A season halted in June with a broken hand, the 24-year-old slashed .297/.380/.500 with six home runs, 17 doubles, three triples, 31 runs, 27 RBI and seven stolen bases.
He added power and loft, hitting fly balls over 40% of the time compared to just 27% in 2016. The improvements point to double-digit home runs and stolen bases over the course of a full season with an excellent batting average and on-base percentage.
The second-round pick from the 2015 draft has the potential to reach the majors last in the season, or maybe earlier if he impresses in Spring Training, and the Pirates trade Josh Harrison.
Luis Urias (2B-SD)
The Mexican second baseman scored 77 runs in a full season in Double-A, with three home runs, 20 doubles, four triples, 38 RBI and seven stolen bases. The level of production was steady but unexciting from one of the hottest prospects at the position.
Urias will only be 20-years-old on Opening Day and showed impressive pitch recognition and plate discipline by walking more times than he struck out.
He does not offer much power or speed, but the Padres will utilize his on-base skills by hitting him at the top of the lineup.
San Diego is expected to give the second base job to Carlos Asuaje at the start of the season, with Cory Spangenberg also on the 25-man roster if cover is needed. Urias is the Padres’ second baseman of the future and should be up in the majors in September, if not before.
Although the right-hander does not offer the same level of fantasy potential as many other prospects, Urias’s contact skills and patience at the plate represent skills that are tough to develop. If he grows into 20-homer power as he matures, his fantasy value at second base will be tremendous.
Max Schrock (2B-STL)
The left-hander hit .321 with seven home runs, 46 RBI, 19 doubles and four stolen bases in Double-A in 2017 as he continued to display excellent hitting skills.
He was drafted by the Nationals in the 13th round of the 2015 draft and is now on the verge of breaking into the majors. Oakland will start the season with the often-injured Jed Lowrie at second base, and Chad Pinder as a utility infielder on the bench. Schrock’s jump to the majors looked imminent. And then he was traded to the Cardinals as part of the deal that sent Stephen Piscotty to Oakland.
Schrock is expected to hit in Triple-A, and his Minor League .811 OPS with only 100 strikeouts in 1219 plate appearances suggests he will be of use to the Cardinals, especially if they do not get the production they need from Kolten Wong and Jedd Gyorko.
Scott Kingery (2B-PHI)
The second-round pick from the 2015 draft broke out in 2017 propelling himself from an infielder with a mediocre appeal to a potential fantasy superstar. The number of MLB second basemen to hit 25 home runs and swipe 25 bases in the majors last year was zero. In fact, no-one, regardless of position, achieved 25/25 in the majors last season.
Kingery hit 26 home runs with 29 stolen bases with a slash line of .304/.359/.530 in 132 games between Double-A & Triple-A. The 23-year-old scored 103 runs and walked 41 times with 109 strikeouts.
Part of the reason for the breakout was the significant jump in his line drive and flyball rates. The reduction of ground balls to 32% in Double-A is an elite level.
Caution needs to be exercised when suggesting 25/25 or 20/20 potential but even though he benefited from hitter-friendly conditions in Double-A, the power/speed combination from the shallow position of second base is too good to ignore.
He is blocked in the majors by Cesar Hernandez, and there is no likely reason for the Phillies to lose faith with their Venezuelan leadoff man who has been a top-8 second baseman over the last two seasons.
The right-hander needs to be owned in all dynasty leagues, and if your bench is deep enough, consider drafting him to stash until he is called up. Talent finds a way to secure playing time, so expect Kingery to be in the majors before midseason.
QUICK FINAL TAKE
Second base is dire. Of all the positions in this series of Top-5 prospect articles, second base offers the least exciting players for fantasy in 2018. If Kingery can find a way to secure playing time for the Phillies and if he can bring his 2017 Triple-A form to the majors, then he will be a fantasy star. But they are both big ifs.