Three players (Brandon Lowe – 14/37, Keston Hiura – 13/32, and Max Muncy – 12/27) were on pace for 30 home runs last year, but Hiura (.212) and Muncy (.192) hurt fantasy teams in batting average. D.J. LeMahieu (.364/41/10/27/3) and Whit Merrifield (.282/38/9/30/12) had the best overall seasons.
In 2019, seven players hit 30 home runs or more at second base, with Gleyber Torres leading the way (.278 with 96 runs, 38 home runs, 90 RBI, and five steals).
Five players scored over 100 runs, and two players deliver over 100 RBI. D.J. LeMahieu had the best overall season at second base (.327 with 109 runs, 26 HRs, 102 RBI, and five SBs).
In 2018, no second basemen had over 100 RBI, and Ozzie Albies was the only player to score over 100 runs. Max Muncy was the only player to hit over 30 home runs.
Here's a grid showing the final stats for 2019 for the top 12 players at each position and their value ranked by SIscore (I didn't use 2020 stats due to a small sample size):
In 2019, the average of the top 12 second basemen hit .297 with 83 runs, 24 home runs, 78 RBI, and 10 stolen bases over 512 at-bats. The second base position ranked fifth in overall hitter value.
For comparison, here are the projections for the top 12 second basemen at Sports Illustrated ranked by SIscore:
The stats highlighted by the yellow line show the average projections (.283 with 92 runs, 24 home runs, 78 RBI, and 12 steals over 570 at-bats) for the top 12 second basemen in 2021.
Second Basemen Nos. 1 to 12
Here's a look at the top 12 second basemen by 2021 NFBC ADPs ( March 8th through March 15th):
A fantasy owner can find power at second base this year, but building the proper foundation of speed will take some work. Ideally, the best path to a balanced team comes from securing a minimum of 60 steals from 2B, SS, and MI.
D.J. LeMahieu has been a beast over his two seasons with the Yankees. He comes up big in the clutch while showcasing developing power to his already high batting average floor. LeMahieu gains his best edge if started at second base, but his flexibility help fantasy owners bridge some injuries.
After an injury season in 2020, Ozzie Albies should build on his progressing stats. The Braves have talent around him in the batting order. His ability to steal some bags works well for his position. At age 24, Albies tends to be overlooked as a player with stud upside.
Whit Merrifield has been impressive over the last four seasons for the Royals. His speed slipped from his peak in 2018 (45 steals), but his game projects well in the other four categories for his position. Over the last three years, Merrifield only missed four games.
With the Blue Jays adding Marcus Semien in the offseason, Cavan Biggio should slide down in the batting order. He still has the skill set to produce a 20/20 season with some batting average risk. His walk rate is elite, which creates more chances to score runs.
If Keston Hiura can cut down on his strikeout rate, he will be a steal for fantasy owners. He hits for a high average when he puts the ball in play, and his power looks to be elite for his position. It's all about team structure with him.
I haven't drafted Jose Altuve in 2021, but I expect a bounce-back this season. His value in stolen bases looks to be a wild card based on his fading total in steals. A drafter should roster with the idea of a steady four-category skill set.
Dylan Moore falls into my avoid column. I see batting average risk due to his high but improving strikeout rate. His resume is too short for me at 28 to invest in a top 10 rounds of any draft. His power/speed combination will draw attention at second base, but I sense a trap leading to job loss risk.
Second Basemen Nos. 13 to 24
The second base position has a wide range of skill sets, leading to different targets later in drafts depending on team structure. Also, there is a long list of options due to players only needing seven games to qualify in 2021 in the high-stakes market.
Nick Solak looks attractive, but many fantasy owners have a tough time pushing the submit button when his name moves to the top of the queue. His approach grades well while offering a balanced skill set. There's more here than meets the 2020 stats eye.
Nick Madrigal had left shoulder surgery last October. He made his spring training debut on March 9th, but his next start came a week later. Madrigal projects to help in batting average with sneaky speed. His bat offers no power and hole in stats in RBIs.
The Brewers expect to bat Wong in the lead-off, which works well for his ability to score runs. He'll also have the best chance of his career to be in the lineup up every day. Wong doesn't expect to have a jump in home runs, so he must steal 20+ bags to be a viable every-week starter in the fantasy market.
Gavin Lux is the breakout option at second base. His first strike is batting at the bottom of the Dodgers' lineup. The second is that Chris Taylor is going to get in his way for playing time. Los Angeles has an excellent offense, so anything he provides should be just a bonus. If the Dodgers let him develop in their starting lineup, Lux will reward fantasy owners over the second half of the season.
The speed option at second base is Garrett Hampson, but he's not a lock to have a starting job. His huddle to improve play is cutting down his strikeout rate, which was much lower in his minor league career. Finding speed in many fantasy formats is problematic. I'm willing to roster him as a base-stealer-in-waiting if his draft price falls too far.
The Scott Kingery train is running off the tracks for me. His play has been putrid in spring training while Odubel Herrera looks poised to steal Philadelphia's starting centerfield job. At best, Kingery is a rotational player who needs to make better contact to create a playable fantasy spark.