Hide your face, second base. I'm embarrassed for you. The dearth of bankable Fantasy options here is like something from a different time, back when draft strategy was largely based in position scarcity.
The main issue is that so many of the high-ceiling options at the position (from Ketel Marte to Jose Altuve to Keston Hiura to Jeff McNeil) dramatically underachieved in 2020, and there weren't enough risers to pick up the slack. So for the most part, that group ends up being ranked just as it was, even though the production doesn't back it up.
But how much should two months of production count for anyway? It's the question no one can answer heading into 2021, forcing us all to play hunches with our rankings.
And it just so happens that at this position, those hunches could be particularly costly.
We discuss everything second base on the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast. Follow all of our podcasts and subscribe here.
Note that these rankings are intended for 5x5 scoring (such as Rotisserie leagues), but I note distinctions for points leagues where applicable.
DJ LeMahieu New York Yankees 2B
|Though he was deserving of skepticism for his mid-career breakout last year, DJ LeMahieu ended up blowing away his 2019 production, emerging as a distant No. 1 at a position so consumed by failure that he makes for arguably the best position-scarcity pick of any player in 2021.|
Ozzie Albies Atlanta Braves 2B
|Some of Ozzie Albies' underlying numbers, like the strikeout rate and expected stats, still looked wonky in the end, but mostly because his attempts to play through a wrist injury early in the year put him in such a hole. He was as good as ever after returning in September and remains a safe bet to contribute in five categories.|
Whit Merrifield Kansas City Royals RF
|Turns out reports of Whit Merrifield's demise were greatly exaggerated as he bounced back in both home runs and especially stolen bases. He remains a safe bet for batting average thanks to his consistently high line-drive rate and altogether meets so many needs (both positional and categorical) that there's no room for pessimism.|
Ketel Marte Arizona Diamondbacks 2B
|Ketel Marte had his share of skeptics after a massive breakout in 2019, which would seem to make his 2020 a cut-and-dried case of regression. He had his own wrist issue to contend with, though, and his average exit velocity and launch angle were were only slightly off from 2019 (and better than any year otherwise).|
Jose Altuve Houston Astros 2B
|As with Marte, Jose Altuve's struggles were only evident in the raw numbers and not any obvious changes to his batted-ball profile. While he did strike out a little more in 2020, the change wasn't enough to make the house of cards topple. It adds fuel to the sign-stealing narrative, of course, but the lack of high-end options here encourages a glass-half-full approach.|
Cavan Biggio Toronto Blue Jays 2B
|It was a nice sophomore follow-up for Cavan Biggio, who again made a useful contribution in home runs and stolen bases while demonstrating plus on-base skills, but his .215 xBA and .347 xSLG still point to a concerning batted-ball profile that relies too much on fly balls for someone who makes such weak contact. He's maxed out, in other words.|
Keston Hiura Milwaukee Brewers 2B
|The hope was that the strikeouts would level off for Keston Hiura in his sophomore season, and the assumption was he'd be fine if they didn't, given how hard he impacted the ball as a rookie. He ended up taking a step back in both areas, leading to the disappointment that was, but you wouldn't want to write off the upside based on a two-month sample.|
Brandon Lowe Tampa Bay Rays 2B
|The Rays' constant mixing and matching forces me to move down someone like Brandon Lowe, who went back to sitting against virtually every lefty in September even though the numbers didn't warrant it. The greatly reduced strikeout rate makes the whole profile appear more viable, and I might rank him as high as fourth if not for the playing time concerns.|
Max Muncy Los Angeles Dodgers 1B
|His batting average buried him, but a broken finger heading into the year surely didn't help. His batted-ball profile didn't actually change much, which means he'll likely be back to hitting his usual .250-.260 next year with some of the best power you'll find at the position. You might even bump him up a couple spots in points leagues, where walks count.|
Mike Moustakas Cincinnati Reds 2B
|Mike Moustakas' 2020 exemplifies how the thin the line between success and failure is for a player like him. He was pretty much the same as always in terms of impacting the ball, but the results were on the lower end of his range of outcomes. The strikeouts were elevated, but not in a way that's concerning over a two-month sample. Expect another .250ish batting average and 30ish home runs.|
Jeff McNeil New York Mets 2B
|Jeff McNeil hit just two home runs through the first two months of 2019, going on to finish with 23, so you could argue his four through two months this year actually put him ahead of the curve. But you could also argue that those who questioned his power potential were validated in their skepticism, with his plummeting hard-hit rate telling the story there.|
Robinson Cano New York Mets 2B
|It's tempting to rank Robinson Cano higher than this at a position with so few assurances, but considering he'll be 38, how much of an assurance is he? He rebounded nicely after a 2019 decline that wasn't all that it seemed, but he saved his worst for right about the time everyone jumped back on board, delivering a .721 OPS in September.|
Tommy La Stella Oakland Athletics 2B
|This ranking presumes Tommy La Stella signs somewhere to play every day, having now proven twice over he deserves to, but it's possible he winds up the better half of a platoon. There's a case for him to go even higher in a points league, given how infrequently he strikes out, but it would be difficult to pass up the higher-ceiling choices ahead of him.|
Jake Cronenworth San Diego Padres 2B
|Jake Cronenworth claimed the Padres ' second base job with a huge August but then went missing in September, hitting .183 with a .543 OPS. His expected stats -- specifically, the .324 xBA and .541 xSLG -- paint a rosier picture than the one we got, but it's based on a two-month sample for a player who didn't even reach the majors until age 26.|
Chris Taylor Los Angeles Dodgers SS
|One of the quieter storylines of 2020 was Chris Taylor reestablishing himself as an everyday player, which seems likely to carry over with Justin Turner and Enrique Hernandez entering free agency. He seemed to get a better grasp of the strike zone, swinging at more pitches in it and fewer out of it to become a serviceable, if uninspiring, play.|
David Fletcher Los Angeles Angels SS
|David Fletcher is what you get if Jeff McNeil's 2019 power breakthrough turns out to be a mirage. You've heard of players selling out for power? Well, he sells out for batting average, ranking among the bottom five in both strikeout rate and fly-ball rate. He's a pretty handy player to have, though, particularly batting in front of Mike Trout.|
Nick Madrigal Chicago White Sox 2B
|Nick Madrigal's ability to make contact is as freakish as advertised, his 6.4 percent strikeout rate putting him among the safest bets for batting average, but enthusiasm for him will be muted coming off shoulder surgery that could delay his start to 2021. He'll need to run more, too, since power isn't in his profile.|
Dylan Moore Seattle Mariners RF
|The utility player got an extended look on a rebuilding Mariners club and proved surprisingly productive, actually ranking second at the position, behind just DJ LeMahieu, in Head-to-Head points per game. And then there were the 12 steals for 5x5 leagues. Still, it's hard to imagine it going quite so right again given his anonymity coming into the year.|
Jonathan Villar Toronto Blue Jays 2B
|I have few nice things to say about Jonathan Villar , which should give you a sense of how the rest of this position shakes out. He can steal bases with the best of them, which is enough to make him useful in 5x5 leagues, but his worst hitting traits caught up to him in 2020, which means he's probably looking at a backup role in 2021. We'll see where he signs.|
Gavin Lux Los Angeles Dodgers 2B
|Might as well shoot for upside at this point, right? Gavin Lux was a consensus top-five prospect coming into this year, with big minor-league numbers the past two, so even though the Dodgers held him back at the start and he contributed next to nothing when he arrived, the will-be 23-year-old still gets the benefit of the doubt.|