Injuries are starting to pile up around the league, and the Braves were hit with an especially tough one Monday when second baseman Ozzie Albies suffered a fractured foot. He was placed directly on the 60-day IL Tuesday, meaning he's going to be out until mid-August at the earliest, dealing a blow to Fantasy players with Albies on their roster, too.
What makes this hurt even more is Albies was off to a slow start, ranking 11th at second base while hitting .244 with eight homers and three steals. So not only do you lose Albies for the next two months, but you don't even get the inevitable hot streak that would have helped correct his numbers. You're in a hole from the production Albies hasn't given you so far and you've got a hole in your lineup at what has been arguably the weakest non-catcher position in Fantasy over the past few seasons.
However, things may not be as grim at second base as you might think right now. A handful of very interesting younger bats have either gotten the call or have been heating up as of late, providing some actual options to help replace Albies – and perhaps even best what he's done so far.
Here are five second base eligible players to consider adding to replace Albies:
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Luis Garcia SS
WAS Washington • #2 • Age: 22
I think even the Nationals would admit they rushed Garcia to the majors back in 2020, when he was just 20 years old and clearly needed some further physical development. It seems like that development has come, and you can see that in his career-best max exit velocity of 113.4 mph on a 440-plus foot homer in his sixth game after being called up. Garcia has hit 47.5% of his batted balls over 95 mph while striking out just eight times in 49 plate appearances, and that kind of combination makes him a potentially very good bat. It also lines up with what we've seen from Garcia since reaching Triple-A, where he's hit .309/.369/.562 with a 17% strikeout rate. Garcia is a post-hype breakout candidate and is my favorite add at any position right now.
TOR Toronto • #5 • Age: 27
Espinal is 27 with little track record of high-level production in the minors, so I keep waiting for the bottom to fall out here. However, he's still hitting .291/.345/.443 more than two months into the season with underlying numbers that largely back it up – he actually has a .297 expected batting average despite somewhat middling quality of contact metrics. I would prioritize Garcia over Espinal, and I think Duran and Hoerner might have more upside, but if you need immediate help, Espinal looks like a solid stabilizing force.
Nico Hoerner SS
CHC Chi. Cubs • #2 • Age: 25
Hoerner arrived in the majors with a small amount of hype a few years back, but by the start of this season that had largely dissipated. Which means you might have missed that he's actually pretty good now. His .277/.304/.394 line doesn't jump off the page, but the underlying skill set suggests there's plenty of room for improvement. He's making a ton of contact with an 11.2% strikeout rate, and that's leading to a .314 expected batting average. Add in a .444 expected slugging percentage and 92nd percentile sprint speed and Hoerner could potentially be a viable contributor in batting average and steals without being a zero in power. Think Mariners-era Jean Segura, when he put up consecutive seasons with 10-plus homers, 20-plus steals, and a .300 average.
Bryson Stott 2B
PHI Philadelphia • #5 • Age: 24
Stott is hitting .300/.364/.625 since the start of June, a nice turnaround from a dreadful start to his major-league career. He's starting to hit for some power, but the best sign might be the seven strikeouts in 44 plate appearances – he struck out 32% of the time in April and May. Stott saw just nine games at Triple-A and only 80 at Double-A before getting the call to the majors, so it's not unreasonable to think he just needed some time to adjust. His overall metrics are still pretty mediocre – 84.7 mph average exit velocity, 23.5% hard-hit rate – but the signs of life Stott is showing make him worth taking a chance on.
TEX Texas • #70 • Age: 23
Duran made the leap from Double-A to the majors and has done a pretty solid job holding his own through the first couple of weeks, hitting .333/.351/.556. That line overstates what you can reasonably expect from him – there's probably a bit too much swing-and-miss at present for Durant to be a batting average contributor – but there's 20-20 potential here, making him a solid bet if you're looking for speed and upside.