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Deeper League Sleepers at Second Base

When focusing on sleepers for deeper leagues, playing time really matters the most. You also might want to pair playing time with certain stats as you get deeper into the player pool.

Below are five names that offer secure playing time and many come with a stat that helps them stand out from others at the position especially this late.

We are focusing on players going outside the top 300 in ADP in NFBC formats. This ADP is from January 1 to January 31, 2021.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Joey Wendle, Tampa Bay Rays

ADP: 306.62

Joey Wendle might end up in a platoon. That could be a common concern and issue with players going later in drafts but he will likely be on the strong side. Health being an issue for Wendle is something else to be worried about but when healthy he offers help in both stolen bases and batting average. Both of which are hard to find later in drafts.

The most games he has posted at the MLB level is 139 games in 2018. In that season, he posted seven home runs with 16 stolen bases while hitting .300. In 2019, he only managed 75 games but still gave us eight stolen bases. However, the batting average took a hit but that was in part due to a ,272 BABIP and with a career .325 BABIP he was very unlucky. In the 50 game sample we got in 2020, Wendle posted four home runs, eight stolen bases while hitting .286. The BABIP was more in line with expectations as well. In 2018 and 2020, Wendle posted a wRC+ of at least 114. Average is 100 for reference.

A reason to believe in the batting average is the great plate discipline. He has only struck out once over 20% at the MLB level and that was during an eight-game sample in 2017. He consistently posted sub 20% strikeout rates in the minors as well. Wendle typically offers plus contact rates. Most recently it sat at 83.5%. The Z-Contact% of 94.4% is elite and has never been under 90% for his MLB career. He does have a tendency to chase, however, he puts up above-average O-Contact rates as well. Typically around 71%-to-72%. This is about 10 points above league average. So in this case, chasing isn’t detrimental to the production. The plus contact rate and plus speed offering us stolen bases and solid batting average production paired with what should be a strong-side platoon situation at the very least makes for an intriguing option for your middle infield slot in drafts.

 

Tommy La Stella, San Francisco Giants

ADP: 315.48

Finally signing with the San Francisco Giants, La Stella should play just about every day and hit atop the Giants Lineup. Tommy La Stella is what I categorize as a roster stabilizer. His production is not flashy, but you can write it in pen. Each of the last two seasons, La Stella:

  • Has a batting average of .281 or better
  • Posted a wRC+ of at least 120
  • Improved his strikeout rate each year

The improved strikeout rate is not a fluke. In 2020, Among players who had at least 100 PA, La Stella was one of five players who ranked top-10 in all of these categories: O-Contact%, Z-Contact%, Contact% & SwStr%.

In 2019, we saw the power production. This came with a change in the average launch angle. He increased it to 13.2 degrees in 2019 and then increased it even further to 17.1 degrees in 2020. This change has led to more power production with 16 home runs over 80 games in 2019. The juiced ball likely assisted this as we saw just five over a 55 game sample in 2020 and that essentially paced him out to hitting roughly 15 or so in a full complement of games. However, now that he calls San Fran home, that is not good for his home run projections. You should still get double-digit home runs but the ceiling took a bit of a hit. There is a high-floor here and that is why the term "roster stabilizer" comes to mind.

 

Cesar Hernandez, Cleveland Indians

ADP: 398.56

Recently re-signing with the Indians will likely lead to Hernandez leading off every day for them yet again in 2021. The Indians aren’t typically shy about letting players run but Hernandez did not even attempt a stolen base in 2020. This was after stealing at least 15 over four seasons (from 2016-2018) and nine in 2019. There is little reason to believe in a repeat. In a full season, he could go back to running and grab at least a handful of stolen bases considering this team isn’t exactly strong on offense and may need to manufacture runs. With a career.352 OBP, and what should be everyday at-bats leading off, the opportunity should be there.

The plate discipline continues to be as solid as ever with two-straight seasons of improving the Z-Contact%. Each of the last two years, he has had a Z-Contact rate of at least 90.5%. With the great contact rate should come with a solid batting average. Not to mention he has shown to be capable of double-digit home runs as he has posted at least 14 in the two seasons prior to 2020. This coincides with two seasons of his highest launch angles (11.5 degrees in 2018 and 9.5 degrees in 2019 respectively). With Hernandez, you know what you are getting. He is not exciting but will provide you runs, batting average and should at least provide a little power and speed as well. Hard to ask more of a player going as late as he is.

 

Deep-League Dart Throws at Second Base

These are two names that provide potential based on various reasons and yet they are going outside the top 500 in drafts.

Enrique Hernandez, Boston Red Sox
ADP: 506.20

The Red Sox recently signed Kike Hernandez and it is anticipated that he will be the starting second baseman for the team. At this point in drafts, playing time is everything and he offers us that. He does not offer much in terms of batting average but there is 20 home run upside as he hit 21 in just 145 games in 2018 and 17 in 130 games in 2019. If you need some late punch in drafts from your middle infield spot, Hernandez offers just that.

Freddy Galvis, Baltimore Orioles
ADP: 599.93

Far from an exciting name, Galvis finds himself barely squeezing inside the top 600. Yes, he will likely find himself hitting at the back of the lineup, but the glove alone will keep him in the lineup every day. Prior to hitting just .220 (with a .231 BABIP) in 2020, Galvis has hit at least .248 in the three years prior and he even hit 23 home runs as recently as 2019. In 2020, he posted seven home runs in just 47 games. So the power continues to trend up. This coincides with an increase of pull rate each of the last two years. This suggests he is purposely attempting to generate more power of late. That pull approach will play up with having Camden Yards to call home and not to mention that division is pretty favorable to hitters overall. Playing time and a shot at 20-plus home runs given the situation makes Galvis interesting as a late dart throw for the deeper formats.



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