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Putting my personal hangups over the term "sleeper" aside, we can all agree that what we're after in our fantasy drafts is value. Finding the most valuable players leads to winning leagues, obviously, but it's also just awesome to get something good for way below what you should've had to pay.

Over the next several days, I’ll continue to offer my thoughts on potential 2018 fantasy baseball draft bargains at every position. Today, we're looking at second base.

Check out our full Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Targets list, curated by our expert writers, and dominate your draft!

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Second the Motion

Jonathan Villar, Milwaukee Brewers

Last season couldn’t have gone much worse for Villar, or for owners who invested heavily in his services following his monster 2016 performance. Like most players the year after posting a 60-steal season, Villar saw a significant drop in both his successes (23) and attempts (31). At the plate, the 26-year-old regressed heavily, hitting just .241/.293/.372 while striking out in 30 percent of his plate appearances. Apart from perhaps Miguel Cabrera, no player was a biggest fantasy bust in 2017. Consequently, his 2018 draft cost is virtually nil. If he can hold on to a starting job on the crowded Brewers’ roster, the speed alone makes him worthy of consideration in the late rounds.

Ian Kinsler, Los Angeles Angels

Over the past two seasons, Kinsler has averaged 25 HR, 14 SB, and 104 R, but it feels like he’s being heavily penalized in fantasy drafts for last season’s .236 batting average. That was the first time he hit below .275 since 2012, and it was largely fueled by a .244 BABIP that doesn’t pass the smell test. Other than an increased pop-up rate, his batted ball profile didn’t change much from the previous year, when he hit .288 with a .314 BABIP. He’s also moving to a better team context with the Angels. Kinsler has fallen even beyond his extremely modest 185 ADP in many of both the mock and actual drafts I’ve seen this year. This one feels almost too easy.

Scooter Gennett, Cincinnati Reds

Moving from 2017 busts to a breakout: How about Scooter? He initially captured fantasy owners’ attention with a four-homer game in June, but he hit well enough all season to finish with a .295 average, 27 homers, 80 runs, and 97 RBI. It would be a surprise for him to run a HR/FB% north of 20 percent again, but he’s certainly in a home park that gives him an edge. And while his performance last season came out of nowhere, a look at his contact quality and fly ball rates shows he actually began making adjustments in 2016.

Cesar Hernandez, Philadelphia Phillies

Hernandez is among the more underrated players in real baseball (he’s barely outside the top five at second base by fWAR over the last two seasons), but his fantasy value is more modest. The high average is a plus, and he scored 85 runs in just 128 games despite the Phillies’ lineup being awful in the first half of the year. You’re drafting him for those two categories and hoping he finally parlays his speed into a 20+ steal season – he’s averaged 17 per year since 2015.

Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates

We’ll close with one for the cheap seats deep leagues. Frazier would be a whole lot more interesting if Corey Dickerson hadn’t fallen into the Pirates’ laps, because he would have had a clearer path to everyday at-bats. But Frazier can play both second base and the outfield, giving him several paths to playing time. Things will open up even more readily if Josh Harrison is traded or either Gregory Polanco or Starling Marte get banged up, the latter really being more of a “when.” He’s mostly useful as a batting average booster, though given the opportunity he could easily be a solid contributor in both runs and steals.

 

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