Today I'm here to help identify some early second base draft values and potential sleepers for the 2017 fantasy baseball season. Sleepers don't always wake up when we expect them to. Some players enter the season with a fair amount of expectations heaped on them, only to disappoint. Others seemingly come out of nowhere to produce results that pleasantly surprise unwitting fantasy owners.
In this piece, I will identify players at the second base position who have the potential to far outplay their current draft day ADP.
Editor's note: Be sure to also check out our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It's already loaded up with tons of great rankings articles and draft analysis. Aside from our tiered staff rankings for every position, we also go deep on MLB prospect rankings, impact rookies for 2017, and dynasty/keeper rankings as well. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.
Second Base Draft Values - 2017 Fantasy Baseball
Devon Travis, Toronto Blue Jays
Travis was a valuable streamer for many fantasy owners at times last season, but inconsistency has held him back from being a full-fledged fantasy starter. He hit .321 in the second half of the year to finish with an even .300 batting average. Travis took the majority of his at-bats in the leadoff spot, giving him a great chance to score runs atop a powerful lineup. He only posted a .323 OBP when hitting first, however, and will need to do much better than a 4.35 K/BB rate in order to retain that coveted spot. Travis has modest pop and could reach 15-20 HR and 60+ RBI, especially if he is moved down in the order. All this is assuming he stays healthy, which has been an issue his first two seasons. Keep him pegged as a high-end backup MI.
Joe Panik, San Francisco Giants
Panik is a former first-round pick who hasn't quite panned out yet, but the potential is there. After hitting .305 and .312 in his first two Major League seasons, which included an All-Star appearance in 2015, he dropped to .239 last year. His injuries, although seemingly minor, may have played a big part in his decline. Consider too that his BABIP plummeted nearly 100 points from two years ago, down to .245. His plate discipline actually improved, as he walked more times than he struck out (50/47 BB/K) - a rarity in this era. Panik is a prime rebound candidate who should climb near the top of the pack where AVG and OBP are concerned. 15 HR might be his absolute ceiling and there isn't much speed to speak of, but Panik is a safe pick for deeper leagues when you might need to offset the averages of some of your hard-swinging sluggers at other positions.
Jose Peraza, Cincinnati Reds
My personal favorite among all sleepers at the position, Peraza had the kind of post-deadline production that makes you salivate about his potential over a full season. He spent the early part of the season bouncing back and forth between Triple-A and the big club, hitting .250 with the occasional stolen base. After his last call-up on August 20, Peraza hit .366 with 11 steals in 156 at-bats to close the season. The former Braves prospect now has a .301 career mark across all levels. He had already flashed his speed with seasons of 64 and 60 SB in the minors. The only issue is playing time, as Brandon Phillips simply refuses to be traded. Still, if you don't want to pay a pretty penny for teammate Billy Hamilton to collect steals, grab Peraza much later and plug him in when the opportunity presents itself.
Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers
The dust has settled on Profar's hype and he is now being valued well outside the top 20 at second base. You may recall Profar got off to a sizzling start, hitting .343 at the onset of July. It was all downhill from there and he finished with a disappointing .239 average with five HR and two SB to his name over 272 at-bats. Profar played all over the field in 2016, making him a valuable Swiss Army Knife of eligibility for fantasy benches. He still showed a good eye at the Major League level, so if he can build on his initial success to start last year, he could live up to the expectations that made him the #1 overall prospect in baseball back in 2013.
Joey Wendle, Oakland Athletics
Mr. Wendle had a modest showing in his rookie debut, slashing .260/.298/.302 with a single home run, two steals and 11 RBI over the last month of 2016. His minor league profile suggests that he could be a Lite version of Devon Travis if things break right. Oft-injured veteran Jed Lowrie is his only competition for the 2B job as of right now. Double-digit homers and steals with a batting average around .275-.290 won't spur you into reaching for him in any draft, but he may be worth a stash in deeper leagues.
Carlos Asuaje, San Diego Padres
The Padres started their rebuilding process early last season, as the pieces kept getting traded away. The youth movement should be in full effect, including an all-rookie outfield and healthy competition throughout the infield, other than first base. Ryan Schimpf should get first crack at the second base job, but he will need to prove he can do more than just slug. Whether he can sustain a 17.9% HR/FB rate or hit higher than .217 remains to be seen. Asuaje was called up late in the year after tearing it up at old El Paso to the tune of a .321 average with 98 runs scored. He won't enter Spring Training as the favorite to start, but should have a shot to earn playing time if Schimpt falters.