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Early 2020 ADP Reflections - Second Base

When a baseball season ends, the following season can’t come here soon enough for some fans, myself included. We start thinking about what we want to see from some players, which includes letdowns, bounce-backs, and even young prospects. Instead of letting them bounce off the brain walls, let’s put these musings into digits. This includes things to watch out for as the season approaches that will affect drafts and in-season management. Some will force further research in the offseason.

This series will provide a few insights and items for consideration at each position; this week we dive into second basemen. There will be more juicy morsels than the catcher and first base positions reviewed previously, but it still isn't as plentiful as we would like. Thankfully, there are many multi-position eligible players, giving us something to toasts with our bourbon du jour.

There are a wide variety of second basemen to suit everyone's interests. That doesn't mean you have all day to get one though. Looking at early NFBC results, a majority of the excellent options will come off the board in the third round. My preference is to get one of the multi-position eligible players to slot in at 2B. However, if I don't get one by pick 120, I'll just wait and take one of the two frugal shopper options.

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Accelerating Off The Draft Line

  • Ozzie Albies (ADP: 41) had a great season statistically, despite receiving 38% of 2019 at-bats in the bottom half of the order. People are dreaming on a full season near the top, with upwards of 20 stolen bases. That’s the only reason he’s gone as high as 36 in the last week. I love Albies but that’s too rich for me. Let me also bookmark his position-leading effort for the worst Chase rate (37.9%).
  • Gleyber Torres (ADP: 26) claims the trophy as the first second basemen drafted. 38 homers means something, even if a third of them were against the Orioles. The young man can hit, but there is some Chase (35.1%) and a little Swing & Miss (13.2%) in his blood. 2B/SS eligibility is super nice.
  • Keston Hiura (ADP: 42) brings the .402 and the crowd goes wild. Wait, OBP, right? No, no. We’re talking BABIP here. His average speed and missile-producing bat speed would support an increased BABIP, just not this inflated. The questionable plate discipline should correct itself in his second year. I’d buy but I’m usually chasing elsewhere at this point of draft.
  • No one is complaining about a dip in SB(20) from Whit Merrifield (ADP: 51). He still provides a .300 batting average coupled with plenty of runs. Merrifield is a solid option if you go with power bats early.
  • We will talk about the largest ADP jumpers in future articles, but no doubt Ketel Marte (ADP: 44) has to be included on that list. He was outside 200 in 2019. Bigger, Faster, Stronger. Marte drank the launch angle Kool-Aid (11.5 degrees from 5.7) and finished with a 9.3%Barrels/BBE. He has excellent plate discipline and even includes some speed in the package. Marte had such a career year that there is little value buying in at his current ADP though.


Coasting Down Draft's Main Street

  • Jose Altuve (ADP: 34) continues to thrive (31HR). Potent offense reduces the need to run, but maybe it was the hamstring that slowed him down too. Bang or not, he can hit. Of course, that 86.1mph average exit velo is intriguing.
  • Is the move south really that bad for Jonathan Villar (ADP: 32)? Poor offense means everyone runs, right? The ballpark context is yet to be determined with the walls moving in. Even so, I’ll have absolutely zero shares of Villar at this price.
  • Max Muncy (ADP: 75) makes the crowd swoon with 30 smooth homers. He also comes with 1B, 2B, and 3B eligibility. I’d pay this price quite easily. Unfortunately, his actions aren’t held in a vacuum. He’s currently keystone-blocking Gavin Lux (ADP: 162). The Dodgers are crowded all over the field, but even if he is a utility player early on, Lux's skills should shine through towards regular playing time.
  • Mike Moustakas (ADP: 118) has dual eligibility (2B/3B), but the keystone is where I’d slot him first. Of course, his value is still quite low for a 30-homer hitter that slides into another favorable ballpark (GABP).
  • Jeff McNeil (ADP: 84) isn’t your average top-100 pick. He’s not a big power bat or a burner on the basepaths. His value comes from contributing a little bit in every category, including a .300 batting average. No, I’m not worried about his Chase rate (41.7%). He still makes 71.5% contact on those. McNeil’s primary usefulness comes in the form of eligibility at the corner, middle, and outfield positions (2B/3B/OF). He’s also great if you need balance. Just don’t take a bunch of these guys.


Stuck In The Draft Mud

  • Homers or bust. Cavan Biggio (ADP: 133) is here for the long ball. A 20.1-degree launch angle and 47% fly-ball rate will lead to a lot of outs (low AVG) if they don’t clear the wall. Biggio had a position-best chase (15.8%) and walk (16.5%) rates, but he didn’t take the bat off his shoulder too often (35.9% Swing rate), so it isn’t unexpected. It’s a good thing there is speed. 20/20 is possible, but you better have a stabilizer to help with the batting average.
  • Have people forgotten that Brandon Lowe (ADP: 194) hit 16HR with 40R, 49RBI, and a .276AVG in the first half of 2019 before succumbing to an injury? Nope, they recognize that he had the worst contact (64.8%) and K% (34.6%) rates at the position. When he does get ahold of the ball…ooh-wee, 91.1mph exit velo. I do want to love the power/speed combo though.
  • The Rockies' second base situation is a mess. Is it Ryan McMahon (ADP: 182) or Garrett Hampson (ADP: 167)? McMahon received more at-bats and showed off his power (24HR) and K rate (29.7%). It would also be nice if he did a little better away from Coors Field (.226AVG). The love for Hampson’s speed, as it was pre-2019, continues. Actually, it’s probably strengthened thanks to 88 at-bats in September (five homers, nine stolen bases, and a .318AVG). I would want a piece of Coors but the musical chairs of playing time keep me away at this price.
  • Luis Arraez (ADP: 221) has one option on the menu: batting average. If you like it, this price is a steal. If you need more, look elsewhere. If Newman’s Swinging strike rate was sexy, Arraez’ was awe-inspiring. Arraez led the league with 2.8% (min. 300 at-bats). I can’t fill a spot in my lineup that sacrifices both speed and power.
  • How often can you get 30 homers and 11 stolen bases this late? Wait. Let’s do a little emotional reaction test. Try not to say, “Ugh, pfff” and move on to the next player the second you see the name. Ok. Ready? Three. Two. One. Rougned Odor (ADP: 235). If you’re still reading, this is not where I tell you he is a dreamy player that everyone is overlooking. However, he’s a 25-year-old with a .244BABIP that led to a .205AVG. Does that mean he will suddenly be a .275 hitter? No. But, he can be better (see SEP 2019) and you aren’t paying much for him at all. Start draft with high-average hitters, sprinkle in a little Bryan Reynolds and benefit from Odor’s power/speed potential. I’m not naïve to think the world is filled with fried okra, chicken-fried steak, and sweet tea. There will be quite a few headaches on this ride.


Frugal Shoppers

  • Kevin Newman (ADP: 200) is going way too late. What does he provide, you ask? Speed and .300 AVG. That’s it. Just two categories that can help offset early imbalances in your roster. Oh, and a Swinging strike rate (6.6%) that is just too sexy (meaning top-10 in all of baseball). The primary difference between Newman and Jeff McNeil is the trade of speed for power as the secondary asset following batting average. Also, Newman’s positional eligibility is limited to SS and 2B, which is still a plus. Oh, did I mention free stolen bases.
  • Cesar Hernandez’s (ADP: 290) move to the Indians provides a boost for his value. The weak AL Central pitching will help him maintain a solid batting average as well as potentially increase the opportunities for stolen bases. Even at 29 years old his speed still borders on elite (28.5ft/sec). Hernandez’s slot in the batting order has yet to be determined, but even the worst spot should return more value than the cost.

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