Today it seems like tiny second basemen who play a lot bigger than their true size are becoming “the thing”. Jose Altuve and Ozzie Albies are tiny guys with big game. Second base was starting to look like a dumping ground for guys who can hit but don’t measure up at third base or short. Now there seems to be a shortage of young bats in the MLB prospects pipeline. So where can you find the next big… I mean… little, fantasy baseball prospects at second base?
Scott Kingery is filling the role of the super utility player this season. He has logged at least three games at second, third, short and the outfield this season. He hasn’t become a force with the bat yet, but in his prime, he should have an all-around game similar to Dustin Pedroia’s prime but maybe a little less power.
The younger brother of Houston’s Yulieski Gurriel, Lourdes is a slick fielding infielder who will probably be solid, but unspectacular, with the bat. I see him as a super utility player, but could be an average MLB player as a middle infielder. Unless you are in a deep league, I don’t see him being a guy you want to roster now or in the future.
I discussed Torres in my shortstops prospects article. With Didi Gregorious manning short, Torres has taken over second base. He is hitting the cover off the ball, but his BABIP suggests he has been rather lucky so far. He will be an impact player, but expect for him to cool off a bit this season.
Other guys with notable names are Yoan Moncada (big power and speed), Willie Calhoun (good hit and power) and Ian Happ (solid across the board). They are all highly touted but are most likely already on teams in your fantasy league. These future studs are the leaders of the pack, but who else is worth considering?
On The Way
Nick Senzel has been working at second base at triple-A. His bat will play anywhere, and I believe that the Cincinnati infield will sort itself out in a way that pushes Senzel back to his natural position, third base. In the mean time, you should get second base eligibility from him for this season and next. He’s probably a Jose Ramirez type of bat. The Reds will likely call him up as soon as he gets over the bout of vertigo that he is dealing with.
Max Schrock is a hitter, but he’s a lot more slapper and a little less gapper. He should challenge for the batting title in his prime, but there doesn’t look like much pop in his bat. There also isn’t much speed, so a high batting average at a middle infield position is what you will get. Schrock has a lot of bodies in his way to get to The Show, so I can’t see him coming up to stay before mid-2019 at earliest.
Isan Diaz has plus power and will be a serious power source. He also strikes out a lot, which seems to go hand-in-hand with power these days. Don’t look for a high batting average but Diaz will give you double digit steals. He is a poor defender and may find himself as a first baseman or a designated hitter, but the power will still play. Diaz will probably be a 2020 addition to the Marlins starting lineup.
Luis Urias is another high average, low power guy. Urias is a better bet than Schrock since he has better speed and fewer roadblocks between him and his MLB job. Urias should be manning second base in San Diego this summer.
Keston Hiura may be the best player on this list who will be a long term second baseman. His elbow has responded well and it doesn’t seem to be a speed bump to staying at the keystone. The power will evolve and he’ll become a fantasy force. I know I’m reaching back a bit on this comparison, but I see Hiura’s ceiling as Craig Biggio with a little less speed. Look for Hiura to debut in 2020.
Fantasy Baseball Tips of the Week
Ozzie Albies was compared to Jose Altuve by Bobby Cox in an interview recently. Cox isn’t the kind of guy who makes comparisons between young players and MLB studs, but he sure made this one. In his first seven seasons, Altuve has one MVP award, four Silver Slugger awards, and five All Star Game appearances. Albies has already put up better numbers in his first 400 at bats and before the age of 22 than Altuve. Albies won’t be cheap to acquire, but to say he is likely to achieve more to Altuve is very reasonable.
Jose Pirela isn’t going to be the guy who leads you to a fantasy title, but he’ll provide a good average with a little speed and power along the way. The Padres like his bat enough to keep moving him around on defense, gaining extra position eligibility along the way.