Paul Sporer’s 2023 Second Base Rankings

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Second base is short on top end talent, but incredibly deep in middling options as there isn’t a ton of difference in the 24 guys bookended by the Urias brothers, Luis and Ramon.

2023 Second Base Ranks
1 Marcus Semien TEX AL 2B/SS
2 Jose Altuve HOU AL 2B
3 Jazz Chisholm Jr. MIA NL 2B
4 Ozzie Albies ATL NL 2B
5 Andrés Giménez CLE AL 2B
6 Tommy Edman STL NL 2B/SS
7 Max Muncy LAD NL 2B/3B
8 Trevor Story BOS AL 2B
9 Gleyber Torres NYY AL 2B
10 Brandon Drury LAA NL 1B/2B/3B
11 Brandon Lowe TB AL 2B
12 Jorge Polanco MIN AL 2B
13 Ketel Marte ARI NL 2B
14 Jonathan India CIN NL 2B
15 Luis Urías MIL NL 2B/3B/SS
16 Jean Segura MIA NL 2B
17 Whit Merrifield TOR AL 2B/OF
18 Jake Cronenworth SD NL 1B/2B
19 Bryson Stott PHI NL 2B/SS
20 DJ LeMahieu NYY AL 1B/2B/3B
21 Gavin Lux LAD NL 2B/OF
22 Jeff McNeil NYM NL 2B/OF
23 Brendan Rodgers COL NL 2B
24 Luis Arraez MIN AL 1B/2B
25 Kolten Wong SEA AL 2B
26 Christopher Morel CHC NL 2B/OF
27 Vaughn Grissom ATL NL 2B
28 Thairo Estrada SF NL 2B/SS
29 Chris Taylor LAD NL 2B/OF
30 Nick Gordon MIN AL 2B/OF
31 Rodolfo Castro PIT NL 2B/3B
32 Nolan Gorman STL NL 2B
33 Luis García WAS NL 2B/SS
34 Luis Rengifo LAA AL 2B/3B
35 Josh Rojas ARI NL 2B/3B
36 Jonathan Schoop DET AL 2B
37 Wilmer Flores SF NL 1B/2B/3B
38 Ramón Urías BAL AL 2B/3B
39 Aledmys Díaz OAK AL 2B/OF
40 Tony Kemp OAK AL 2B/OF
41 Brendan Donovan STL NL 2B/3B/OF
42 Isaac Paredes TB AL 1B/2B/3B
43 Jonathan Aranda TB AL 2B
44 Michael Massey KC AL 2B
45 Christian Arroyo BOS AL 2B
46 Adam Frazier BAL AL 2B/OF
47 Jon Berti MIA NL 2B/3B
48 Santiago Espinal TOR AL 2B
49 Zach McKinstry CHC NL 2B/3B
50 Diego Castillo ARI NL 2B/SS/OF
20 gm qualification; 5×5 Roto; Blue indicates new tier

Notes on some select 2B:

Marcus Semien fronted the league 43 games before hitting his first homer and still wound up with 26 thanks to an excellent summer. He hit .268/.324/.492 with 20 SB, 72 RBI, 85 R and those 26 HR from May 28th on. While his extreme volume is a big part of his game (4 straight 700+ PA seasons; led MLB in 3 of them), he still had a 20/20 pace over 600 PA in 2022.

I’m not projecting another 18 SBs for Jose Altuve given that he had just 13 in his previous 1436 PA from 2019-21, but the 33-year-old doesn’t need a repeat there to remain a premium option at the position. The offense remains loaded, and his skills are aging brilliantly.

Ya like Jazz… Chisholm Jr.? Injuries undercut his breakout season, limiting him to just 60 games. That hasn’t slowed the hype train, though. His 30/30 upside has fantasy managers eager to buy back in as he is consistently drafted within the first four rounds of 15-teamers (ADP 51).

Maybe it’s the lack of top talent at the position, but Ozzie Albies still checks out very well even with a season well off that excellent 30 HR/20 SB campaign in 2021. Foot and pinky injuries cut his season substantially as he played just 64 games and wasn’t particularly good when on the field (20 HR/13 SB full season pace; 93 wRC+). I’m essentially giving him an injury pass for the season and buying back in for 2023, especially at the discounted priced (ADP 57 in the winter; 18 last year).

Leaving Coors predictably dinger Trevor Story’s output, though a pair of second half injuries limited him to just 13 games after the All-Star break. He has now topped 145 games just once in his career. Coors was able to mitigate that missed time as he consistently put up strong seasons despite the lower volume and even with just 138 games in my projection, he is still 5th at the position.

Andrés Giménez is pretty affordable after a huge breakout season and while it’s a safe bet that the 140 wRC+ is his high watermark, I can certainly see an 18/18/75/75 kind of season with a .270+ AVG. He spent the bulk of the year hitting 5th/6th/7th (89% of his PA) and if he can find his way into the top 3 next year, his R/RBI totals could surge even with a substantial drop in that sky-high wRC+ total (tied for 14th highest).

It’s clear Max Muncy wasn’t right for most of the season with the bum elbow being a known issue and hampering him through the first four months (.161/.310/.303, 9 HR in 339 PA). His August 1st homer was the beginning of a 2-month run where Muncy looked like his old self: .247/.358/.500 with 12 HR in 226 PA (37 HR full season pace).

The power returned for Gleyber Torres and with came a fantastic season. I hope no one is realistically waiting for a return of the 2019 HR output, but if the 26-year-old eclipses 150 games for the first time in his career, there could be some volume-based improvement on his 2022 line.

I mentioned Brandon Drury in my 1B rankings.

Ketel Marte has just 28 HR and 8 SB in 1127 PA since 2019 when he had 32 HR and 10 SB in 628 PA. I don’t really know what to make of him and while some of that uncertainty is mitigated by a fair draft spot (ADP 218), he might just be a bland mid-teens power bat with a decent AVG. He could spike some extra value if the Diamondbacks offense explodes which has a real chance of happening.

I’m not quitting Jonathan India after an injury-riddled 2022 that limited him to just 103 games. He doesn’t need to get all the way back to his 2021 level with an ADP around pick 200. The pop can return in a healthy season, especially with the excellent home park supporting him.

Bryson Stott got off to a brutal start with just a .123/.179/.151 line in 78 PA through May (0 HR, 0 SB) and it obscured the fact that he was decent from June on. He hit .257/.318/.401 with 10 HR and 12 SB in his final 388 PA (16 HR, 19 SB full season pace). A .719 OPS isn’t that special, but it’s enough to hold the role and volume his way to a double-double season even if there isn’t a step forward. If he does take a step, he could be a dual-eligible (2B, SS) 20/20 guy going after pick-200.

Check out my thoughts on Whit Merrifield’s season in this 2022 Biggest Busts piece.

A quad injury that cost Luis Urías the first month of the season accounts for a good bit of his fall off from the breakout season. The power did dip at a rate level, too, including a 31-point drop in ISO, but some of that could’ve been the squish balls they were using in 2022 as he was essentially the same guy from a wRC+ standpoint, losing just 2 points down to 110. He maintained his triple eligibility (2B, 3B, SS) and is still a decent bet for 20 HRs.

I know some are done with Gavin Lux, which I can understand as the 25-year-old has just a .712 OPS in 1003 MLB PA with 11 HR and 8 SB per 600 PA, but I still think there’s more growth for the one-time Top 5 prospect. Like Stott, he’s dual eligible (2B, OF) with 20/20 potential and an ADP outside the Top 200 (pick 225 in winter drafts).

Thairo Estrada’s breakout season was one of the biggest shocks of 2022, but I’m dubious on a repeat. The power is especially suspect to me with a .139 ISO and an icy Patriotic Lollipop. He isn’t slow and if he can sustain a .320+ OBP, there is a chance at another 20+ SBs. On the one hand, I don’t think Estrada’s 190 ADP is egregious, but at the same time I prefer so many guys going after him.

Christopher Morel has some interesting power/speed upside, but the excitement is mitigated by the heavy swing-and-miss profile (32% K, 18% SwStr) so be careful extrapolating his rookie season into 25/15 upside. If he falls below a .300 OBP, the SBs will be tough to come by and while his multi-eligibility (2B, OF in 20-gm; 3B, SS in 10-gm) gives him several avenues for playing time, I don’t think the Cubs will just blindly play him if he’s underperforming.

I’m fading Vaughn Grissom at his current ADP (187). That price assumes more playing time than I’m willing to commit for him even though there aren’t obvious candidates to take over shortstop right now. The 22-year-old skipped Triple-A and acquitted himself well in a 156 PA sample (.291 AVG, 5 HR/SB), but as the saying goes “prospect growth isn’t linear”. I certainly didn’t see enough to suggest he’s a credible 20 HR threat (his 600 PA pace) and while he has maintained high BABIPs throughout his pro career, including a .350 in the MLB sample, it is tough to project such a lofty figure on an unproven player. Just 33 qualified hitters had even a .320 BABIP last season, let alone a .350, which just 8 managed to do. I’m in long-term, but skeptical for 2023. And that’s not a hedge in case he pops off this year. If he does, I’ll eat the L, I’m just not seeing a Top 200 player yet.

There were a couple glimpses from Luis García, but they were completely BABIP-driven as his two best months included a .375+ BABIP. The 23-year-old has dominated during his time in Triple-A, so there’s no reason the Nats shouldn’t just turn him loose for a full season in the majors.

Luis Rengifo was a 2nd half waiver gem, popping 12 HR in the final two months of the season. He took advantage of the opportunity to hit high in the lineup for the hobbled Angels (10 HR hitting 1st or 3rd in 235 PA), but it’s clear he isn’t going to hit anywhere near that high in 2023 with him currently penciled in as the 9-hitter for a strong Angels lineup. Barring more major injuries, he probably won’t be an everyday guy, either, with David Fletcher and Gio Urshela pushing him for time.

There’s some deep league appeal to Rodolfo Castro as he could smack 25+ HRs if the Pirates just fully commit to him. Of course, that commitment is far from a guarantee when you’re toting a sub-.300 OBP as he did in his 278 PA debut (.299). Being in a poor lineup also hinders the R/RBI counts, even with 600+ PA which is why he feels mostly like a volume play for the deeper formats.

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and Content Director for OOTP Perfect Team. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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Andrew Calagnamember
1 year ago

Jeff McNeil so low?