2023 Fantasy Baseball Second Base Preview

by Taylor Cochran
2023 Fantasy Baseball Second Base Preview

Even though we haven’t even reached the Super Bowl, the baseball season is rapidly approaching. As fantasy baseball owners start to head into draft season, here is the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Second Base Preview!

In the past, second base has been a deep well of talent. Fantasy stars like Robinson Cano, Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia, and Ian Kinsler roamed the position’s lush landscape for years. Now, second base looks more like a barren wasteland.

Second base will never be looked at as the position that produces elite power numbers, but it is more top-heavy than it’s been in some time. There are only seven healthy second basemen in the overall Top-100 players and only one in the Top 25. How will that impact draft strategy with the 2023 Fantasy Baseball second base preview?

The position is thin and it’s more important than ever to nail second base down when drafting. As we start marking our draft cheat sheets, the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Second Base Preview addresses the position’s most important questions.

2023 Fantasy Baseball Second Base Preview

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Who are the 2B locks this season?

Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

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Despite entering the season at the ripe age of 32, Altuve is a rock-solid second-base pick. The eight-time MLB All-Star put together a .300/.387/.533 line last year along with 28 homers and 18 stolen bases.

Now, the reigning champion Astros enter 2023 with another stacked lineup. They added Jose Abreu, an RBI powerhouse, and Altuve will once again serve as the team’s table setter. “Gigante” scored a career-high 117 runs last year, and there’s no reason he can’t do it again.

Aside from 2020, when Altuve played only 48 games, the second baseman has been as consistent as they come. With the new baserunning rules, he could be in store for another 20/20 season and should be a productive contributor in every league format.

Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers

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Semien got off to a rocky start in 2022. He hit a combined .157 in March and April without a homer. However, he got it going and ended up being one of the top options at the position. Overall, his first year in Texas was a big success.

The 2021 Silver Slugger ended the season with 26 bombs and 25 stolen bases. Sure, the .248 batting average left something to desired, but everything else was great.

Heading into 2023, the 32-year-old will be a staple in the Texas Rangers lineup. Batting leadoff again, he should compete for 600 at bats and reap the benefits of hitting in front of Darkhorse MVP candidate Corey Seager. With the shift ban, Seager could be set for an explosive season that would boost Semien’s numbers. Overall, the Rangers second baseman is a stable option at the position.

Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves

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Among the second base options, Albies has the highest ceiling. Even though he only played in 64 games last season due to injury, the 25-year-old has too much raw potential to forget about.

In the three seasons that he has had over 600 at-bats, Albies has hit at least 25 bombs and 14 stolen bases. This year, Fangraphs projects him for 588. Furthermore, he’s a career .271 hitter on a team with a great offense.

Now that Dansby Swanson is in Chicago, Albies will be relied on more than ever. Hitting behind options like Ronald Acuna, Michael Harris, Austin Riley and Matt Olson gives him 100-RBI potential, something he did in 2021.

As Ozzie enters his prime years, he is a solid bet to end the season at the top of the second base position list.

Will Mookie Betts end up playing enough 2B?

The Los Angeles Dodgers were rumored to be after Aaron Judge, a move that would have given Mookie Betts more opportunity at second base. Even though the Dodgers didn’t make the splash they wanted, Betts could still end up getting there.

After playing seven games at second base in 2022, Mookie retained his eligibility in Yahoo fantasy leagues. However, he still needs a few more to get it in ESPN leagues. Now that the Dodgers no longer have Trea Turner, the door is open for Mookie to get more games at second base.

Manager Dave Roberts is known for his chess-style coaching. Versatile young options like Michael Busch and Miguel Vargas, both who can play outfield, could give Mookie the number of games needed to earn second base eligibility. Mookie is also rumored to see action at second during the World Baseball Classic.

The six-time all-star would be an absolute cheat code at the position. Last season, he put up a whopping 35 homers to go with his .269 average and 12 steals. He is bonified star on one of the best teams in baseball.

With the potential for eligibility at one of baseball’s weakest fantasy positions, Mookie should be considered as a Top-3 pick. In some formats, he already has the '2B’ next to his name. In other leagues, he’s just a few games away. Mookie is absolutely worth that risk.

Can Jazz Chisholm be trusted?

Jazz's potential is sky-high. He is a true 25/30 candidate and has the opportunity to be a perennial all star. The problem? Chisholm has struggled to stay healthy.

Chisholm was nagged by injuries during his 2021 rookie campaign, then last season he suffered from hamstring and back injuries. Despite the short season, Jazz ended the season with a .325 OBP, 14 home runs and 12 stolen bases in just 213 at-bats. He is still only 24 years old and could end up as a Top-20 player if he puts it all together.

2023 is going to be a critical year for the star second baseman. He will be arbitration-eligible next year so he will certainly be looking to up his payday.

Chisholm has one other factor that makes him such an intriguing option in 2023. The Miami Marlins traded for Luis Arráez and Jazz will reportedly play centerfield this year. With second base being so thin, Jazz's added versatility could make him even more desirable in drafts.

Although it is concerning that Chisholm has struggled with injuries, the potential just seems too high to bypass.

Who are the later Second Basemen to target?

 Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers

There is a lot to love about Max Muncy in 2023. Last year, he just wasn’t right. Muncy dealt with an elbow injury and regretted rushing back to the field. However, entering this season, he should be fully healthy and ready to contribute for the Dodgers.

But it’s not just Muncy’s injured elbow that he is leaving behind in 2022. Muncy also gets the benefit of leaving the shift behind, something that has affected him significantly over the years. According to Fangraphs, Muncy was shifted on a whopping 89% of his at-bats. The pull-heavy lefty suffered from leaving hits on the field.

If that wasn’t enough evidence, Muncy also had a .227 BABIP. He is eligible at multiple positions and still boasts a fantastic walk rate. The Dodgers are going to need someone to step up this season after losing core pieces and Muncy is that guy.

With an ADP of 139, make sure he doesn’t leave the draft board on another team.

Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres

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Despite being an all-star in 2021, Cronenworth took a step back in 2022. After a solid first two seasons, the 29-year-old ended the year with .239 average, 17 homers and only 3 steals.

However, there is still so much to like about the “Crone Zone” making him a later buy in drafts.

First off, Cronenworth had the highest walk rate of his career. He ended the season in the 88th percentile in whiff percentage while being just as high with his chase rate. Furthermore, the lefty is another player who will benefit from the shift ban.

With fantastic defensive stats, the versatile Cronenworth should be locked in at first base this season. He comes into the year eligible at three different positions, thus making him a great tool to have in fantasy baseball.

This San Diego Padres lineup is also stacked. With the addition of Xander Bogaerts, this team will score a lot of runs this season, and Cronenworth should see himself right in the middle of the batting order. Hitting behind Juan Soto, Manny Machado, the aforementioned Bogaerts and Fernando Tatis Jr. should give Cronenworth plenty of RBI opportunities. With an ADP of 164, he should be a solid pick with a low cost at a weak position.

Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees

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Torres makes the list as he enters his sixth year in the league but is still only 26 years old! Now entering his prime years, the two-time all-star is coming off a season where he re-found his power stroke and mashed 24 long balls. He also swiped 10 bases and was only behind Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton with 76 RBIs for the Yankees.

After settling with the Yankees via arbitration earlier this week, Torres is locked in the Yankees' explosive offense for 2023. He sent a career-high barrel percentage last year (10.7) and cranked up his launch angle (17.5) back to where it was in his first two years.

Fangraphs projects him to have an extremely solid season with a .262/.327/.443 line and 23 home runs. Being in his mid-twenties, there is no reason not to believe that Torres can’t push to his true ceiling. He has 30-homer potential and has a hitter-friendly park in New York.

His price tag isn’t expensive, he’s a solid pick in roto leagues and Torres has even greater value in points leagues.

Second Basemen On the Rise

Luis Garcia, Washington Nationals

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How is it possible to be entering your third MLB season and still be 21? Well, just asking Luis Garcia. The kid will start 2023 as the starting second baseman for the Washington Nationals and will be locked there for the season.

There is so much to like about this young kid. First off, the Nationals view Garcia and C.J. Abrams as their infielders of the future.  Last year, Garcia hit .275 with 7 homers and 3 stolen bases in 360 at-bats. However, this year he should have a green light to develop every which way.

The Nationals wanted Garcia to be more agile this season, and Manager Davey Martinez is thrilled that their youngster has already lost 9% of his body fat. As he grows physically, his stats should see a boost, and it's not like he wasn't growing in the batter's box already. Since 2020, Garcia has seen an increase every year in exit velocity, barrel percentage, hard hit percentage, sweet spot percentage, and launch angle. Last season, Garcia finished the year in the 91st percentile for exit velocity.

Sure, he's young. But he has a lot of raw potential on a team that is going to play him every day -- he is certainly on the rise and should be entering fantasy radars.

Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds

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Last season the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year took a big step back. India saw big drops in his batting average, OBP and slugging percentage. Despite these struggles, a deeper look shows he should be on the rebound this season.

The 26-year-old struggled in the first half of 2022 has he had two IL stints and only had 156 at-bats. In these games, he hit an abysmal .231/.290/.346 with 4 homers and 2 stolen bases. But in the second half of the season, India stepped up. He hit .261/.351/.400 and produced a much better walk rate.

India also finished the season in the 75th percentile for max exit velocity and the 76th percentile in chase rate. This year, India enters the season healthy. He projects to hit in the top half of the Reds' lineup in a favorable home park.

This second baseman has shown his potential after a season where he hit .269/.376./.459 with 21 home runs and 98 runs scored. His great plate discipline, regained health, and favorable batting spot should give him a rebound 2023.

Second Basemen on the Horizon

Michael Busch, Los Angeles Dodgers

The departure of Trea Turner has opened up the door for Michael Busch as a potential option in 2023. As one of the Dodger's top prospects, Busch has done nothing but mash the ball. He led all second basemen in the MiLB with 32 homers and 108 RBIs.

The former North Carolina Tar Heel also hit 20 home runs back during his 2021 season in AA. The kid's pop is for real. He has a smooth lefty swing and can also play outfield for the Dodgers. This is going to give manager Dave Roberts more options to toy with this season.

While it is undecided whether or not Busch will start the year in the majors, he is definitely someone to keep an eye on. He is the second-best 2B prospect in the league and could be a nice piece for fantasy owners down the stretch.

Connor Norby, Baltimore Orioles

Connor Norby is an exciting name entering the 2023 baseball season. As one of the Baltimore Orioles top prospects, he make his MLB debut this year. Here's why: the kid can play.

Last year, the former East Carolina product hit a combined .279 with 29 home runs and 16 stolen bases across the minors. Just 22 years old, Norby can still grow. His speed/power combo could lead to 25/25 seasons, something that would be extremely valuable for fantasy teams.

The future is going to look very bright for the Orioles with Norby joining Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson in Baltimore.

Second Basemen to Avoid

Now the 2023 Fantasy Baseball second base preview gives you the players you want to stay away from on draft day.

Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays

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Brandon Lowe used to be a reliable fantasy second baseman, but this season he comes with a lot of risk. First off, he couldn't stay healthy last year. He used to be a reliable home run source, but he struggled with back issues and ended the season with only eight long balls.

It's not just the injury risk. Lowe also can't maintain a decent batting average. He has become a one-category player, and home runs aren't enough to sustain a great fantasy season. In 2021 he batted .247, but last year it dropped to .221. His batting average has dropped every year since he was an all-star in 2019.

The Tampa Bay Rays are also deep with versatile players. Jonathan Aranda, Isaac Paredes, Curtis Mead and eventually Xavier Edwards could dig into his playing time.

Even though he is still only 28, Lowe's best days seem to be behind him. He simply comes with too much risk this season.

Brandon Drury, Los Angeles Angels

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Brandon Drury was a revelation last season. He crushed it for the Cincinnati Reds hitting .263 with 28 home runs and 87 RBI. The problem? This came out of nowhere and isn't close to Drury's career averages.

Once Drury left the Reds' favorable ballpark, he deflated to a .238/.290/.435 line. Now playing with Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, this versatile second baseman still has opportunities around him. However, he will most likely regress to his career norms.

The eight-year veteran is a career .252 hitter and averages less than 10 home runs a season. He struggles with his walk rate and chases way too much. Even with a solid situation in Anaheim, Drury should be a second baseman to avoid.


That's it for the Fantasy Baseball Second Base Preview! Fantasy Baseball season is right around the corner. Make sure you stay up to date with ongoing news and check out the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Rankings to prepare for your draft!

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1 comment

Ryan February 1, 2023 - 11:43 am

Love this preview! Can’t wait for more content from Taylor

Reply

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