As the baseball season finally draws to a close, it's time to look back at how the keystone position fared this season. Let's run things down in 2023 Fantasy Baseball Year In Review: Second Base.
Looking back at our second base preview, things played out mostly as we expected at the top of the second base ranks. Mookie Betts, Ozzie Albies, and Marcus Semien contributed big time. Injuries kept Jazz Chisholm to 97 games played—and now he's ready to spend another offsesason rehabbing. All pretty standard stuff.
There were some surprises at second base, though, and the future looks brighter with the emergence of several younger standouts at this position. Here we'll take a look at a couple of overachievers, underachievers, and prospects to keep an eye on.
2023 Fantasy Baseball Year In Review: Second Base
Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs
Hoerner enjoyed a decent 2022 campaign, but that didn’t elevate expectations for 2023 much. His ADP hovered around 200, and he was nearly No. 20 off the board among second basemen. That mark will rise next season.
Only 4 players have accumulated 300+ Hits and 60+ SB over the last two seasons:
Ronald Acuña Jr
Bobby Witt Jr
Nico Hoerner ?
Only 3 players accumulated 175+ Hits and 40+ SB this season:
Ronald Acuña Jr
Bobby Witt Jr
Nico Hoerner ? pic.twitter.com/wdEsYBaCNO
— KAS (@dynastyinfo411) October 5, 2023
In 150 games, Hoerner slashed .283/.346/.383 with 9 HRs, 68 RBI, 98 runs and 43 SBs. He batted .297 in the second half of the season. Yet it still feels like he’s an overlooked asset.
Hoerner led second basemen in steals, and only four players at his position (min. 400 PA) posted a better batting average. He was also third in runs.
His Statcast data looks mostly in line with what he did in 2022. The .272 xBA shows he wasn’t too far off his season mark, and the power remains...well, he’s getting hits and steals, what more do you want? Hoerner’s ADP will be a storyline to monitor as drafts kick off in 2024.
Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks
I don’t think Marte appreciated the preseason rankings this year. Placed well out of the top 10 by many analysts, he easily beat his projections and ADP.
Marte finished the regular season with 25 HRs, 82 RBI, 94 runs, and 8 SBs with a slash line of .276/.358/.485. While injuries cut into the previous three seasons, this was easily the second-best campaign of his entire career as far as overall offensive output goes.
You can’t really blame some of the fantasy baseball community for being down on him going into 2023. Marte batted .240 in 137 games last year and played a combined 135 games over the two seasons prior. But those health concerns diminished as he saw the most plate attempts of any season and posted career highs in average EV, Max EV, and walk rate this year.
He’s now hitting .358 with a .986 OPS this postseason, helping fuel the Arizona Diamondbacks to the World Series.
Ketel Marte is the NLCS MVP! pic.twitter.com/xwAqxhKYPT
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 25, 2023
There will surely still be some caution regarding his health going into next season, but that could give drafters a better shot to grab Marte at a lower ADP.
Andrés Giménez, Cleveland Guardians
Giménez signed a massive contract prior to the start of the season. The Guardians locked him in for a seven-year, $106.5 million extension. But the bat didn’t quite live up to his lofty expectations for 2023.
He slashed .251/.314/.399 with 15 home runs, 62 RBI, 76 runs and 30 SBs. Fortunately, Giménez set a career high in steals, but the pedestrian 97 wRC+ proves he took a step back at the plate.
2023 was quite a roller coaster for the Guardians second baseman. Giménez only stole two bases collectively through May and June, and he batted a meager .211 in July. He did manage a better second half, though, posting 8 HRs and 15 SBs in 67 games.
Obviously a 15/30 season puts him in rare company, but Giménez didn’t finish among the top 10 second basemen in any counting stat besides steals. Considering his preseason ADP, that’s a disappointment. The underlying metrics show regression in most categories. We’ll have to hope for a batting average bounce back in 2024.
Jeff McNeil, New York Mets
Not much went right for the Mets this season. That includes McNeil’s ability to boost your team's batting average.
He played a career-high 156 games but batted .270/.333/.378. In 648 plate attempts, McNeil finished with 10 HRs, 55 RBI, and 10 SBs. At least – like Giménez – that’s a new high on the basepath.
Second base produced some strong performers in 2023, so this is a bit nitpicky considering McNeil’s ADP. But he had nearly 60 more plate attempts than 2022 and still only came away with one more homer, two more runs, and seven fewer RBI.
And now there’s this injury to worry about.
You’re really drafting McNeil as a safety net for your batting average. If he’s not delivering there, I’m not sure what you’re holding onto. As we look ahead to his age 32 season, McNeil’s ADP might continue to fall, especially depending on his elbow status.
Prospects to Watch
Tyler Black, Milwaukee Brewers
A bat-first prospect, Black has the ability to contribute across the board on fantasy teams. In 84 games at Double-A this season, he slugged 14 homers and stole 47 bases with a .924 OPS. Triple-A didn’t slow him down, either, as he batted .310 in 39 games with the Nashville Sounds.
OBP leagues really need to take notice. Black has a career .415 OBP in 213 minor league games. He’ll likely end up as a utility player as the Brewers have played him at multiple positions, but he could be a useful add at second base next season.
Luisangel Acuña, New York Mets
Maybe the Mets really are cursed, because Acuña took quite a step back after the Texas Rangers traded him to New York. He batted .315 with 7 HRs, 51 RBI, and 42 SBs at Double-A Frisco, but regressed to a .243 average and a 76 wRC+ with Binghamton.
But it's a small sample size. The future still looks promising for Ronald Acuña's younger brother. The speed is legit, and scouting reports show his exit velocities should lead to more power in the future. He needs to refine his plate approach a bit, but the Mets could use his baserunning skills at some point in 2024.
Termarr Johnson, Pittsburgh Pirates
The No. 4 overall pick in 2022 might not have the most eye-popping stats in the minors so far, but all the tools are there. At just 19 years old, Johnson hit 18 home runs with 59 RBI and 10 steals in 105 games this season across Single-A and High-A.
The batting average needs to improve, and obviously a 26% strikeout rate is alarming, but this could be a good buying opportunity for dynasty players. I mean the kid still posted a 141 wRC+ as a teenager. We probably won’t see him until 2025 at the earliest, but he’s one of the top prospects to watch at second base.
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