Seems everyone was saying that second base is such a deeply talented position for 2018. There is lots of talent but the gap between the first tier and the rest of the best is huge. It kinda feels like being on a game show where there is a giant car sized prize box in front of you. You must decide whether to take the $15,000 cash prize or whats in the box. Now because the box is the size of a car there is a chance of the contents being a Jaguar or at least a Kia or something. Ignoring the odds that it could also just be a giant turd sandwich, you pick the mystery box. The crowd of senior citizen hecklers in the studio audience made you succumb to their peer pressure.
If your opting for a tier one kinda guy just be sure you believe you are getting what you paid for. Altuve is the only “unicorn” at this position.
Here are my top 10 players under the age of 30 at second base.
- Jose Altuve, 27, Astros – My projections for 2018 are – .309/98/18/76/39
- Whit Merrifield, 29, Royals – My projections for 2018 are – .273/72/17/70/31
- Jonathon Schoop, 26, Orioles – My Projections for 2018 are – .276/87/29/94/1
- Rougned Odor, 24, Rangers – My projections for 2018 are – .256/84/32/82/15
- Javier Baez, 25, Cubs – My projections for 2018 are – .262/90/28/90/12
- Ozzie Albies, 21, Braves – My projections for 2018 are – .273/72/14/62/22
- Jedd Gyorko, 29, Cardinals – My projections for 2018 are – .253/57/22/74/7
- D.J. LeMahieu, 29, Rockies – My projections for 2018 are – .310/86/8/58/13
- Yoan Moncada, 22, Red Sox – My projections for 2018 are – .237/62/16/56/27
- Cesar Hernandez, 27, Phillies – My projections for 2018 are – .274/76/8/37/16
In 2018 there will most likely be that mad rush to get the top guys at first base. There is a drop off after the Goldschmidt, Votto, Rizzo, Bellinger and Freeman. While I do believe investing in a top man at first base is a smart move there is also a budding group of young talent that would make me very happy to fill a Corner Infield or Utility positions early to cash on on some of these high ceiling hitters.
In points leagues i am all over Josh Bell who plays everyday with his almost equal BB-SO percentages. Bell hit 26 HR and 90 RBI in his rookie season withe an AVG of .255. He has the capability of being a future 30 HR 100 RBI guy and with such a low k rate a .300 AVG isn’t out of the question.
Wil Myers, Matt Olson, Rhys Hoskins are studs as well and have the ability to be great contributors to your team.
Here is the list of my top 10 first basemen under 30 who are great assets to your lineups.
- Anthony Rizzo, 28, Cubs – You can bank on the numbers he gives you every year and is still in his prime, He hits in the middle of a stacked lineup for great counting stats,My projections for 2018 are – .283/94/32/99/9
- Freddie Freeman, 28, Braves – Freddie has turned into one of the most productive hitters in the game. My only hesitation with Freeman is his habit of being a trip to the DL waiting to happen.My projections for 2018 are – .291/85/25/77/5
- Cody Bellinger, 22, Dodgers – There is bound to be some regression in his 2017 rookie season numbers. Lets get real though this guy is a masher. My projections for 2018 are – .253/78/35/87/9
- Wil Myers, 28, Padres – Myers is a quality all category contributor in the prime of his career. My projections for 2018 are – .251/90/28/84/24
- Eric Hosmer, 28, Free Agent – We will see where he signs and how that park and lineup affect his skills but, he can succeed anywhere with his hitting skills. My projections for 2018 are – .289/83/19/87/6
- Rhys Hoskins, 25, Phillies – Rhys is poised to have years of big success hitting in the middle of the Phillies lineup. He may start to transition into more time playing the OF with the signing of Carlos Santana but his offense can translate into favorable stats from any corner position.. My Projections for 2018 are – .263/83/31/81/3
- Matt Olson, 24, A’s – Yes, the pace of 24 home runs every 48 games is laughable but wow. The way Olson showed off his immense power made many think Joey Gallo. Well, if Joey Gallo struck out 10% less. My projections for 2018 are – .234/84/37/101/0
- Josh Bell, 25, Pirates – I went over my love of Josh bell above.My projections for 2018 are – .273/68/29/85/2
- Brandon Belt, 29, Giants – Belt is a very talented hitter than can provide a lot of value if everything ‘clicks”My projections for 2018 are – .262/71/21/77/4
- Justin Bour, 29, Marlins – The raw power is there. The only question is will there be anyone on base for him. My projections for 2018 are – .264/43/21/69/0
With Buster Posey now crossing over to the wrong side of 30 there is a changing of the guard at the top of this list. The physical toll it takes on the body to be a starting catcher these days it makes so much sense to play it safe and find a young starter who will not run out of gas come July (Hopefully).
No matter what fantasy format you play in catcher can be one of the most frustrating positions on your team. Lets set aside the bumps, bruises and injuries, Lets even set aside the whole take 1 or 2 days off a week. The delema I have always faced is how much to invest in a catcher. Just last year i drafted Cameron Rupp for $1 and thought i would get good power value for an every day guy. After suffering through his first few months of lackluster performance I was lucky that I was able to scoop up Mike Zunino before others caught on to his revival season.
If you are to invest in the top tiers like a Gary Sanchez, Buster Posey or Willson Contreras There is a level of comfort that brings but your paying a lot of money that would probably provide more production if spent on a everyday player from a less taxing position. Pick your poison i guess. I suppose its just best to look for an in his prime starter for a good team that comes a a decent value and hope for the best.
Here is my list of top 10 catchers under the age of 30.
- Gary Sanchez, 25, Yankees – Most likely the #1 catcher pick for years to come. Sanchez is a a force with the bat and will have great counting stats batting in the Yankees lineup.My projections for 2018 are. – .270/83/35/95/2
- Willson Contreras, 26, Cubs – Another great hitter on a great team. Like Sanchez the Cubs try to work his bat into the lineup even when hes not catching.My projections for 2018 are. – .272/63/26/86/6
- J.T. Realmuto, 27, Marlins – The latest rumor has him being traded to the Astros. Regardless of the team he plays for the guy can hit and run. My projections for 2018 are. – .274/62/12/58/12
- Salvador Perez, 28, Royals – Always been a force with the bat. Sal tends to catch every game and hit a wall 3/4 into the season each year. Regardless he tends to finish the season with great numbers despite the late season slumps. My projections for 2018 are. – .261/56/22/71/1
- Mike Zunino, 27, Mariners – Zunino showed with a regular starting gig he is capable of putting up elite power numbers despite a low average and high strikeout rate. My projections for 2018 are. – .240/55/32/67/1
- Austin Barnes, 28 Dodgers – I cant wait to see what stats Barnes can put up in a full MLB season. My projections for 2018 are. – .264/70/16/61/10
- Travis d’Arnaud, 29, Mets – He has the bat skill and has shown flashes of breaking out before. Will this be the season he puts it all together?My projections for 2018 are. – .259/56/18/59/0
- James McCann, 28. Tigers -He should hit in the middle of the Detroit lineup in 2018. McCann has shown an increased amount of power in his bat the last few seasons. My projections for 2018 are. – .249/62/13/59/1
- Austin Hedges, 25, Padres – A great defensive catcher with a developing hitting tool. Austin showed flashes of a great line drive swing last year. He’s going to get a ton of plate appearances to further his development.My projections for 2018 are. – .241/40/20/61/4
- Yasmani Grandal, 29, Dodgers – Grandal seems to have lost the starting job to Austin Barnes but, Grandal is a very skilled hitter who will get his at bats and who knows might end up being traded to a new team as a starter. My projections for 2018 are. – .240/47/20/57/1
Chris Archer has the talent to be in the top 5 pitchers discussion. When you only throw 2 pitches the hitter has a 50/50 shot at guessing the next pitch. Too many times I have seen him have that here it is hit it as he throws a 95mph+ fastball down the middle of the plate.
A surprise to not many is most hitters in the majors can put that fastball 450′ in the centerfield seats.
The Brewers are trying to pry him away from the Rays. If they can get Domingo Santana back they should make that trade right away!!
After finishing my projections stats for second basemen, there were 2 players that I believe will greatly increase their value in 2018. These are early rankings so as we’ve been seeing with the likes of Dee Gordon moving to Center Field this information can change by the day. That being said there are two players i’d like to bring up as early we can never do enough studying to perfect next years wish lists for your fantasy teams in 2018.
Javier Baez – Cubs – After showing off his stellar defense at the WBC early in 2017 Baez went on a bit of a slow start with the bat in Chicago. Once it became apparent that Ben Zobrist had begun to show his age it was only a matter of time till Javier was handed the reigns to a starting gig at second base. His lightning quick bat speed has already shown glimpses of that “light tower power”. If Baez is to receive a bump in plate appearances we will surely see a spike in his power numbers and that would likely mean a promotion from batting eighth to somewhere around 5-6 in that prolific Cubs batting order. This means an increase in counting stats. Strike outs will likely always be part of his game but, even in points leagues his PPG avg will still be top 5 at the position. My projections for 2018 are: .270/90/28/90/12
Jonathon Villar – Brewers – Villar had a breakout 2016 season when he produced a .285/92/19/63/62 stat line. A lot of fantasy owners took notice and took Villar early in their drafts to lock down the stolen base category while showing he could produce in all other categories at a middle infield position. 2017 was the second year in a row where his stats showed a decline on a Brewers team that does not excite as many owners as it did in years past. Here is a chance to buy low on a player that is only 25 years old and has not shown a decline in any peripheral hitting stats. My projections for 2018 are: .275/71/15/52/43
When it comes to drafting a first baseman most people try to get one early in an auction or draft. I do think we’ve all had a time where we tried to take the best player available. Its a logical approach for value. All of a sudden you see your outfield spots are full , you secured a great third basemen and you have 3 impressive starters and a big time closer. By that time you realize your first base spot is empty and your league mates have not only taken the top 10 or so but they are also loading up their corner infield and Utility spots. Checking who is still on the board you have to decide between Mitch Moreland or Adam Lind…a tidal wave of sadness enters your brain. The panic sets in so you breath into a brown paper bag for a minute to gather yourself. There are other options that can prove to great value picks,
Gregory Bird – Yankees – Bird got his first taste of the majors back in 2015. He dominated AA & AAA before an injury brought him up to man first base for a few months, If you add up his stats from 3 levels that year he hit 23 home runs and 83 RBI. Very impressive considering these were levels he had never been to before. There was no adjustment periods just a good hitter who has a very advanced approach at the plate. 2016 for Bird was lost due to Shoulder surgery and he dealt with a frustrating ankle injury for part of 2017. There was some time needed to get on field ready. Did anyone see Bird playing first base during the 2017 playoffs? He was hitting dingers off the Indians and Astros. So for the 25 year old 6’4″ lefty that gets to take advantage of the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium the power possibilities are endless. Bird has had some success hitting against lefty pitchers so he should log a lot of plate appearances. My projections for 2018 are .265/71/25/73/4
Matt Olson – Athletics – Last season Matt Olson hit a combined 47 home runs between the A’s and their AAA affiliate. Looks like Billy Beane hit the jack pot again. Olson looks like a lock for being a perennial 40 home run guy for years to come. Too soon? Fair enough. Dude has put together some very impressive video game stats though. He is very likely the reason the A’s felt compelled to dangle Ryon Healy for other team needs. There are some stats that lead me to believe this might be sustainable. Olson has a very advanced approach and eye at the plate. His BB/K rate was 0.37 for the A’s last season which is actually one of the lowest of his professional career. Also, a power hitter with a hard hit percentage of 40.3 seems to be unlucky to have a BABIP as low as .238. There was a 20 year gap in between Mark McGwire and Aaron Judge having monster rookie seasons but whose to say we have to wait another 20? I’m going to be targeting Matt Olson in every league next year. I’m just hoping the hype doesnt get too out of hand making him a target for the masses. My projections for 2018 are: .259/84/37/101/0
Lets kick off the 2018 Early Sleepers series with 2 catchers that people seem to have moved on from.
Travis d’Arnaud – There has never been a question that d’Arnaud could hit MLB pitching Yet, he has been labeled “brittle”. Health seems to be the main area of concern along with to some degree getting enough counting stats from an anemic Mets offense. Yoenis Cespedes is expected to be healthy along with Michael Conforto and a full season of Amed Rosario. That trio expects to elevate the value of hard hitting run producers. d’Arnaud will be at the age of 29 entering the 2018 season. Now with the experience of 1200+ Plate appearances again major league hurlers. My projections for 2018 are .261/56/18/59/1
Mike Zunino – After being the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 draft Zunino found himself called up by the Mariners 1 year later. Catchers usually need more minor league training. Seattle felt secure in their decision. Well…we all know he struggled. The power has always been there but, there was just way too many strikeouts. In 2017 he logged 387 AB’s and hit a career high 25 hrs and 64 RBI. Yes he still struck out 160 times but when he make contact its well hit as shown in his 38.6 hard hit rate. My projections for 2018 are .262/55/32/74/0