Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a different strategy if you wish to truly compete. Rankings themselves are a different beast altogether, as category specialists like Mallex Smith and Dee Gordon (stolen bases), Kyle Schwarber and Franmil Reyes (home runs), and the majority of closers will be devalued. Hitters who draw walks and avoid strikeouts earn more points so plate discipline is rewarded and must be considered.
All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings for the second base position, put together by analysts Nicklaus Gaut, Riley Mrack, and Pierre Camus.
Second Base H2H Points League Rankings
|14||4||Lourdes Gurriel Jr.||2B/OF||135||139||136|
|36||7||Tommy La Stella||2B/3B||340||#N/A||247|
Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie! Oy, oy, oy! Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie! Boy, oh boy. The 5-foot-8, switch-hitting bundle of fun for the Braves has seemingly been around forever but is still just 23-years-old and will spend all year hitting in one of baseball's cushiest lineup spots. With All-World Ronald Acuna hitting in front, and Freddie Freeman and newly-signed Marcell Ozuna coming up behind, Ozzie Albies certainly won't have to worry about seeing good pitches, or having plenty of opportunities to pile up counting stats. The Braves All-Star slashed .295/.352/.500 in 2019, with 24 home runs, 86 RBI, 102 runs scored and 15 steals, a year after hitting 24 HR and stealing 14 bases in 2018. Pairing those beautiful lines with a strikeout rate that stays in the mid-teens, Albies is a five-category star in points leagues, as well as roto.
While I'm a known Jose Altuve hater in roto, my tune is a little different for points leagues. In regards to what Altuve will earn in your classic 5x5 league, I worry that five to 10 stolen bases could be his new normal and believe his career-high 23.8% HR/FB in 2019 doesn't bode well for a repeat of 30+ HR. But in points, it doesn't matter where the production comes from, as long as it comes. A .300 AVG, 25 HR, and 5-10 SB season might not be overwhelming for rotisserie baseball but Altuve has positive production in multiple categories, with just an 11.4% K-rate for his career. And who knows? With as many times as the diminutive Astro may get his tower buzzed after the offseason sign-stealing scandal, Altuve might be on base more and consequentially be able to buzz around and get those stolen base numbers back to the levels of year's past. Buzz-buzz-buzz, my little bee. Buzz-buzz.
I like Gleyber Torres in just about any format and not just because he'll hit in the middle of arguably the most dangerous lineup in baseball. Torres hit 38 HR in his sophomore campaign, with 90 RBI, 96 runs scored, and a .278 AVG, further cementing himself as one of the best young players in the game. He'll need to continue to decrease his K rate if he really wants to level up in points formats but he did shave almost four points off it from his first to the second year, so there's certainly hope for continued improvement.
Whether straight-up or on the rocks, it looks like I'm the biggest believer in another round of Ketel in 2020. Marte, that is. Shaken, stirred, and everything in between. Ketel Marte finally broke out in 2019, slashing .329/.389/.592 with 32 HR, 10 SB, and 90+ RBI and runs scored. Among qualified second baseman in 2019, that was good for first on ESPN, first on CBS, and second on Fantrax in points scored, with Marte tumbling all the way to third place on Yahoo. Marte's launch-angle doubled from the previous year with a barrel-rate that met nearly the same criteria. Those facts along with a career-high exit-velocity and hard-hit rate tell me that this Marte is hitting the ball harder and with more loft than he ever has before. Barkeep? Make mine a double.
I love, love, LOVE thinking back to narratives from the year prior...Remember when DJ LeMahieu wouldn't be able to hit after leaving Coors Field? BA-HAHAHA-HAHAHA. Yea, either that or the former Rockie had the best year of his career, with his 26 HR, 102 RBI, and 109 runs scored all setting new career-highs for the 31-year-old. It wasn't just the counting stats either, with LeMahieu's .327 AVG the second-highest of his career and good for second place in 2019's AL batting race. Not to mention a .322 xBA that was in the top 1% of baseball and an average exit velocity and barrel rate that were both career-highs. LeMahieu may not hit at Coors anymore but his new home is still one of the friendliest hitting environments in baseball and he plays in a division with three other prolific hitter's parks. Oh, did I mention the murderer's row of a lineup that he'll be hitting atop of? No? Well, he's going to be followed by Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez. I may have LeMahieu the lowest of us RotoBaller rankers but don't take that to mean that I'm doubting the sounding-French man.
Talk about using free agency to float into a new home and on a virtual nest of feathery fluffiness. Former Brewer Mike Moustakas had it good playing in Milwaukee, both in regards to his home ballpark, as well as the castmates he shared a lineup with. It's tough to find a better spot for left-handed power than Miller Park - with its 112 Park Factor the second-highest in baseball - but the 110 PF of his new home in Cincinnati is a pretty good consolation prize. He might not be sharing a lineup with Christian Yelich and Yasmani Grandal anymore but Moustakas will be preceded in the Reds order by Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez, and followed by Nicholas Castellanos. That lineup ain't too shabby, especially considering the Great American Bandbox that Moose now calls home. With a skill set that fits well across all platforms (remarkably finishing eighth in 2019 on Yahoo, ESPN, Fantrax, and CBS) Moustakas is one of the safest plays at the position.
Let's do a callback to former narratives gone wrong...Remember when Max Muncy wasn't going to be able to handle playing second base? Well, he's at least good enough to handle the gig part-time, with Muncy spending most of his time at the keystone. Also eligible at 1B and 3B in 2020, the Dodger followed up his breakout 2018 by putting together an even better 2019. Muncy had 35 HR for the second year in a row but realized a large leap in his other counting stats, finishing with 98 RBI and 102 runs scored. He's also probably not going to be hurt by now having new Dodger Mookie Betts hitting in front of him all year. Also not hurt by the acquisition of Betts is Strike Force, the Dodgers intramural bowling team that has finished runner up to Arizona's Snakes on a Lane for three straight years in the Southwest Intramural Championship. Adding an MVP roller like Betts should be the addition that finally brings the trophy home for the boys in blue.
Somewhere, my friends will read this and wonder if I'm sending out for help in a kind of secret code. Why else would I be praising and defending Jonathan Villar, after all these years of mockery? Some might want to dismiss Villar's 2019 fantasy campaign as a speed-driven outlier but the then-Oriole was a stellar asset in points leagues, where no special consideration is granted to stolen bases. Villar finished as the top second baseman on Fantrax in points scored and was second on Yahoo, fourth on CBS, and seventh on ESPN. Going from one perennial loser in Baltimore to another in Miami, Villar shouldn't see any impediments on playing time or running opportunities, giving him a sneakily-solid floor in points play.
Umm, Nick? Are you sure you want to rank Rougned Odor at #149? You do know that two of the major platforms penalize for strikeouts right? And at last check, no platforms award any points for punching Jose Bautista in the jaw, so why would I want the stink of Odor anywhere on my list? Odor may have hit 30 HR but he also had a 30.6% K-rate that is usually a gravestone in at least two of the platforms. And yet...the Rangers second baseman finished as a top-100 scorer on Fantrax and Yahoo, in the top-150 on CBS, and the top-200 on ESPN. The riskiest thing about Odor isn't how many points he'll score total on the year; it's how many stretches he'll slump into where he strikes out about 15 times a week, for a month.
While most people who play in strikeout-punishing leagues (ESPN/CBS) have no trouble taking credit away from whiff-prone players, they may not give enough credit to those at the other end of the spectrum. Luis Arraez is one of those guys, posting a ridiculous 7.9% K-rate over his 366 PA in 2019. Every time you don't strike out, that's one less point you have to make up elsewhere and Arraez only struck out 29 times last season. For context, the aforementioned Odor struck out 178 times in 522 PA; if he had Arraez's K-rate, Odor would've scored 137 more points and finished as the No. 5 second baseman.
It's time to play every fantasy player's least favorite game...Guessing! The Rockies! Playing Time! It appears that Ryan McMahon currently has Colorado's second base job but right when you think you have the Rockies figured out, that's right when they trade for Jason Kipnis, or something equally nonsensical. What'll actually happen is that this will be the year that Garrett Hampson starts wire-to-wire and finishes with 600 PA and 40 SB. The counting numbers will be there for McMahon and Coors helps with it all, of course, but he'll have to keep shaving his strikeout rate down if he really wants to take off because 29.7% isn't really cutting it.
It looks like I'm splitting the middle of Dodgers uber-prospect Gavin Lux. In his 82 PA cup of coffee in 2019, Lux didn't exactly exhibit traits normally prized in point formats, with the 22-year-old left-hander posting a 29.3% K-rate and 8.5% walk-rate. However, during his minor league career Lux always posted K-rates around 20%, while also walking over 10% of the time. If Lux show that kind of discipline in the majors, along with the 70-grade hit tool that Fangraphs credits him with having, then Lux could turn into a monster in this format and any other.
Tier Six and Lower
Hello, Newman. The Pirates shortstop did a little bit of everything last year, hitting 12 HR, with 64 RBI, 61 runs scored, 16 SB, and a .308 AVG that finished eighth-best in the National League. His "little-bit of everything" profile, paired with an 11.7% K-rate that was in the top-3% of baseball served Kevin Newman well across all platforms last season, finishing between #139 and #156 on ESPN, Fantrax, and CBS, with a #205 finish in Yahoo still not too shabby. Except for the batting average, Newman is being projected for roughly the same season in 2020 and could be a real bargain at his 193 ADP on NFBC if the average from 2019 sticks around.
I find Robinson Cano pretty boring from a roto standpoint, with the 37-year-old projected by ATC to slash .271/.327/.437 with 17 HR, 65 RBI, and 62 runs scored, a similar projection to other systems. But once again, points is a different story, because that boring line comes with a below-average K-rate and an above-average walk-rate. Points gold, baby. Cano has a throwaway 330+ ADP on most platforms but is projected by both ATC and RotoBaller's Nick Mariano to finish as a top-160 scorer on both ESPN (-1 for K) and Fantrax (0 for K). You have to know your particular platform so you can trust the process. Because the process is often going to lead you to players like Cano; ones not being drafted in most leagues but ones who absolutely should be.
I liked Luis Urias prior to his trade to Milwaukee and loved him even more after, with the second-year player moving to a much better ballpark and seemingly assured of regular playing time (if he could beat out Orlando Arcia, that is). Then he had to have surgery to repair a broken hamate bone - certainly not great news - but already had the cast removed on February 12th and is expected to be ready after Opening Day. This will give Arcia a headstart on the job but manager Craig Counsell has previously said that Urias will get every chance to earn the starting job and that attitude isn't likely to change unless Arcia starts the season on absolute fire. He may have been disappointing in the majors so far by Urias still has an elite hit tool and in point formats, I'm willing to give those types of players a longer leash.
Speaking of elite hit tools, if I thought he was going to get more than 45o-ish PA, the 5-foot-7 Nick Madrigal would rocket up my list. He may not have any pop but Madrigal can rake and has posted ridiculously low K-rates at every stop in the minor leagues. He's basically a much better version of Willians Astudillo but with a higher walk-rate. And Astudillo is a point league god...and also a regular god.