With Opening Day of the 2020 MLB season just a few weeks away, we have a new batch of updated fantasy baseball rankings for you here at RotoBaller. The unpredictable effects of COVID-19 and the implementation of the 60-game season will make the upcoming fantasy campaign the most unique we have ever seen. Not only because of the schedule structure, but because of the inevitable impact of the pandemic.
Drafting healthy players will be like walking through a minefield this year since we've already seen a wide range of players test positive for the virus. Even though these players should recover in time for the beginning of the campaign, the long-term impact could compromise their strength and endurance. The in-season struggle of maintaining the players' well-being will be a balancing act, so we can only hope all players and staff do their part to keep everyone healthy. With two-thirds of games now played within the division and the remaining third versus interleague counterparts, this setup gives some hitters in certain divisions advantages over others. Considering the effect of Park Factors and the pitching staffs they'll face within their division, factoring in these elements is essential in such a short season.
Don't forget to bookmark our main fantasy baseball rankings page which is loaded up with rankings, tiers, auction dollar values, player stats, projections, news and more for Mixed Leagues, H2H Points Leagues, Dynasty Leagues, 2020 Redraft Prospects, Dynasty Prospects and more! With that said, let's analyze the landscape of the shortstop position.Editor's Note: Love the strategy of season-long fantasy sports? Live for the short term gratification of DFS? Try Weekly Fantasy Sports on OwnersBox - a new weekly DFS platform. Sign up today for a FREE $50 Deposit Match. Offer expires Thursday night! Sign Up Now!
Updated Second Base Rankings - 5x5 Mixed Leagues
|Rank||O-Rank||Tier||Player||Nick M||Nick G||Pierre||David||Riley|
|14||143||4||Lourdes Gurriel Jr.||155||144||184||161||141|
|31||264||6||Tommy La Stella||250||283||275||260||256|
Ozzie, Ozzie, all come in free. Albies is at the top of our list, with all rankers placing him between #26 and #38. I have him at #28 but to me, he stands alone among the second baseman, with my values putting a significant gap between Albies ($27) and the rest of the first tier ($17.6 - $22.9). Albies will give you elite production in runs and batting average, with the average giving him an even bigger fantasy boost considering how times he tends to make it to the plate, with the 23-year-old finishing 2018-19 with a total of 1386 PA.
Albies will also give you above-average numbers in home runs, RBI, and stolen bases while hitting in the middle of one of the most exciting lineups in baseball. And that lineup has become even more dangerous with the signing of Yasiel Puig on July 15. Albies will now be preceded by Ronald Acuna Jr. and followed by Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna, and Puig.
Sigh. I've had to relinquish my crown of ranking Jose Altuve the lowest of the team. Because after living around #50 all offseason, I moved Altuve all the way up to #42. There were lots of reasons I didn't like Altuve heading into the pre-pandemic 2020, with a disbelief in the power spike leading the way. But I also didn't think the stolen bases were coming back after Altuve stole just six bases in 2019. His sprint speed has stayed steady but the analytically-inclined Astros continue to steal fewer and fewer bases every season and I'm not sure that trend will be reversed anytime soon.
However, I'm staying consistent with leaning on the importance of batting average in a shortened season and Altuve certainly has the skills and track record to put up a big number. The average has trended down, though, the past few years, going from a .346 AVG in 2017 to a .316 AVG in 2018 to a .298 AVG last season. It is troubling that his xBA has also been on the way down but Altuve is a safe and steady play that shouldn't hurt you too much anywhere.
I like Gleyber Torres fine and all but a 29 ADP since July 1 is fairly ridiculous. Torres comes with a big boomstick in the power department and hits in the middle of an overloaded Yankees lineup. When it's actually healthy, that is. But he also won't give you much of anything for stolen bases and hits at a rate that is below average compared to his peers. I simply am going to want more of a ceiling in more categories if I'm going to use such a high pick on a player.
I think Whit Merrifield is a tremendous value in 2020, with my #49 overall placement far outpacing the rest of our rankings team. To wit, Merrifield is remarkably consistent in his batting average, carrying between a .288 and .304 AVG in his three full-time seasons. Not to beat a dead horse but I will target high-average guys over and over and over. And I don't need Merrifield to put up some monster numbers to earn back his current 64 ADP because he's also going to contribute elsewhere.
He won't ever be confused for a power hitter but five home runs (or more) are on the table. And batting in front of Mondesi and Soler should set him up nicely in runs. Merrifield broke fantasy hearts last year by only stealing 20 bases - after stealing 45 in 2018 - but his sprint speed only decreased slightly in his age-30 season and the Royals are likely going to again be aggressive on the basepaths. Being projected for around 8 SB, Merrifield is still one of the few with double-digit steals upside.
Even though I have him the second-highest, Jeff McNeil might deserve to be even higher. He's essentially Merrifield with a little more power and a little less speed. And honestly, he probably has a higher ceiling for batting average, given his career history. Here's every stop where he's gotten at least 100 PA at the level:
It seems basically impossible for McNeil to hit less than .300, having done it only once - six years ago at High-A. And those aren't empty batting averages, seeing the elite wRC+ he also puts up along with them. Locked into New York's second spot in the lineup and hitting in front of Peter Alonso, runs shouldn't be an issue either.
Putting him at #79 overall, it looks like I'm the highest on Mike Moustakas, both in comparison to the rest of the rankings team and to his most recent 99 ADP. I love the power you're getting for where Moose is being drafted; did you know Moustakas has 87 HR in the last three seasons? Not too shabby. The new Red should have plenty of ducks on the pond when he's hitting bombs, with two on-base machines, in Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez, hitting in front of him. And Moustakas may have left a hitter's park in Milwaukee but he lands at one more conducive to his left-handed swing.
Here are all the fly balls Moustakas hit at Miller Park last season that resulted in an out, double, or home run, overlayed at Great American Ballpark:
I like Cavan Biggio but man, that batting average is just brutal! The son of a Craig managed just a .232 AVG last season, backed by a .240 xBA that wasn't much better. He does get on base a ton (.364 OBP), has a little pop and speed, and is hitting in the middle of an up-and-coming Toronto lineup. But I'm going to need more than that deadweight average to make his 125 ADP worth the price.
Hitting in the lush Colorado environment, Ryan McMahon could certainly outearn the #175 I currently have him ranked at. The universal DH took out a lot of the risk of his playing time getting shorted out but we're also dealing with the Rockies so anything is possible in regards to who they're going to actually play. There's nothing wrong with McMahon; he's a fine (and safe) investment. But there's nothing special about what he's going to give you and I think I can find similar production much later in the draft. For example:
Ryan McMahon (169 ADP): 201 PA - 8 HR - 25 R - 27 RBI - 2 SB - .260 AVG
Jonathan Schoop: (401 ADP): 195 PA - 9HR - 25 R - 26 RBI - 0 SB - .259 AVG
Someone else going around the same price who I think is going to outearn the likes of McMahon is rookie Gavin Lux. He's penciled in to bat ninth but that's just because the Dodgers lineup is stacked. Besides, that just means he'll have Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger coming up anytime he reaches base. He gives you help everywhere but should return excellent run production, especially given his draft price.
If you're hunting for some late speed at the position, there are some options in this tier. Kolten Wong isn't an all-around contributor but should give you five-plus steals with a solid batting average while being a good contributor in runs at the top of the Cardinals order. Then there is Scott Kingery, who dropped significantly after being diagnosed with COVID-18 on June 11 but only ended up missing a few days of workouts. Currently on track to play Opening Day, Kingery will give you similar stolen bases as Wong but with more power and about 20-points less of batting average. Kingery also has the advantage of his position eligibilities, qualifying at shortstop, third base, and outfield, as well as second base on Yahoo.
Tier Six and Below
Even though I'm just barely the highest on Tommy Edman, at #151, he might deserve to be higher. He has a current 128 ADP in NFBC leagues and that mark feels about right to me. With the universal-DH all but guaranteeing him a full-time role, Edman gives you a lot of speed (especially at this part of the draft) with decent production in every other category. He's held back by his spot in the eight-hole but could move up, seeing that he's preceded by Molina, Fowler, and O'Neill.
If you believe that the Rockies will give Garrett Hampson a full-time job, then he's a tremendous value at a 161 ADP, if only for the stolen base potential. Besides the thefts, you're getting a decent average and not a ton else, although he has a little pop. And even a little pop can go a long way in Colorado. He's made more attractive by his multi-position eligibility but I just always have a hard time trusting Colorado and their playing time allotments.
I mentioned him earlier but let's talk more about Jonathan Schoop. He hit 23 home runs in 464 PA last year, in a part-time role for Minnesota. Now he has a starting job and is batting fifth with no competition coming behind him. I get that it's the Tigers, but a starting job is a starting job and Schoop hit 32 HR the last time he had one in 2017. Dude hits home runs and I don't see it stopping. And at a 401 ADP? Très magnifique!
Niko Goodrum is another cheap option (284 ADP) I really like, checking a lot my favorite boxes in the short season. Goodrum has a full-time job and will hit second for the Tigers, with no real competition to usurp him from either. He's got some power and speed; in a full season, Goodrum would likely be pushing for 30 HR/SB and is eligible at second base, shortstop, and outfield in all leagues but Yahoo, where he also adds first base to the list.
There are a lot of worlds where Kevin Newman is a top-20 second baseman in 2020. Play the same track back; Newman is going to give you top-10 production in batting average and stolen bases, he bats leadoff, and has a starting job locked in. His team isn't going anywhere but that just means there are no reasons for him not to rack up plate appearances. And while the Pirates may not muster much overall offense, the top of the order is underrated, with Newman being followed by Bryan Reynolds and Josh Bell. Also eligible at the incredibly deep shortstop position, Newman is a solid value at the back of drafts if you miss out on some of the bigger names.
No ones fooled on Luis Arraez anymore, with his draft price rising to the 230s. I have Arraez the highest among us, clocking him in at #196, and it's all about that elite hit tool that he walks around with. After hitting .342 at Double-A and .348 at Triple-A, Arraez capped off 2019 with a .334 AVG over 366 PA for the Twins. No doubt about it, this guy can rake.
Arraez is set to bat seventh in an overpowered Minnesota lineup, being followed by Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, while being preceded by Mitch Garver, Eddie Rosario, and the bringer of rain himself, Josh Donaldson. Anyone who can hit as much as Arraez is going to have plenty of opportunities to collect plenty of runs and RBI in this lineup.
But his ceiling is all about the average and if he puts up a big-time number, then his fantasy value will skyrocket. I currently have Arraez as about a $7 player, projecting him for a .312 AVG (ATC has him at .311, while the BAT has him at .315). If we dream a little bit and give Arraez four more hits for a .333 AVG, it would bump him up to around $11.5. For comparison, I have Max Kepler at $12.20 and Tommy Edman at $12.40. If I have to place a bet for who will win the batting title with an outlandish number, Luis Arraez is my guy.
More 2020 Fantasy Baseball Advice