Fantasy Baseball Tiers: 2B Rankings, Draft Strategy, Sleepers

Splitting our 2020 fantasy baseball 2B rankings into tiers was one of our most difficult pre-draft exercises yet. Along with catcher, there are no second basemen projected to go in the first round of drafts, so there isn’t an obvious top tier. There are also highly varied skill sets among 2B-eligible players and a bunch of worthwhile sleepers, so potential draft strategies for this position are seemingly endless. 

The good news is you can find a second baseman that works for you no matter how you like to build your team. You might have to reach a little for a high-steals guy, but for the most part, you can even get these players at appropriate values. And if you don’t get the upper-tier 2B you want, there will likely be a very similar second- or third-tier facsimile available a few rounds later. 

2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:
Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300

Unless you are specifically looking for steals or maybe a high batting average from your 2B, you don’t necessarily need to go into your draft with a set plan. Instead, you can let the draft come to you and just grab the best value. That’s reassuring at what is perceived to be a thin position. The key is keeping track of 2B-eligible players who are being drafted to play other positions. If you get behind a run, you might be forced to reach for the last player left in a tier or for the first player in the tier below, but chances are you can find the type of player you’re looking for. 

As always, we have to remind you that our sub-tiers are grouped by the type of production a player offers. A player in Tier 2A isn’t necessarily better than a player in Tier 2B or 2C; rather, they provide similar overall impact, just in different ways (i.e. more steals, more HRs, etc.). By tiering players this way, it gives you a better idea of who to target based on how you’re building your team. Also, it’s important to note that our 2B rankings are based on the idea that a player is solely eligible at 2B. Players eligible at other positions may be ranked higher in our overall rankings. 

Who are the best fantasy baseball 2Bs?

Eligibility based on Yahoo default settings
* = Not eligible at that position on draft day but expected to play there during the season 

You could argue for fewer players in Tier 1; you could argue for more players. Second base doesn’t have a few clear-cut, no-doubt-about-it, better-than-everyone-else players. In past years, Jose Altuve has had that distinction, but after stealing a career-low six bases (in 124 games) and hitting under .300 for the first time since 2013 last year, he might be coming back to the pack. That’s why we’ve included DJ LeMahieu in his sub-tier. LeMahieu won’t steal as many bases as Altuve, but he could best him in the other four categories. 

Gleyber Torres gets his own sub-tier after blasting 38 HRs in 144 games last season. There are other 2B-eligible power hitters in the tier below, but Torres is a little better hitter (career .275 average) and can steal a few bases (average of 5.5 per season). 

Jonathan Villar also gets his own sub-tier because of his league-leading SB upside. He’ll likely hit around 20 HRs, too, making him a prime target for any fantasy owner. The worry with Villar, especially in a less hitter-friendly park, is his average and RBIs, but his power-speed potential is tough to match. 

You can argue that Keston Hiura should be mixed in with Torres — or perhaps in a tier of his own — after his impressive rookie campaign that saw him club 19 HRs and steal nine bases in just 84 games. When you factor in his Triple-A numbers, he hit 38 homers in 141 games in 2019. It’s tempting to just pencil him in for 35 HRs this year, but things have a way of evening out in sophomore seasons. We expect 25-plus homers and a good amount of steals, but we’re being somewhat cautious with our projection. That’s why Hiura is in a sub-tier with Ozzie Albies, who’s had at least 24 HRs and 14 SBs in each of his first two full seasons.

These players will likely start coming off the board in the third or fourth round, and once the run starts, you could see them go in relatively quick succession. LeMahieu will be the last one drafted because many owners want more speed out of their second baseman. You can find some similar players in the tier below, so you don’t have to prioritize a middle infielder in Rounds 3-5, but if you didn’t get (m)any SBs with your first- or second-round pick, it’s not a bad idea to target someone like Hiura, Albies, or Villar. 

Jose Altuve, Astros
DJ LeMahieu, Yankees (also eligible at 1B, 3B)

Gleyber Torres, Yankees (SS)

Jonathan Villar, Marlins (SS, OF*)​

Keston Hiura, Brewers
Ozzie Albies, Braves

2020 Fantasy Baseball Tiers: Tier-2 2Bs​

There are strong cases to be made for Ketel Marte and even Whit Merrifield to be in Tier 1, not Tier 2, but we worry a bit about Marte being a one-year wonder and Merrifield’s relative lack of SBs last year. And, yes, we get the irony of worrying about Marte when Hiura has played just 84 major league games, but we’ve actually seen Marte do nothing in the majors several times, so it’s fair to expect regression. 

Marte gets his own sub-tier because he could hit for a good average and steal some bases in addition to providing solid power numbers. Merrifield gets his own sub-tier because he could hit .300 and steal 30-plus bases with moderate power. Again, it’s not crazy to value either of these guys similarly to the guys in the tier above, but they come with slightly more question marks. 

Tier 2C is basically a tier of moderate-average power hitters. Any of Max Muncy, Mike Moustakas, or Eduardo Escobar could lead the position in homers this year. Escobar probably has the lowest HR upside, but he’ll also likely hit for the highest average of those three. 

With all of these guys eligible at other positions, it’s tough to say when they’ll come off the board and if they’ll even be slotted in as 2Bs by their owners. As such, you can’t necessarily count on them being there in the seventh or eighth rounds. Tier 2C will last longer because they’re kind of generic power hitters, but if you focus on SBs earlier in your draft (say, with Trea Turner or Starling Marte), prioritizing a power-hitting 2B a little later makes sense. Because you can get someone like Muncy or Moustakas in the ninth or 10th round, it’s not a bad way to build your team. Conversely, if you’re all power early on, grabbing someone like Merrifield in the sixth round makes sense in the hopes he runs more this year. 

Tier 2A
Ketel Marte, D-backs (SS, OF)

Whit Merrifield, Royals (OF)

Max Muncy, Dodgers (1B, 3B)
Mike Moustakas, Reds (3B)
Eduardo Escobar, D-backs (3B)

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers:
Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfielder | Starter | Each team

Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Tier-3 2Bs

If you decide to wait on 2B, you can find some great value options in Tier 3. At least one or two of these players will break out, and given their multi-position eligibility, they’re great to draft as MIs or backups, depending how deep your league is. You will start seeing these players come off the board around Round 12, and at least a few of them will linger in your draft queue for longer than they should. 

The two sub-tiers in this group are divided by the number of steals we expect the players to get. Tier 3A features guys who will probably steal five-to-10 bases, while Tier 3B features guys who will likely get around 20 or more. All of the players in this tier can hit around 20 HRs, with Brandon Lowe and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. having the most upside in that department (30-35?) and Tommy Edman having the least. 

You can make the case that Jeff McNeil, Edman, and maybe even Gavin Lux should be in their own sub-tier because they have the potential to bat .300, which is very valuable depending on how you’ve built your team. Each has drawbacks (Edman’s power/RBI production, McNeil’s speed, Lux’s experience), but these are good guys to target if you need a bump in average. 

Ultimately, if you’re one of the last owners to draft your 2B starter, you’ll likely wind up with one of these players. You can live with that, as there’s a lot of talent and upside in this tier, but you have to make sure you’re picking the right guy for the team you’re building. 

Gavin Lux, Dodgers
Jeff McNeil Mets, (3B, OF)
Ryan McMahon, Rockies (1B, 3B)
Brandon Lowe, Rays (1B, OF)
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Blue Jays (OF)

Cavan Biggio, Blue Jays (OF)
Scott Kingery, Phillies (3B, SS, OF)
Danny Santana, Rangers (1B, 3B, SS, OF)
Tommy Edman, Cardinals (3B, OF)

2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Tier-4 2Bs

You can find a little bit of everything in Tier 4. If you’re in a deeper league with an MI spot, this is where you’re going to find that guy to help balance out your team. These guys will all go late (if they’re drafted at all), and they either fall into the “boring veteran” or “potential breakout” category. Obviously, the potential breakouts, like Nick Solak, Isan Diaz, and Luis Urias, are more appealing, but don’t overlook the reliability of 25 HRs and 10 SBs from someone like Rougned Odor, especially if you’re solid in batting average or have decided to punt it. 

The most interesting guy in this tier is Dee Gordon, who’s one of the few no-power speedsters left in baseball. He enters this season without a set position, and with his steals declining in recent years, he’s being overlooked in many drafts. But if he does find his way into regular at-bats, we all know he has the potential to swing a category, so if you’re desperate for speed, you can do worse than taking a flier on Gordon. 

Tier 4A features the guys with more power, and as an added bonus, Odor, Ian Happ, and Solak can all swipe around 10 bases, too. Tier 4C features the 15/15 guys, though Urias has the most power upside once he gets on the field. Howie Kendrick gets his own sub-tier because of the fact he’s hit over .300 for three straight seasons. He doesn’t do much else (though 17 HRs last year wasn’t bad) and he’s 36, but he still has the potential to help your team as a late-round pick. 

Rougned Odor, Rangers
Ian Happ, Cubs (3B, OF)
Nick Solak, Rangers (3B)
Michael Chavis, Red Sox (1B)
Isan Diaz, Marlins

Dee Gordon, Mariners

Kolten Wong, Cardinals
Kevin Newman, Pirates (SS)
Mauricio Dubon, Giants (SS)
Luis Urias, Brewers (SS)

Howie Kendrick, Nationals (1B, 3B)

Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers: Tier-5 2Bs

Similar to Tier 4, some of the players in Tier 5 are boring veterans while others are potential breakouts. Either way, they’re all mostly afterthoughts in drafts. 

The most interesting sub-tier here is Tier 5D, which features two speedsters who only need regular at-bats to be valuable contributors to fantasy teams. Right now, neither Garrett Hampson nor Nick Madrigal has a clear path to playing time, but all it takes is one injury for things to change in a hurry. 

Luis Arraez is interesting after hitting .334 in his rookie season. He doesn’t have much power or speed, so he’s a bit one-dimensional, but at just 22, it’s possible he develops more power. 

The players in Tier 5B are pretty much power-only guys, while the players in Tier 5A have a little bit of speed to go with moderate pop. Several of these players have playing time issues, while others are on the downside of their careers. Either way, it’s possible there could be a couple solid seasons from this tier, but most of these players will just be pickups once they have a hot streak. 

Jurickson Profar, Padres (OF)
Cesar Hernandez, Indians
Niko Goodrum, Tigers (1B, SS, OF)
Freddy Galvis, Reds (SS)
Eric Sogard, Brewers (3B*, OF)
Hanser Alberto, Orioles (3B)
Chris Taylor, Dodgers (SS, OF)

Jonathan Schoop, Tigers
Robinson Cano, Mets
Tommy La Stella, Angels (3B)
Enrique Hernandez, Dodgers (SS, OF)
Starlin Castro, Nationals (3B)

Luis Arraez, Twins (3B, OF)

Garrett Hampson, Rockies (SS, OF)
Nick Madrigal, White Sox (SS)

Fantasy Baseball Tiers: Tier-6 2Bs

It’s unlikely these players will be drafted in mixed-league drafts, but there is some potential here. Franklin Barreto, Shed Long Jr., and Brendan Rodgers all have some upside if given playing time, but at this point, you can’t count on that. 

Franklin Barreto, A’s
Shed Long Jr., Mariners (OF)
Leury Garcia*, White Sox (SS, OF)
Jose Peraza, Red Sox (SS, OF)
Brendan Rodgers, Rockies (SS)
Colin Moran, Pirates (3B)
Asdrubal Cabrera, Nationals (3B)
Adam Frazier, Pirates
Nico Hoerner*, Cubs (SS)

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