Make the Case: Second Base Sleeper to Target

Yankees Starlin Castro

It is time to dig deeper at second base. There is a clear tier at the top and then their is a big group of useful players. Ben Rolfe and I make the case for our favorite second base sleeper after the elite options. Who should you target if you miss out on the top 8 or so?

Starlin Castro (BR)

Picking Starlin Castro as the low end player isn’t a particularly fun or exciting pick. He isn’t going to belt a ton of home runs, steal a ton of bases or even be particularly relevant in day to day terms playing for the Marlins.

However, good players on bad teams can have good fantasy season it has happened before and it will happen again. Miami’s team does look completely devoid of talent but there are some guys there who can at least do something to aid Castro. In my early rankings I was one of the highest in the industry on Castro and while I probably over estimated him slightly there it is more than conceivable that he can be at least a top 15 fantasy option with the potential to sneak into the top 10.

In order to do that he is going to have to play A LOT and I mean pretty much every day. Analysing Castro can be done in two parts when it comes to roto; for home runs steals and average we can look at recent history and for runs and RBI we need to go back a little but I will explain that in a minute. In a full 2016 season Castro hit 21 home runs at 0.270 and in a 112 game 2017 he hit 16 at 0.300. The annoying thing with Castro is that is average is really hard to predict; he has hit 0.300 or more in three seasons, below 0.250 in one and anywhere between 0.260 and 0.295 in the other four and there has been very little pattern to those fluctuations either.


My projections average the last three years and they have him as a 0.275 hitter but honestly I’d be happy with the steamer projection of 0.270 so let’s pencil that in. Power wise he has developed in power the last two seasons but let’s assume some of that can be due to Yankees stadium and be conservative with 15 home runs as a projection. His upside is 20 and his downside is at worst 10 but 15 feels like a safe number. Speed wise he has got away from the 20 steals guy he was early in his career and now you are lucky to get five. I am not sure I see that changing so let’s project him for three.

Now for the runs and RBI part of this and I might be stretching it a little but if we go back to when he was on a bad Cubs team we get a feel for what he could be on this Marlins team if his heart is in it and he plays every day. Between the years of 2011 and 2013 Castro averaged 703.7 PAs and in the two years where his average didn’t completely bottom out (0.245 in 2013) he had 157 combined runs and RBI in 2011 and 156 in 2012. Those numbers are not to be sniffed at for this level of second base where you are looking at 130-140 combined and often they will be unbalance by where that guy hits in the line-up. Castro is hitting in the middle of this line up so let’s say a combined 150 runs and RBI split evenly across the two categories.

In total those numbers put him just outside the top 10 at the position by my projections and that is assuming the likes of Whit Merrifield and Scooter Gennett repeat their amazing 2017 and Rougned Odor’s average bounces back. There are issues for sure; Castro isn’t pleased about being on a rebuilding team and there is every chance the Marlins could flip him mid-season for prospects and then he may become a part time player. However, in a position with a ton of upside but also a ton of risk outside the top eight Castro offers a solid and relatively known commodity who should be good to plug in your line-up pretty much every day this season. As I said at the beginning it isn’t going to fill you with excitement or be a pick you brag about come the end of the year but if you miss the boat on the more elite options it could very well be a pick that gives you the solid base to help you secure a fantasy championship come October.

Dodgers Chris Taylor

AP Photo – Mark J. Terrill

Chris Taylor (KR)

For me, Chris Taylor stands out as great option to target later in the draft. 2017 was a breakout season for Taylor who found 568 plate appearances. He broke out with 21 homers and 17 steals. A player with 20/20 potential is a tremendous get especially when he will likely fill a middle infield slot.

Taylor is slated to lead off this season for the Los Angeles Dodgers per Roster Resource. That means setting the table for Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and others to drive him home. If Bellinger, Seager and others live up to the expectations, there should be plenty of opportunity to put up runs and steals in this lineup.

The average will be a little bit of a question mark coming into 2018 and could drive the upside he has. Taylor was able to hit .288 with an inflated K rate and on par walk rate. Assuming those number normalize somewhat he should remain in the same neighborhood in 2018. His K rate will he have to drop but when it was 25% a season ago, it shouldn’t be hard to put a dent in it.

Even if he is closer to a .270 average with the power and speed combo, he should find himself flirting with a top 12 finish at the position. A 15/15 season feels like the floor assuming he gets 550 plus at bats. Taylor should play plenty with his positional versatility and the belief Manager Dave Roberts has in him.

Let us know on twitter who your favorite later round target are!

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