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Fantasy Baseball 2023 Second Base Preview: Top-12 rankings, sleepers and positional strategy

Yahoo Fantasy's position flexibility offers some intriguing draft values, making second base easier to address in 2023

Yahoo Fantasy provides a ton of flexibility when it comes to position eligibility, helping make second base easier to address this season. Mookie Betts gets a real boost, for example, as he’s 2B-eligible after starting just seven games at the position in 2022.

Second base isn’t quite as loaded as shortstop entering 2023, but it’s a position that’s deep enough to be addressed later in fantasy drafts if that’s your preferred strategy (and depending on your draft slot). Especially in Yahoo leagues, filling out the middle infield isn’t going to be an issue this year — you can safely ignore position scarcity other than at catcher.

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Four midround targets with sleeper appeal

Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers

Muncy struggled badly over the first four months of last season after returning from a torn UCL. But he posted a .260/.364/.531 line with 12 homers in August/September (48 games) and enters 2023 far healthier, with his elbow 100 percent. He remains 2B-eligible but is slated to move to third base full-time with Justin Turner gone. Muncy is also projected to hit cleanup in a loaded Dodgers lineup. He has hit 35-plus homers in three of the past five seasons, and only a handful of batters (who are mostly superstars) matched his ability to hit the ball hard and draw walks even while playing injured last year. THE BAT X projects him to post a top-25 wRC+ among all hitters in 2023 — higher than players going many rounds earlier in fantasy drafts, such as Rafael Devers, Austin Riley and Manny Machado.

Muncy will also benefit from a nice home hitter’s park for left-handed power and the new 2023 rules, as he was one of the 10 most shifted batters in baseball last season. Muncy is someone to target in fantasy leagues with a Yahoo ADP beyond 140.

Max Muncy's power makes him a potential fantasy draft value. (Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Max Muncy's power makes him a potential fantasy draft value. (Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Whit Merrifield, Toronto Blue Jays

Merrifield was always a compiler who relied on volume and not missing games, but his wRC+ (88) last year was essentially identical to his previous season (90), when he was a third-round fantasy pick (ADP = 34) during NFBC Main Events. He’s falling outside the first 130 picks in early 2023 Yahoo drafts and even later elsewhere. There’s concern that his stolen bases will continue to decline with him now 34 years old, but Merrifield’s sprint speed remained in the 84th percentile last season (it was in the 87th the year prior, when he swiped 40 bags), and he’ll likely benefit from Toronto’s aggressive approach and the increased sizes of the bases (and new rules limiting pickoff attempts). Merrifield is also going to be helped out by Toronto’s new dimensions, which could be a huge boost for righties.

Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays

Lowe is another prime bounce-back candidate who’s going far later in fantasy drafts than last year. He’s one season removed from providing 46 homers/steals in fewer than 150 games, yet he now sports an ADP outside of 150. THE BAT X projects Lowe to post the second-highest wRC+ (123) among all second basemen in 2023, which reveals plenty of upside if he can stay healthy. He’s slated to hit cleanup in Tampa Bay’s lineup, and Lowe has seen his career batting average increase a whopping 42 points when not facing a shift.

[2023 Fantasy Positional Previews: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP]

Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks

Marte continues to trade terrific seasons with disappointing ones and enters 2023 motivated, coming off a down 2022. His durability concerns are less of an issue given his ADP, which is currently the 23rd second baseman off the board in Yahoo leagues. Marte doesn’t offer a ton of power/speed upside but remains in his prime and is a sneaky bet to score 100-plus runs hitting atop Arizona’s lineup. Coming off a season that included the lowest collective league batting average (.243) since the 1960s (and one of the lowest in MLB history), Marte’s ability in that category could be huge. His .318 BA from 2019 to 2021 led the National League and was second-best among all hitters before last season’s injury-riddled campaign (only nine hitters posted a .300 BA over that three-year span).

[2023 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP]

1. Mookie Betts

2. Jazz Chisholm Jr.

3. Ozzie Albies

4. Marcus Semien

5. Tommy Edman

6. Andres Gimenez

7. Max Muncy

8. Gleyber Torres

9. Brandon Lowe

10. Jonathan India

11. Ketel Marte

12. Thairo Estrada

Editor's note: Jose Altuve was No. 3 on this list before suffering a fractured thumb