As week four unfolds, hidden fantasy baseball gems see their ownerships bubble up because people uncover players who are having positive seasons. This weeks’ second base primer has two familiar faces, mostly due to fantasy baseball players not recognizing their talent due to preconceived notions. As always, inclusion in this article requires a 50% max ownership, and for one player, a 10% max ownership. These figures come from Yahoo!, and are current as of Tuesday evening.
Brandon Phillips, Atlanta (50% owned)
This looks a lot like last week, mostly because Phillips’ ownership is still ridiculously small. He’s third at the position in stolen bases, but let’s look at these two player comps so far this year:
Player A is 82% owned Jose Peraza, and player B is 50% owned, Brandon Phillips. Ironic, given that the Reds traded Phillips to unblock Peraza to allow him the everyday second baseman job. Phillips has a long career of fantasy baseball usefulness. He’s been on a late-career downturn, but that mostly has to do with a lack of stolen base attempts. He only attempted 15 stolen bases between 2013 and 2014. The Reds let him loose the last two seasons, with him stealing a combined 37 bases while hitting 23 home runs. He also hit over .290 in both those seasons. Expectations going into the season did not match reality for Phillips, and he’s off to a great start. He’s the number four second baseman so far, a top-half 2B in 10+ team leagues. And he’s free in half of the leagues out there.
Joe Panik, San Francisco (21% owned)
Panik has a .333 batting average over the last two weeks, and that brought his season average down to .339 for the year. He is this year’s D.J. LeMahieu; a high average second baseman that won’t blow you away in any other category. He’s worth having on your roster for that reason alone, but don’t think he’s a short-term solution. His average is legit; he has an elite batting eye at the plate. He’s one of eleven players with more walks than strikeouts (min. 50 PAs), so he doesn’t need elite speed or power to be a valuable fantasy baseball option.
Tim Beckham, Tampa Bay (4% owned)
The Rays’ super-utility player earned lots of plate appearances with Matt Duffy out, and he is doing lots of work with it. Over the last two weeks, he’s the number eight second baseman, thanks to his .333 average, 6 R, 5 RBI, 2 HR and a stolen base. His multi-position fantasy baseball eligibility (1B, 2B, SS) doesn’t hurt, either. He’s one of the better hitters on the Rays right now and should be scooped up in deeper leagues.