As we head towards Memorial Day, Fantasy Baseball trading season is starting to pick up steam. It is time to capitalize and improve your team before it is too late and you are playing catch-up in August. Today, we are going to take a look at what you can do at the 2B position to help your team out. If you do not have Robinson Cano or Jose Altuve, there is room for improvement. Reeling in one of them is going to take a ton of capital and even then you might not get a deal done. Rougned Odor is packing surprising power (just ask Jose Bautista, am I right?) and should hit well enough to be considered a Top 7 option from here on out. Sure Daniel Murphy and Neil Walker are off to fast starts, but we know exactly what type of player each one of them is and its neither that good nor bad for your squad. You might be comfortable sticking with them through the entire season and there is nothing wrong with that. If you are looking for areas to improve, consider packaging them with another player to grab a big fish.
- Buy Low on Brian Dozier or Anthony Rendon – Dozier has been a mainstay among the top Fantasy 2Bs for the past three seasons, despite a low batting average. His power and speed combination, along with his 213 runs scored over the past two years have led to lofty expectations in 2016. So far, it has been a struggle and recent reports suggest he may be playing at less than 100-percent. Without any further details on the injury, he is a risky trade target, but also a potentially cheaper one. His current owner might be willing to let him go for less than he is worth and if he bounces back to pre-2016 levels, you’ll have a stud on your hands for the summer. The same could be said for Rendon, although there is less of a track record of success despite the pedigree. Two seasons ago, Rendon was one of the best young players in baseball, but last year was more similar to previous seasons where he was injured and underwhelming. I thought there was a tremendous buy opportunity on him this offseason and so far it looks like I was wrong. He is struggling to the tune of a .229 average, just two HRs and a lowly six RBIs. In fact, in his past 464 at-bats, he has just seven HRs and five SBs. I still believe that he will turn it around and become an All-Star caliber player, but even I am concerned over the production during the past two years. I’ll take a chance here if I can get him dirt cheap – he’s in a great lineup and does have the natural ability to be a Top 3 2B from here on out. There is a leap of faith required with both players, but they have upside to make it well worth your effort.
- Believe in Brett Lawrie and Jean Segura – Much maligned in the Fantasy community over the past few years, Lawrie and Segura were pegged as underachievers. Lawrie’s 43 game debut with the Blue Jays back in 2011 fueled the Hype Train for years to come. He has not even come close to approaching his 20HR/20SB potential, but last year he did pop a very cheap 16 HRs for the A’s. Now on his third team in three years, Lawrie is off to a fine start for the White Sox. Just 26 years old, I submit that we have not seen the best of his abilities just yet. If you are looking for 12-15 HRs, a handful of stolen bases and a decent average the rest of the way, Lawrie is an option for you. Nothing wrong with that. Segura similarly had plenty of hype around his debut and delivered over his first full season with 12 HRs, 44 SBs and a .294 average. By comparison 2014 and 2015 have to be considered down seasons as Segura simply has not been able to repeat his success from 2013. A change of scenery could be just what he needed, as he’s found new life in the desert with the Diamondbacks. While I do not expect him to keep playing at this elite level, he should deliver a solid average, 20 stolen bases and 50 Runs. Anything he gives you in the HR/RBI department should be considered a bonus. You might find a nostalgic owner that holds Segura in high regard, but in most leagues you should be able to get him at a reasonable price tag.
- Check in on Ian Kinsler and Jason Kipnis – Less flashy and more affordable than Cano and Altuve are two perennial solid options in Kinsler and Kipnis. Kinsler has been a strong addition to the Tigers lineup and for the moment seems to have recaptured his power stroke. While not the 30HR/30SB candidate he was earlier this decade, he is one of the safest bets at the position. In fact, if you cannot afford to pay up all the way to the top two, Kinsler offers the highest floor of any other player. He lacks the upside of a Dozier or a Rendon, but he’s far more reliable. Kipnis is another safe player with a limited ceiling. He has not hit double-digit homers or stolen more than 22 bases since 2013. What he has done is improve his average and consistently score runs. If he can get back to being even a 10-12 HR, 25 SB player along with a .285 average and 80 Runs scored, he has to be in the Top 5 conversation. And since the stats are not flashy, you are getting a discount on him.
- Stash Devon Travis or Jed Lowrie – Earlier this season, I wrote about Travis here and how he makes a fine Disabled List stash option. He was impressive last season for the Blue Jays and comes at a cheaper cost than anyone on this list if he is still available on your waiver wire. With news that he is being moved up to Triple-A, you better act fast. If you miss out on him, check for Lowrie instead. It should come as no surprise that he is on the DL, as he has been there in just about every season of his career. He is a blue collar version of Kipnis and Kinsler without any speed – you should get some average, mediocre power and a handful of runs. You are going to be in a very deep league to consider him as an upgrade to the 2B or MI position, but he is basically free right now unless you play in an AL-Only format.
- Pick up Howie Kendrick – Travis and Lowrie are gone off your waiver wire and you don’t have the firepower necessary to upgrade, so now what? Pick up Kendrick off of free agency. Don’t let his current .225 average fool you, he has hit for less than .285 just once in 10 years. While he has never been much of a power or speed guy, Kendrick is the type of player you expect to be able to grab off the trash heap and just plug into your lineup. There is no upside here, we know exactly what Kendrick is and basically has been for his entire career. If you are in need of help at the 2B position, there is no shame in riding with Kendrick for the long haul or at least until something better comes along.