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Fantasy 2B Preview: Buy or fade Edman, Chisholm, Semien?

D.J. Short and Scott Pianowski dive into a second base edition of buy or fade at current ADP for a handful of players, including Tommy Edman, Jazz Chisholm and Marcus Semien.

Video Transcript

DJ SHORT: So this is a perfect segue into players we're by buying and fading relative to their current average draft position. For me, I'm going to start this off here. I'm going to say Vaughn Grissom. Now, you just mentioned about players switching from kind of a less-demanding position to a more demanding position. And that's what we're going to see with Vaughn Grissom as he takes over shortstop for Dansby Swanson there with the Braves.

The arm strength isn't great for Grissom. I worry defensively about what he could do there at shortstop, and especially during a time-- we mentioned this in the last episode. There's going to be shift restrictions. I think athleticism in the infield is going to matter a lot this season.

So just measuring that as well, I worry about the defensive part. The offensive part, I think there's also questions about Vaughn Grissom. I think he can get on base. I think he can hit for average. But I'm worried about the power.

Last season, you look at the max exit velocity for Vaughn Grissom, it was in the 29th percentile. That was kind of surprising to me as I did my research here for Grissom. Hit 5 homers, had 5 steals over 41 games last season with the Braves, also hit 0.291. But his XBA, expected batting average, was 0.259. So if he can't hit you 20 homers, if he's struggling defensively, if he's not hitting for average, I wonder if, at a certain point, the Braves say to themselves, I don't know if he's a regular player on a team that's going for a World Series Championship.

I wouldn't be surprised if, at some point, he ends up back in AAA this season. Maybe I'm dead wrong. But I have some concerns, especially for someone whose ADP is where it is, 187.39 on NFC right now.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: No, I think it's totally valid. I was disappointed that it seemed like Dansby Swanson wanted to come back and was willing to give the Braves a pretty good hometown discount, but the Braves were going to move on and spend the money elsewhere. And now, of course, Swanson is on the Cubs. And--

DJ SHORT: Yeah.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: I think he's actually a little bit underrepped. I think it's kind of become a little hip to knock Dansby Swanson. But I'm still a Swanson guy. We'll get to him in the shortstop preview.

But Grissom, I know it's a deep Atlanta lineup. Looks like he's going to bat ninth. So I don't like that.

DJ SHORT: Yeah, yeah.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Not-- batting low in a National League lineup is not the kill shot it used to be because they have the DH now.

DJ SHORT: Right.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: It used to be, if you hit seventh or eighth in front of the pitcher, that was really bad because that's where lineups-- where rallies go to die. It's not as much of a kill shot anymore. But I think your concerns with Grissom, with the defensive change, with the Braves-- the Braves are set up. They won a title two years ago. They have a roster. They think they're going to be in the playoffs. They're going to be a World Series contender again.

Grissom is not going to have a lot of wiggle room. If he gets off to a slow start, easily could see a demotion, or maybe even they look into the market in the middle of the year if Grissom isn't working out maybe they make a move just for a temporary rest of the season thing, a rental, that type of thing.

I don't like where he's hitting. I think there's a lot more downside than upside here. I'm not going to be proactively drafting into Grissom.

A player I'm fading-- and I got him wrong last year. I was afraid Tommy Edman would not keep the leadoff spot--

DJ SHORT: Me too.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: --in St. Louis, he did. But still, last three years, his OBP is 316. The Cardinals have all sorts of options. Now, Edman's going to keep his spot in the lineup. He's one of several outstanding defenders on the Cardinals, which is why I always love drafting their pitching staff. It didn't save Steven Matz last year, but whatever.

I mean, they had five Gold Glovers the previous year. Edman's glove will keep them in the lineup. And he's not a bad player. But I could easily see him batting seventh, eighth, or ninth at some point. If he gets off to a slow start, there'll be better people who fit that leadoff spot in St. Louis.

I'm going to make the same bet. I lost it last year.

DJ SHORT: Me too.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: I also don't think Edman-- if there's more steals this year-- he kind of stood out for the last few years because he was willing to run in a baseball game where the stolen base was depressed. He's stolen 30-plus bases the last two years. And he's a very high-percentage base stealer. So he's merited to go as often as he does.

I wonder if maybe that's a little bit less valuable this year. He's OK at batting average, but just a slight positive there, doesn't have the greatest power. If you draft Edman where he's going, you need him batting first all season. I'm just concerned that he might not.

DJ SHORT: Yep, that was my exact concern last season. I think what helps Edman from a playing time perspective, his defense is extraordinary. So he's going to stay on the field. But like you said, there's always that volume concern that he ends up lower in the lineup. He may not stand out from a speed perspective with what we expect to be an uptick in stolen bases. That's a really good point.

Jumping over to players we're buying, number one for me at second base-- and actually, oh, spoiler alert, later on I'll say. Jazz Chisholm, Jr. is my number one fantasy second baseman this season. And we only got a snapshot of him last year. But what we saw was unbelievable, what he put into 60 games last year, 14 home runs, 45 RBIs, 12 steals, 39 runs scored all over 60 games.

I mean, if you project that out over a full season, you are talking about a first round-level talent, bottom line, I mean an early first rounder maybe. Of course, had that stress fracture in his back that ended his season. Actually didn't play after June 28 last season, which is crazy. He had surgery for a torn meniscus as well.

But I'm hoping, obviously, that he shows up to spring training 100%, going into his age 25 season. February 1 birthday for Jazz Chisholm. Happy birthday, Jazz. But I think, even underlying metrics-- you look at the numbers he had last year-- were great. Barrel rate, hard hit rates way up from 2021. Among players with at least 150 batted ball events last season, Chisholm was seventh in barrels per plate appearance, just behind Shohei Ohtani, ahead of Austin Riley.

Sprint speed, 94th percentile, this is someone who can be 30-30 this season. And again, we talked about Vlad, Jr. in our first base episode, that ceiling-- that ceiling that is so, so enticing to chase after, I'm doing that with Jazz Chisholm this year.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Yeah, I'm kind of a little disappointed to hear you say that because I was hoping I would be ahead of market on Jazz Chisholm. And maybe I'm just going to be at market. I'm going to have to elbow people out of the way if I want him. But what an exciting player.

We love power-speed combinations. We love players who are still in their 20s who haven't had their best season yet. Not the deepest Miami lineup, but it looks like Jazz is going to hit third behind a couple of OBP guys in Arraez and Segura. So this should be an opportunity for him to drive in runs.

We'll see how many stolen bases he keeps if he does bat third. But with a player who has the type of skills that Chisholm has, I would just give him the green light and let him run as much as he wants. So I think that's totally reasonable.

The player-- my target, if you're going with a vanity second baseman-- and look, it's a thin position. I don't think there's anything wrong with attacking this position early. If you go after Jazz Chisholm early, I'm with you.

Marcus Semien, people need to understand the shape of his season last year. He signs a big contract with Texas, gets off to a horrible start. He had like 5 hits, it feels like, going into May. And I realize this is going to be moving the goalposts a little bit. It's arbitrary endpoints.

But if you start in the middle of May and rank all the fantasy players the rest of the season, Marcus Semien was a first round pick. He was a power source. He was an RBI source. He got settled, new team. You mentioned Texas is throwing a lot of resources into their team. They want to contend. They want to be a player in that very deep American League West.

And you have to look at what Semien did the last 18 to 20 weeks of the season. It was on a par with what he did his finally year in Toronto. He's like a quasi-MVP candidate. And I think he had a poor start. And maybe he was just pressing a little bit, new team, trying to justify the big contract.

Some fantasy players think it's a horrible time to buy a player or draft a player after that big contract because of these emotional changes, different living situation, maybe different school for your kids, that type of stuff. But whatever it was, once Marcus Semien figured it out last year and got comfortable, he was a first round talent. And his ADP right now in NFC is in the mid-30s. I'll take him in the second round all day.

I will have-- I've already drafted him in some mock drafts, some magazine drafts. I know I'll be in on Marcus Semien this year because, even if the market, quote, unquote, "corrects " or gets a little bit more into Semien-- if his ADP is 36 right now, it's only so much higher it can go. I think he's a perfect second round pick.

DJ SHORT: So going a bit later in drafts, it's kind of shocking to me to see Brandon Lowe, his ADP at 169.47 on NFC right now, coming off an injury-plagued year, hit 0.221, 691 OPS, 8 home runs. But we know why that happened. He dealt with lower back discomfort, tried to play through it. His back didn't respond to multiple injections. He didn't play after September 11.

I mean, that is why he had the poor season. So to me, that's a Mulligan. You can kind of forget it, throw it aside. This is someone who had an 870 OPS over 287 games between 2019 and 2021, had 30 homers-- 39 home runs in 149 games in 2021. The max exit velocity last year was still very good, 83rd percentile.

To me, I'm throwing out last year. And I'm getting myself a value in the middle rounds.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Yeah, I like it. It might be harder for me to make that pick, only because on my most important team we had Lowe last year. And we just waited and waited and waited for him to come back. And then when he came back, he wasn't productive.

But you're so right that when players are hurt, you have to give them Mulligans. And don't do deep statistical dives to players where it's a simple-- it's Occam's razor, right? The simplest solution or simplest explanation is so often correct. With Brandon Lowe, it was that he was hurt.

And so yeah, the ADP is so low on him. I think that's going to actually correct. And he'll go round or two earlier--

DJ SHORT: Probably.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: --when you get around to drafting. But still, it's a really nice price. Tampa base right so often. One of my later round targets fits that same injury profile.

Jonathan India was hurt last year, was horrible in the first half. Now, he did come back and had a pretty good second half. What do we get now? A player still in his 20s, a player in Cincinnati batting second. I'm thinking plus-average. I'm thinking he'll hit for some power. He'll steal some bases.

I can't guarantee you the Reds will be good. But I know you want games in that ballpark because it's one of the-- probably, other than Coors Field, probably the best place to hit in the Major Leagues. And India came back and showed what he can do when he was healthy. But his full season stats will keep his ADP depressed. It's a giveaway right now. I'm going to have-- if Jonathan India's price doesn't correct, he's going to be on a bunch of my rosters.