The White Sox finally saw enough of second basemen Gordon Beckham and traded him away last Thursday. That opened up a gaping hole at the position, which is the theme of this week’s wire.
Carlos Sanchez | 2B/SS CHW | CBS 2% Owned
Sanchez has started every game at second base since Beckham was traded, while possible competitor for the job Leury Garcia hasn’t even received an at-bat. For now, it’s clear that Sanchez is the team’s new every day second baseman. The 22-year-old enjoyed a sort of power breakout this year. I say sort of because his ISO was only .119 and he swatted just seven homers. But, he had only hit three long balls previously and never posted an ISO above .092 at any minor league stop. But whether he hits a homer or two or not, it’s not going to be anything that will move the needle.
Instead, Sanchez could provide some speed. He seemingly doesn’t have great speed, nor is he a particular strong base stealer, but a full season of at-bats could yield about 16 steals. He doesn’t walk a whole lot or make particularly good contact considering his almost complete lack of power. But he’s generally posted strong BABIP marks, suggesting he could be capable of contributing positive value in batting average. The bottom line here is that he’s the complete opposite of exciting and is certainly no fantasy team savior. But for as long as he’s playing every day, he’s worth a look in deep leagues.
Marcus Semien |2B/3B | 7% Owned
The one caveat I failed to mention about Sanchez is that Semien is lurking in the minors. Remember him? He opened the year as a starter, shuttling between second and third base as the White Sox dealt with injuries. But he struggled, striking out far too often, while showing limited power. After getting demoted back to Triple-A, he performed well at the level yet again, posting a .383 wOBA, driven by a high walk rate, better than average strikeout rate and good power. So far, that contact ability simply hasn’t translated.
However, the high strikeout rate wasn’t the result of a hole in his bat. His SwStk% was right around the MLB average. Instead, he swung less often than the average hitter, likely resulting in many called strikes. It’s Robbie Grossman Syndrome. That seems fixable and we should be willing to give him another shot given his broad base of skills, including some speed.
The assumption is that once rosters expand in September, Semien will be recalled and take over the starting second base job. That would knock Sanchez out of the role. So by recommending both, I’m hedging…sort of. But what if the White Sox, realizing that Conor Gillaspie isn’t actually part of their future, decided to give Semien at-bats at the hot corner? Gillaspie is essentially a singles hitter benefiting from an inflated BABIP who has been poor defensively according to UZR. That would allow both Semien and Sanchez to play most of the time and accrue deep league value.
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