Top 10 fantasy baseball second basemen
Second base was given a new look after Chase Utley went down with a knee injury during spring training. He usually battles Yankees star, Robinson Cano for the top spot in rankings, but this year things are different. Cano sits atop the rankings with not a true, proven competitor in sight.
What is to become of the other second baseman? They aren’t unproductive, just unpredictable and unproven (with the exception of Dan Uggla). Still, there is value to be found if you look deep enough.
Top 10 second baseman of 2011:
1. Robinson Cano, New York Yankees- Cano has put together back-to-back stellar seasons and has proven that he is an all around contributor. In 2009 and 2010, his power showed; he hit 25 and 29 HRs with 85 and 109 RBIs while keeping his average among the best in the game. He doesn’t have any injury concerns and hits in a great lineup. You basically can’t go wrong with drafting Cano in the first round.
2. Dan Uggla, Atlanta Braves- Since 2006, the only NL right handed batter to hit more home runs than Uggla is Albert Pujols. That goes to show his consistency, but what else does Uggla provide that isn’t usually considered? His durability. He has never played less than 146 games and has never spent time on the DL. His average may be a slight problem, but his .263 career average and 2010 average of .287 say otherwise. With Uggla you are guaranteed more home runs than any other 2B with the possibility of more RBIs and runs scored. The really great part is you can get him much cheaper than most 2B options and he’ll play more games too.
3. Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers- Kinsler only makes top three based on potential. At age 28, he is beyond the blanket of being called a prospect and he needs to show something. 2009, when he hit 31 HRs and stole 31 bases, seems long ago. But his power and speed haven’t gone anywhere, they’ve just been hiding on the DL. His average has been all over the place, but in 2008 he managed to hit .319, but I think .300 being his ceiling and .285 being what you should expect. That with the potential for 20-25 home runs, 90 runs and 30 steals and he could settle in nicely as the No. 3 second baseman in baseball this year.
4. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox- I think we’ve seen his ceiling, but he is a very reliable player, which is why he still looks nice on a fantasy roster. In 2008, his MVP year, he notched career highs in just about everything, and, since then, he has been near those numbers. You can’t ask for much more than 15 home runs and 80 RBIs from with with 20 SBs and a .290-.300 BA. Those numbers aren’t bad, but they don’t jump off the page and that is what you need to be the top 2B.
5. Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds- In 2010, although he battled some health issues, he reached the lowest RBI and SB totals of his career with the second lowest amount of HRs and batting average in the second most at bats he’s had. It is hard to believe that a player who has just entered his prime will regress so much so soon. He should come back to being a 20/30 threat with a decent average somewhere around .275-.280.
6. Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies- When he plays, he hits, but he has yet to show that he’ll be on the field anytime soon. He is expected to miss the start of the season and play somewhere around the same amount as last year, 120 games or so. That should put him in the 15 HR, 65 RBI range with double digit steals and a .275-.280 average. Not great, and not the Chase Utley we’d all like to see, but two-thirds of an Utley season is better than a full one from most second basemen.
7. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays- I still believe we have yet to see the best of Zorilla. His 2009 line of 27/91/17/.297 was awesome, but his numbers plummeted last season due to a terrible second half and a .190 batting average on balls in play. Still, he stole 24 bases in 2010 and he has 2B eligibility along with OF and is expected to get some games at first base thus making him extremely useful for the power and speed combo he’ll present.
9. Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers- Now in his prime and with a full, healthy season under his belt, Weeks is poised to repeat what he did in his breakout 2010 campaign. His speed took a dive as his games played increased. If healthy, he’ll provide plenty of pop and drive in lots of runs, but he probably won’t return to his 20+ SB ways so that he can prevent an injury. His average won’t stray far from .270 which isn’t bad. Expect Weeks to be a middle round bargain.
10. Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox- Beckham is 24 and still has plenty of room to grow, but we want to see his full potential now. He flashed some of his brilliance in a half season in 2009 when he hit 14 homers and 63 RBIs while hitting .270 in his first big league action. Last year he slumped big time in the first half, but right when he was getting things together, he had to sit out the last few weeks with a hand injury. In 100 less at bats after the All-Star break, he hit twice as many home runs and hit .310. If he can work out his first half problems he will have a breakout season.