Second base has long been a fantasy black hole. Top players are limited, and it is not a fantasy production hotspot. This year more than any in recent memory there is a bit more depth, but some of that depth is murky at best.
My colleague Jon Schuman already tooled up this season's initial 2B Rankings, and we aren't far apart in our assessments. This is merely a second opinion (no pun intended).
We all need at least one or two, and preferably a utility infielder who can be swapped between 2B and SS. Position eligibility is a big plus at the middle infield spots.
When assessing your 2B need or wants, be aware of which guys lead in certain areas. You want power, you grab a Kinsler, Hill, or Uggla. You want average; Pedroia, Cano, maybe Cabrera. If you want speed, you aim for Kinsler, Roberts, Phillips or Zobrist.
A few of these guys help in 3 or 4 stat categories, but only one man stands upon the mountain as a solid high end contributor in all 5, and he leads our list.
Key: Injury Risk
|1. Chase Utley, PHI||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
Utley is the rock star of second basemen right now. He's a five tool guy that can help any team across the board. He should hit triple figures in Runs and RBI's and he should top 25 homers and stolen bases, to go with a batting average just shy of 300. About the only thing this guy won't do for you is slip past the second or third round.
|2. Ian Kinsler, TEX
Kinsler is the next closest thing to Chase Utley the 2B position offers. He has a decent blend of four tools, but is less than stellar in the batting average department. He's still a top of the line 2B and he'll likely get snagged late in the fourth round in most leagues. He'll also likely spend some time on the DL this year as he seems to every season.
|3. Dustin Pedroia, BOS||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
Pedroia showed that 2008 was no fluke, and there's no reason to believe he won't maintain similar numbers this year for the Red Sox. His power is nothing great, but he's great for average and RBIs, and he won't hurt you anywhere either.
|4. Robinson Cano, NYY||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
Cano plays on a stacked offense and will see a lot of scoring opportunities. He's similar to Pedroia in production, minus a dozen or so stolen bases. He should however balance that out by driving in more RBIs. Pick your poison.
|5. Brian Roberts, BAL
What used to make Roberts so appealing was his stolen base ability, which has been on an unfortunate decline the last few years. However, his powers numbers have picked up. Either way he's a fairly safe bet for a .280 season, with 25 stolen bases and at least 100 runs.
|6. Ben Zobrist, TB (2B/SS/OF)||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
Zobrist had a nice breakout campaign in 2009, and there's no reason to think he won't have something slightly less but similar in 2010. I could argue that a couple of the guys right below him could be more deserving of this slot, but Zobrist has the added bonus of qualifying at SS and OF in most leagues as well.
|7. Aaron Hill, TOR
Hill was on many manager's radar last draft season as a sleeper, and he did in fact breakout with an outstanding season for a 2B. Some experts even feel he'll be a top three 2B this season. I think he'll have a solid year for the Blue Jays, but he's burned me a few times with fantasy promise.
|8. Brandon Phillips, CIN||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
Phillips is another guy who can help a little bit everywhere, and won't kill your batting average. He is an almost veritable lock for another 20/20 season, and 80+ RB's and Runs.
|9. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE (2B/SS)||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
Cabrera came to life last season. Another sleeper who woke up to the delight of savvy fantasy managers. His ability to play shortstop makes him even more valuable, especially in leagues which use the middle infield position. He should have a season similar to 2009.
|10. Dan Uggla, FLA
I know he's no longer the 2B stud everyone once saw him as, but he'll still knock in about 30 long balls and get you about 90 runs and RBIs. If your league dings you for strikeouts, you may want a better option.
|11. Howie Kendrick, LAA
Hard to call Howie a sleeper as the potential has always been there, but he could just push himself into the top 5 at his position by season's end.
|12. Jose Lopez, SEA (1B/2B)||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
Lopez is a nice under the radar pick, and he has multi-position eligibility, which could include 3B at some point, as the Mariners are trying him out there this spring. He's not flashy, but he'll get the job done.
|13. Ian Stewart, COL (2B/3B)||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
Stewart has a chance to surprise for fantasy owners this season. This kind of power and potential with 2B eligibility makes him a nice late pick. He has breakout sleeper written all over his bat.
|14. Martin Prado, ATL (1B/2B/3B)||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
The only reason I place Prado over Polanco is his multi-position eligibility. He's a great ulitity option, but you don't want to rely on him as your primary 2B player.
|15. Placido Polanco, PHI
Placido has always been steady Eddie in the average department, and that's about all he gives you. Over the last two seasons, his numbers have begun to show decline. However, playing in a stacked Phillies line-up could reverse that trend.
|16. Rickie Weeks, MIL||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
Weeks represents a decent late round 2B back-up, utility player, or flyer. His main asset is SBs with decent runs. He's always an injury risk. If he can stay healthy he could be a real sleeper. He is after all 27 this season.
|17. Scott Sizemore, DET
I have Sizemore ranked at 17, but if I miss out on any of the first 13 above, I'd take a flyer on this kid over the three players above. He's a solid sleeper pick in 2010.
|18. Alberto Callaspo, KCC (2B/3B)||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
Callaspo hits wherever he plays, and a full time starting gig could be all he needs for a chance to shine. If nothing else he'll keep your batting average above water. He also qualifies at 3B.
|19. Clint Barmes, COL (2B/SS)||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
Any Rockies player has the potential to do big things, and Barmes has surprised before.
|20. Freddie Sanchez, SF||AVG||RUNs||HRs||RBIs||SBs|
You don't want to be so desperate you need this guy on your team. Take a flier on a guy with some upside.
Guys with potential:
Gordon Beckham, CHW - You may not see Beckham listed in the 2B rankings because he played 3B last season, but this year he gets 2B eligibility and he could be a very nice pick up, especially against less savvy managers.
Kelly Johnson, ARI - He could have a nice bounce back season in the desert.
Skip Schumaker, STL - He's always a ulitity guy, but he can give you Polanco type numbers at the end of your draft. He also qualifies at OF.
Eugenio Valez, SF - He has the potential to steal his way to fantasy glory, the question is when? He also qualifies at OF.
Casey McGehee, MIL - He hit over 300 last season in 355 ABs f or the Brew Crew. He also qualifies at 3B.
Eric Young, Jr., COL - Another E.Y. in a Rockies uniform...and he's faster than his dad. Keep an eye on this kid. He could steal the 2B job from Barmes as early as this season.
Keep an eye on: Chris Getz, Maicer Izturis
Stick a fork in 'em: Luis Castillo, Kaz Matsui
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