Dustin Pedroia played well beyond expectations in 2008.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Not many surprises at second base where eight of the top-10 based on ADP finished in the top-10. The two second basemen that crashed the party were Jose Lopez of Seattle and Mark DeRosa of the Chicago Cubs.
However, it was a complete surprise for Dustin Pedroia to outscore Chase Utley, particularly after the Phillies second baseman got off to such a torrid start. And Ian Kinsler finally blossomed into the player scouts expected of him, but an injury cut short a great season.
Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox - For a 15th-round fantasy choice, Pedroia played well beyond expectations. He collected 213 hits, 118 runs scored, 54 doubles and batted .326 - all highs for the position. Add in a surprising 17 HRs, 83 RBIs and 20 steals and you have the complete package.
Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies - Utley and Dan Uggla were chosen if you were looking for power from second base and Utley delivered with 33 HRs, 104 RBIs and 113 runs scored. Yet after a hot start (he had 13 HRs, 26 RBI and was batting .369 on May 3rd), he cooled or his numbers could have been mind- boggling. Utley was a worthy first-round draft choice and will be one again next year.
Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers - Kinsler was a sixth-round pick in 2008, but you won't be able to get him that cheaply next year. Not after his All-Star caliber performance. In just 121 games (his season ended in September due to a sports hernia) Kinsler posted 102 runs scored, 18 HRs, 71 RBIs, 26 SB and hit .319. He'll likely be the No.2 second baseman selected behind Utley in 2009.
Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles - Like Utley, Roberts started off the 2008 season at a pace he couldn't keep up. He finished with 107 runs scored, 51 doubles, 9 HRs, 57 RBI and 40 steals, but it was a disappointing September that likely left a bad taste in the mouth of fantasy owners. He was a fourth-round pick in 2008, but will slide to the fifth or sixth round in 2009.
Jose Lopez, Seattle Mariners - Jose Lopez was likely not selected in your fantasy draft and as a free agent pickup performed like an All-Star. His 80 runs scored, 17 HRs, 89 RBIs and .297 batting average were like a Christmas gift to those who recognized his improvement and picked him up. After a dip in May, his performance over the rest of the season was solid and consistent.
Mark DeRosa, Chicago Cubs - DeRosa along with Lopez, were the two biggest surprises at second base. Batting in the middle of the high-scoring Cubs offense helped him score a career-high 103 runs as did his 21 HRs (also a career high) and 87 RBIs. He has earned plenty of respect off this year's performance which will show up in his selection in rounds seven or eight next season.
Placido Polanco, Detroit Tigers - Polanco played about "as expected" although the Tigers didn't. His 90 runs scored and .306 batting average were down from 2007, but not out of line.
Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds - More was expect of Phillips as a third- round selection. From 2007 to 2008 he dropped in four key categories - runs 107 to 80, HRs 30 to 21, SB 32 to 23 and batting average .288 to .261.
Robinson Cano, New York Yankees - Like Phillips, more was expected of Cano. He was likely the fourth second baseman selected, but didn't perform like it. He dropped significantly from 93 runs to 70, from 19 HRs to 14, from 97 RBIs to 72 and his batting average dipped from .306 to .271. But he's young and will still have a good team around him, so he likely won't fall as far as Phillips next year.
Dan Uggla, Florida Marlins - Uggla did what he does best - hit home runs and strike out. He accumulated 97 runs scored, 32 HRs, 92 RBIs and struck out 171 times in 531 at-bats. He was batting over .300 as late as mid-June, but ended the season hitting .260 which is right around his career average. Power from second base is a rare commodity and he will be a solid middle-round pick next year.
Honorable mention goes to the Chicago White Sox second baseman Alexei Ramirez. He wasn't anywhere on the radar screen at the beginning of the season, but next year he will be one of the top-10 at his position. Ramirez hit 21 HRs and knocked in 77 runs in just 480 at-bats and proved late in the season and playoffs to be a clutch hitter.
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