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No longer second fiddle

Ben Zobrist is a top candidate for 2009 TSN Fantasy Bargain of the Year.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It wasn't that long ago, about 1989, that the second base position was weaker than any other position on a baseball field. In fact, there were just two players at the position, Ryne Sandberg and Lou Whitaker, who hit as many as 15 homers. If you didn't get one of those two, you weren't going to get many fantasy points from your second basemen.

My how things have changed.

Today's second basemen, like the "new" shortstop, have both power and speed. Look at our Top-10 fantasy second basemen. The group below averages 90 runs, 21 HRs, 81 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.

On top of the list is World Series participant Chase Utley of the Phillies. Despite off-season hip surgery, he showed he was healthy enough to run, stealing 23 bases (without getting caught) along with his usual power numbers.

Ian Kinsler got off to a blazing spring, but a stint on the DL in July left him a little short of Utley's numbers. Still, he gave fantasy owners what they expected from a late first-round pick.

Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist wasn't on anybody's mind back on Draft Day, but he certainly will be next year. Free agent Zobrist actually played every position except for catcher and pitcher in 2009, but with 91 games at second base qualifies as a top-three player at the position. He set career highs in at- bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, HRs, RBIs, stolen bases, batting average, slugging percentage and OPS. He's a top candidate for 2009 TSN Fantasy Bargain of the Year.

The other World Series participant at second base, Robinson Cano, helped carry the Yankees in April before Alex Rodriguez returned from his hip injury and Mark teixeira heated up. Cano cooled in May and June and then batted .342 for the rest of the summer. He did everything the top guys did except steal bases.

Last year's AL MVP Dustin Pedroia was destined to disappoint fantasy owners after his magnificent 2008 season, but he kept the statistical drop to a minimum and finished fifth on our list.

Top-10 Second Basemen Statistics
Chase Utley PHI 571 112 31 93 23 0.282 0.508 0.905 9
Ian Kinsler TEX 566 101 31 86 31 0.253 0.488 0.815 11
Ben Zobrist TB 501 91 27 91 17 0.297 0.543 0.948 303
Robinson Cano NY 637 103 25 85 5 0.320 0.520 0.872 93
Dustin Pedroia BOS 626 115 15 72 20 0.296 0.447 0.818 23
Brian Roberts BAL 632 110 16 79 30 0.283 0.451 0.807 39
Brandon Phillips CIN 584 84 31 90 2 0.243 0.459 0.813 71
Dan Uggla MIA 564 84 31 90 2 0.243 0.459 0.813 71
Howie Kendrick ANA 374 61 10 61 11 0.291 0.444 0.778 92
Mark Ellis OAK 377 52 10 61 10 0.263 0.403 0.708 240

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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