Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
With the World Series over, those of us who play fantasy baseball are already looking ahead to next year's draft. And the best way to get ready is by analyzing last year's results.
In the third part of a series, we will evaluate the second base position.
There were considered to be three top-tier second basemen back in April, but only one lived up to his "top billing" - Robinson Cano. The Yankees' second basemen got off to a "monster" start batting .400 in April with eight homers. He was still very good in May (.336) and June (.333) and while his average tailed off in the heat of the summer, he continued to hit for power all year long, finishing the season with a career-best 29 homers and 109 runs batted in.
Cano was easily the best second basemen in terms of producing statistics. Now if he'll just steal a few more bases he could be in the mix for the No.1 overall pick.
Meanwhile, last year's first pick off the board at the position, Chase Utley (ADP 4), was mediocre even when not on the injured list. And Ian Kinsler, the third of the group, spent way too much time with the trainer, missing all of April and August due to injuries.
Which left second base much weaker than expected and fantasy owners struggling to find production from the position.
What they found was a very productive Dan Uggla, known in the past for home runs and strikeouts only, still hitting plenty of homers while improving his batting average to a career-high .287.
Rickie Weeks also produced above expectations, posting career highs in runs, hits, doubles, home runs and RBIs.
Even more surprising was Arizona second baseman Kelly Johnson, likely a free agent back in April (ADP 324), who put up "Cano-like" numbers during a month- long hot streak to start the season. In April he batted .313 with nine home runs and 18 RBIs. He also closed the season well hitting .337 in September with seven homers.
With such a low ADP, Johnson won the 2010 TSN Best Bargain Award for second basemen.
Martin Prado of the Braves was another surprisingly good performer, particularly pre-All Star break, batting .325 with 10 home runs, 39 RBIs and an OPS of .851 prior to the July classic.
For the 2011 season, Cano will likely cost you a top-five pick. Utley and Kinsler will also get plenty of respect, though likely tempered by their down season which could make them reasonably priced. Probably the most interesting question will be whether Uggla and Weeks made believers out of fantasy owners. They certainly made a believer out of me.
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