Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
In the second of an eight-part series, we will look at the 2010 TSN Fantasy Rankings for second basemen.
Ten years ago, Jeff Kent, Roberto Alomar, Jose Vidro and Edgardo Alfonso led the position, but the bottom end was a bit on the weak side. Today's second base group are just as strong at the top and have more depth. To have Jose Lopez (69 runs, 25 HR, 96 RBI, .273) as the No.10-ranked second baseman is an indication of the great depth this year.
Because of the strength at the position, 2010 might be the right year to delay jumping on Chase Utley or Ian Kinsler and look to another position in the first and second rounds.
1) Chase Utley, PHI (ADP 4.4) - Utley is certainly not the clear cut No.1 choice that Albert Pujols was at first base. Aaron Hill hit more home runs, Ian Kinsler stole more bases, Robinson Cano hit for a higher average and Ben Zobrist had a better OPS. But none of them has the combination and upside of Utley. He came off major hip surgery in the winter of 2009 and there was even some question as to whether he would be in the lineup on Opening Day. He's been working with a trainer on quickness and could improve on his 23-for-23 stolen base total.
2) Ian Kinsler, TEX (ADP 15.9) - If Kinsler could just play 156 games like Utley did last year, he might be the best second baseman in baseball. Alas, he's never played more than 144 games in a season and averages 123 games per year. He posted 101 runs and career highs in HR (31), RBI (86) and SB (31) in 144 games last year.
3) Brandon Phillips, CIN (ADP 41.3) - I'm not sure why Phillips doesn't get more respect on Draft Day, but he has mine. He's posted 20+ HR and 20+ steals in each of the past three seasons, while Dustin Pedroia, Brian Roberts and Ben Zobrist have never achieved the feat. He plays in a great hitter's ballpark and has protection behind him in the lineup.
4) Dustin Pedroia, BOS (ADP 28.9) - Pedroia gets a lot of publicity in Boston, but he's not in the same tier as the top trio. Beware, the team is thinking of dropping him to No.5 in the lineup which could effect his runs total.
5) Brian Roberts, BAL (ADP 41.7) - Roberts is another second-tier guy along with Pedroia, Cano and Hill. Of this group, Roberts will get you the most steals and battle Pedroia for runs scored. A little weaker on power than the other three in the bracket, he's got a top end of about 18 HR.
6) Robinson Cano, NYY (ADP 41.9) - In the middle of a great New York Yankees offense, Cano will give you everything you want from a second baseman...except stolen bases. His .320 batting average was No.1 for all fantasy second basemen and he was third in OPS (.872).
7) Aaron Hill, TOR (44.1) - Hill will be one of those guys which draws a debate on where to rank him. He emerged in 2009 as the best power hitter among second basemen (36 HR), but he's only done it for one season. Was that a career year, or did his game progress to a higher level? I'm leaning towards "career year" and I'm expecting about 25 HR this season. I also question whether the Blue Jays offense will be as good as last season with the loss of Marco Scutaro and Alex Rios.
8) Gordon Beckham, CWS (ADP 106.6) - Beckham played third base last season, but the team acquired Mark Teahen from Kansas City and will make the 23-year- old Beckham their full-time second baseman. He had a solid rookie campaign batting .270 with 14 HR and 63 RBI. It appears he'll bat second in the White Sox lineup between Juan Pierre and Rios.
9) Ben Zobrist, TB (ADP 45.1) - Zobrist used to be the Tampa Bay Rays' fourth outfielder, but shifted to second base last year. He apparently liked the move and the opportunity to get 500+ at-bats. He posted career highs in runs (91), HR (27), RBI (91), SB (17), batting average (.297) and OPS (.948). Though he kept his batting average consistent all season, his post All-Star break numbers showed a significant drop in power (17-to-10) and speed (11-to-6). I'm not sold that "2009 Ben Zobrist" will reappear in 2010.
10) Jose Lopez, SEA (ADP 112) - Lopez put up solid numbers in a weak Seattle offense. Very few outside of the Mariners or his fantasy owners probably know he hit 25 HR and knocked in 96 runs (both career highs). With Ichiro Suzuki, newly acquired Chone Figgins, improving Franklin Gutierrez and Milton Bradley batting in front of Lopez, he could have even better numbers this year.
Just Missed - Rickie Weeks, MIL (ADP 131.5), Dan Uggla, FLA (ADP 79.2), Orlando Hudson, MIN (ADP 240).