FANTASY BASEBALL: Second Base Profiles

Fantasy Baseball owners: Time to roll out the 2011 draft kit at This is an excerpt from the Second Base Position Profiles. To read the whole column, click here...

Position Profiles: Second Base

I love second base. It’s one of the most make-or-break positions in fantasy baseball. This year’s crop of second sackers is the perfect example. You’ve got guys at the top of the list who are highly regarded…but they aren’t without question marks, like Chase Utley’s sketchy injury history. Then there’s a slew of 2010 disappointment last who may be primed for a big bounce back. Raise your hand if you cursed out Ben Zobrist, Chone Figgins, Aaron Hill or Gordon Beckham last season. Finally, you have the young guns trying to break out. After weighing the options, The Geek’s strategy will likely be to buy low on some rebounders. In a position that’s often shakier than Game 3 of the 1989 World Series, I’ll wait until the middle rounds to grab 2010 slump victims who are still brimming with potential.

1. Robinson Cano, NYY, 2B – Welcome to the second base penthouse, Robbie. You knew he could hit for average. Last year he powered up to attain stud status in every category but steals. He’s still young, and the home runs could come back down to earth, but if you have a shot at him, you should say yes to Cano.

2. Chase Utley, PHI, 2B – You know the deal here. Utley is as consistent as it gets…when he can manage to stay on the field. At 32, he’s no spring philly, so injuries are going to be an ever-present danger. If you can dodge those bullets, though, few players have a better shot at the 30-20 club.

3. Dustin Pedroia, BOS, 2B – Fenway’s scrappy second sacker has proclaimed himself good to go for the upcoming campaign. Dustin sprinkles a little bit of everything on the stat sheet, so you’ll have to pay for his well roundedness. I think there’s a decent shot Pedroia leads the league in runs in what is a heavy-hitting Boston lineup.

4. Dan Uggla, ATL, 2B – Surprise! Uggla’s ugly batting average took a year off. That’s right, I’m not buying the .287 mark from a season ago. He’s too much of a free swinger. Still, the days of averages in the .240s may be in the rearview mirror. Now, in a better lineup, 100 RBI should be a lock. Grab him in round 4 and pencil in 30 home runs in your 2B slot.

5. Ian Kinsler, TEX, 2B – High power, low average. High average, low power. Kinsler’s numbers have been all over the map. Could this be the year he puts it all together? I’m not betting against him. Personally, I’m pulling for Kinsler’s fragility to drive his price down just enough to where he’s a solid gamble. The nagging injuries are the only thing keeping him from a 20-30 season.

6. Brandon Phillips, CIN, 2B – Last year was the first time I ever owned Phillips. For the most part, I enjoyed the experience. He fills up the box scores with just enough power and speed to keep you happy. I expect the Reds’ sparkplug to improve on the basepaths, after getting nabbed a career-high 12 times last season. I like Phillips to get back to 20 SB in what should be a modest overall statistical improvement from 2010.

7. Rickie Weeks, MIL, 2B – What the? Where did all that power come from? It’s almost like Rickie and Prince Fielder swapped stats. The Brewers and fantasy owners alike want to see Weeks cut down on his home-run stroke and hit his stride on the basepaths. I believe that’s exactly what will happen. The x-factor is durability. Last year was the first time he’s ever reached 130 games played. Scary fact for a guy you’ll have to reach for.

8. Aaron Hill, TOR, 2B – Here’s my big second-base sleeper for you. The bad news: he hit a disgusting .204 and dealt with a hamstring injury last season. The good news, he still hit 26 home runs, struck out just 85 times and was a .285 lifetime hitter before the ’10 catastrophe. In my mind, the only real difference between Hill and Dan Uggla is about eight rounds. That’s the kind of value that wins titles.

9. Ben Zobrist, TB, OF/2B – He was more like Ben Zzzzzzzobrist to fantasy owners last season. We all expected big things for one of 2009’s most surprising breakout players. Instead, we got an up-tick in steals, but a regression across the rest of the board. Zobrist is the first of a handful of comeback candidates I like this season. Why? He’s one of the bigger fellows at the position (6’3″, 200 lbs.) and he battled through a back injury last season.

10. Gordon Beckham, CWS – Yep, I was bent by Beckham last season. Waaaay too early to give up on this prospect though. He ‘s exactly what you look for when bargain hunting. Early career success: Check. Sizeable sophomore slump: Check. Solid second half: Check. Beckham has what it takes to be a superb draft-day value.


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