The influx in talent at 2B has been amazing. This used to be one of the more shallow positions in baseball, and getting a guy that could put up good numbers here was worth a reach on draft day. That’s just not the case anymore as 2B has turned into a powerhouse of little guys that do it all. The AL MVP was 5’6″ Dustin Pedroia and all the way down the list guys put up numbers worthy of stronger positions. Being one of the last teams in your league to select a 2B shouldn’t leave you hurting for power, but instead getting nice value from a guy like Jose Lopez or Mark DeRosa. These are my 2B Rankings for 2009.
1. Chase Utley – There are some health concerns with Utley, but he says he’ll be back by opening day, and how can you question one of the toughest and best hitters in the game? I’ll tell you this much, even if he misses the first couple weeks, if I could have one two-bagger it would be Utley. One of these years he’s going to hit 40+ HRs.
2. Dustin Pedroia – How can you not love this kid? He hits in a great line-up, he gets more out of his ability than any guy in the league, and he’s young and going to get better – he works to hard to stay the same. Utley may be at the top, but Pedroia proved that he can be magic too.
3. Ian Kinsler – If health weren’t an issue, Kinsler would rank higher than Dustin Pedroia – so let it be known, the upside of Kinsler trumps that of DP, but if upside was the judge of Pedroia the kid would have never made it to the big leagues in the first place. Regardless, Kinsler is a great option on draft day, a kid that can truly do it all.
4. Brian Roberts – Roberts is one of the top tier guys. He’s 4th, but he’s better than everyone else and there’s a chance he gets traded partway through the season to a contender – and that would almost surely mean a better hitting situation for one of the games best fantasy worthy middle infielders.
5. Dan Uggla – Dan Uggla is prone to ups and downs, probably more so than most 2Bs in the league, but his ups are as high as they get, and if you get him early there’s a nice chance his trade value sky-rockets and you can cash in. I like Uggla – he swings like he means it. Hence all the Ks, but still.
6. Alexei Ramirez – This guy reminds me of a young Alfonso Soriano (by the way, if this makes you feel as old as it makes me feel, Soriano is not young anymore). He can really swing the bat and his wiry frame makes all that pop seem impossible. He’s young and hitting in a good place for power.
7. Brandon Phillips – Phillips’ best years might be behind him, and 30-30 might not happen again, but that being said, he’ll probably be a good deal this year because he was hurt late last season and people often let that effect drafts. Don’t let it effect yours, he’ll produce all year for you.
8. Robinson Cano – Cano had a brutal start to the season last year, but he’s a very good player. He’s also rocking his swing in a lineup where everyone is pretty damn crafty. He’ll get lots of fast balls and there won’t be too many attempts to pitch around him. I’m guessing he has a nice bounce back year and does work for fantasy owners that take the plunge.
9. Jose Lopez – One of the most underrated middle infielders in the game, and it makes sense. He plays for a Seattle team that was brutal last season and he plays at 10:30 EST in more than 75% of his games. The world never sees the guy. Well, he’s good, he’s young, he hits at the top of the order in Seattle and he’s their only consistent run-producer and Ichiro is always on second when he’s up. Sounds like 80+RBI to me.
10. Howie Kendrick – This kid is legit, now if he could only stay healthy. Seeing as though he’s never had more than 400 at bats, I overlooked him a little bit, forgetting him originally on my 2B Rankings. But he’s a guy that has a little pop, can steal bases, hits for a .300+ average and will surely score runs in the Angels lineup.
11. Placido Polanco – Boring old Placido – sure, say what you want, but I’ll take him really late and watch him consistently get me points that help me win weekly. He’s not fast, he’s not powerful, he’s just always on base and right at the top of an order that is going to produce runs all year long. Don’t hesitate.
12. Kelly Johnson – Kelly Johnson didn’t impress like many thought he would. So what, it’s coming – take a chance on this guy later on draft day and it’s very possible you reap the benefits of a late round steal.
13. Mike Aviles – I like this guy more than most because I don’t see much not to be fond of. I would probably even reach a little bit higher on the 2B order to grab this kid because he could continue to hit .325. If he does that with 600 at bats then he’s going to hit close to 10HRs, get 70RBI, and score a bunch of runs, even in KC. In fact, with Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and a roost of young talent maturing in KC, that order might do more damage than people expect. I think they’ll be solid offensively.
14. Mark DeRosa – DeRosa is old, he really had one amazing year (last season), and he moved teams. But it’s not like Cleveland can’t hit, and he’s likely going to play every day. Not only that, but DeRosa was a mid-season pickup that helped lead me to a Championship so he has a warm fuzzy place in my heart.
15. Kazuo Matsui – Injury problem always, but when he’s healthy he’s a solid start.
16. Ronnie Belliard – Belliard had a decent season and he’s always had decent power numbers for a 2B.
17. Akinori Iwamura – Iwamura could continue to hit atop the Rays line-up, and in that case he’s almost guaranteed fantasy points. But I’m not too fond of the little 2B.
18. Felipe Lopez – Lopez could do good things in Arizona if he can get his health together. This guy had one amazing year that I would never expect to happen again – but he could hit .285 with double digit HRs and score runs in Arizona.
19. Freddy Sanchez – Sanchez is a good contact hitter that has months where he sees the ball very well. He will be fantasy relevant sometime this season.
20. Orlando Hudson – Hudson’s batting average has improved every single season since 2003. During that time he’s gone from .268 to .305 – if that continues then he’ll find a place even though he doesn’t do much else besides get on base and score runs. In a deep league he could be worth starting, especially one that has a middle infield slot.
21. Mark Ellis – Remember in 2007 when Ellis hit .276 with 19HRs, 76RBI, and 9SB? Me too. That’s why he’s on here. If he does that again he deserves a higher spot. Obviously I wonder if he can. One good thing, despite injuries last season Ellis stole 14 bases in only 440 at bats. Upside late in the draft, that’s a good thing.