2010 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Second Basemen

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Stop us if this scenario has ever played out during one of your drafts: You’re in the first round and Chase Utley comes off the board. With so many good players available at other positions, you don’t even blink an eye. But then Ian Kinsler is taken a few rounds later and then maybe even Brandon Phillips or Robinson Cano are selected and all of a sudden you start to feel the second basemen death grip on your shoulder.

“No problem,” you think to yourself. “I’ll just address other positions and figure out second base later. After all, what’s the difference now? The production will be roughly the same for anyone I draft from here out, so I might as well wait.”

The problem with that mindset is that you’re probably passing on players that are essentially locks for certain stats. Once those players come off the board, you run the risk of suffering through major bouts of inconsistency (think Dan Uggla) or unspectacular production (think Jose Lopez) at the second base position.

If you miss out on Utley or Kinsler, we recommend snagging one of these four second basemen and reaping the benefits of what should be locks for certain stats. These four might not give you the same production as Utley or Kinsler, but they’re safer bets to than ’09 heroes Aaron Hill and Ben Zobrist, who may not duplicate the success they had last year. We know they look like locks, but we value the four players below more.

(Side note: Depending on what stat you’re looking for, these four players might be interchangeable, so don’t get too hung up on where we have them ranked. They’re all solid options at second base.)

Brandon Phillips, Reds
Phillips has produced three straight 20/20 seasons and chances are, he’ll accomplish that feat again this year. If you’re hoping he’ll slug 30 home runs and steal 30 bases this season, you’re expectations are probably too high. But getting 20 dingers and 20 steals from your second baseman is nothing to scoff at. Phillips often gets overlooked because of his batting average, but at .275 he’s right around the league average – if not better. Plus, he should drive in 90-plus RBI again this year and score 80-plus runs. What else are you looking for out of your second baseman?

Robinson Cano, Yankees
What’s not to love about Cano? He hits for a high average, produces 20-plus home run power and hits in a stacked offense that plays in a wind tunnel disguised as a stadium. There’s a good chance that he’ll hit around .315 this season with 90 RBI, 100 runs and 25 home runs, which makes him extremely productive. The only problem we have with Cano is that he doesn’t steal enough bases, but he’s so good in other areas that it’s hard to hold that against him.

Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Some of you may scoff at where we have Pedroia ranked, but keep in mind that Phillips is likely to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases, while Roberts is likely to steal 30 bases and hit 15 home runs. Pedroia, for as wonderful as his run production is, will probably top out at 15-16 long balls and 20 steals. That’s not a knock against him, because he’ll still score 110-plus runs and hit around .300, but is he more valuable than Phillips and Roberts? That’s debatable. Nevertheless, he’s a solid fantasy second basemen and if he some overzealous owner doesn’t take him too early then you’ll love his production across the board.

Brian Roberts, Orioles
Roberts had a bit of a down year in 2009, but at the end of the day he’ll hit roughly the same amount of home runs as Pedroia and steal 10 more bases. And while he won’t hit more home runs or wind up with a higher average than Cano, Roberts will score just as many runs and steal upwards of 20 more bases. There’s a lot of value in knowing exactly what you’re going to get from a player and Roberts offers that. Some owners might choose to pass on Roberts in order to take Hill or Zobrist later in their draft, but we still value what the Baltimore second baseman brings to the table in terms of consistency.

Below is our official ranking of second basemen. We recommend targeting one of the top six players before they come off the board, but there is plenty of value past Roberts as well.

1. Chase Utley, PHI
2. Ian Kinsler, TEX
3. Brandon Phillips, CIN
4. Robinson Cano, NYY
5. Dustin Pedroia, BOS
6. Brian Roberts, BAL
7. Aaron Hill, TOR
8. Ben Zobrist, TB
9. Dan Uggla, FLA
10. Jose Lopez, SEA
11. Ian Stewart, COL
12. Howie Kendrick, LAA
13. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
14. Gordon Beckham, CHW
14. Rickie Weeks, MIL
15. Clint Barmes, COL
17. Placido Polanco, PHI
18. Felipe Lopez, STL
19. Kelly Johnson, ARZ
20. Eric Young Jr., COL

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