2011 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Second Basemen

New York Yankees Robinson Cano hits a solo homer in the third inning against the Texas Rangers in game 5 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium in New York City on October 20, 2010. UPI/John Angelillo

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We try to give our readers a basic strategy when it comes to our rankings and our strategy for second base is rather simple: Nab one of the top seven guys in the first 1-5 rounds or good luck sifting through the garbage later.

Can you acquire value in guys like Ben Zobrist, Aaron Hill, Brian Roberts and Gordan Beckham later in your draft? Of course, but why not invest one of your first five picks in a top-7 player and not worry about trying to address a thin position later?

If it’s your strategy to fill your 2B spot in Rounds 11-12, then great: We don’t begrudge anyone else’s strategy. But we prefer to nab one of the top 7 players in the early rounds and call it a day. Below are the top 7 in 2011.

Robinson Cano, Yankees
Cano was one of fantasy baseball’s most reliable offensive players in 2010 and it appears as though his down year in ’08 is in the rearview mirror. He finished among the top 3 at his position in batting average, home runs, RBIs and runs scored and is easily the No. 1 fantasy second baseman heading into 2011. Expect numbers similar to last season: .319 BA/103 R/29 HR/109 RBI/3 SB.

Chase Utley, Phillies
Considering he’s already banged up, Utley may scare some owners away on draft day. But he’ll still go in the second round so if you want him, don’t wait. Utley’s best days are probably behind him but he’s still a top-five option at a thin position, so don’t talk yourself out of taking him just because he’s been banged up this spring. (He did rebound nicely after coming back last year, so you don’t want to be the fool that passed on him because of his present injuries only to watch him mash later.)

Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Pedroia is now completely healthy after having foot surgery last season and while he might not steal a ton of bases early in the year as he gets back into game shape, he should finish with double-digit swipes when it’s all said and done. You can probably expect 100-plus runs, 15-18 dingers and a .300 average out of the BoSox second baseman in 2011.

Dan Uggla, Braves
There’s a lot to love about Uggla’s new digs this season. As a Marlin, he hit .354 in 45 games over his career at Turner Field and while that’s a small sample size, it’s hard not to get excited about his fantasy value this season. His average may drop considerably, but he’s still a consistent source of power and he should drive in 100-plus runs for his new team. Expect him to go in the fourth round of a 12-team league.

Ian Kinsler, Rangers
Ankle and groin problems limited Kinsler to 400 at bats last season but he’s still a top-5 player at his position. He’ll hit around .285 again this season but if he stays healthy, you can expect an increase in his home run, run, RBI and stolen base production. When he plays, he’s a 20/20 threat every year and considering most owners only base their projections off of previous year’s stats, Kinsler may slip into the fifth round and would be a steal at that point (relatively speaking).

Cincinnati Reds Brandon Phillips points to St. Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina as he comes up to bat in the first inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on September 3, 2010. Phillips was responsible for a bench clearing brawl last month when he made comments to Molina as he came to bat, about the Cardinals in Cincinnati. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Brandon Phillips, Reds
Phillips is the only second baseman to have racked up double-digit home runs and steals in each of the past five seasons, averaging 21 dingers and 24 swipes per year during that span. He’s as consistent as they come and when you draft him, you know exactly what you’re getting. Expect numbers comparable to 2010: .275 BA/100 R/ 18 HR/59 RBI/ 16 SB.

Rickie Weeks, Brewers
Whether his 2010 season was all about luck or a product of staying healthy (uh, or both), there’s no doubt Weeks is a pretty good 2B option when he plays. You can probably expect a drop in production this year but he’ll still hit 25-plus home runs, cross the plate 100-plus times and give you double-digit steals. Not bad for a player at a thin position who you can pick up in the fourth or fifth.

He’s the rest of our second basemen rankings:

1. Robinson Cano, Yankees
2. Chase Utley, Phillies
3. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
4. Dan Uggla, Braves
5. Ian Kinsler, Rangers
6. Brandon Phillips, Reds
7. Rickie Weeks, Brewers
8. Ben Zobrist, Rays
9. Brian Roberts, Orioles
10. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays
11. Martin Prado, Braves
12. Howie Kendrick, Angels
13. Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks
14. Gordon Beckham, White Sox
15. Neil Walker, Pirates
16. Chone Figgins, Mariners
17. Danny Espinosa, Nationals
18. Mike Aviles, Royals
19. Juan Uribe, Dodgers
20. Omar Infante, Marlins

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