by Derek of The Sportmeisters
Today's fantasy preview takes a look at the top 15 second basemen.
1. Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox – Projection: .320 BA 110 R 16 HR 80 RBI 18 SB
Pedroia had a monster year last year and, with a healthy David Ortiz and Mike Lowell, looks to do the same this year. The 2008 AL MVP will probably hit either leadoff or second and will score runs but hit cleanup last year and belted 17 Homers.
You get a five-tool player here, draft him early.
2. Chase Utley – Philadelphia Phillies – Projection: .300 BA 105 R 30 HR 105 RBI 18 SB
Rebounding from a hip injury, Utley is expected to resume his fantastic career and to earn back his No. 1 fantasy ranking. Utley will be dropped a bit on most boards due to his injury, but you shouldn’t be afraid to draft him within the first three rounds, if he’s there.
3. Ian Kinsler – Texas Rangers – Projection: .290 BA 105 R 20 HR 77 RBI 25 SB
Kinsler is a bit of a risk due to injury history, but he is the best out of the remaining 2B. He hit .319 with 18 HR’s and 26 SB’s last year and could be in the 25-25 club this year if he can stay healthy enough. Draft him if the first two guys are off the board, but don’t wait too long or he will be gone.
4. Brian Roberts – Baltimore Orioles – Projection: .290 BA 100 R 10 HR 55 RBI 40 SB
Roberts may not have the power like the first three, but makes up for it with his speed. He is a lock to steal 30-40 bases and will hit in the .280 range with at least 6-10 HR’s. I wouldn’t be at all upset if he falls to you in the fifth or sixth rounds.
5. Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds – Projection: .270 BA 85 R 22 HR 85 RBI 25 SB
Bust could be the word that described Phillips last year, due to his expectations from 2007 when he was in the 30-30 club and hit .295. He only hit 21 HR’s with 23 SB’s last year and only hit .261.
He doesn’t have Griffey or Dunn hitting behind him anymore, so expectations are lowered, but should he fall to you, go ahead and grab him, as he should hit 20+ HR’s with 25 SB’s.
6. Robinson Cano – New York Yankees – Projection: .295 BA 80 R 16 HR 85 RBI 4 SB
Cano came into the 2008 season with high expectations after hitting .306 with 19 HR’s and 97 RBI in 2007. Then, he came back to earth only hitting .271 with 14 HR’s last year.
With a re-tooled lineup, he should bounce back so go ahead and draft him if available.
7. Alexei Ramirez – Chicago White Sox – Projection: .285 BA 80 R 22 HR 88 RBI 15 SB
Ramirez struggled at the beginning last year, but once the White Sox gave him the 2B job, he responded. He hit 21 HR’s in his first season and should hit about the same this year as the opening day starter. He could creep into the top five 2B by season’s end.
8. Dan Uggla – Florida Marlins – Projection: .260 BA 95 R 30 HR 95 RBI 5 SB
His Name Is Dan Uggla! As the Florida Marlins broadcasters would say. Uggla has hit 27, 31, and 32 HR’s in his first three seasons in the majors and should hit about the same this year.
His batting average may be low, but he will knock in enough runs to make up for it. Draft him in the middle rounds.
9. Placido Polanco – Detroit Tigers – Projection: .305 BA 90 R 8 HR 60 RBI 5 SB
Polanco is getting older and is losing speed, but boy, can he ever hit the ball. With a .295 BA in 2006, .341 in 2007, and .307 last year, he will definitely help you team BA. He won’t get you many HR’s or RBI, but he will score runs in that lineup. Draft him if you need a 2B in the middle to late rounds.
10. Jose Lopez – Seattle Mariners – Projection: .285 BA 80 R 18 HR 85 RBI 5 SB
Lopez finally broke out last year, hitting .297 with 17 HR’s. He should put up similar numbers this year and could be drafted in the middle to late rounds and could be a sleeper this year.
11. Kelly Johnson – Atlanta Braves – Projection: .275 BA 85 R 15 HR 70 RBI 10 SB
Johnson had a decent year last year, hitting .287 with 12 HR’s and 11 SB’s. Expect about the same this year, hitting in a lineup with Chipper Jones and Brian McCann.
12. Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim – Projection: .310 BA 65 R 10 HR 60 RBI 15 SB
Caution, Injury Risk! Kendrick can hit the ball, there’s no doubt about that, but he can’t stay healthy. He hit .306 in just 340 AB’s. He’s a top eight 2B when healthy, but the injury factor is huge with him, so draft carefully.
13. Orlando Hudson – Los Angeles Dodgers – Projection: .290 BA 70 R 10 HR 55 RBI 10 SB
Caution, Injury Risk! Another guy who has been shelved by injuries the past two years. Hudson is starting with a new team this year, but he has only once in his career played 145 games. However, when healthy, he can hit and could be a sleeper that you could grab in the late rounds.
14. Akinori Iwamura – Tampa Bay Rays – Projection: .280 BA 85 R 6 HR 50 RBI 10 SB
A big part of Iwamura’s struggles last year had to do with his position switch from 3B to 2B, at least in my opinion. He still hit .274 and has a potent lineup behind him. Another guy who should fall to you in the later rounds that I wouldn’t be too sorry to have.
15. Luis Castillo – New York Mets – Projection: .290 BA 75 R 2 HR 35 RBI 20 SB
Here’s your 2B sleeper pick. Castillo was traded to the Mets from the Twins in 2007 and played well, hitting .296 with 10 SB’s in 50 games. Last year he flopped badly, mostly due to injury, but hit a career-low .245.
He did, however, have 17 SB’s. A healthy Castillo may be the leadoff hitter in New York and, with that lineup behind him, he could revert back to form this year.