Dr. Stat’s 2009 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit: Second Basemen Rankings

May 19, 2009

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Marcus Robbins asked:

It might be January, but it’s not too early to start thinking about fantasy baseball and Dr. Stat is here to prepare you for draft day. Every week, I’ll be posting one or two new sections of my 2009 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit until I’ve covered every position. Here are my early 2009 top 25 players at the 2B position. I posted my 1B/DH Rankings earlier this week.

Statistical Key: Batting Average/Home Runs/Runs Batted In/Runs Scored/Steals

Note: Assumes Standard 12-team Head-to-Head or Roto League Settings

1. Chase Utley –  Philadelphia Phillies

He may have turned 30 last month and is coming off of hip surgery, but Utley remains the epitome of what you want from the second base position. While his average dipped in 2008, he still homered a career-high 33 times and drove in 104 runs, both tops at his position. Be aware that he might not be fully recovered from the surgery by Opening Day, but don’t let that stop you from making him the first 2B off the board on draft day.

2008 Stats: .292/33/104/113/14

2009 Projections: .311/31/108/111/16

2. Ian Kinsler – Texas Rangers

You could make a legitimate case for Kinsler to be ranked #1 and I wouldn’t argue with you. He was having a massive season before a sports hernia derailed him after 121 games. His ability to hit for both power and average and steal bases makes him a roto beast and a 30/30 season is completely possible. If you draft him ahead of Utley, I won’t blame you. He’s four years younger that the Philadelphia second baseman and has the edge on the basepaths, but Utley hits for a little more power and posts a better OPS. Overall, you can’t go wrong with either guy.

2008 Stats: .319/18/71/102/26

2009 Projections: .309/20/84/105/33

3. Dusin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox

Yes, he astounded us all and won the AL MVP Award. However, that doesn’t automatically make him a first or second round fantasy pick. There’s no denying that he posted an outstanding season, but don’t get carried away. No, I’m not doubting the guy, as I think we’ve all learned not to do that. He’s a top-35 pick in standard leagues. If your league counts statistics like total bases or extra base hits, he’s even more valuable. Either way, he’s the third best player at his position and should be drafted as such.

2008 Stats: .326/17/83/118/20

2009 Projections: .316/19/88/104/17

4. Brian Roberts – Baltimore Orioles

The dude gets no love, yet puts up one consistent season after another. Among all second basemen in 2008, Roberts was first in stolen bases and walks, second in doubles and triples and third in hits, runs and OBP. The only way we’d like him more is if he was traded to the Cubbies.

2008 Stats: .296/9/57/107/40

2009 Projections: .302/10/62/110/43

5. Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds

His average hurts him, but he went 20-20 for the third straight season and plays in a hitters park. If only he could even out his hot and cold spells (his monthly averages ranged from .200 to .292), he’d be more reliable. A season similar to 2007, in which he hit .288 with 30 homers, 94 RBIs and 32 stolen bases, is not at all out of the question.

2008 Stats: .261/21/78/80/23

2009 Projections: .274/24/86/91/27

6. Robinson Cano – New York Yankees

Robbie’s 2008 campaign was painful to watch, but he did hit .307 after the All-Star break. He’ll need to remember how to hit much earlier this year to justify drafting him where I’ve ranked him, but I’m expecting a bounce-back season from Cano. If he doesn’t have to spend the rest of the season digging himself out of a .151 April, he’ll be more relaxed at the plate and therefore more productive. Last season he got drafted too high, while this season he’ll likely get drafted too low.

2008 Stats: .271/14/72/70/2

2009 Projections: .289/18/81/79/4

7. Dan Uggla – Florida Marlins

After Uggla’s huge first half, I recommended selling him high at the All-Star Break. He went on to post a .226/9/33 second half and led all 2B with 171 strikeouts. He’s the Ryan Howard of his position, but can’t be passed on because of his 30/100 potential. Just prepare yourself for plenty of swings and misses along the way.

2008 Stats: .260/32/92/97/5

2009 Projections: .268/30/93/102/7

8. Alexei Ramirez – Chicago White Sox

It would be easy to get carried away and draft this kid way too high, but control yourself on draft day. While his rookie season was undoubtedly impressive, he carries with him the risk of the dreaded sophomore slump. If he can avoid lengthy cold spells and take a few more bases on balls (one every 27 at-bats), he’ll be a potent pick. Shortstop eligibility will only help matters. At 27 years old, it will be fun to watch what he can do in his first full season. Just don’t overpay.

2008 Stats: .290/21/77/65/13

2009 Projections: .285/24/84/77/15

9. Jose Lopez – Seattle Mariners

Another player who doesn’t get near the respect he deserves (most likely because he plays in Seattle), Lopez finished second in hits, third in RBIs, and fifth in AVG and doubles among all players at his position. At just 25 years old and coming off his best season as a pro, there’s no reason to think he can’t produce similar numbers in ’09. He should be the second Mariners player off the board come draft day, after Ichiro of course.

2008 Stats: .297/17/89/80/6

2009 Projections: .289/19/94/86/8

10. Mark DeRosa – Cleveland Indians

The game’s ultimate utility player, DeRosa’s 11th major league season produced power numbers that we had never seen from him before. While he might not hit 20+ homers in his first season in Cleveland, he’ll play all over the diamond and produce worthy fantasy numbers once again. You can’t put a price tag on multi-positional eligibility, which is what truly makes him even more valuable.

2008 Stats: .285/21/87/103/6

2009 Projections: .281/16/76/88/4

11. Placido Polanco – Detroit Tigers

It’s hard to argue with a guy who’s always flirting with a .300 average and 100 runs and can be taken late on draft day. If your strategy is to get the power and RBI men earlier in the draft and fill your role positions late, Polanco is your man. He’s 33 years old and his numbers will likely drop off slightly again in 2009, but he’s a reliable player from a position that is anything but after the top 10.

2008 Stats: .307/8/58/90/7

2009 Projections: .310/6/55/82/7

12. Mike Aviles –  Kansas City Royals

Is this guy for real? .325/.354/.480 in 102 games? He’s 5’9″ and 27 years old and entering his first full season in the pros. What we appreciated about him last season was his consistency. He hit .330 in June and July, .339 in August and .308 in September. While he doesn’t hit for power (he homered once every 41.9 at-bats), he’s productive in the hits, average and extra-base hits categories and even sprinkles in some stolen bases for good measure. Plus, he has shortstop eligibility.

2008 Stats: .325/10/51/68/8

2009 Projections: .306/13/66/78/11

13. Mike Fontenot, Chicago Cubs- With Mark DeRosa gone, this sleeper should be the Cubs Opening Day second baseman after going for .305/9/40/42/2 in 119 games last season. I may have him ranked a bit high here, but he’s shown he can hit and bats in one of baseball’s best lineups.

14. Orlando Hudson, Arizona Diamondbacks- Oh, if the O-Dog could only stay healthy! Hudson played in just 107 games last season, but still posted respectable numbers. He’s a top-ten 2B when he’s healthy, but has averaged 135 games over the past six seasons.

15. Keylly Johnson, Atlanta Braves- An all-around decent producer at a very thin position. In a phrase, you know what you’re getting when you draft him.

16. Akinori Iwamura, Tampa Bay Rays- Little pop, but finished seventh in runs, eighth in hits and first in triples among all second basemen. Unfortunately, only Uggla struck out more times.

17. Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels- His M.O. is hits and average, neither of which he can give us if he can’t stay on the field.

18. Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays- A concussion limited him to just 55 games in 2008. Is a season similar to 2007 (.291/17/78) in the cards?

19. Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers- So much promise, yet so much disappointment. His 20-20 potential isn’t worth it if he can’t hit even .240.

20. Alexi Casilla, Minnesota Twins- Respectable numbers (.281/7/50/58/7) in 98 games last season, including three months over .300 until he hit .228 over his last 36 games. What he can produce over an entire season remains to be seen.

21. Clint Barmes, Colorado Rockies- If he can hit over .300 again and avoid any off the field mishaps, he’ll be a fine late-round pick in deep leagues.

22. Felipe Lopez, Arizona Diamondbacks- He’s only hit double-digit homers once in nine seasons and can’t steal bases like he used to. A revamped season in the desert is a pipe dream.

23. Jeff Kent, Free Agent- The veteran is currently a free agent will turn 41 in March. Retirement may be more likely than a full-time job anywhere, but he can still hit the baseball.

24. Kazuo Matsui, Houston Astros- Can hit and run, but has played in 100 or more games just twice in six years and never more than 114.

25. Mark Ellis, Oakland Athletics- Will surgery on his right shoulder completely kill his ability to drive the ball?

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