Top 20 Second Baseman for 2009

Unlike with the First Baseman, after the Top 10 Second Baseman or so, you can almost just throw a blanket over the rest of the group and hope that someone emerges.  There are a few sleepers I like, and those are the guys that ended up getting the nod on this list for spots 17-20.  It wouldn’t be very surprising to see one or two of the guys that went unlisted outperforming them, however.  That means that you are going to want to monitor the waiver wire if you miss out on one of the better choices.

With that said, let’s take a look at how the rankings ended up going:

  1. Ian Kinsler – Texas Rangers
  2. Chase Utley – Philadelphia Phillies
  3. Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds
  4. Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox
  5. Brian Roberts – Baltimore Orioles
  6. Dan Uggla – Florida Marlins
  7. Alexei Ramirez – Chicago White Sox
  8. Robinson Cano – New York Yankees
  9. Jose Lopez – Seattle Mariners
  10. Mark DeRosa – Cleveland Indians
  11. Kelly Johnson – Atlanta Braves
  12. Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Angels
  13. Mike Aviles – Kansas City Royals
  14. Placido Polanco – Detroit Tigers
  15. Rickie Weeks – Milwaukee Brewers
  16. Orlando Hudson – Free Agent
  17. Aaron Hill – Toronto Blue Jays
  18. Alexi Casilla – Minnesota Twins
  19. Emmanuel Burris – San Francisco Giants
  20. Mark Ellis – Oakland Athletics

Just Missed:
Clint Barmes, Colorado Rockies; Luis Castillo, New York Mets; Felipe Lopez, Arizona Diamondbacks; Akinori Iwamura, Tampa Bay Rays; Freddy Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates; Blake DeWitt, Los Angeles Dodgers; Mike Fontenot, Chicago Cubs; Kazuo Matsui, Houston Astros

  • Should Utley remain at the top of this list still, even with the injury? That’s an extremely tough question to answer. There’s no doubt that he’s the best player at his position when healthy, but with him possibly missing the first two months of the season it’s tough to leave him at the top. I dropped him to #2 because of that, but since we don’t know exactly how long he’ll miss, I did not want to push him too far down.
  • I did a comparison of Phillips vs. Pedroia (which you can read here), where I discussed the two and came to the conclusion that Phillips would be the guy I wanted. I know that may not be the popular decision, but when you have a player who could potentially go 30/30, and is almost a lock of 20/20, he should not be ignored.
  • After not quite living up to expectations in the first half, Alexei Ramirez exploded after the All-Star Break for 14 HR and 48 RBI over 249 AB to thrust his name among the second tier of 2B available. Still, I can’t ignore the .211 average he posted in September, or the 18 walks he drew over the entire season. He’s a risky proposition, but he proved over a long enough stretch that he can hit for a solid average and plenty of power. That certainly warrants him being slotted in the Top 10, especially given the lack of depth at the position.
  • I can pretty much group Orlando Hudson, Kelly Johnson, Placido Polanco and Mike Aviles into the same category. They aren’t going to offer much power or speed, but should hit for a good average and score some runs. That makes them players that I don’t want as a starter, instead a bench player to be used as a short-term fill-in. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough top options for 12 teams to enjoy. At least Johnson gives you a potential 10/10 player and one that has shown a little bit more power in the minors. He has the most potential of that grouping, by far, so he’s the one I’d take if need be. Still, he’s not necessarily an option that I love.
  • Speaking of gambles, we’ve already discussed Rickie Weeks and I said that I was tired of waiting for him to finally break out (you can read the article here). Still, he has to at least be considered, since he does have the potential to pick up SB.
  • Howie Kendrick is getting close to falling into the same category as Weeks. We keep hearing about all his potential, and it’s not in inability to perform that’s the problem, it’s his inability to stay on the field. His left hamstring was to blame last season and certainly derailed him, limiting to just 11 SB. Still, at 26-years old, this could be the season that he finally breaks out, if he stays healthy. A 10/10 season is a possibility, as is 20+ SB. Still, it’s a huge risk, which is why he’s on the outside of the top half of the rankings.
  • As for Aaron Hill, I’ve already talked about why I think he is a good sleeper for this season (click here to read). If you get saddled with a Polanco or Johnson or Aviles as your starter for whatever reason, he seems like the perfect complimentary player. He has the potential to hit close to 20 HR and just a year ago many people would have been interested in grabbing him. Injuries have significantly lowered his value, and in my opinion a bounce back campaign could be in order. He’s a player I’m targeting in the last rounds of my draft.
  • If Emmanuel Burriss wins the Giants starting 2B job, look for him to emerge as a solid end-game speed option in all formats. He’s certainly a player to watch out for.
  • Mark Ellis has traded between good and bad seasons for the past 4 years, putting him on pace to enjoy a resurgent 2009 campaign.  Showing double-digit speed for the first time in his career last season that could mean going 10/10 with a .280 average.  It’s far from a given, but even when he’s struggled he’s managed to crack 10 HR each of the past 4 seasons.

Disagree with any of the rankings?  Who  to you think should be higher?  Who should be lower?  Let’s hear it.

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

5 comments

  1. Ryan says:

    Alexi Casilla is a guy, if he stays healthy, that could possibly climb the rankings.

  2. Tony says:

    Casilla and Hill are big on my sleeper list. I grabbed alexie last year but wouldn’t risk an early pick on him this year. I really think Hill is the sleeper candidate. He hit like 45+ doubles in 2007? That shows the potential for those 20 HR’s you mentioned…. Did he have anymore injuries other than the concussion, after that crushed his season i quit paying attention to him…..

  3. C Bass says:

    Eric,

    Thank God I have Dustin Pedroia in my keeper league. 2B is weak and if you don’t have one of the top 7 or 8 I’d say wait until the late rounds because #9 could be jsut as good as #20.

    I personally like Pedroia as much as the top 2 just because of his consistency. He does not slump and he doesn’t have bad months. Every day he produces and he does it across the board. He was rookie of the year, then he was MVP….who knows what he’ll be next. With his bat control and power from the 2B position the sky is the limit for him. He was 3 HRs away from 20/20 last year, I say he gets that this year. And if you’re in a points league where strikeouts are minus points he’s a first round pick.

    My only drastic change to the rankings would be moving Aviles up the board. As a rookie 102 games .325 .354OBP 10 HRs 50+ RBI 60+ runs and 8 SBs . He outproduced everyone outside of the top 5 at this position during his time in the majors and he’s also SS eligible. I don’t see why low upside players like Jose Lopez, Kelly Johnson, Mark Derosa, and Howie Kendrick should be above him. He blew Cano away too but I guess he’s got some upside himself so I’d put him in the 8-9 range with the possibility of being top 6.

  4. ecpglp says:

    Aviles should be grouped with the shortstops, not the second basemen (although I realize he is eligible at second and will likely play there some). Unless something changes, KC will be playing him primarily at short again, much as they did last year.

  5. admin says:

    I agree that Aviles will primarily be the SS, but since he has 2B eligibility he deserves to be ranked here. As for where he’s ranked, I believe that he overperformed last season and a regression is likely in order, which is why he’s below some of the other names on the list. Maybe he’s matured as a hitter, but his ’06 (.264) & ’07 (.296) at Triple A don’t lead to me believing in him maintaining a .325+ hitter in the big leagues. I think his upside is actually on par with the names just above him and that grouping could certainly be rearranged depending on how you see fit.

    Personally, I’m not that high on him repeating the type of half-season he had last season, which is why he’s lower on the list. I wouldn’t put him anyer higher then 10 if you wanted to move him up, which still leaves him as a lower-end option.

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