Top 15 Second Basemen For 2011: An Extremely Early Second Look

It’s been nearly two months since we checked in on our second base rankings for 2011 and things certainly have changed.  Rickie Weeks has entrenched himself among the top 2B in the league.  Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler have all been placed on the DL.  Brian Roberts returned to the field.  Let’s take a look at how things currently look (remember, these remain extremely early rankings and will likely significantly change as the season progresses):

  1. Robinson Cano – New York Yankees
  2. Chase Utley – Philadelphia Phillies
  3. Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox
  4. Ian Kinsler – Texas Rangers
  5. Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds
  6. Rickie Weeks – Milwaukee Brewers
  7. Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
  8. Dan Uggla – Florida Marlins
  9. Aaron Hill – Toronto Blue Jays
  10. Martin Prado – Atlanta Braves
  11. Brian Roberts – Baltimore Orioles
  12. Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Angels
  13. Kelly Johnson – Arizona Diamondbacks
  14. Chone Figgins – Seattle Mariners
  15. Gordon Beckham – Chicago White Sox

Thoughts:

  • The thumb injury…  The hip injury…  Can we trust Chase Utley at all at this point?  We don’t know if the injuries will linger and affect his play next season, dropping him from the top spot.  If he comes back and proves that he can produce, we certainly will reevaluate this.
  • Pedroia and Kinsler have had very similar seasons, both spending time on the DL.  The major difference is that Kinsler always seems to be spending time on the DL, significantly hurting his value.  The power was also significantly down this season, and hitting in the middle of the order there isn’t as many opportunities to run.
  • It’s amazing how quickly things change, isn’t it?  Weeks is hitting .272 with 23 HR, 71 RBI, 78 R and 7 SB.  If the Brewers ever allowed him to run a little bit more, he’d be a complete monster.  The underlying statistics are all believable, so maybe this may finally be his breakout campaign.
  • Could Kendrick be 2011′s version of Weeks? He is going to be 10/10 this season (has 9 HR and 10 SB) and has the potential to be much more then that.
  • Where Roberts fits into the rankings is going to depend a lot on how he finishes the season.  The fact that he’s playing everyday certainly helps.  He hasn’t fully gotten things going yet, but he does have 4 SB and 7 R in 16 games.  If he can get back to what he’s capable of, he’ll return to being a Top 10 option.
  • Placido Polanco and Casey McGehee are among those not included on this list due to not playing enough games at 2B to be eligible there next season.
  • Beckham barely edged out Neil Walker for the last spot on this list, but that could change by year’s end.

What are your thoughts on these rankings?  Who is being overvalued?  Who is being undervalued?

Make sure to check out our other extremely early 2011 rankings:

Fantasy Baseball Box Score Breakouts – 8/9/10
News & Notes: August 9: Carter, Pedroia & More

20 comments

  1. WJ says:

    placing cano ahead of utley, based on one season, is moronic. also, there’s no way uggla should be behind one-year-wonder zobrist.

  2. Rotoprofessor says:

    WJ, if Utley returns and proves that there are no effects from the injuries, it certainly will be reevaluated. Right now, especially with the hip injury, there have yo be some concerns, however. Plus, Cano hit .320 with 25 HR in ’09. The ranking is based on more then one season.

    As for Uggla/Zobrist, it’s speed vs. power, though I do believe Zobrist will come around, at least a little bit. I certainly could see those two flipping, though.

  3. Frank Kim says:

    I think Cano should be #1. Good job.

    I think I would also consider moving Kinsler further down. I think I might do Weeks #4, Kinsler #5, Phillips #6. If Weeks stays healthy and especially if he hits 3rd he could be awesome.

  4. carlito says:

    ya know i keep asking fantasy baseball people what is so great about zobrist? I just dont see it. also kinsler to me has become a lock for at least 2 dl trips a season. phillips should be ahead of him as should uggla. another guy who deserves a better ranking is kelly johnson. what a great season. lastly, beckham will be passing many of these names in the near future.

  5. WJ says:

    we can go back and forth about cano and utley but the bottom line is this: cano is on pace to have similar production to what utley’s average season (roughly) has been for the last FIVE seasons. FIVE seaaons!! 2005-2009. not to mention the stolen bases that utley gets as compared to the very few that cano gets.

    hello!! are you forgetting how good utley has been? you are just going to make cano the king of the hill at 2B based on a good 2009(which was still inferior to utley) and a very good 2010? seriously?

    even if utley has a poor september you have to give him an “incomplete” for 2010. going into the 2011 draft, there is no way that cano is a better pick than utley. cano has to put up utley numbers for at least another season in order for him to be considered utley’s equal. and there isn’t any reason to think that utley is suddenly going to become an injury concern. dude has been rock solid even when recovering from injuries in the past.

    also: i agree about kinsler – always hurt. so is weeks (until this season) for that matter. i also agree with the zobrist comment implying that he is overrated, which he is. uggla vs. zobrist is not speed vs. power, it is consistently good each season (uggla) vs. one year wonder who is terrible this season (zobrist). i would rank zobrist near the bottom and definitely put prado ahead of him. stolen bases is the only thing zobrist offers. he has a remarkably bad OPS (.373 SLG. really?) and no run production – he’s like ichiro’s physically handicapped, red-headed step brother.

    on second thought, ranking uggla behind zobrist is worse than ranking utley behind cano. look at the numbers uggla puts up every season while staying healthy. just look at them.

    if and when cano proves he can put up another very good season then he might move up in my rankings. even this season, uggla’s numbers aren’t that different from cano’s. again, just look at them. there’s no point in arguing about it – the stats don’t lie. uggla is the poor man’s utley.

    incidentally, weeks has almost identical production as cano this season. why not rank weeks #1?

    i would rank utley #1, uggla #2, cano #3, pedroia #4, and then phillips, weeks, kinsler ranked 5-7 in whatever order. after that i’m not sure. if brian roberts is healthy he deserves to be in the mix. kelly johnson needs to put up another season like this one to get consideration. you can make the same statement regarding weeks, although weeks has a better pedigree and, presumably, more upside.

    out.

  6. Rotoprofessor says:

    Uggla cannot be the #2 ranked guy, there is too much instability in his average to trust him. Yes, he’s hitting .280 this season, but is a year removed from hitting .243. You can argue he’s 2Bs equivalent to Mark Reynolds. If his power wanes a little bit, his value disappears.

    The debate about who the top 2B is will likely go back and forth all offseason. A lot of it really depends, for me, on Utley’s ability to prove he can produce. He was having a sub-standard year, for Utley, prior to getting hurt again and it’s more the hip injury that concerns me. If he comes back in September and proves that there’s nothing to worry about, he’ll be moved back to the top spot. If he doesn’t, then I’m going to have yo look at it really closely.

    With Zobrist, I don’t believe the power simply disappeared. In almost 200 ABs in ’08 he posted a HR/FB of 17.4%. Last season he was at 17.5%. This season he’s at 5.5%. If he were to get 8 HR over the final 7 weeks and look like a potential 15/30 guy, there wouldn’t be a debate. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, he ends the season with 8 HR and he plummets down the rankings. Right now I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  7. M J says:

    WJ

    “we can go back and forth about cano and utley but the bottom line is this: cano is on pace to have similar production to what utley’s average season (roughly) has been for the last FIVE seasons. FIVE seaaons!! 2005-2009. ”

    I think Utley only put up numbers better than this once in the last 5 years. On average he had an OPS around .910. I’m the biggest Utley fan around. And I still think he has a few good years left in him (I hope). But even I have to admit that Cano has surpassed him as the best 2B in baseball right now. He’s 4 years younger and getting better. Utley is 4 years older and getting more and more injury prone. It’s still close, but the edge has to go to Cano right now.

  8. carlito says:

    i’d say

    1. Cano
    2. Utley…. I really hate him here but how can you not
    3. Dusty
    4. Phillips
    5. Uggla
    6. Kinsler
    7. Weeks
    8. Prado…. i think hes next years zobrist
    9. Hill
    10. Johnson/Beckham/Kendrick toss up but beckham and KJ could move up this list. Kendrcik is what he is at this point.
    11 zobrist

  9. WJ says:

    you people put too much stock into ONE season. cano is having a very good season but no one knows what he will do next season. utley and uggla, on the other hand, have proven themselves over several seasons and consistently have put up numbers. i don’t care about uggla’s mediocre BA when he puts up the HR’s, R’s and RBI that he does every season. you say cano is getting better? uggla’s BA is up this season as are his homers. so why isn’t uggla getting better? the answer: because everyone is biased in favor of cano for some unknown reason.

    and what about this notion that cano is getting better? is he really getting better? cano is now in his sixth season. in 2006 (his second season) he had an impressive OPS but, evidently missed time with injury. then he regressed in 2007 and 2008 before rebounding in 2009. is this “getting better?” good for one season and then sucking for a couple of seasons and then being good again? based on cano’s history, it wouldn’t shock me to see him regress again next season. you don’t see this type of thing with utley and uggla; you only see solid, consistent production every season.

    by your logic (one very good season makes you the king – yes, i know cano has had other good seasons), rickie weeks should be ranked #2 behind cano. why isn’t he? he was having a good season in 2009 and now he’s having a very good season in 2010. he doesn’t have the OPS that cano has but his combined runs, rbi, walks and stolen bases add up to more than cano.

    the reason why you don’t rank weeks that high (aside from his injury history) is that you don’t rank a guy high on any list when he’s only had one very good season – like cano. i get the feeling that there are some biased yankee fans in this discussion. i’m not biased for utley; i live in boston. and i’m not biased against cano. i’m just looking at the straight numbers. if you guys would just look at the numbers there wouldn’t be any argument. utley and uggla have been the most consistent producers at 2B the last 4-5 seasons and you don’t vault a guy like cano ahead of them until he proves he can be very good for more than one season.

    like i stated previously, the numbers don’t lie – except if you refuse to look at them.

  10. Rotoprofessor says:

    WJ, I think you are discounting Cano’s 2009, when he hit .320 with 25 HR, 85 RBI and 103 R. You can’t treat that like its nothing.

    Utley is a career .294 hitter. Cano is a career .309 hitter with the potential to post back-to-back .320+ years. Utley has only once reached that mark.

    Utley is consistently between 93 and 105 RBI. Now that Cano is in the middle of the Yankees order, you would have to expect him to also reach that mark.

    Both players have proven they can score 100 R in a year, especially given the talent they are surrounded by.

    Utley has a little more power, with the potential to go 30+. Cano, however, looks to not be far off that. He also has a FB% that’s trending up, meaning there may still be more power to come.

    Utley has more SB potential, but with the hip problem, his SB were way down this season, that’s a big concern.

    I don’t think anyone is calling for Cano due to one season. I’m looking at what he’s done, as well as his trends, underlying statistics and legitimate concerns.

  11. WJ says:

    i’m not overlooking cano’s 2009 at all. maybe you are overlooking his 2008 when he was terrible. i know cano is good and that he has the potential to be the best 2B, but he has to earn that distinction by putting up good numbers consistently for multiple seasons consecutively like utley has done.

    i don’t why that is so hard to understand. cano has yet to prove he can be consistently productive every season. how do i know that cano is not going to stink in 2011 like he did in 2008? that is much less of a worry with a guy like utley.

    that’s all i’m saying. consistency (along with production) is very important and no one has matched utley in that respect.

    yes, cano has a higher career BA, but you are selectively choosing statistics to make your argument. most people realize that OBP and SLG are the gold standard by which to judge a hitter. utley has had a far superior OBP, and a higher SLG than cano.

    ichiro suzuki has a career BA of .331. does that make him a better hitter than both cano and utley? i don’t think so. BA only tells part of the story.

    again, the numbers don’t lie – unless you refuse to look at them.

    that being said, it is possible that we are witnessing a changing of the guard at 2B, but i think it’s premature to say that it’s happened already. if cano comes out next season and has a repeat performance then maybe i will agree. still, i doubt that cano is ever going to match utley’s on base skills or stolen base totals.

  12. MJ says:

    “you people put too much stock into ONE season. ”

    Cano has had far more than one good season. The only poor season he has had is 2008. Other than that ONE season he has been a top 3 at his position. And he has now taken over the top spot. It’s not that he is having a career year, it’s that he is validating previous seasons and proving to be an elite player at a slim picken’s position.

  13. MJ says:

    And I am not taking into account his first pro season.

  14. WJ says:

    cano has obviously had more than one good season. i know that. good seasons – not great seasons. he hasn’t had a season like 2010 before and chase utley has had FIVE seasons similar to the season cano is having in 2010.

    hmmm….let’s see. cano, one season; utley, five seasons. who is more likely to be better n 2011? let me think….utley. that’s not to say that cano won’t repeat his 2010 success in 2011; just that it’s more likely that utley outperforms him.

    also, i’m curious about something. dan uggla is also having a career seaon and has been far more consistent than cano in the past several seasons; why isn’t anyone tooting uggla’s horn? besides me, of course. the same goes for rickie weeks.

    and why isn’t anyone concerned about pedroia’a injury? maybe we can’t trust him anymore. maybe his injury will adversely affect him when he comes back. why only the talk about utley’s injury (or injuries) affecting his future play?

    if everyone wants to rate cano #1 then at least be consistent and rate weeks and uggla right up there with him. brandon phillips also for that matter. he’s sort of like uggla with stolen bases. very underrated player.

    i get the feeling that there are some yankee fans in this discussion who have a pro-cano bias. there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you admit your bias up front.

    lastly, it’s entirely possible that you guys are right and that cano is finally living up to his promise and is now on the verge of becoming the best 2B. but it hasn’t happened yet and cano cannot achieve that distinction based only on several good seasons and only one great season. he needs to have multiple great seasons like utley.

  15. WJ says:

    actually 2B has more quality hitters now than at almost any time in recent fantasy history, especially with the emergence of weeks and kelly johnson. also potential future stars like beckham and dustin ackley. 2B is not as “slim pickings” as it used to be.

    i count at least nine pretty solid guys heading into 2011 and a few more who have good potential.

    shortstop? now there is slim pickings.

  16. WJ says:

    ok, i would appreciate anyone’s input on gordon beckham’s outlook for the next several seasons. what type of hitter do you think he can be. is this season a fluke? (he’s been improving lately)

    thanks.

  17. Matt Perkins says:

    Where would you see guys like Neil Walker 2B, Albert Callaspo 3B and Coco Crisp OF?

    I’d also be interested in knowing where Teagarden would be if he got full time at bats.

  18. Jorts says:

    LOL@WJ
    Please pick Dan Uggla ahead of Cano in 2011.

    “hmmm….let’s see. cano one season”

    ROFL

  19. WJ says:

    LOL@WJ
    Please pick Dan Uggla ahead of Cano in 2011.

    “hmmm….let’s see. cano one season”

    ROFL

    i don’t get it. am i going to be in your fantasy league next season? why do you care who i pick? or maybe you’re just being an a-hole.

    and, yes, this season is cano’s first really good season where he is putting everything together. he’s not as proven as utley or uggla, for example. that’s not even deabatable so i don’t understand why you are cracking wise. cano may turn out to be better than those guys but he hasn’t proven it yet. actually my draft strategy next season would be to let cano go high in the draft and then i would just wait a few rounds later and get a guy like uggla who i feel would be a better value pick. by the way, i never said i would pick uggla ahead of cano in a draft – you said that.

  20. carlito says:

    i would think beckham could have a prado type season next year. beckham had a typical sophmore slump. he will be a star at some point.

    i think the hardest call is kelly johnson. for real? fluke or just a fill in for injury?

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