Rounding first and headed for second, it’s time to take a look at the updated rankings at 2B. There have been a number of disappointments and some pleasant surprises, but overall the second base position is seeing a down year so far.
1. Robinson Cano – While the power numbers have slowed, Cano continued to hit for a high AVG and is on pace for 100 R and 100 RBI.
2. Chase Utley – In any season in which Utley has had over 300 at-bats, he has never finished a season with a BABIP under .300. Currently, his BABIP sits at a very low .259. He’s still hitting line drives at a 19 percent clip, so his luck should change soon.
3. Brandon Phillips – On pace for 20/25 once again and on to score more runs than the previous couple of seasons. The AVG is likely to come down (.333 BABIP, 16% line drive rate) and stick in the .275-.280 range.
4. Ben Zobrist – The Zobeast is back! Well, sort of. After a miserable April in which Zobrist failed to homer, he came on strong in May hitting .352/.400/.514 with four home runs. He’s not going to produce at the pace he did last season, but the is still upside for something just under a 20/20 season when all is said and done.
5. Dustin Pedroia – Perhaps hitting six home runs in April did something to Pedroia’s swing. He’s still hitting line drives and his BABIP is a little low (.267), but his strikeout rate is up to 12 percent, which would be his career high should the current pace continue. After showing more patience at the plate last season, Pedroia is back to his old self, swinging at 43 percent of pitches seen. There seems to be a tiny glitch here. One that is causing a few more swings and misses. If things can work themselves out, he should be a top five second baseman in the second half.
6. Ian Kinsler – After a season in which Kinsler hit way too many pop-ups to maintain a high AVG, he has made the adjustment. The problem, however, is that now he can’t find the power stroke that produced 31 home runs in 2009. Given his track record and the fact that his HR/FB rate is extremely low right now (2 percent), I would not rule out a 15/15 second half.
7. Kelly Johnson
– The power has certainly faded for Johnson, but I still think
he’s capable of .275-.285 with 3-4 homers per month going forward, which would give him 20-plus for the season.
8. Dan Uggla – No surprise here. Low AVG, but good power.
9. Martin Prado – He’s basically the player we want Howie Kendrick to be. Solid plate discipline and great contact/line drive skills should keep his AVG high.
10. Ty Wigginton – Has slowed since 13 HR April/May. Expect .270-.280 AVG with 15 or so HR rest of season.
11. Chone Figgins – Slowly, Figgins is turning things around. He has lowered his strikeout rate in May and so far in June while increasing his line drive rate. Hitters of his mold live and die by the line drive. Figgy was just not making good contact to begin the season. He still has 20-plus stolen base potential the rest of the way with an improving AVG.
12. Juan Uribe – Has shown 20 home run power in the past and could approach that this season, but too much of a low contact/free swinger to maintain a high AVG.
13. Placido Polanco – The pop he showed in April has faded, but he has continued to be a line drive machine capable of hitting .300-plus with a good amount of runs scored.
14. Casey McGehee – After an insanely hot start to the season, McGehee has fallen back into the type of player most thought he would be. His line drive rate currently sits at a low 13 percent and over 50 percent of his balls in play are ground balls. If the trend of low line drives/high ground balls continues, there will be issues in both the AVG and power departments going forward.
15. Ian Stewart – While he has turned himself into a line drive hitter capable of providing a decent AVG, it has come at the expense of some power. To make matters worse the AVG is trending in the wrong direction and Stewart has really hit a funk in June. He’s a risky bet going forward due to a continued problems against left-handed pitching (.190 AVG), high strikeout rate, low contact rate and lack of elite power.
16. Howie Kendrick – There are some nice signs of improvement from Kendrick this season, but he continues to be a hot and cold hitter who chases too many pitches outside the strike-zone. The problem with his game, as far as fantasy baseball goes, is that unless he hits for a very high AVG, he doesn’t do enough in the HR/SB categories. He’ll have to continue to drive in runs to hold his current value.
17. Aaron Hill – When only eight percent of your balls in play are considered line drives and 48 percent are fly balls, you’re going to hit for a low AVG. Hill is a mess right now and, while the power for 20-plus home runs is still there, he has a long way to go before his AVG becomes an asset to fantasy owners.
18. Rickie Weeks – The biggest disappointment has been the lack of stolen bases. He’s only 4 of 7 on the season, a 57 percent success rate, which is very poor. The injury risk will always be there.
19. Ryan Theriot – We were spoiled by a blazing April. Now, Theriot’s numbers are back to normal, which is good, but not great. he should end up with another .285, 20-plus stolen base season.
20. Orlando Hudson – He’ll need to keep the AVG up and stay healthy, but he has been a good source of runs so far in that Twins lineup.
21. Maicer Izturis
– It’s all about playing time for Izturis
. Brandon Wood will come off the “DL” at some point and is out of minor league options. When it comes down to it Izturis is the better player, by far, but we’ll have to wait and see how the Angels play this situation. If Izturis can get the at-bats, he could move up these rankings.
22. Carlos Guillen – Guillen has always been a good hitter and having second base eligibility certainly helps his value. Still, his issues with injuries are well documented, so have a backup plan ready.
23. Gordon Beckham – The numbers are all over the place and it seems like there is an extremely long way for Beckham to go before he gets things straightened out.
24. Jose Lopez – Lopez has always been a free swinging/high contact hitter that lives and dies on the results of his BABIP. Without the power stroke he had last season, his value will remains very low.
25. Ian Desmond – Lowered his strikeout rate every month and is starting to hit more line drives in June. Desmond could end up with a 10/15 season, which is mostly useful in deeper leagues.
Freddy Sanchez – Sanchez HAS to hit for a high AVG to have any value as his runs production numbers are fairly hollow.
Asdrubal Cabrera – Due back sometime in July, Cabrera may need some time to get his swing back. The power wasn’t showing up much anyway, so his arm injury could limit that production even further this season.
Christian Guzman – Guzman did this same song and dance early last season and ended with a hollow .284 AVG. He HAS to hit for AVG as there is little value for him in just about any other category. Also, his .304 AVG has been aided by a .353 BABIP, which has been a product of a lot of grounders finding their way to the outfield grass.
Sean Rodriguez – The talk of spring training was silent for the first two months of the season, but Rodriguez has raised his AVG .49 points in his last ten games. That speaks to a couple of things: One, small sample size (125 at-bats) and two, an incredible hot streak that is BABIP aided. His BABIP is now at a lofty .400 with a line drive rate of 16.5 percent. He still strikes out too much to maintain a high AVG over 400 at-bats.
Reid Brignac – Decent option when he gets playing time, but .393 BABIP is aiding .303 AVG.
Jeff Keppinger – Nothing more than a source of decent AVG in deeper leagues.
Alberto Callaspo – Power surge seems to have affected his swing (13.5 percent line drive rate). He’ll need to correct that before finding mixed league value again.
Brian Roberts – Still having setbacks during recovery from herniated disk in his back.