1. Brandon Phillips
Not since Soriano have we seen this power and speed combo from 2nd. For the price you probably paid for Phillips, this guy single-handedly won leagues or, at the least, kept owners right in the mix. I know in one of my leagues the owner who had Phillips easily finished five places above where he should have. Then again, he should have finished last, so it’s a small consolation. Imagine if the Indians hadn’t given up on him — Asdrubal who?
2. Chase Utley
And he missed a month. Chances are you picked up someone who was able to add to the above stats. For instance, I picked up Iguchi when the Phillies traded for him, so I had .305/18/3/10/5 for 29 games. Respectable numbers to add to Utley’s final totals. For where you had to draft Utely, he didn’t disappoint. What I really like about Utely is his intensity. You never see him dog it up the first base line. If you’re thinking that doesn’t show up in the final stat line, you’re mistaken. Okay, praises sung…
3. Brian Roberts
You’re looking at a career year in steals, a total aberration for runs, and a bit low on the home run front. Looking closer: how can a guy steal fifty bases, bat lead-off and barely crack 100 runs? Pretty tough luck there. I usually stay away from Roberts because he’s a total roll of the die. One year he steals like crazy, one year he cracks a bunch of homers, another year he’s a force in average, another year he breaks his arm in seventeen places. If you gambled on him giving you steals this year, you did well.
4. BJ Upton
Another difference maker. Chances are you drafted (or picked off waivers) Upton at a extremely low price. Also, with his injury, you probably had someone else culling stats at his position while he was on your DL. So his position’s numbers should be even better. I don’t fully trust him for next year, but we’ll save that for a future blog.
5. Robinson Cano
I have to admit. His year surprised me. I thought he might be lying in the dumpster by the All-Star Break because Yankee fans would be so disappointed with him. But Torre stuck with him through the first half swoon, and he turned it around. But the real question is, did you stick with him? I don’t think I would have, probably would have traded him for thirty cents on the dollar.
6. Placido Polanco
Everyone know what being yawnstipated is? It’s when you have to yawn, but can’t. Basically, you’re constipated with your yawning. Polanco yawnstipates me. You want to yawn at his numbers, but he manages to do just enough so you can’t yawn. The .341 is the main reason for the yawnstipation. Usually a high average and not much else is a very good yawnstipater.
7. Dan Uggla
How does a 2nd basemen that hits 31 homers end up so low on the list? Batting .245 will do it. This is the first guy on the list that was actually a negative in any category. I don’t like negatives in a category. That low of an average can be really difficult to correct with other hitters. Uggla’s other numbers are buoyant; his average is an anchor. Anchors stop fun.
8. Ian Kinsler
I liked Kinsler in the beginning of the year. Know what? I still like him. He struggled mightily for about two months after a torrid start, then he was hurt for over a month. If you substituted in someone for when he was struggling and when he was on the DL, you had a tremendous two months from him. He was easily top 3 at 2nd base when he was playing good.
9. Jeff Kent
Again, if you took him out when he was hurt or playing hurt, Kent had a decent enough year. I like his numbers in retrospect more than Uggla. (Don’t like negatives in a category.) You didn’t get anything more than you should expect from him at this stage in his career, but you didn’t get less from him either, which helps.
10. Aaron Hill
And I like his numbers better than Uggla’s, as well. (Still don’t like negatives in a category. You heard that already? Yeah, you probably did.) Across the board, Hill gave you a little bit of everything. He didn’t win any leagues, but, what’s just as important, he didn’t lose any leagues either.
Some other guys that didn’t make the list, but I actually wouldn’t have minded on my team last year: Kelly Johnson, Freddy, Pedroia, Wigginton, the Kaz. Then for extended periods of times, Orlando Hudson, Weeks, DeRosa and Brendan Harris definitely helped teams. None of these guys hurt your team to the point you couldn’t capture a title. Going into the season last year, lots of experts were saying that 2nd base might be the weakest position ever. Turned out to be a lot of hot air. Not only was 2nd base not all that weak, but you found some very good value in later rounds.