We already went over the top 20 catchers and the top 20 1st basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball. Today, it’s all about the top 20 2nd basemen. The 2nd basemen pool was shallow, and, for the first time in as long as I can remember, the 2nd basemen, shortstops and 3rd basemen were more or less of equal depth. For instance, Darwin Barney was ranked 20th for 2nd basemen and 19th for shortstops, and Daniel Murphy was ranked 15th for 2nd basemen and 16th for 3rd basemen. To recap, this final ranking for last year is from ESPN Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason. Anyway, here’s the top 20 2nd basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:
1. Dustin Pedroia – It didn’t hurt Pedroia that the Sawx were in the hunt for a playoff spot until the very end of September. Lot better than guys who are coasting through the last two weeks. Pedroia actually didn’t exceed expectations by as much as his stats would seem. What he did was get more PAs than were on the last Michael Bay film. When a player exceeds 700 plate appearances, he’s bound to put up some good stats, unless his name is Nick Markakis. Preseason Rank #4, 2011 Projections: 105/15/65/.290/15, Final Numbers: 102/21/91/.307/26
2. Robinson Cano – The curious case of Robinson Cano. In the preseason, I said he was overrated, yet I gave him projections pretty close to where he ended up. So was I right and he was overrated? I’m gonna say no. He wasn’t quite the 1st round pick that some people were making him, but considering how terrible most high picks did and how shallow 2nd base is, Cano provided stability and stats. Preseason Rank #1, 2011 Projections: 100/27/100/.310/3, Final Numbers: 104/28/118/.302/8
3. Ian Kinsler – In the preseason, I ranked Kinsler above where most ‘perts had him. I wanted to believe he could stay healthy one of these years. Bingo bango! Preseason Rank #2, 2011 Projections: 85/22/60/.270/17, Final Numbers: 121/32/77/.255/30
4. Michael Young – Went over him in the top 20 1st basemen for 2011 post.
5. Brandon Phillips – He seems like he’s always planking on a 18/14 season give or take a few homers and steals. His average was high for him this year. That was partly due to his line drive rate being up, partly due to his luck. Maybe The Ghost of a Racist Marge Schott was trying to make amends by helping some of his seeing-eye hits get through. Preseason Rank #3, 2011 Projections: 85/20/70/.270/17, Final Numbers: 94/18/82/.300/14
6. Ben Zobrist – He had three big months (April, July and September) and three terrible months. Like off the charts bad (June: zero homers and 2 steals; August: 1 homer, .250; May: 2 homers, 0 steals, .232 and only 5 RBIs in 99 ABs; that’s e to the gregious). I never feel confident enough to draft Zobrist because he still seems like an overachieving utility man to me, but as Zobrist would say, “Don’t call me a utility man and don’t call Creed Christian rock.” Preseason Rank #8, 2011 Projections: 70/15/70/.260/15, Final Numbers: 99/20/91/.269/19
7. Howie Kendrick – Went over him in the top 20 1st basemen for 2011 post.
8. Michael Cuddyer – Went over him in the top 20 1st basemen for 2011 post.
9. Ryan Roberts – First time in a long time that I can remember the first out of nowhere name being this low on a year end list of 2nd basemen. Usually someone will sneak into the top 5 for a shallow position. Last year, Kelly Johnson and Casey McGehee exceeded expectations. The year before Zobrist and Aaron Hill emerged. I’m not sure what this means, but I think it means something. Razzball: Where We Raise Questions We Can’t Answer! Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 86/19/65/.249/18
10. Dan Uggla – When I explained in the preseason why I had Uggla a bit lower than some other ‘perts, here’s what I said, “The reason why he’s ranked below some of the guys above but his projections look as good if not better is because A) Kinsler has the biggest upside. B) Phillips and Pedroia are safer. C) Uggla has the biggest downside in one category, i.e. he could hit .240.” And that’s me quoting me! In the end, he didn’t quite get to .240. Yup. Preseason Rank #5, 2011 Projections: 90/32/100/.265/5, Final Numbers: 88/36/82/.233/1
11. Neil Walker – Couple of things come to mind when I see how close my preseason projections were to the final numbers for Neil Walker. A) I ranked him lower than he ended up, which means 2nd base was even shallower than I thought it would be. B) His numbers were terrible and he still ranked this high, which is more just a continuation of the first point. C) There’s no C. Preseason Rank #15, 2011 Projections: 65/15/75/.260/7, Final Numbers: 76/12/83/.273/9
12. Rickie Weeks – In the preseason, I called Rickie Weeks overrated because of his injury risk. As I said then and will say again, it was the easiest call of the preseason. Preseason Rank #6, 2011 Projections: 85/18/65/.250/14, Final Numbers: 77/20/49/.269/9
13. Danny Espinosa – I pushed Espinosa pretty hard in the preseason because, as always, I ignore average and get all pumped up on power and speed. He succeeded and failed where I thought he would. Preseason Rank #21, 2011 Projections: 60/15/70/.245/17, Final Numbers: 72/21/66/.236/17
14. Jemile Weeks – Will probably be overdrafted next year. I say this because he hasn’t shown any power, he plays in a terrible park with a terrible team and his walk rate (in the majors, at least) was pretty bleh. With all that said (here comes opposite talk!), he had a great season for a midseason call-up. He gave you what you were hoping to get from Chone Figgins (Member him? No, I don’t either.). Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 50/2/36/.303/22
15. Daniel Murphy – How kiddie pool shallow were the 2nd basemen? Murphy ranked this high and he played his last game on August 7th. Three ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 2nd basemen! Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 49/6/49/.320/5
16. Kelly Johnson – He seems to alternate years with a hard-to-digest average. (In 2009, it was .224.) This coincides with a poor BABIP. This year’s BABIP wasn’t as bad as 2009, but his K-rate was terrible, which helped attribute to the poor average. He should be able to bounce back next year, but that’s far from a lock. Preseason Rank #13, 2011 Projections: 80/17/.260/60/12, Final Numbers: 75/21/58/.222/16
17. Aaron Hill – Fitting that Hill and Johnson would be tied together in the year-end rankings, since they were swapped mid-year and had very similar seasons in the general sense. In the specific, their seasons were totally different. Hill looked to be an average issue hitter that could at least give you power. Not this year. His power completely evaporated. Oddly enough, he doubled his line drive rate from 2010 and lowered his K-rate. In short (which I only say after going long), Hill’s season made no sense. Seriously, I can’t make heads or tails of it. Yes, even in hindsight it’s not 20/20. It will take some brass ones to go all in on Hill again next year, but I’m leaning that way right now. Preseason Rank #7, 2011 Projections: 80/25/85/.275/5, Final Numbers: 61/8/61/.246/21
18. Martin Prado – During the preseason, I ranked him extremely low at 17th overall for 2nd basemen. This was such blasphemy, Matthew Berry called me out during one of his chats to say I was stoopid (sic). Turned out I didn’t rank him low enough, with rank being the key word. Preseason Rank #17, 2011 Projections: 85/12/60/.300/5, Final Numbers: 66/13/57/.260/4
19. Chase Utley – Sadly, the Utley we fell in love with in 2005 is no longer with us. This new version is brittle like his pomade after it dries. On a side note, with the loss of Howard for most if not all of 2012 and Utley’s deteriorating health, the Phils got weak fast. Preseason Rank #4, 2011 Projections: 50/14/55/.280/5, Final Numbers: 54/11/44/.259/14
20. Darwin Barney – I didn’t rank him in the preseason and he shouldn’t even be ranked now. The Purple Evolutionist’s final numbers show a guy that was helpful for a couple weeks here and there, but if you owned him all year, you lost your league. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 66/2/43/.276/9