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

 
  1. Tony says:
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    Prediction: Uggla falls back to the 6th round where he shoulda went this year but got overhyped because of his 2010….

    2B has alot of potential, but no guys that really jump out, if you want a guy to hit for good avg you better grab CANO or Pedroia… bc everyone else is a frikkin crap shoot and could hit .300 or could hit .220….

  2. royce! says:
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    re: Francona’s burn from last thread–

    Joe Buck said that the last team to win four consecutive postseason games by one run was the 1914 Red Sox. Without missing a beat, Francona asked if Wakefield was on the team.

  3. Mark says:
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    I actually think that although perhaps it was technically shallow in that there were very few high end options, its a bit misleading to just look at it that way. The thing about 2B this year was that there was so little spread from top to bottom. There were almost no flawless players (probably just Pedroia) and there were tons of guys who gave you useful low end production that were plucked off the wire a few months in (Espinosa, J. Weeks, Ackley, Murphy). It was a very difficult position to really screw up, unless you drafted too high on a guy like Utley or Uggla or took Hill or Kelly Johnson in the 8th round expecting 30 HR or something. My strategy in most leagues was pretty much wait to see who fell the far enough for comfort out of the mid and lower tier draft guys like Zobrist, Hill, Beckham, Walker, Johnson etc., and even when I wound up with a guy like Beckham who was completely useless, I found someone on the wire who gave me the kind of production I was expecting after waiting that long to draft a 2B anyway (although I will admit, in my main league, I drafted Kinsler, but that was partly just the way the draft went and partly because I knew there would be some extra emphasis on positional scarcity and I didn’t necessarily want to wait on both 2B and MI).

  4. Racehorse says:
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    Grey,

    I was going to frame a question in what I thought would’ve been funny & witty (and clean), but what the heck, I’m pressed for time… so…

    In yahoo leagues, Prado will lose second base eligibilty opening day 2012. Is he now useless?

  5. chata says:
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    cliff lee decides he wants to play in a world series .
    how’s that decision looking now , cliff ?

    if philly doesn’t make a move for prince fielder
    and get young real quick (rollins , oswalt , utley) ,
    even with pence , you might be playing in front of angry
    philly fans for the duration of your contract .

  6. chata says:
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    after getting 2 fastballs blown by him ,
    cabrera shows that good hitters can hit the pitch that’s off the plate .

    lewis would have been better off trying to repeat that 2nd fastball
    down the middle .

    easy to say , now .
    but you could just see it playing itself out like it did .

  7. Mark says:
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    @grey

    Right, but my point was for every guy who was drafted and had major issues, there was someone undrafted in standard leagues who gave you what you were reasonably expecting anyway. I just used Beckham because he was the most useless out of that group, but you could have drafted him and picked up Ackley, or you could have drafted figgins and picked up weeks, or Kelly Johnson and picked up Ryan Roberts, or hill and Espinosa, polanco and Murphy, etc. Even though average production from the position was fairly modest, replacement level was relatively high. In deeper leagues (16+ teamers or AL/NL onlies) it was a bit different, but it’s still imprudent to judge a position by average production without looking at the deviation from average on both ends. If top production is low and bottom production high, it’s misleading to call the position shallow. Compare it to 3B where you had some truly elite performances at the top (Bautista, Young, Ramirez) and nothing at the bottom (waiver guys were like Danny Valencia and Brent Morel) on top of which you had some major early round injuries and all out busts that meant any decent replacement player was gone quickly anyway. THAT is a shallow position.

  8. zombie says:
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    Solo plays/ed goalie for the USA soccer squad. Tough to tell in an unflattering soccer uni. But she’s showing what’s underneath now. Just one night of roidrage with her… Your tape would do just fine, I guess.
    Sort of knew the Tex answer, just needed re-confirmation. Think the pathetic postseason may affect his draft status.
    & I think it’s “American Horror Story” on FX. Throwback Rosemary’s Baby business going on. Devil dressed like the gimp screwing Moms. Nuffsaid.
    & finally, folks took me to see Sonny & Cher back in the day. Went backstage and I’m pretty sure we shared an innocent hug. Hope that that didn’t affect her decision.

  9. re: cano: if a guy ends up with a slash line that almost exactly matches your preseason projection, in a sense he actually exceeded the projection, relative to everybody else, since offense was massively down across the majors this year. just a factor to keep in mind. you sort of imply this in your writeup but i thought it was worth explicitly talking about.

  10. izzy says:
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    Why no Ackley? I know he had a bad end to the season but I dont see how he gets left off over Barney. Am I missing something??

  11. Bazzrall says:
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    Hey Grey! Help me pick my 14 keepers out of these guys:
    Mike Napoli, Eric Hosmer, Danny Espinosa, Alex Rodriguez, Jed Lowrie, Mark Trumbo, Ryan Braun, Shane Victorino, Torii Hunter, Delmon Young, Dayan Viciedo, Mike Moustakas, Brandon Belt, Devin Mesoraco

    Dan Haren, James Shields, Daniel Hudson, Julio Teheran, Neftali Feliz, Jeremy Hellickson, Cliff Lee, Doug Fister, Shelby Miller

  12. chata says:
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    considering all the shizz coming out of mccarver’s mouth ,
    and all of the stuff that joe buck jr talks about and doesn’t know ,
    it doesn’t surprise me .

    they hire only the best (?) umps for these play-offs .
    mlb ought to mandate that they use the best announcers .

    here’s looking at you ===> gracie .

  13. chata says:
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    any fantasies of getting nelson cruz at a discount next year
    have all been shattered .

  14. Bazzrall says:
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    No Napoli?

  15. chata says:
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    avila … hitting 0.61 in the series .

    he hit .700 against me in h2h .

  16. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @chata: I’m headed there now… Rudy says the best BBQ is in gas stations…

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @chata: it’s on our conversation agenda.

    @royce!: ah, man, that’s too bad, that sounds like fun… Oh, well, next time.

  18. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: Skinny Love was the song name… I’m trusting Rudy with the BBQ and he’s telling me some Franklin place…

  19. chata says:
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    nice ‘turn’ by napoli ….. 3-6-3 .

  20. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: Baby Blues but you don’t go to LA for BBQ. Can think of a dozen or so types of food I’d eat before.

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