FLB Updated 2B Rankings ’08

*2B
1. Chase Utley, PHI
Utley has been the hottest hitter in baseball in 2008, hands down. He looks like a runaway MVP candidate and his fantasy owners have to be patting themselves on the backs for stealing him in the mid-late 1st round. 2B is easily the shallowest position in the game which makes Utley that much more valuable. He does it all; hits for some major power, hits for a high average, knocks in runs, steals bases, etc.. Considering how hard it is to find a productive 2B, one could actually make the case that Utley is the most valuable player in fantasy and should’ve gone #1 overall in most drafts. Barring injuries or any unforeseen circumstances, I really don’t think he’s going to slow down very much between now and the post season. I’m sure those of you who own Utley could MacGyver a king’s ransom in players if you wanted to trade him but it would be awfully hard to say goodbye to the best player in the game (at the moment) who just happens to play at the weakest position in fantasy. 
AP: .328/34/111/10
2. Brandon Phillips, CIN
Phillips has quickly become one of my favorite players in fantasy. He’s a five category contributer and was amazingly one of the only 30/30 players in the game last year. Needless to say, 30/30 players are extremely hard to come by. Due to his limited track record, there were concerns as to whether he would be able to maintain the torrid pace that he set last season. So far, he’s well on his way. If Utley wasn’t playing so unbelievably well right now, the case could be made that Phillips is actually more valuable. As good as Utley is, he probably won’t approach 30/30 this year or any other. Phillips very well could. He won’t hit for as high of an average and probably won’t drive in as many runs, but is top-notch when it comes to everything else. You really can’t go wrong with Phillips, especially while hitting in a bandbox like the Great American Ballpark. 
AP: .285/28/93/29
3. BJ Upton, TB
This is the last season that BJ Upton will have 2B eligibility so enjoy it while it lasts. When it comes to fantasy, Upton is much more in the mold of Brandon Phillips than he is Chase Utley. He has speed, can hit for decent average and has a fair amount of pop in his bat. Some scouts fear his batting average will ultimately drop due to his free-swinging ways. However, is K/BB ratio is looking a lot better this season and he may actually be becoming a more disciplined hitter. Early in the season the powers numbers haven’t been where you’d like to see them but he should start picking it up on that end as well. 
AP: .288/24/88/25
4. Ian Kinsler, TEX
The case can be made for either Roberts or Uggla in this spot but I’m obviously going with Kinsler here. He has a nice power/speed combo as is still developing and hasn’t reached his peak in production yet. Last season he was a 20/20 guy (which is pretty much the next best thing if you can’t land a 30/30 guy like Phillips) and has the potential to be even better. Within the next couple years he very well plateau at 30/30 and stay there for years. On top of that, he’s been hitting near the top of the Rangers’ order this season and is scoring a ton of runs. He also drives in his fair share of RBIs and has the ability to hit around .300 as well. The risk here is young players tend to get hot and cold so it’s likely that he will see a few slumps here and there but nothing major, barring injuries of course. He’s seems to be running a lot more this season and could end up with upwards of 30 SBs if he’s keeps running at the rate he’s set for himself. 
AP: .293/22/75/32
5. Brian Roberts, BAL
The reason Roberts falls to #5 is not any real fault of his own. Now that Kinsler is coming into his own, he should be seen as the more valuable of the two because of the power potential. Roberts swiped 50 bags last year (
which is nothing to scoff at) but he generally steals 25-35 per season, making last year’s total somewhat of an aberration. However, he’s really turned on the jets this season and already has double digit steals as I write this right now. At this rate, he could realistically approach 50 stolen bases again but he’ll have to get a few breaks here and there. For example, he recently hurt his foot and was removed from the game. If something like that were to linger, it would surely cut down on his SB numbers. My projections on him are optimistic but just keep in mind how easily that can change. 
AP: .278/15/59/40
6. Dan Uggla, FLA
Dan Uggla is like the late great Rodney Dangerfield in at least one regard…he just can’t seem to get any respect. In his few seasons in the league, he’s proven that he can hit for some serious power. You’d think the prospect of a 25-30 HR 2B would have fantasy owners foaming at the mouth. As I write this, Uggla just blasted two more over the fence to bring his current HR total to 11 HRs. We’re about a month into the season and Uggla’s already in double digits. He’s only 2 HRs behind the #1 2B, Chase Utley for crying out loud. So how is it that he falls all the way to #6? To be perfectly honest, I’m not really sure why he’s not ranked higher in more people’s eyes. It probably has something to do with last year’s low batting and the fact that he’s good for about 2 stolen bases per year…or at least it does for me. Unless we’re talking about 30-40 HRs (which I don’t think we are in this case, though he’s been on a HR rampage, 40 may be out of reach), most owners would rather get speed out of their middle infield positions. If you’ve got Uggla manning 2B, you’ll have to find speed elsewhere to balance it out. It all comes down to whether Uggla takes that next step. Adding 10 more HRs to his annual total and hitting closer to .300 would go a long way in earning him more respect in the eyes of the fantasy world. Hell, if he hits around .280 and puts 40 HRs over the fence this year, he’ll easily be the #3 2B next year and could be ranked as high as #2 on some lists (especially if Phillips doesn’t match last year’s numbers). 
AP: .274/33/98
7. Howie Kendrick, LAA
When Kendrick isn’t hurt, he’s actually one of the better 2Bs in the game today. Batting average is his strongest suite but he is starting to develop double-digit power as well. It would be nice if he’d steal more bases (and that may come in time) but as of now he’s more of a run scorer than anything. I see him as a very similar player to Robinson Cano. He may not hit as many HRs but will steal a few more bases and will hit for a higher average. The only question is playing time. Kendrick manages to hurt himself every year and is already on the DL as I write this entry. 
AP: .324/9/51/10
8. Robinson Cano, NYY
Cano has been a terrible mess to start the season, hitting under .200 for a good part of hit. As I write this today, he’s barely above .200 (.207) but is start to hit the ball better. Unless he hits a few hot streaks, he likely won’t see a .300 average this year. With that said, I still think he can rebound enough to put him in the top ten in terms of production. A lot of owners don’t like him because he doesn’t steal bases but he will get his fair share of RBIs hitting in such a lethal lineup (even it is slotted towards the bottom). This projection is a bit conservative but should be pretty close barring unforeseen circumstances. 
AP: .274/16/65/4 
9. Rickie Weeks, MIL
If it wasn’t for batting average, Weeks would be a full-fledged fantasy star at 2B. He’s scored 31 times and is on par to hit 20 HRs and steal 20 bases. That’s pretty much what scouts have been expecting from him for years now. So how bad is the batting average? It’s downright awful, .187. To be fair, his batting average really suffered last year due to a wrist injury that plagued him all year. That could’ve carried over into this season but he claims that’s not the case. Hopefully, for his sake he’ll start making a little more contact here and there or else Brewers’ management may be tempted to send him down to the minors so he can regain his eye for the ball. Considering how productive he’s been elsewhere, I don’t see that happening anytime soon but if he’s still hovering around .200 by the all-star break, something may have to be done. 
AP: .226/18/64/21
10. Dustin Pedroia, BOS
Admittedly, I’m not the biggest Dustin Pedroia fan outside of Red Sox nation so I may not have him ranked as high as others. Nonetheless, he still made the top 10 and is basically the anti-Rickie Weeks. As opposed to Weeks, he hits for a high average but doesn’t do much else. He’s not a power guy, doesn’t drive in runs but does score a lot and is starting to steal more bases. Last year he stole 7 total but is already at 4 after a month and a half into the season. If he keeps running at this pace he should finish the season with double-digit steals. RBIs might be on the upswing as well. He topped out at 50 in his rookie season last year but is at 21 already. He’ll get plenty of chances hitting in the stacked BoSox lineup so I expect him to finish the season quite nicely in that regard. 
AP: .293/7/72/12
11. Placido Polanco, DET
AP: .292/8/57/10
12. Kelly Johnson, ATL
AP: .276/14/75/11
13. Kazuo Matsui, HOU
AP: .277/4/51/26
14. Aaron Hill, TOR
AP: .269/12/71/9
15. Mark DeRosa, CHC
AP: .272/14/70
16. Jose Lopez, SEA
AP: .296/12/65/7
17. Jeff Kent, LAD
AP: .268/16/75
17. Orlando Hudson, ARZ
AP: .280/9/61/9
19. Mark Ellis, OAK
AP: .250/10/62
20. Luis Castillo, NYM
AP: .256/2/44/23
21. Freddy Sanchez, PIT
AP: .267/6/57
22. Tadahito Iguchi, SD
AP: .273/5/51/16
23. Eugenio Velez, SF
AP: .228/2/41/28
24. Felipe Lopez, WAS
AP: .269/7/43/16
25. Akinori Iwamura, TB
AP: .270/8/49/8
26. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
AP: .239/8/47/7
27. Brendan Harris, MIN
AP: .254/7/32/6
28. Ronnie Belliard, WAS
AP: .224/8/37
29. Omar Quintanilla, COL
AP: .276/4/30
30. Augie Ojeda, ARZ
AP: .302/3/28
Just Missed
-Mark Grudzielanek, KC
-Juan Uribe, CWS
-Adam Kennedy, STL
-Mike Fontenot, CHC