Tag Archives: Aaron Hill

Who are the Faces of their Franchise? AL East Edition


The recent signing of Eric Chavez by the Yankees and trade request by Michael Young got me thinking: which players are truly the face of their franchise right now?

Generally, this is most likely someone who is among the highest paid players on the team, and usually one of the best players on the team as well. It generally seems to be a position player, but some teams may have a pitcher as the face of the team. And of course, there’s always the possibility that a team simply doesn’t have one player who stands out from the rest. With that, here’s my thoughts on each franchise:

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Season Previews in Review: American League East


Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I’ll be going a division at a time, starting with the American League East.

Baltimore Orioles

Predicted Record: 70-92            Actual Record: 66-96

It was a tale of two seasons for the Orioles, as they spent the first half of the season clearly as the worst team in all of baseball. Nothing seemed to go right for the team, and it ended up costing manager Dave Trembley his job before too long. This left interim skipper Juan Samuel to try and right the ship, while the Orioles also continued to look for his (and Trembley’s) replacement. By the August 31st trade deadline, the team had managed to ship just one of its movable pieces for prospects with Miguel Tejada being traded to the Padres. But they had also hired Buck Showalter to manage the team, and the team has already seen a drastic improvement. This record would have actually been much further off if not for the late-season turnaround.

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Original Draft Series: #4 – Toronto Blue Jays


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #4: Toronto Blue Jays

General Managers(since 1994)

Pat Gillick (1994): 55-64
Gord Ash (1995-2001): 541-575
J.P. Ricciardi (2002-2009): 642-653
Current GM: Alex Anthopoulos

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Last
0 0 0 0 1 9 3 3

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C J.P. Arencibia 2007 – 1st Rd (21) 3 6 gm, .217/.217/.522, 2 HR, 4 RBI Currently with Org.
1B Casey Blake 1996 – 7th Rd 3 14 gm, .256/.293/.385, HR, RBI Selected off waivers by IN – 5/23/00
2B Orlando Hudson
1997 – 43rd Rd 8 1 Gold Glove
462 gm, .270/.328/.418, 35 HR, 201 RBI, 19 SB
Traded to ARI – 12/27/05
3B Michael Young 1997 – 5th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to TEX – 7/19/00
SS Felipe Lopez 1998 – 1st Rd (8) 4 134 gm, .240/.293/.399, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 9 SB Traded to CIN – 12/15/02
LF Reed Johnson 1999 – 17th Rd 8 610 gm, .281/.342/.410, 42 HR, 234 RBI, 28 SB Released – 3/23/08
CF Vernon Wells 1997 – 1st Rd (5) 13 3 All Star Appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, 1 Silver Slugger
1367 gm, .279/.328/.472, 215 HR, 794 RBI, 89 SB
Currently with Org.
RF Alex Rios
1999 – 1st Rd (19) 10 2 All Star Appearances
809 gm, .285/.335/.451, 81 HR, 395 RBI, 112 SB
Selected off waivers by CHW – 8/10/09
DH Adam Lind 2004 – 3rd Rd 6 1 Silver Slugger
475 gm, .271/.323/.470, 76 HR, 270 RBI
Currently with Org.
SP Shaun Marcum 2003 – 3rd Rd 7 35-24, 3.83 ERA, 559.2 IP, 451 K, 178 BB Currently with Org.
SP Roy Halladay
1995 – 1st Rd (17) 14 2003 AL Cy Young Award, 6 All Star Appearances
148-76, 3.43 ERA, 2046.2 IP, 1495 K, 455 BB
Traded to PHI – 12/16/09
SP Ricky Romero 2005 – 1st Rd (6) 5 24-17, 3.95 ERA, 358 IP, 294 K, 148 BB Currently with Org.
SP Brett Cecil
2007 – 1st Rd (38) 3 18-11, 4.35 ERA, 240 IP, 105 K, 45 BB Currently with Org.
SP Chris Carpenter
1993 – 1st Rd (15) 9 49-50, 4.83 ERA, 870.2 IP, 612 K, 331 BB Released – 10/9/02
RP Brandon League 2001 – 2nd Rd 8 7-10, 4.09 ERA, 202.1 IP, 154 K, 73 BB Traded to SEA – 12/23/09
RP Mark Hendrickson 1997 – 20th Rd 6 12-9, 4.94 ERA, 195 IP, 97 K, 52 BB Traded to TAM – 12/14/03
RP Alfredo Aceves Int’l FA – 2001 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Purchased by Mex. League – 4/24/02
RP Casey Janssen 2004 – 4th Rd 6 14-19, 4.12 ERA, 268.2 IP, 163 K, 70 BB Currently with Org.
RP Kelvim Escobar Int’l FA – 1992 11 58-55, 4.58 ERA, 58 SV, 849 IP, 744 K, 394 BB Left via Free Agency – 10/26/03
CL Brandon Lyon 1999 – 14th Rd 3 6-8, 5.40 ERA, 125 IP, 65 K, 34 BB Selected off waivers – 10/9/02
BN Cesar Izturis
Int’l FA – 1996 5 46 gm, .269/.279/.388, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 8 SB Traded to LA – 12/13/01
BN Aaron Hill 2003 – 1st Rd (13) 7 1 All Star Appearance, 1 Silver Slugger
748 gm, .273/.328/.429, 85 HR, 350 RBI, 22 SB,
Currently with Org.
BN Travis Snider 2006 – 1st Rd (14) 4 161 gm, .248/.318/.434, 20 HR, 66 RBI, 6 SB Currently with Org.
BN Gabe Gross 2001 – 1st Rd (15) 4 84 gm, .226/.316/.326, 4 HR, 23 RBI Traded to MIL – 12/7/05
BN Kevin Cash
Amateur FA – 1999 5 101 gm, .173/.222/.262, 5 HR, 29 RBI Traded to TAM – 12/12/04

June Amateur Draft

The Blue Jays have done better than just about any team with finding and maintaining first round talent. Last year’s rotation featured 3 first round picks (Halladay, Romero, and Cecil), and this season’s lineup features 3 starters from the first round as well (Hill, Snider, Wells). The only position where they are particularly weak is catcher, simply because J.P. Arencibia has not been called up to stay and start yet for the Jays. The key with the Blue Jays has to be their ability to develop pitching, as shown by Marcum, Halladay, Romero, and Cecil. There were even more pitchers who have been at least serviceable in the Majors who were not included because I simply ran out of room. Clearly, not all the moves have been winners (Carpenter, Lyon, Rios), but the team has done extremely well all the same.

International Free Agency

The Blue Jays have not done a whole lot in the international markets, instead choosing to spend their money on draft picks. That said, there really isn’t a lot to like in terms of international free agents here. Kelvim Escobar is really the only player who has become any kind of success in the Majors, with Aceves limited to middle relief only.

Overall Grade

A. The Blue Jays have done poorly in the international markets, but with the amount of talent they have been getting out of the draft, it wasn’t really necessary to have. They’ve established themselves as one of the premier teams when it comes to identifying and developing pitching talent, but don’t get near enough credit for it. In addition, they have also managed to develop Major league starters at nearly every position on the diamond, with some solid players left in reserve as well. They are clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the teams to this point.

The Week in Review – April 12-April 18


It’s been a pretty busy week, what with a 20 inning game, a no-hitter, and some really excellent performances.

If the Playoffs Started Today (Which Clearly, They Don’t)

Tampa Bay (WC) vs. Minnesota (C)
Oakland (W) vs. New York (E)

St. Louis (C) vs. Philadelphia (E)
Florida (WC) vs. San Francisco (W)

Last Week’s Top Performers

Shin-Soo Choo (CLE) – .579/.680/1.211, 3 HR, 11 RBI, SB, 5 R
Jose Guillen (KC) – .462/.500/.885, 3 HR, 5 RBI, SB, 7 R
Brett Gardner (NYY) – .385/.529/.385, 5 R, RBI, 4 SB
Denard Span (MIN) – .381/.552/.524, 8 R, 3 RBI, 3 SB
Ty Wigginton (BAL) – .348/.385/.913, 6 R, 4 HR, 10 RBI
Derek Jeter (NYY) – .500/.500/.955, 5 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI
Ivan Rodriguez (WAS) – .476/.500/.714, 7 R, 7 RBI, SB
Dan Uggla (FLA) – .464/.484/.821, 7 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI
Chase Utley (PHI) – .333/.481/1.048, 8 R, 5 HR, 8 RBI
Matt Kemp (LAD) – .333/.414/.875, 8 R, 4 HR, 8 RBI, SB
Andre Ethier (LAD) – ..423/.464/.769, 4 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI

Adam Wainwright (STL) – 17 IP, 1.06 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 2 W, 16 K
Matt Garza (TAM) – 16 IP, 0.56 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 2 W, 10 K
Ricky Romero (TOR) – 16 IP, 1.69 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, W, 18 K
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – 12 1/3 IP, 2.19 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, W, 16 K
Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 9 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, W, 7 K (no-hitter)
Felipe Lopez (STL) – 1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP

Roster Movement and Job Changes

The biggest changes involved all the disabled list movement:

  • Chris Getz of the Royals was placed on the disabled list, and Alex Gordon was activated to take his spot on the roster.
  • Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies was placed on the disabled list, with Juan Castro replacing him in the lineup. Rollins should be out a few weeks.
  • Esmailin Caridad of the Cubs was placed on the disabled list
  • Aaron Rowand of the Giants was placed on the disabled list.
  • Brian Roberts and Felix Pie of the Orioles were both placed on the disabled list. It sounds like Roberts may be out for an extended period of time.
  • Kelly Shoppach of the Rays.
  • Aaron Hill of the Blue Jays
  • Brian Fuentes of the Angels was placed on the disabled list, and Fernando Rodney immediately filled the closer’s role for him.

Also of some note last week was that 2nd year pitcher Brett Anderson signed a contract extension that could take him through the next 6 seasons. Risk on both sides, but I think that the A’s have probably locked up an ace for these next 6 seasons at minimal cost.

Top Rookie Performers

Jason Heyward continues to be the story, as he is now hitting .302/.423/.581 with 3 HR and 15 RBI in just the first two weeks of the season. He finished up last week with a 3-rbi day yesterday, including a walk-off 2 run single. At this rate, I would be shocked if anyone was able to keep up with him for the Rookie of the Year. Jamie Garcia of the Cardinals had a good outing as well, throwing 7 shutout innings during Saturday’s 20 inning matchup.

In the American League, Austin Jackson of the Tigers has gotten off to a hot start, hitting .340/.389/.500 with 9 runs and 5 rbi. Of some concern is the fact that he has struck out 15 times to only 4 walks so far, but he is producing well at the top of the lineup to this point.

Top Stories and This Week’s Links

  • The biggest story of the week was the first no-hitter of the season, thrown by Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies on Saturday. He did this in spite of walking 6 batters throughout the game. And apparently on Sunday he went for a 6 mile jog to help clear his mind for his next start.
  • The Cardinals and Mets put on a clinic in poor lineup and bench management on Saturday. Their game went 20 innings, during which time the Mets ran out of players, warmed up their closer nearly every inning from the 8th onward, and had the starter from 2 days’ prior come on to get the save. However, the Cardinals won the award for the worst performance, as they ran out of pitchers after the 17th inning. So come the top of the 18th inning, 3B Felipe Lopez was called on to pitch, and managed to get through the inning without allowing a run. So in the 19th, they moved Lopez back to 3B and put the new 3B Joe Mather in for the next 2 innings, where he gave up 2 runs and ended up taking the loss.
  • Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports has a really good article about what a simulated game is. It’s a really interesting read for anyone who has heard the term but wasn’t sure what it meant exactly.
  • Vin Scully marked his 60th year with the Dodgers. He is retiring at the end of this season, and even though I’m not a Dodger fan, it is truly remarkable that Scully has continued to work with the Dodgers for all these years.

    Statistical Analysis: FB/GB/LD Rates


    Looking at the end results of an at bat can be misleading sometimes. Not all singles are created equally. This is where batted ball data can come into play.

    FB (Fly Ball) Rate: The percentage of batted balls which are considered flyballs. To me, this is judged as any ball that a fielder can take time and get undet to make a play on.

    GB (Ground Ball) Rate: The percentage of batted balls considered ground balls. This one is pretty self-explanatory, as it is any batted ball which hits the ground prior to having the opportunity for a fielder to make a play. It also must hit the ground in the infield.

    LD (Line Drive) Rate: The percentage of batted balls considered to be line drives. These are generally the most solidly hit balls, and have a much better chance of resulting in a positive outcome for the hitter.

    What can these ratios tell us?

    Generally, the higher a player’s LD ratio is, the more likely they are to have success as a hitter. Since line drives are generally the best hit balls, they are more likely to lead to success.

    Home run hitters tend to have higher LD and FB rates,and speedy hitters tend to be more successful if they have higher GB rates, as this tends to allow them to use their speed to their advantage. Let’s look at some examples:

    Aaron Hill hit 36 HR in 2009, easily doubling his previous career high of 17, set in 2007.

    2007: .291, 17 HR, .459 SLG – 20.8% LD, 40.3% GB, 38.9% FB
    2009: .286, 36 HR, .499 SLG – 19.6% LD, 39.5% GB, 41% FB

    The key to notice with Hill is that his FB% went up by 2% from the 2007 season. While this is not a substantial enough jump to completely show the home run total as a fluke, it is something to watch with him as his previous full seasons he had not hit above 36% flyballs.

    Ben Zobrist had a breakout season in 2009, hitting 27 HR, also more than double his previous high of 12 in 2008 (albeit in reduced playing time).

    2009: .292, 27 HR, .543 SLG, 20% LD, 41.5% GB, 38.5% FB

    For Zobrist, it was his line drive % which tells us his story. In 2008, Zobrist had only 13.5% line drives, while he had been at around 20% or higher previously in his career. Since arriving in the Majors (albeit briefly) in 2006, he had been reducing his GB rate, and seeing improvement in both FB and LD as a result. By reducing his GB%, he was making more solid contact and seeing improved results as a by-product.

    How can we use this information?

    Realistically, this data is best used in conjunction with BABIP to help determine the likelihood a player will repeat the statistics they had in the previous season.

    What about using these stats for pitchers?

    Pitchers have, realistically, the opposite goal and can see what kind of success they are having based on how low their LD% is. Odds are that if hitters are not hitting line drives, they are not making good contact, and as a result are less likely to reach safely.

    Team Preview – Toronto Blue Jays


    Roster Makeup
    Lineup Pitching Staff
    Pos Name Role Name
    C John Buck SP 1 Ricky Romero
    1B Lyle Overbay SP 2 Brett Cecil
    2B Aaron Hill SP 3 Marc Rzepcynski
    3B Edwin Encarnacion SP 4 Shaun Marcum
    SS Alex Gonzalez SP 5 Brandon Morrow
    LF Travis Snider Bullpen
    CF Vernon Wells CL Jason Frasor
    RF Adam Lind RP Jeremy Accardo
    DH Randy Ruiz RP Jesse Carlson
    Bench RP Kevin Gregg
    OF Jeremy Reed RP Brian Tallet
    OF Jose Bautista RP David Purcey

    Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

    Off-Season Transactions
    Key Additions Key Losses
    Pos Name How Pos Name How
    SP Brandon Morrow Trade (SEA) SP Roy Halladay Trade (PHI)
    C John Buck Free Agency RP Brandon League Trade (SEA)
    RP Kevin Gregg Free Agency SS Marco Scutaro Free Agency

    Top Prospects: Brett Wallace (3B), Kyle Drabek (P), Zack Stewart (P)

    2009 Review

    The Blue Jays always seem to be not quite close enough to competing. They finished 2009 with a 75-87 campaign, which led to the firing of general manager J.P. Ricciardi after 8 seasons. Ricciardi and the Blue Jays spent most of the season listening to trade rumors surrounding SP Roy Halladay, which appeared to be a distraction overall. But the team definitely had some bright spots. 2B Aaron Hill lead the team with 36 HR, as he was healthy for the full season for the first time in a while. RF Adam Lind finally developed into a good middle-of-the-order hitter, powering 35 HR and a team-leading 114 RBI to go with a .305 batting average. SP Roy Halladay went 17-10 with a 2.79 era, leading a very young, but potentially very good pitching staff.

    Injuries played a major part in the Blue Jays season, with 2 starting pitchers missing the entire season (Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan). However, rookies Brett Cecil, Marc Rzepcynski, and Ricky Romero all came up and stepped right into the rotation. Perhaps the most unusual moment came in August when RF Alex Rios, placed on waivers like nearly everyone else on the roster (as is standard at the time of year), was claimed by the White Sox. The Blue Jays took that opportunity to rid themselves of a rather large contract, and got just the relief from Rios’ salary in return.

    Team Outlook for 2010

    The Blue Jays are always going to be a second-tier team in comparison to the Yankees and Red Sox, but they have done well to position themselves in terms of the future. The Halladay trade netted them an excellent pitching prospect in Kyle Drabek, a high-level 3B prospect in Brett Wallace, a solid catching prospect in Travis d’Arnaud, and also acquired another good young arm in Brandon Morrow in a separate trade. This is in addition to the already good young arms of Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero, Shaun Marcum, and Dustin McGowan. While the team no longer has a bona fide #1 starter in Halladay, they did well to get as good of a return as they did considering he was only under contract for 1 season and had a full no-trade clause.

    The Blue Jays should be helped with full seasons from OF Travis Snider, 3B Edwin Encarnacion, and SP Brett Cecil. However, they did lose a large amount of offense from SS Marco Scutaro and C Rod Barajas that wasn’t particularly replaced in the lineup. I think this is a team that will continue to develop this season, and unfortunately will not really be in the AL East race for very long. They simply don’t have enough offense from this lineup to compete with the top hitting teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Rangers), and don’t have enough top-tier pitching to compete with the top pitching teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners, Tigers).

    Fantasy Outlook for 2010

    2B Aaron Hill and RF Adam Lind are really the cream of this crop, as the Blue Jays have quite a few players who are better real-life players than fantasy players. I don’t expect Hill to repeat the home run total he had last season, but 2B is still very shallow and Hill is a definite starter in all leagues. Nearly all of their starting pitchers are high-risk, high-reward types due to the fact that they are all very young still. If I were to pick one out of the group, it would probably be Ricky Romero, as he’s shown the most success while with the big club to this point.

    Prediction for 2010

    The Blue Jays are in a semi-rebuilding mode at this point, as they have quite a few young players at the Major League level. I don’t believe that they will compete for the AL East crown this season, and could potentially see more movement if they can get a good return on players like Lyle Overbay, Jason Frasor, and Jeremy Accardo. But watch out for them in the coming seasons as they should improve under new general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

    77-85, 4th in the AL East

    Fantasy Preview – Second Basemen


    A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

    R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

    Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season.

    My top 15 Second Basemen for 2010

    1. Chase Utley – PHI
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    112 31 93 23 .282
    Utley is coming off another excellent season, contributing in all 5 categories. I can see his batting average improving slightly this season, probably to the .290 range he has been near for his career. In addition, he will most likely approach 100 RBI again. The stolen base total was a career high last year, so I could see some slight regression there, but you’re still looking at a hitter who is going to provide 30 homers, 100 rbi, 100 runs scored, 15-20 stolen bases, and a batting average approaching .300. All at a position that doesn’t have very many players who contribute in all those categories.

    2. Ian Kinsler – TEX
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    101 31 86 31 .253
    Kinsler is actually not very far behind Utley in my book. A 30-30 season last year, he set career highs in both categories. His batting average was unusually low, dragged down in part due to a low batting average on balls in play (.245). He should see some improvement to that number, as he regresses back toward the mean. Look for Kinsler to hit 25-30 HR, drive in 90+ runs, and steal 25+ bases again. The potential for Utley lite.

    3. Ben Zobrist – TAM
    Also qualifies at SS and OF
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    91 27 91 17 .297
    Zobrist was a player last year who won a lot of leagues for his owners. He was a huge surprise, posting career highs in nearly every category, all while splitting time between 2B, SS, and RF. I have to imagine that he’s going to see at least some regression, simply due to the league adjusting to him slightly. However, his BABIP last season (.330) is not out of the range of repeatable, and the fact that he remains eligible at all 3 positions make him a huge asset to any team. I wouldn’t draft him earlier than Utley or Kinsler, but that flexibility really moves him in front of other 2B in my opinion.

    4. Brandon Phillips – CIN
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    78 20 98 25 .276
    Phillips is another player who, year in and year out, performs well. While he seems less and less likely to post another 30-30 season, he has gone 20-20 in each of the last two seasons. Having Orlando Cabrera to potentially hit in front of him in the lineup should also help some of his other totals, specifically RBI. Very quietly, I think he’ll post another 20-20 season, and potentially break through with 100+ RBI as well. He doesn’t have the name recognition of Utley or Kinsler, but he’s still a very good 2B, especially for fantasy purposes.

    5. Brian Roberts – BAL
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    110 16 79 30 .283
    Roberts has always been known for providing stolen bases and runs to fantasy owners, along with a few homeruns and some rbi. Interestingly, Roberts posted his 3rd season with 50+ doubles last year. I think that this could potentially help his homerun total as well, but he’s probably not going to get to 20 or more in a season. But a 15 homer, 30 stolen base, 100+ run hitter who will probably drive in at least 55-60 runs and post a .280 batting average? That’s definitely in the realm of possibility again for Roberts. And at 2B, you’re not likely to find a whole lot of players that will do that either.

    6. Dan Uggla – FLA
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    84 31 90 2 .243
    Uggla is an excellent power hitter. He’s going to drive in a lot of runs as a result of this. However, he doesn’t provide any value in terms of speed, and is almost always going to be a drag on your batting average. If you can get him paired with a high-speed, high-average type player at a different position, you’ll end up with some excellent value. It seems to me like you’re going to have to draft him sooner than his actual value would be. But if you need power, he’s your guy. Watch, as there remains a possibility that he gets traded still this season.

    7. Aaron Hill – TOR
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    103 36 108 6 .286
    I’m not really sure what to make of Aaron Hill. 36 homeruns is nothing to ignore, but I am not sure he is able to repeat that. Of his 36 homers last season, he pulled 31 to left field, and 4 to center. He’s a dead-pull hitter at this point, and I’m not sure that the league doesn’t catch up and adjust how they pitch him as a result. I ranked him here because I think he’s going to be closer to 20 homers than 30 this upcoming season. He’s still likely to provide a .280 batting average, score near 100 runs and drive in near 100 as well, which still makes him a valueable 2B. I just wouldn’t draft him expecting him to provide 35+ again.

    8. Dustin Pedroia – BOS
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    115 15 72 20 .296
    Pedroia is another second baseman who’s going to provide you with excellent numbers in a couple of categories (runs, stolen bases), and passable numbers in the rest. He seems likely to have another season with around 15 homers and 15-20 stolen bases, with a huge amount of runs scored, and a solid batting average as well. He’s another player who I think could be drafted higher than his value predicates, partially because of the fact that he is on the Red Sox. That said, he’s a solid fantasy second baseman, and won’t really kill you in any of the 5 categories.

    9. Gordon Beckham – CHW
    Also qualifies at 3B, Will qualify at 2B after 5 starts
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    58 14 63 7 .270
    Beckham won’t qualify at 2B to start the season, but the White Sox have made it clear that they want him to be their 2B going forward. As a result, I ranked him here, as he will definitely provide more value as a 2B once he does qualify. Beckham only played in 103 games last season, not being called up until June. In a full season, I can see him posting a 20 homer season with double digit stolen bases as well. If you can find someone to play there for that first week of the season, you should be pretty happy with the production Beckham will give you the rest of the time.

    10. Robinson Cano – NYY
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    103 25 85 5 .320
    Cano posted career highs in homers and runs last season, and I think that was due in part to the new Yankee stadium. I think Cano can probably repeat the run total, but will probably drop back to around 20 homers. He has provided a great batting average in most seasons, and is probably a reasonable expectation to hit around .300 again this season. A good solid value 2B.

    11. Jose Lopez – SEA
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    69 25 96 3 .272
    The first thing that came to my mind when I looked at Jose Lopez was that I generally am not a fan of him as a fantasy player. And after looking back on the stats, I’m not entirely sure why that is. He posted a career high in homers last season (25), partially due to an increase in his fly-ball % (44% vs. career avg of 37%). However, he drives in a lot of runs, scores a solid amount of runs, and will usually hit for a decent average. There’s not a lot of upside to be had with Lopez, but he’s still a viable 2B option in nearly all leagues.

    12. Asdrubal Cabrera – CLE
    Also qualifies at SS
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    81 6 68 17 .308
    Cabrera seems primed to improve on last season, and looks like a really good sleeper. He’s not likely to hit more than about 7 or 8 homeruns in a season, but he’s likely to give an excellent batting average and approach 20 stolen bases also. Throw in the additional positional eligibility, and it moves him just slightly ahead of the next player on the list.

    13. Ian Stewart – COL
    Also qualifies at 3B
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    74 25 70 7 .228
    Stewart is the beneficiary of the non-tendering of Garrett Atkins, as he should come into camp as the everyday 3B. However, the Rockies appear to have hedged their bet a little, bringing Melvin Mora in on a 1-year contract as well. Stewart is a good source of power, and his batting average should improve back towards the .260-.270 range. He’s not likely to provide more than the 7 steals he did last season, but any are a bonus really. Watch during spring training to see how his role plays out, as he may end up playing 2B instead, or even potentially on the bench at times as well.

    14. Howie Kendrick – LAA
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    61 10 61 11 .291
    Kendrick was sent down for part of the 2009 season, and came back and performed much better. With a full season of playing time, he could conceivably go for 15 homers and 15 stolen bases, while posting a high batting average as well. I ranked him this low due to the fact that I still have some concern about the fact that he needed time down in the minors to correct errors in his swing last year, and that it could conceivably happen again. He’s a definite upside pick though, as he could end up in the top 10 at 2B if he performs well.

    15. Mark Ellis – OAK
    R HR RBI SB AVG
    52 10 61 10 .263
    Ellis is another solid 2B that isn’t going to hurt you too much in any of the 5 categories. He’ll provide you with double-digit homers, steals, and usually between 50-60 runs and rbi along with a .260 average. Nothing particularly special, but nothing that’s going to kill you at the position either. Unfortunately, his lineup is not known for being particularly good at scoring runs, so those numbers are unlikely to improve as a result of that.


    After my top 15, there’s not a whole lot out there. Probably the most interesting players left are Casey McGehee (MIL) and Rickie Weeks (MIL). However, McGehee is no lock for playing time at either 2B or 3B, and Weeks I simply do not trust to stay healthy. While some of the injuries have been very unusual, they seem to occur with unusual regularity to him.

    Tomorrow I will be starting my series of team previews, with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. The next fantasy preview will be on Saturday with my preview of the 3B position.