Tag Archives: Brian Roberts

Season Preview: AL East


With Spring Training well under way and the first games starting very soon, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made.

Last Year’s Records
Tampa Bay – 96-66
New York – 95-67
Boston – 89-73
Toronto – 85-77
Baltimore – 66-96

Notable Additions

Baltimore – Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, Vladimir Guerrero, J.J. Hardy, Justin Duchscherer

Boston – Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler

New York – Russell Martin, Rafael Soriano, Pedro Feliciano, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Eric Chavez

Tampa Bay – Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, Felipe Lopez, Sam Fuld, Chris Archer

Toronto – Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Juan Rivera, Scott Podsednik, Brett Lawrie, Rajai Davis

Notable Losses

Baltimore – Kevin Millwood, Julio Lugo, Ty Wigginton, David Hernandez, Kam Mickolio

Boston – Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, Bill Hall

New York – Javier Vazquez, Andy Pettitte, Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood

Tampa Bay – Carl Crawford, Matt Garza, Rafael Soriano, Carlos Pena, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit

Toronto – Vernon Wells, Shaun Marcum, John Buck, Miguel Olivo, Scott Downs

Continue reading

Week in Review – July 19 to July 25


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (59-38) vs. Texas Rangers (58-41)
Chicago White Sox (53-44) vs. New York Yankees (62-35)

San Francisco Giants (56-43) vs. Atlanta Braves (57-41)
St. Louis Cardinals (55-44) vs. San Diego Padres (58-39)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .357
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) 75
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 27
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 88
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 35

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) 15
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) and Brian Wilson (SF) 29
ERA – Josh Johnson (FLA) 1.61
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 147
WHIP – Cliff Lee (TEX) 0.92

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Ben Sheets, Aaron Laffey, Luis Atilano, David DeJesus, Ryan Doumit, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte, Dustin Nippert, Scott Kazmir, Ryan Sweeney, Orlando Hudson, Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez,

Return from the Disabled List: Mat Latos, Ryan Ludwick, Sergio Mitre, Brian Roberts, Josh Beckett, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Yovani Gallardo, Ramon Hernandez, Kevin Millwood, Nate McLouth, Jed Lowrie, Will Venable, Mike Gonzalez, Oliver Perez, Clay Buchholz, Luis Castillo, Luke Scott, Maicer Izturis, Matt Wieters,

To the Minors: Jhoulys Chacin, Andrew Oliver

Called Up: Cedrick Bowers, Alex Gordon, Jose Arredondo, Scott Sizemore, Armando Galarraga

Trades:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were held on Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, with Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog being enshrined for their performances. Back in December, I wrote up my thoughts on whether Dawson was a Hall of Famer or not. (I thought he was)
  • Alex Rodriguez hit his 599th homerun of his career this week, and will earn $6 million extra when he hits #600 due to a clause in his contract. Good for him.
  • The Mariners are really looking like a mess, and I am thinking it is probably going to cost manager Don Wakamatsu his job before the end of the season. On Friday night, he got into a shouting argument in the dugout with Chone Figgins over Figgins’ lack of effort on a play in the 5th inning of that night’s game. I actually agree that Wakamatsu did the right thing by yanking Figgins from the game, but teams don’t fire players very often for this kind of stuff.
  • The Moneyball movie has begun shooting finally, with Brad Pitt set to play GM Billy Beane, Jonah Hill to play Paul De Podesta, and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing manager Art Howe. Having been through the 2002 season as an A’s fan, and having read the book, this one’s going to be interesting. I’m wondering if the movie reopens the stats vs. scouts argument wounds again.
  • Major League Baseball, very quietly, announced that minor leaguers will now be tested for HGH in addition to all the other things they are already tested for. I’d be shocked if the next collective bargaining agreement doesn’t have this test in it for Major Leaguers as well.
  • The Angels made the big moves this week with acquiring 3B Alberto Callaspo first in the week and then making the huge splash with acquiring SP Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks for 4 prospects. Really like the trade for the Angels, hate it for every other team in the division (including my A’s).

From the Twitter Followers and Friends

If you aren’t yet, you can follow me over at Twitter here. These are some of the better reads I found from the previous week.

From the Hall of Very Good: HOVG posted a series of articles looking at the next group of players to be eligible for the Hall of Fame voting in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 (so far). Excellent reads from all of them.

From the Daily Something: Bill had a guest post from Jeff Polman which went ahead and played out the remainder of the 1994 season via Strat-o-Matic baseball. It’s a really interesting read, and Strat-o-Matic is something I keep reminding myself that I might enjoy when I have some more time.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: A series I had not finished up from earlier in the month, the Original Draft Series, is a group of posts where I look at what an organization’s major league team could have looked like had they held onto every player that they either drafted or signed to their first professional contract. There may be 3 posts this week on this, or there may be 6 if I am feeling ambitious.

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Johan Santana to the Mets. This one’s a bit newer than a lot of the trades I have reviewed previously, but the players in the deal have pretty much finalized what their value in the trade is going to be, so it’s ready to be looked at I believe.

One Other Thing

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a charity that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance has taken up. Here’s the official word, and what you can do:

Pitch In For Baseball is delighted to have been selected to participate in State Farm’s ‘Go To Bat’ campaign.  Now we need your
help!

‘Go To Bat’ was launched nationally during the State Farm Home Run Derby.  ‘Go To Bat’ gives entrants a chance to win tickets to the upcoming World Series and selected charity partners the chance to receive significant financial support.

Here’s how to play and how to help Pitch In For Baseball:

* Go to  www.statefarm.com/gotobat to register for your chance to win World Series tickets.
* As you register, you will get a chance to designate a charity that could win up to $25,000/week.
* To designate Pitch In For Baseball as your charity, select PUBLIC GOOD as the charity category and then choose Pitch In For
Baseball from the drop down list.
* Revisit www.statefarm.com/gotobat each day and play the ‘Go To Bat’ online game to increase your chances for tickets and Pitch In For
Baseball’s chance at financial support

Thanks to all the readers who help out with this. You can find a lot more information about Pitch In For Baseball at their website

Original Draft Series: Team #30 – Baltimore Orioles


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

Team #30: Baltimore Orioles

General Managers(since 1994)

Roland Hemond (1994-1995): 134-122
Pat Gillick (1996-1998): 265-221
Frank Wren (1999): 78-84
Syd Thrift (2000-2002): 204-281
Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan (2003-2005): 223-263
Mike Flanagan (2006-2007): 70-92
Andy MacPhail (2007-current): 201-284

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
0 0 2 1 2 2 9 2

Well, the Major League team hasn’t shown a whole lot of success in the past 15 years, with only a pair of playoff appearances in 1996 and 1997 while under the tutelage of general manager Pat Gillick. When looking through the rosters, these were the best players that I could come up with at each of these positions. I realize that a few of them are barely in the Majors as it is now, but unfortunately I really didn’t find anyone that played these positions that I would consider to be better than the players listed. All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Matt Wieters 2007 – 1st Rd (5) 3 153 gm, 13 HR, 60 RBI, 49 R Currently with Org.
1B Nolan Reimold 2005 – 2nd Rd 5 133 gm, .265/.353/.442, 17 HR, 55 RBI, 8 SB, 56 R Currently with Org.
2B Brian Roberts 1999 – 1st Rd (50) 11 1139 gm, .283/.355/.420, 77 HR, 443 RBI, 258 SB, 730 R Currently with Org.
3B Mike Fontenot 2001 – 1st Rd (19) 4 No Major League Appearances for Organization Traded to CHC – 2/2/05
SS Jerry Hairston 1997 – 11th Rd 8 530 gm, .261/.334/.371, 26 HR, 160 RBI, 94 SB, 241 R Traded to CHC – 2/2/05
LF Jayson Werth 1997 – 1st Rd (22) 3 No Major League Appearances for Organization Traded to TOR -  12/11/00
CF Willie Harris 1999 – 24th Rd 3 9 gm, .125/.125/.167, 3 R Traded to CHW – 1/29/02
RF Nick Markakis 2003 – 1st Rd (7) 7 688 gm, .297/.366/.466, 80 HR, 383 RBI, 37 SB, 393 R Currently with Org.
DH Gregg Zaun 1989 – 17th Rd 7+1 146 gm, 8 HR, 40 RBI, 1 SB, 57 R Traded to TB – 8/7/09
SP Erik Bedard 1999 – 6th Rd 8 40-34, 3.83 ERA, 639 K, 254 BB, 658 IP, 1.339 WHIP Traded to SEA – 2/8/08
SP Brian Matusz 2008 – 1st Rd (4) 2 7-9, 4.38 ERA, 99 K, 41 BB, 119.2 IP, 1.479 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Brad Bergesen 2004- 4th Rd 6 10-9,  4.36 ERA, 79 K, 50 BB, 177.3 IP, 1.415 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP John Maine 2002 – 6th Rd 3 2-4, 6.60 ERA, 25 K, 27 BB, 43.2 IP, 1.672 WHIP Traded to NYM – 1/22/06
SP David Hernandez 2005 – 16th Rd 5 6-15, 1 SV, 5.19 ERA, 101 K, 77 BB, 151 IP, 1.570 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jim Johnson 2001 – 5th Rd 9 7-12, 12 SV, 3.87 ERA, 97 K, 60 BB, 153.1 IP, 1.396 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Koji Uehara Int’l FA – 2009 2 2-4, 3.89 ERA, 54 K, 15 BB, 71.2 IP, 1.242 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Arthur Rhodes 1988 – 2nd Rd 11 43-36, 9 SV, 4.86 ERA, 579 K, 316 BB, 622.1 IP, 1.432 WHIP Free Agency – 11/1/99
RP D.J. Carrasco 1997 – 26th Rd 1 No Major League Appearances for Organization Released – 6/14/98
RP Jason Berken 2006 – 6th Rd 4 6-13, 5.65 ERA, 86 K, 52 BB, 151.1 IP, 1.632 WHIP Currently with Org.
CL Chris Ray 2003 – 3rd Rd 6 10-17, 49 SV, 4.11 ERA, 177 K, 86 BB, 192.2 IP,  1.370 WHIP Traded to TEX – 12/9/09
BN Darnell McDonald (OF) 1997 – 1st Rd (26) 7 17 gm, .156/.206/.188, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 3 R Free Agency – 10/15/04
BN Jake Arrieta (SP) 2007 – 5th Rd 3 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 6 K, 4 BB, 6 IP, 1.333 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Augie Ojeda (IF) 1996 – 13th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances for Organization Traded to CHC – 12/13/99
BN Adam Loewen (OF/P) 2002 – 1st Rd (4) 6 8-8, 5.38 ERA, 134 K, 106 BB, 164 IP, 1.640 WHIP Free Agency – 10/20/08
BN Garrett Olson (P) 2005 – 1st Rd (48) 3 10-13, 6.87 ERA, 111 K, 90 BB, 165 IP, 1.818 WHIP Traded to CHC – 1/18/09

Clearly, I had to stretch quite a bit to get some of these starting positions filled. Nolan Reimold has never played at 1B in the Major Leagues, but has been working at 1B in the minor leagues this season. The next best player to fill that position would have been Gregg Zaun, who has played 2 games totaling 8 innings at 1B in his major league career, none of which were with the Orioles. Overall, this team looks pretty sad overall. You’ve got solid players at 2B, LF, and RF, and a single starting pitcher. After that, you have good young players who are too new to have shown exactly what they can do yet at C, 1B, and 2 of their starting pitchers. There are some good role players, but unfortunately the build for this team kind of looks similar to the real-life organization at this point: Very raw, and not particularly good.

Looking at their drafting results, they have had 29 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). Ignoring the 2009 draftee, they have had only 11 of these picks even play a single game in the Major Leagues. Even giving the benefit of the doubt for the 4 players who were first round picks but have not made it to the Majors yet, that still brings the Orioles to 14 misses in 15 seasons. Generally, the first round is the one round where an organization will have the best chance of finding a MLB quality talent, and with the poor performance of the Orioles throughout the years, they’ve had 8 picks in the top 10 in the last 9 years. As evidenced by the revolving door that has been the general manager’s office, that’s not getting it done.

Something else that has really illustrated itself as I go through the players is the lack of players from international markets, the ones outside of the draft. While it remains to be seen if there are specific reasons that the Orioles are not concentrating any effort to Latin America and Asia, the fact that they aren’t is clearly hurting their development as an organization.

Overall Grade: I think I have to give them a D-, due to the fact that I was barely able to fill the whole roster with players, and the fact that they’ve missed on so many first round picks. This team would have a hard time competing against nearly every major league team on a day-to-day basis. Throw in the fact that this 25 man roster is essentially 14 or possibly even 15 pitchers really doesn’t bode well for them. Hopefully the Orioles will start to see some of the fruit of the system shortly, as they really need it.

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.

    Team Preview – Baltimore Orioles


    Today I’m starting my preseason previews of each team in the majors. Today’s team is the Baltimore Orioles.

    Roster Makeup
    Lineup Pitching Staff
    Pos Name Role Name
    C Matt Wieters SP 1 Kevin Millwood
    1B Garrett Atkins SP 2 Jeremy Guthrie
    2B Brian Roberts SP 3 Brian Matusz
    3B Miguel Tejada SP 4 Brad Bergesen
    SS Cesar Izturis SP 5 Chris Tillman
    LF Nolan Reimold Bullpen
    CF Adam Jones CL Mike Gonzalez
    RF Nick Markakis RP Jim Johnson
    DH Luke Scott RP Kam Mickolio
    Bench RP Koji Uehara
    IF Ty Wigginton RP Cla Meredith
    OF Felix Pie RP Mark Hendrickson

    Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

    Off-Season Transactions
    Key Additions Key Losses
    Pos Name How Pos Name How
    SP Kevin Millwood Trade (TEX) RP Chris Ray Trade (TEX)
    CL Mike Gonzalez Free Agency 3B Melvin Mora Free Agency
    1B/3B Garrett Atkins Free Agency RP Danys Baez Free Agency
    3B/SS Miguel Tejada Free Agency

    Top Prospects: Brian Matusz (P), Jake Arrieta (P), Zach Britton (P), Josh Bell (3B)

    2009 Review

    The 2009 Orioles finished 64-98, 39 games out of first place in the American League East. I wanted to write that the Orioles finished strong last year, ending on a 4 game winning streak. However, that’s kind of cancelled out by the fact that they lost the 13 games prior to that. The Orioles got excellent performances from veterans Brian Roberts (.283, 16 HR, 30 SB), Nick Markakis (.293, 18 HR, 101 RBI), and second-year player Adam Jones (.277, 19 HR, 77 RBI, 10 SB).

    The biggest story of 2009 for the Orioles was the number of rookies who came up and performed well. The majority of the hype was surrounding uber-prospect Matt Wieters. Wieters was called up at the end of May, and never looked back, posting a respectable .288 batting average with 9 homers in 96 games. However, his interaction with the young pitching staff will have a larger impact going forward. Rookies Brad Bergesen (7-5, 3.43), Chris Tillman (2-5, 5.40), and Brian Matusz (5-2, 4.63) all provided solid campaigns to the rotation. OF Nolan Reimold also helped to provide some much-needed pop, with 15 HR, 45 RBI, and 8 stolen bases. None of the players mentioned received votes for Rookie of the Year, but Matusz is still eligible for the 2010 award.

    Team Outlook for 2010

    I think that the Orioles are going to improve this year. The acquisitions of Kevin Millwood and Miguel Tejada will help to stabilize the clubhouse with some strong veteran presences. Millwood specifically will be looked to help further develop the pitching staff, as he’s had success in the major leagues. The signing of Mike Gonzalez was a bit confusing to me at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. One of the things that can be debilitating to a young pitcher is to watch his bullpen cough up the lead he left them with. Bringing in Gonzalez helps to stabilize the back end of the bullpen, and put pitchers like Uehara and Mickolio into roles that they are currently better suited for. Also, by having a lot of solid pitchers out in the bullpen, the younger starters won’t feel like they will be expected to go 7-8 innings every time they take the mound.

    The hard part for the Orioles remains the same as every other year. The American League East isn’t getting any easier to win, with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays all expected to be very good teams as well. Even the Blue Jays aren’t expected to be slouches, which means that essentially half of their schedule will be against division opponents who will be difficult to beat on a consistent basis. I don’t think that the Orioles compete for the division title this season, but could see an improvement of potentially 5-10 wins in spite of this.

    Fantasy Outlook for 2010

    Key players from a fantasy standpoint include C Matt Wieters, 2B Brian Roberts, OF Nick Markakis and Adam Jones, and CL Mike Gonzalez. All of the Orioles’ starting pitchers should have some good games, but the only player I might take a risk on would be SP Brian Matusz, as he has the potential to be the leader of this rotation by the end of the season. Deeper leagues could see 3B Miguel Tejada, OF Nolan Reimold, and DH Luke Scott also have some solid value.

    Prediction for 2010

    I don’t use any particular statistical process or procedures to come to my predictions of win-loss record. It’s really just a gut feeling for me, after looking at their roster, briefly looking at their schedule, and previous performance.

    70-92, 5th 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.