In baseball, the second base position is typically one that is defense-first, offense-second. Lately, however, the position has witnessed a boom in great hitters and sluggers. In 2009, nine second basemen hit at least 20 home runs and 11 had an OPS above .800. The 2010 fantasy baseball second basemen run deep, but a few stand out above the rest of the pack.
1. Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies
Chase Utley is the most consistently strong offensive second baseman in the Major Leagues. Utley has had a .900-plus OPS for five straight seasons. In 2009, Utley had his first sub-100 RBI season since 2005, in large part because he hit behind Jimmy Rollins who reached base at an awful .296 rate. Utley still drove home 93 RBI and scored 112, his fourth straight season over 100 runs. In addition, Utley stole 23 bases without being caught and he averages 15 stolen bases per season in his career. Chase Utley is not only the number one 2010 fantasy baseball second baseman, but one of the best all-around players in fantasy baseball.
2. Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers
Ian Kinsler saw his batting average plummet in 2009, but his power numbers remained very strong and even improved in some areas. Kinsler hit just .253, but his 31 home runs and 86 RBI were both career highs. Despite his .327 on-base percentage, Kinsler scored 101 runs, his second straight year over 100. He also notched a career high 31 stolen bases as he has increased his stolen base total in every season of his career. With a combination of great power and speed numbers, Ian Kinsler is a top 2010 fantasy baseball second baseman.
3. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
2008 MVP Dustin Pedroia is a great all-around fantasy baseball player. Pedroia has led the American League in runs scored in each of the last two seasons (118 and 115 respectively) as he consistently reaches base at a .370-plus clip every season. He hit .296 last year and is a .307 career hitter. Pedroia is reliable for 15-plus home runs and about 20 stolen bases per year. Dustin Pedroia is one of the great complete players in the game and he is a top 2010 fantasy baseball second baseman.
4. Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays
In 2009, Aaron Hill had a breakout season, more than doubling his home run total from the previous four seasons combined. Hill hit 36 home runs, scored 103 runs, and drove in 108 RBI – all career highs. One concern about Hill’s ability to repeat his 2009 performance is that his rate stats are not quite as impressive as his numbers are at face value. Hill had more at-bats (682) than anyone in baseball last year, meaning he could see a slight decline in production in 2010 if his total plate appearances normalize.
5. Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
Robinson Cano has had a very inconsistent career, but with the new Yankee Stadium giving left-handed hitters a huge advantage, the lefty Cano is enjoying renewed life as a fantasy player. After putting up a lowly .715 OPS in 2008, Cano had a .871 OPS in 2009. He hit 25 home runs and scored 103 runs, by far career highs, and drove in 85 RBI. His inconsistency is concerning, but his 2009 performance and hitter-friendly home park make him a strong 2010 fantasy baseball second baseman.