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Pre-Season 2010: Second Base Rankings Discussion
Cody Crosby, FantasyJuice.com

In order to add some substance to our rankings, Michael Ryan and Cody Crosby discussed some of the hot topics surrounding this year's second basemen.

We discuss if Aaron Hill will repeat, what to think of Howie Kendrick, what to make of Ian Stewart, if Rickie Weeks will finally pan out, and who to take between Ben Zobrist and Gordon Beckham.

Aaron Hill

Michael Ryan: The first thing pops out to me is that you have a guy who hit 36 homers with 108 RBI and a .286 avg as your 8th second baseman for 2010. I certainly don't expect Aaron Hill to repeat his insane 2009 but even a 30% decrease in home runs would keep him at an elite level for his position. Why all the hate for Mr. Hill?

Cody Crosby: I would take Aaron Hill anywhere around Zobrist or Phillips but I'm not going to pay for his 2009 campaign this year. I am skeptical of a guy who hit 28 home runs in 475 games from 2005 to 2008 then unexpectedly hits 36 home runs in 158 games in 2009.

I am not going to claim he is on performance enhancers, but it is interesting to see this power increase after missing the last two-thirds of 2008 with injury. Perhaps he improved his workout regimen after the injury and that contributed to his power increase. Regardless, I am not going to gamble on him when someone else could take on the risk.

Howie Kendrick

Michael Ryan: Howie Kendrick has been a longtime fantasy sleeper for many people and finally appeared to start to put it together at the end of 2009, slugging .558 with a .358 average after the All-Star Break. You have him ranked 17th for second base, is this because of fear of playing time or have you given up on Howie?

Cody Crosby: Kendrick is going to be a great major leaguer if he can stay healthy. He has a solid bat that will rack up hits. That being said, I am not buying his HR and SB numbers over those above him. Ideally, Kendrick is a 2B that you want to fit for your team more than anything. If you drafted a few big bats who don't hit for average, then you should be targeting Kendrick as your 2B later in the draft. On an individual level he is not as valuable as those that I have ranked above him.

Ian Stewart

Cody Crosby: Ian Stewart qualifies as a 2B this season but will start at 3B for Colorado. What do you see him doing this year after a disappointing .228 AVG in 147 games in 2009?

Michael Ryan: It was no coincidence that I ranked Stewart right below Dan Uggla; I see Stewart as an Uggla-lite. The power is for real, but so is the low batting average. I obviously expect him to improve on his .228 from last year but when a guy only hits .178 against lefties you have to be a little concerned. If he can get the consistent at bats, a 30/.250 season is not out of the question and it's hard to complain about that kind of power for a guy you can slot in at 2B.

Ben Zobrist and Gordon Beckham

Cody Crosby: Ben Zobrist finally realized his potential in 2009 while Gordon Beckham is well on his way up the 2B ranks. Who do you expect to perform better in 2010 and what stats are you projecting for the two?

Michael Ryan: Both Zobrist and Beckham are very intriguing players for 2010 (and beyond) and both had great 2009 seasons. I think most everyone expects some sort of regression from the man they call Zorilla based on his previous lack of success at the major league level and I can't disagree. I want to see how he handles a second full season before fully committing but I don't think it was a complete fluke and you have to like his surrounding talent. He also had a great 15% walk rate which means even if the average falls, he'll still be finding a way to get on base to score and steal a bag or two.

As for Gordon Beckham, I love the kid and he has everything going for him right now. He makes good contact, can take a walk, steal a base, and is on Ozzie's good side which means he should continue to hit high in the order. The only concern I have with Becks is the possibility for the sophomore slump after teams get more scouting on the kid. Fortunately, the talent is legit. I currently have Beckham one spot ahead of Zobrist but they are relatively interchangable at this point based on which player you trust more as your starting 2B. Both have the upside to be top 5 at their position and it's a lack of track record that has them a couple spots back in my rankings.

Rickie Weeks

Michael Ryan: We both have Rickie Weeks as our 14th second baseman for next year. He's always teased us with his potential and had looked to be on his way to finally living up to it in 2009 before he suffered a tear in his wrist. What are your expectations for him in 2010?

Cody Crosby: If Rickie Weeks can ever put together a 150-game season, he will be a top five second-baseman. The only problem is that Weeks can't seem to keep off the DL. He played 129 games in 2008 and 118 in 2007 but I expect my 2B to play the whole season. If you are unable to secure someone ranked above him, then, by all means, take a chance on Weeks. I expect him to play 130 games with 16 HRs, 18 SBs, 90 runs, 50 RBI, and a .260 AVG in 2010.

2010 Player Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP

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