Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw and Analyst Alex Burwasser recap the top five second basemen this fantasy season as well as the top three busts.
TOP FIVE PERFORMERS
5. Martin Prado, 2B, Braves
Prior to 2011, Martin Prado had hit over .300 for the Braves in three consecutive years including the last of those in 2010 when he not only made his lone All-Star appearance but even garnered some MVP votes. The success might have gotten to his head because in 2011 he had his worst season batting only .260. The good news is that after this season in 2012, 2011 will just be a blip on the radar because Prado was back to hitting over .300 again while providing some pop for the Braves with ten home runs and 70 RBI. Prado has become very valuable to Atlanta and to fantasy owners as a super-utility player, playing all four infield positions this year.
4. Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds
Ever since becoming a Red in 2006, Brandon Phillips has been the mark of consistency for Cincinnati hitting at least 17 home runs and swiping at least 14 bags in each of his last seven seasons. He also certainly played a key role in helping the Reds win their second NL Central crown in the past three seasons. Though they were not able to exit the Division Series again, it was no fault of Phillips who this postseason against the Giants hit .375. The only place where Phillips struggled this year was with his plate discipline, only drawing 28 walks, negatively affecting his on-base percentage. Hopefully, for him and the Reds this is not a downward trend and he continues to get on-base at a high rate.
3. Ian Kinsler, 2B, Rangers
One of the most insturmental members of the Rangers team that went to back-to-back World Series in 2010 and 2011, Ian Kinsler might have had his best year last year when he had his second career 30-30 season (the other being in 2009). However, this season he could not even manage to get to 20-20 with only 19 home runs. That being said, Kinsler is still one of the most productive players at his position given that he scores a ton of runs (105), with players like Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre behind him in the lineup, and he still provides more pop than most for a middle infielder.
2. Aaron Hill, 2B, Diamondbacks
Aaron Hill finally wore out his welcome in Toronto after hitting .225 for them mid-way through the 2011 season. He was soon traded to the desert in Arizona where he regained his stroke finishing the rest of the year hitting .315 and helping lead the Diamondbacks to the NL West title. He did not cool off in 2012 either hitting over .300 with 26 home runs and 85 RBI. Though his home ballpark is very hitter-friendly, Hill was remarkably consistent hitting half his homers at home, and half on the road this year. If he can keep this play up next year at a premium fantasy position like second base, Arizona and fantasy owners alike will certainly not complain.
1. Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees
Robinson Cano has really had quite the run for the Yankees over the past three seasons, making the All-Star game in all three years, and finishing in the top six in the MVP vote in 2010 and 2011. This year should see that trend continue given that he ended the season with a career-high 33 home runs while again hitting over .300 at .313 for the AL East champions. Though he still remains a bit vulnerable against southpaws in his career, he remains a very difficult out, his postseason withstanding, and he is still in the prime of his career at 29 years old with no signs of slowing down.
TOP THREE BUSTS
3. Michael Young, 2B, Rangers
2011 may have been the best season of his career when he hit .338 and had 106 RBI for the pennant-winnng Rangers, all while making his seventh all-star game and earning several MVP votes. It seemed at the moment he had beaten Father Time until this year when his batting average dropped to below .280 and his RBI total plummeted to 67, both lows since 2002 for Young. Though he still hit lefties with a force at a .327 clip, he may continue to see a drop in playing time going forward for the Rangers with prospects like Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt being possibly more deserving of his at-bats.
2. Dan Uggla, 2B, Braves
Fantasy owners always knew what they were going to get out of Dan Uggla. He was going to hit you 30 home runs and knock in at least 88 RBI, which he did for five straight years (2007-11) but that was pretty much it. He has very negligible speed and does not hit for a high average at all, batting around .250 over that same span, so it is safe to say he is a one-tool player. However, this season he did not even hit twenty home runs, finishing the year with only 19. Though he surprisingly led the league in walks which helped his on-base percentage, Uggla does not serve much fantasy value if he is not hitting the ball out of the ballpark.
1. Jemile Weeks, 2B, Athletics
Jemile Weeks was high on many people’s draft boards heading into the season given his rookie year in 2011 when he came up for Oakland and hit an impressive .303 (led the team) while swiping 22 bases in 97 games. As anyone who may have drafted him in March knows, he had a rough go of it this year, hitting just .221 and getting benched by Bob Melvin as his team took the baseball world by storm in the second half by winning the AL West. Though he definitely has a definable skill with his speed, recording eight triples for the second year in a row, he will need to get on base more to be a high fantasy draft pick for years to come.
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