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NL Beat
Written by Christopher Kreush   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 03:50

It seems that year after year fantasy players are lamenting the depth at second base.  But there has been a deepening of the pool of second basemen in the National League in recent years.  It’s not only the few at the top of the NL rankings that I would want to have on my team.  This is a year I wouldn’t mind waiting a bit to take a second baseman to shore up a position elsewhere.  To that end, I was happy to roster two of my top seven in the CBS NL analysts league this year.  So here are my top ten choices for second base in the NL this year.

  1. Dan Uggla – I can’t blame anyone for taking someone else at this spot but for me I’ll take mid 30’s power from this position when power is on a decline any day.  Sure, you’ll get an ugly batting average to go along with it but I’ll worry about getting that someplace else.
  2. Brandon Phillips – This is the buy probably the majority of fantasy players will go after in the NL this year at the position.  Even though I place him second, I wouldn’t blame them since Phillips is a great player.  A good batting average along with mid teens home runs and stolen bases earns him second billing on my list.
  3. Chase Utley – The Philadelphia Phillies mainstay managed just 398 AB last year as he dealt with patellar tendinitis.  He should be good to go at the start of the regular season even though he is easing into things during spring training.  Utley is still capable of a 20/20 season.
  4. Rickie Weeks – Like Utley, Weeks dealt with an injury (sprained ankle in his case) and was limited to 453 AB in 2011.  Even still, the Milwaukee Brewer second sacker still managed to swat 20 homers, swapping a power increase at the expense of stolen bases the past few years.  Mid twenties HR with a possible double digits SB total is probable.
  5. Ryan Roberts – Even though he’ll be the starting third baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Roberts will still have 2B eligibility thanks to 28 games played there last season.  He managed 19 HR with 18 SB but with a batting average under .250. Still, he can get fairly close to 20/20 again this year although his BA won’t be near that of Utley.
  6. Aaron Hill – 2009 seems so long ago for Hill as he’s struggled to come close to (never mind duplicating) his career year.  He at least picked up his batting average with the Diamondbacks after being traded from the Toronto Blue Jays.  Hill is still only 29 years old so a bounce back is certainly a possibility and one I’m betting on.  Look for high teens power with low teens SB.
  7. Neil Walker – The Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman fell just short of 600 at-bats (596, to be exact) in 2011, the most of his professional career for one year.  He contributed 12 HR and 9 SB to go along with a pretty decent .273 BA.  Low teens power with about a dozen stolen bases will be good to go along with an average that could help sustain a deficiency at another position.
  8. Danny Espinosa – A rookie in 2011 who is an up and comer, Espinosa had 21 HR and 17 SB for the Washington Nationals.  His lack of plate discipline, however (166 strikeouts), led to a less than desirable .236 batting average.  There is no doubt Espinosa will continue to bring the home run power and it seems it will only be a matter of time before he has a 25 HR campaign.  He can also steal bases and a 25/25 season could be not too far down the road.  But 20/20 is much more likely for this year and hope for some improvement in the average department.
  9. Daniel Murphy – While not hitting nearly as many dingers or stealing as many bases as many of the others in this ranking, Murphy will have the best BA among them with a mark over .300.  High single digit HR power and about half that number of stolen bases is what to expect from Murphy but he does come with eligibility at first, second, and third bases – a valuable commodity to have.
  10. Jose Altuve – The Houston Astros second baseman is young (21 years old this May) and small (5’5” and 155 pounds soaking wet).  As such, don’t look for much in the way of home runs.   Altuve can steal mid teens bases, having stolen 31 across three levels last year and 42 across two levels in 2010.  Since he doesn’t strike out much, he should manage a pretty decent batting average.
So there you have my rankings for second base in the NL this year.  There are certainly more options that I wouldn’t mind having when compared to years past so that I don’t feel like I have to have one of the top few in order to get some kind of production out of the position.
 

More Articles by Christopher Kreush

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