Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Middle Infield

It's probably very likely that I'm going to be writing a lot about college basketball in the near future, so I thought it'd be good to combine a couple of position for these fantasy baseball rankings, to get through them a little quicker. Also, I'm doing this at work so I have some more time (library jobs are cool). I'll give my top 10 at each position, 2B and SS.

Second Base
1) Chase Utley (PHI) Utley has firmly entrenched himself as the top 2B with a couple of 30 HR, 100 RBI seasons. He also scored 131 runs last year, which was fantastic, though I'm not sure you'll be able to quite count on that many again. He also stole 15 bases for good measure.

2) Robinson Cano (NYY) Cano is like his counterpart Jeter because he is a good average hitter and is in a great lineup. Other pluses for Cano is that he hit 41 2Bs last year in only 122 G, and he knocked in 78 runs in 2/4 of a season. His pro-rated stats are real good, and at his age he should only be getting better.

3) Chone Figgins (LAA) - Figgins does not hit for a great average or with really any power, but his value comes from the stolen bases (52 of them last year) and the fact that he can play 2B, 3B, LF, and CF. I've got him at 2B because that is probably the weakest position overall of the 4, but his flexibility makes him a very nice guy to have.

4) Rickie Weeks (MIL) - I really like Weeks, and I think he's going to be one of the best 2B in the MLB sooner rather than later. As long as he can stay healthy all season, he's definitely a 20-20 threat, and could even be a .300-30-30 threat if he can get stronger. He's got a great minor league track record which suggests great things are in store for him as long as he can stay healthy.

5) Brian Roberts (BAL) - Roberts came out of nowhere to have a great year in 2005, but tailed off some in 2006 (though he was fighting some injuries). Still, if things go well he's capable of batting .300+, hitting 15 HR, 50 2B, 40 SB, and scoring 100 runs.

6) Dan Uggla (FLA) - It would have been difficult to predict the type of success Uggla had as a rookie based on his Minors numbers, and that does make me a little wary that he might not be able to repeat the success he had. But even if he drops just a little, the 27 HR and 90 RBI look pretty enticing.

7) Brandon Phillips (CIN) - Phillips has been a good prospect for a long time, but finally was able to sort of put things together last year. He hit .276 with so-so power (17 HR, 28), and also stole 25 bases, which helps his value. He also gets the nice boost from playing half his games in the GABP.

8) Jeff Kent (LAD) - Kent doesn't have the upside that a lot of these other guys have, but he's still a solid hitter. The power has dropped, but he's still capable of batting .290, hitting 25 HR and knocking in 100 runs, which are very good numbers for a 2B.

9) Howie Kendrick (LAA) - The minor league nubmers are great, and enough to put him at #10 for me even with a small MLB track record. At every level he's been at he's hit for a great average and hit a ton of doubles. He definitely showed signs of this late last year for the Angels, where in 72 games he hit .285 and had 21 2Bs.

10) Tad Iguchi (CHW) - Iguchi is a very consistent player, which you like to see. Through his first 2 years in the U.S. he's batted around .280, hit about 15 HR and had 70 RBI, and last year he scored nearly 100 runs. Like Kent he may not have the upside of these other guys, but you know what you're getting with him.

Apologies to: Freddy Sanchez, Ryan Freel

1) Jose Reyes (NYM) - There's a lot to like here. Last year he hit for .300 and scored 122 runs, and that wasn't even the best part about his game. He also stole 64 bases, hit 19 HR, 30 2B, 17 3B, and knocked in 81 runs just for good measure. Just a complete fantasy player and will probably be off the board at pick #2 in most drafts.

2) Derek Jeter (NYY) - Jeter was absolutely fantastic last year, batting .343 with 118 runs scored. He also hit for some power (14 HR, 39 2B) and stole 34 bases. To top it all of he hits near the top of a very good and balanced lineup.

3) Hanley Ramirez (FLA) - Ramirez had a great rookie season in which he was sort of Jose Reyes Lite. The average of .292 is certainly respectable at the top of the lineup. He also stole 51 bases, hit for good power for a SS (46 2B, 11 3B, 17 HR) and scored 118 runs. He basically does everything Jose Reyes does, just not quite as good. But that's not really anything to be ashamed of.

4) Jimmy Rollins (PHI) - Rollins continues with the theme of SS who hit for a good average, steal a lot of bases, and have deceptively good power. Did you realize Jimmy Rollins hit 25 HR last year to go with 45 2B? The HR might be a bit flukey (he's never been close to that before), but he always hits a lot of doubles, steals 30-40 bases, and scores 115+ runs. Great quality here.

5) Miguel Tejada (BAL) - Tejada did hit .330 last year, but the power numbers seem to be slipping a bit, as the 24 HR and 37 2B would suggest. Still, he's a 100-RBI guy, and if you have speed at other positions, it's definitely viable to take him ahead of a guy like Jimmy Rollins. Still a very good hitter.

6) Michael Young (TEX) - It's possible 2005 was a career year for Young, but he does a lot of things well. Namely, he was a double machine last year, hitting 52 of them. He's also a consistent .310+ hitter that'll get you 210 hits and knock in around 100 runs. You could definitely do a lot worse at the SS position.

7) Carlos Guillen (DET) - In real life, I think Guillen is one of the most underrated players in the game. In fantasy terms, he's sort of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. He's been pretty consistent at around .320 AVG, 20 HR, 20 SB, 100 R, 90 RBI. Very good numbers across the board, but he ranks at #7 because this seems to be a very solid SS class.

8) Bill Hall (MIL) - He his 35 HR last year. 35 HOMERUNS!

9) Rafael Furcal (LAD) He's in the same style of Reyes, Rollins, and Ramirez because of his speed, but his power is not as good as theirs, and playing in Dodger Stadium doesn't help. Still, he's a .300 hitter that'll steal around 40 bases and score around 100 runs.

10) Tory Glaus (TOR) - I didn't even know Glaus has SS eligibility before I looked, but apparently he does. And with 38 HR and 104 RBI last year, that makes him a very good value pick.

Apologies to: Stephen Drew, Egar Renteria, Bobby Crosby

What changes would you make to this?