When last we met, I was telling you that Albert Pujols was the best NL first baseman and you weren’t surprised. But you were probably surprised that I think two of the top 5 first basemen in the NL East aren’t even first basemen. Moving along…
Second Base Rankings – National League
- Chase Utley .345-20-95 – It’s a given that Utley’s off-season hip surgery will cut down his SB totals. But if Utley is healthy – and he appears to be – the only other side effect of his surgery MIGHT be that he shortens up his stroke and uses his hands more (think Wade Boggs). I can’t see that leading to anything but an inverse relationship between BA and HR. In other words, I expect a higher BA and lower HR totals, or no change at all. So if he plays all season, you’re safe.
- Brandon Phillips .275-25-80 – Solid pop, solid speed, nice ballpark for a power hitter and I like the Reds to surprise people this year with a wildcard run.
- Dan Uggla .260-28-95 – My favorite player on this list. He helped me win a 5×5 mixed league last year and he is tough as nails. He will be overvalued this year, so don’t get sucked in… But don’t expect his BA to drop back into the .230-zone. This guy is a capable, albeit flawed, hitter. If you need the HR/RBI, you’ll get it from Uggla.
- Kelly Johnson .290-15-75 – I’m not sure what the ceiling will be on Johnson’s offensive output, but his BA has increased each of the past three years and he has decent pop in his bat. That’s enough for #4.
- Kazuo Matsui .285-5-35 – You may not know it, but the Astros were eliminated from the NL Central Race AND the NL Wildcard yesterday. Seriously. Look for Kaz to notch 30+ SB and a decent BA with absolutely no pressure on him.
Sleepers (Tie) – I like Felipe Lopez (.275-10-65) and Ian Stewart (.275-15-75). Lopez should be running more this season – possibly enough for 25 SB. Stewart has multi-position eligibility and he should see significant time between 1B, 2B and 3B with Colorado’s lineup struggling through nagging injuries already.
Second Base Rankings – NL East
Three of the top five second basemen in the NL are also in the NL East. It makes you wonder who is manning 2B out in the NL West. Is Robbie Thompson still playing?
- Chase Utley – see above
- Dan Uggla – see above
- Kelly Johnson – see above
- Luis Castillo .285-3-35 – He’s not as bad as last year’s numbers but he’s still not as good as Omar needs him to be. His average won’t hurt you, but his power numbers will do nothing for you. If he is healthy enough to steal 20 bases and score 100 runs, he’s worth a few bucks in NL-only leagues.
- Anderson Hernandez (Yikes-Zero-Not Much) – Hernandez batted .194 in AAA last season. Look for Ronnie Belliard to take over shortly…
Sleeper – Ronnie Belliard (.270-12-70) – He’s getting older and he’s never been much of an offensive threat, but he’s on the Nationals and playing behind Anderson Hernandez. I feel confident enough to say he will get at least 400 AB. Grab him cheap in NL-only leagues, if you can.