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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Top 20 second basemen

Meaningless trivia question of the day: Aside from first base, which infield position features the most top 100 overall players?

Since you’ve already read the headline on this blog, the answer is more obvious than the contempt many baseball fans have for Tim McCarver.

Otherwise, would you have guessed second base has 10 top-100 players (at least in our opinion), compared to nine for third base and six for shortstop?

The position has only one top-20 pick — the Phillies’ Chase Utley, who should go off the board in the top five — but it’s stacked with talent from Round 3 on.

The top 10 second basemen on the list below feature:

-- Four players with 31 or more home runs last season.

-- Seven with 25-plus homers.

-- Six with 90 or more RBI.

-- Five with 20-plus stolen bases.

-- Six with more than 100 runs scored.

The top 10, on average, batted .281 with 26 homers, 90 RBI, 97 runs and 16 steals last season.

You don’t want to wait too long to select one, however, since there’s a pretty big difference between Robinson Cano at No. 4 and Jose Lopez at No. 10.

A player outside the top 10 who could have a big impact is the White Sox’s Gordon Beckham, who had 58 runs, 14 homers and 63 RBI in 378 at-bats as a rookie last season. The 23-year-old was drafted eighth overall by Chicago in 2008 and was promoted to the big leagues after only 233 minor-league at-bats.

On to the rankings:

Rank, player: R-HR-RBI-SB-Avg.
1. Chase Utley, Phillies: 112-31-93-23-.282
2. Ian Kinsler, Rangers: 101-31-86-31-.253
3. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 115-15-72-20-.296
4. Robinson Cano, Yankees: 103-25-85-5-.320
5. Brian Roberts, Orioles: 110-16-79-30-.283
6. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays: 103-36-108-6-.286
7. Brandon Phillips, Reds: 78-20-98-25-.276
8. Ben Zobrist, Rays: 91-27-91-17.297
9. Dan Uggla, Marlins: 84-31-90-2-.243
10. Jose Lopez, Mariners: 69-25-96-3-.272
11. Howie Kendrick, Angels: 61-10-61-11-.291
12. Gordon Beckham, White Sox: 58-14-63-7-.270
13. Martin Prado, Braves: 64-11-49-1-.307
14. Orlando Hudson, Twins: 74-9-62-8-.283
15. Rickie Weeks, Brewers: 28-9-24-2-.272
16. Clint Barmes, Rockies: 69-23-76-12-.245
17. Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks: 47-8-29-7-.224
18. Freddy Sanchez, Giants: 56-7-41-5-.293
19. Luis Castillo, Mets: 77-1-40-20-.302
20. Kazuo Matsui, Astros: 56-9-46-19-.250

Preseason top 100 players (10): Utley (5), Kinsler (22), Pedroia (25), Cano (39), Roberts (49), Hill (54), Phillips (57), Zobrist (74), Uggla (91), Lopez (98)

Short hops

Utley has averaged 29 homers, 101 RBI and 15 steals the last five seasons. ... Kinsler batted .319 in 2008, but is a career .279 hitter. ... Roberts has stolen 156 bases the last four years. ... Hill’s 36 homers last season were eight more than his combined total from 2005-08, a span in which he went deep 28 times in 1,728 at-bats. ... Phillips, a former Indian, has norms of 24 homers, 90 RBI and 27 steals the last three seasons. ... Uggla is a very good source of power and runs scored, but he won’t help you in average (.257 career) and he’ll hurt you in points leagues that penalize for strikeouts (611 in four seasons). ... Weeks is an intriguing prospect who can rack up steals (a combined 44 in 2007 and ’08), but he’s yet to live up to the hype. ... The Diamondbacks’ Johnson could be a late-round find if he produces like it’s 2007 or 2008 (when he had combined totals of 28 homers, 137 RBI, 177 runs and 20 steals with the Braves).

NOTE: Statistics are from the 2009 season. ... Positions listed are according to the depth charts at

THIS WEEK: Catchers, Tuesday; first baseman, Thursday; second baseman, today.

NEXT WEEK: Shortstops, third basemen and designated hitters

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