Posts Tagged ‘Kelly Johnson’

Starting Nine: National League West

January 16, 2010

Last but least in our Starting Nine series, is the National League West. Usually known as being the worst offensive division in baseball, the NL West has improved offensively this offseason.

The San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks have added offensive pieces this offseason and as long as the young Colorado Rockie hitters continue to improve, they will always be dangerous.

Here are the lineups for each team in the National League West as presently constructed today.

Colorado Rockies

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Carlos Gonzalez, LF

3. Todd Helton, 1B

4. Troy Tulowitzki, SS

5. Brad Hawpe, RF

6. Ian Stewart, 3B

7. Chris Iannetta, C

8. Clint Barmes, 2B

9. Ubaldo Jimenez, P

Quick Take – This lineup is the class of the NL West. This lineup has everything you want–speed, power, and patience. Look for Carlos Gonzalez to have a breakout year and become everyone’s mancrush when it comes to fantasy baseball.

San Francisco Giants

1. Freddy Sanchez, 2B

2. Edgar Renteria, SS

3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B

4. Aubrey Huff, 1B

5. Mark DeRosa, LF

6. Aaron Rowand, CF

7. Buster Posey, C

8. Nate Schierholtz, RF

9. Tim Lincecum, P

Quick Take – It’s hard to make up a lineup when every guy in that lineup is the same. This lineup has very little power, very little speed, and not a single person that scares an opposing pitching.

Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Rafael Furcal, SS

2. James Loney, 1B

3. Manny Ramirez, LF

4. Matt Kemp, CF

5. Andre Ethier, RF

6. Casey Blake, 3B

7. Russell Martin, C

8. Blake DeWitt, 2B

9. Chad Billingsley, P

Quick Take – I originally had Ethier in the two-hole and Loney in the six-hole like the Dodgers had in the NLCS last year. I didn’t like that lineup then, and I don’t like it now. Ethier is better served in a RBI position in the lineup.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1. Gerardo Parra, CF

2. Stephen Drew, SS

3. Justin Upton, RF

4. Mark Reynolds, 3B

5. Adam LaRoche, 1B

6. Conor Jackson, LF

7. Miguel Montero, C

8. Kelly Johnson, 2B

8. Dan Haren, P

Quick Take – With the addition of LaRoche and a healthy Jackson, this lineup all of a sudden looks very deep. Upton is only getting better and he will be a MVP candidate in 2010.

San Diego Padres

1. Everth Cabrera, SS

2. David Eckstein, 2B

3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

4. Kyle Blanks, lF

5. Chase Headley, 3B

6. Nick Hundley, C

7. Will Venable, RF

8. Tony Gwynn, CF

9. Chris Young, P

Quick Take – Kevin Kouzmanoff was traded to the Oakland A’s less than 24 hours ago, so now there is zero reason to pitch to A. Gonzalez in 2010. With Kouzmanoff gone, this is a big year for Headley. Look for newly acquired Scott Hairston to platoon with Gwynn in center.

Well that’s it for our Starting Nine series. I hoped you enjoyed it. I will update this series as the regular season approaches.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Diamondbacks Continue To Add Pieces, Sign Adam LaRoche

January 16, 2010

Very quietly, the Arizona Diamondbacks have had a very active offseason.

They were involved in the big three team trade with the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers that netted them Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, they added Bobby Howry and Aaron Heilman to their bullpen, they signed Kelly Johnson to play second base, picked up Brandon Webb’s option, and now they have added a first baseman who has averaged 26 home runs over his six-year career.

LaRoche is headed to the valley of the sun

As first reported by Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Diamondbacks have signed first baseman Adam LaRoche to a one-year, $4.5 million contract. This deal also includes a $7.5 million mutual option for 2011.

This is a pretty good pickup by the Diamondbacks. And a pretty good deal for them considering it was reported that LaRoche turned down a two-year, $17.5 million contract from the San Francisco Giants about a week ago.

As long as Diamondback fans can be patient with LaRoche, they should like the end product. LaRoche is known throughout baseball as one of the slowest starters in the game.

In his career, LaRoche has a .252 average with a .773 OPS in the first half of the season. In the second half, LaRoche turns it on to the tune of a .300 average with a .909 OPS.

It’s really amazing how LaRoche starts off slow every year. It’s like once the All-Star break hits he turns into Will Clark.

LaRoche’s slow start and hot finish usually averages out to about .270 with 25 home runs every year. That’s probably what you can expect out of him at this point.

The LaRoche signing allows the Diamondbacks to do a couple of things.

First, it allows them to put Conor Jackson in left field full time. Jackson missed most of the 2009 season with Valley Fever. He appears healthy now and even tore up the Dominican Winter League to the tune of a 425/.561/.589 batting line in 94 AB’s.

Second, this move ends the Eric Byrnes’ era in Arizona. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic is the reporting the Diamondbacks have designated Byrnes for assignment. The Diamondbacks will have 10 days to either trade him or flat-out release him.

This will be a big hit to the mid-market Diamondbacks as Byrnes is set to make $11 million in 2010. Byrnes’ first two years in Arizona (2006 & 2007) were considered a success. In those two years, Byrnes played in 303 games and hit .277 with 47 home runs, 75 stolen bases, and an .805 OPS.

He even finished 11th in the MVP voting in 2007.

After the 2007 season, Byrnes signed a three-year, $30 million deal and its been all down hill from their. In the last two years, Byrnes has played in only 136 games and has amassed a .218 average with 14 home runs and a .653 OPS.

It appears his wreckless playing style has taken a toll on him. After all, his nickname was the “Crash Test Dummy.”

Byrnes could definitely latch on with another team as a fourth outfielder, who is good for a clubhouse. His style of play and personality would fit well with a team like the Minnesota Twins or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

With the moves the Diamondbacks have made in this offseason, they have positioned themselves to make a run at the NL West division title.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Kelly Johnson A Diamond(back) In The Rough

December 30, 2009

I really like it when teams make smart and sound acquisitions. The latest example of this–the Arizona Diamonbacks’ signing of free agent Kelly Johnson.

According to SI.com’ Jon Heyman, via Twitter, the Diamondbacks have signed 2B to a one-year, $2 million contract. Johnson will undergo a physical today.

Johnson is headed to the valley of the sun

There are two ways you can look at Johnson.

The first way is to look at the player, whose OPS has declined three straight years and lost his job to Martin Prado last season. There are some Diamondback fans that are probably wondering why the Diamondbacks would sign a guy who spent the majority of the 2009 season in Bobby Cox’s doghouse?

It’s a good question and I could see why a fan would ask it.

However, there is a second way to look at Johnson–the way I look at him.

I am probably a bigger fan of Johnson than most people. Here is what I wrote about Johnson in my Free Agent Primer:

“Non-Tender Candidate Sleeper: Kelly Johnson. On December 12th, hundreds of players will not be tendered contracts. The sleeper out of this bunch–Kelly Johnson.”

Johnson was put in Bobby Cox’s doghouse in Atlanta in 2009, but in 2007 he had an OPS of .831 and in 2007 he had an OPS of .795. He is a classic change of scenery guy.”

I really believe Johnson just needs a change of scenery. Just because a player was in a manager’s clubhouse doesn’t mean he can’t play. Adam Kennedy was in Tony LaRussa’s doghouse and he did quite well with Oakland last season.

I fully expect Johnson to have a year that rivals what he did in 2007 and 2008. .280 with 10+ home runs and an OPS around .800 is not out of the question for Johnson in 2010.

For the Diamondbacks, they get a second baseman to replace Felipe Lopez, who was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers last season. While Ryan Roberts and his 300 tattoo’s were productive in 2009 (.276/.367/.416 in 110 games), I am guessing the Diamondbacks view him more as a utility player rather than a full-time starting second baseman.

Johnson will be 28-years-old next year and has a career .264 average and a .777 OPS in four seasons with the Atlanta Braves.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Which Players Were Non-Tendered Contracts Last Night?

December 13, 2009

Last night at 11:59 pm est was the deadline for major league teams to offer players with less than six years service time contracts. These players are often referred to as tendered or non-tendered players.

Here is the list of players last night who were non-tendered a contract:

Kelly Johnson, Atlanta Braves. In my free agent primer, I had Johnson has my biggest non-tender sleeper. I think he has a lot to offer a team.

In 07′ he had an .831 OPS and in 08′ he had .795 OPS. In 09′, he was put in Bobby Cox’s doghouse. I think he could have a bounce back 2010 if given the opportunity. He would make sense with the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, or the Minnesota Twins.

Jack Cust, Oakland A’s. Cust is a classic “Moneyball” player–lots of walks, lots of strike outs, lots of home runs, and can’t play defense. Cust hit 22 out of his 25 HR’s last year against right-handed pitching.

Cust could sign with a team as a left-handed power hitter off the bench.

Garrett Atkins, Colorado Rockies. Atkins was non-tendered a contract on his birthday. That hurts.

Atkins’ OPS has dropped four years in a row and now can probably latch on to a team as a backup 1B/3B off the bench. He could be a fit with the Twins.

Wang was non-tendered last night

Chien-Ming Wang, New York Yankees. Wang really hasn’t been the same since he hurt his foot running the bases in Houston a year and a half ago.

At 29, Wang should have something left. I would say there is a 75 percent chance he ends up with the Dodgers and Joe Torre. The other 25 percent says he ends up with the Yankees on a minor league deal.

Jonny Gomes, Cincinnati Reds. All Gomes did with the Reds in 2009 was hit 20 HR’s and had an .879 OPS in just 98 games–now he is out of a job.

Gomes crushes left-handed pitching (.914 OPS in 2009) and it wouldn’t shock me if he returned to the Reds on a discounted deal in 2010.

Jose Arredondo, Matt Brown, and Dustin Moseley, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I am very surprised the Angels would give up on this 25-year-old. It was reported yesterday that Arredondo would need Tommy John surgery and would miss the entire 2010 season.

A team will sign him and store him away until he is ready in 2011. He is too good of a talent not to be given a chance.

D.J. Carrasco, Chicago White Sox. Carrasco had a 3.76 ERA with the White Sox in 2009, but his peripherals weren’t great–9.9 hits/9, 1.41 WHIP.

There is a shortage of pitching in baseball, so he should get a chance somewhere.

Ryan Garko, San Francisco Giants. When Garko slugged 21 HR’s in 2007, he looked like he could be a very good first baseman for a long period of time.

Garko was traded to the Giants near the July 31st trading deadline last year and really provided no offense for the Giants. He hit .235 with just two HR’s in 40 games.

Ryan Langerhans, Seattle Mariners. Langerhans played in 38 games with the Mariners last year and hit just .218. He has always been a good OBP guy.

Brian Anderson, Boston Red Sox. Anderson was once a top prospect with the White Sox. Now he is a fringe major league player.

Brian Bass, Baltimore Orioles. Bass had a 4.90 ERA in 48 games out of the pen for the Orioles in 2009. He is probably looking at a minor league contract.

Neal Cotts, Chicago Cubs. Cotts had Tommy John surgery in July of this year. He will probably be ready to pitch again in the 2011 season.

Alfredo Amezaga, Florida Marlins. Amezaga played all three OF positions and SS for the Marlins in 2009. He is a career .251 hitter over eight seasons in the major leagues.

Raul Chavez, Toronto Blue Jays. Chavez hit .258 in 168 AB’s with the Blue Jays in 2009. I am sure he will get a two-year contract somewhere as that is the trend for mediocre catchers these days.

Clay Condrey, Philadelphia Phillies. Condrey–no relation to Dennis Condrey of the Midnight Express tag-team back in the 80’s–has posted an ERA below 3.26 the last two years.

Gabe Gross and Shawn Riggans, Tampa Bay Rays. Gross, the former University of Auburn QB, hit .227 in 115 games for the Rays in 2009. Gross should get a bench job somewhere.

Mike MacDougal and Scott Olsen, Washington Nationals. MacDougal found a second life with the Nationals in 2009 and ultimately became their closer.

MacDougal had 20 saves and a respectable 3.60 ERA, but his one-to-one walk to strike out ratio is not impressive at all. He should get a chance with a small market team.

Injuries and some off the field issues have really hurt Olsen’s career so far. Since everyone loves a lefty, he should get a minor league deal.

Tim Redding, Lance Broadway, Jeremy Reed, and Cory Sullivan, New York Mets. Redding has pitched eight years in the majors and has never been good. This might be the end of the road for him

Like Brian Anderson above, Reed was once a top center field prospect. He might get a job as a defensive replacement somewhere.

Mark DeFelice, Mike Rivera, and Seth McClung, Milwaukee Brewers. I like McClung–especially as a reliever. Once the Brewers were forced to put him in a starting role last year that’s when all hell broke loose.

McClung should get plenty of interest as a reliever.

Mark Worrell and Jackson Quezada, San Diego Padres. I can honestly say I have never heard of Jackson Quezada before. I am not even going to try to lie and write like I know something about him.

John Buck and Josh Anderson, Kansas City Royals. Buck looks like a better player than he is. In eight seasons with the Royals, Buck hit .235 with seven HR’s in over 2,000 AB’s.

Matt Capps and Phil Dumatrait, Pittsburgh Pirates. After having solid 2007 and 2008 seasons, Capps really fell off in 2009. Capps had a 5.80 ERA and registered the highest BB/9 rate of his career (2.8/9).

Capps should see interest

He also registered the highest K/9 of his career as well (7.6/9). Perhaps Capps just needs a change of scenery. Once he finds that change of scenery, expect Capps to be a set-up man not a closer.

Dumatrait was once a first-round pick of the Red Sox back in 2000. He has a 7.06 ERA in three major league seasons.

Adam Miller, Jose Veras, and Anthony Reyes, Cleveland Indians. What a sad story Adam Miller is. As late as 2008, Miller was the Indians’ top prospect. But a hand injury has pretty much stopped his once promising career.

Veras could end up back with the Yankees on a minor league deal. Veras pitched with the Yankees for four years compiling a 4.47 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 103.2 innings.

There are a lot of players on this list who can help a team in 2010. Now that the non-tenders are on the market, I think we will see activity really pick up.

I think a lot of teams were waiting to see who was non-tendered before they made a move.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Free Agent Primer: What To Look For This Offseason

November 19, 2009

At 12:01 tomorrow morning, the free agent signing period begins in baseball. Will you see players signing with teams at 12:05 like in the NFL and NBA? No, you won’t.

This will be a very long offseason in baseball. Just like last year, you will see some quality players still available going into the month of February. And just like last year, you are going to see GM’s try to wait out players hoping to get their version of a Bobby Abreu deal.

With the free agent signing period just a mere 12 hours away, here is a free agent primer on this year’s batch of free agents.

Best Free Agent Starting Pitcher: John Lackey. The same people who are concerned with Lackey being “injury prone” are the same people who thought Adrian Peterson was “injury prone” coming out of Oklahoma.

Kind of silly.

Best Free Agent Hitter: Matt Holliday. Holliday is the best hitter in a weak free agent hitting class. I am not sold on Holliday being paid like a franchise player, but he will be.

Best Free Agent Relief Pitcher: Rafael Soriano. Soriano is only 30-years-old and is entering the prime of his career. 12.1 K/9 in 2009 is very impressive.

Biggest Free Agent Hitter Bust: Marco Scutaro. I am sorry, but I just don’t see it from this guy. He has been a scrub all his life and now at 34-years-old he is worth a mutli-year deal? No thanks.

Biggest Free Agent Hitter Bust II: Chone Figgins. This is Juan Pierre Part II. Some team is going to give this guy a four-year, $42 million deal and regret it from the first day. In the third year of this deal he will be a pinch runner off the bench.

Biggest Free Agent Starting Pitcher Bust: Joel Pineiro. Back in August I wrote about how teams should stay away from Pineiro. My feelings towards him haven’t changed. He has Jeff Suppan and Kyle Lohse written all over him.

Biggest Free Agent Relief Pitcher Bust: Brandon Lyon. If a team signs Lyon as an eighth inning, set-up guy, I have no problem with that. But if a teams signs him to be their closer, all bets are off.

If you go into 2010 with Lyon as your closer, you are pretty much telling your fan base we have no shot to win in 2010.

Perfect Match Most Likely To Happen: Mark DeRosa to the Philadelphia Phillies. When you look at the Phillies team and then you look at the type of player DeRosa is, this is a perfect match. DeRosa is a “baseball player” and on a team filled with “baseball players,” DeRosa fits in perfectly.

Perfect Match Most Likely NOT To Happen: Orlando Hudson to the New York Mets. Hudson wanted to play for the Mets last year and it didn’t happen. He wants to play for them again this year and it won’t happen again.

Hudson is just what the Mets need, but since Luis Castillo and his horrific contract are holding down the fort at second base, Hudson will need to look for work somewhere else.

Biggest Free Agent Surprise: Jason Bay will not be back with the Boston Red Sox. As I told my buddy Odie, Bay is like the girl in high school who appears all sweet and innocent, but has slept with the entire football team.

Bay won't be a Red Sock in 2010

Everyone thinks because Bay is a soft-spoken nice guy and has thrived in Boston, he will just accept whatever Theo Epstein offers him and money doesn’t matter–not the case. I think Bay gets a five-year deal from another team and takes the years and the money and runs.

And I wouldn’t fault him for that.

Player Who Will Make The Most Money Who You Never Heard Of: Aroldis Chapman. Chapman is the 22-year-old Cuban defector, who is a starting pitcher and just happens to throw 100 mph. It looks like it will be a two-team race for Chapman’s services–the Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

This is Jose Contreras Part II.

Best Low-Risk, High-Reward Hitter: Xavier Nady. Last year, I correctly predicted that Russell Branyan would be the 2007 version of Carlos Pena–a journeyman guy, who finally gets a chance to start and has a big year.

Nady is that free agent this year. Let a small market team sign him to a one-year deal, let him play 1B/DH and watch him hit 30 home runs.

Best Low-Risk, High-Reward Hitter Part II: Troy Glaus. Glaus is relatively young at 33 and just two years ago hit 27 home runs and had an .856 OPS. Can he play third at this point in his career? Probably not.

But he can probably play first or DH and still be a power threat at a very low-cost.

Best Low-Rick, High Reward Pitcher: Ben Sheets. Sheets missed all of the 2009 season because of flexor tendon surgery. But Sheets should be 100 percent healthy by the start of spring training and I think could have an impact in 2010.

Remember, Andy Pettitte had the same surgery in 2004 and he has fully recovered from the injury. A team like the Texas Rangers would be wise to sign him to an incentive laden deal.

Pitchers Who Have To Stay In The NL In Order To Be Successful: Randy Wolf and Brad Penny. American League teams should really stay away from these guys. Hopefully both of these guys know where their bread is buttered and won’t pull a Jeff Weaver after the 2006 season.

Bedard won't work in New York or Boston

Big Market Teams Should Stay Away: Erik Bedard. Bedard just strikes me as a guy who would rather pitch in Kansas City and not be bothered than pitching in a pennant race in New York of Boston.

Worst Pitcher To Be This Offseason: Kevin Gregg. Gregg is a Type A free agent and he stinks. Very bad spot to be in.

Worst Hitter To Be This Offseason: Jermaine Dye. Dye is a Type A free agent, is 37-years-old, and can’t play a lick of defense. He is a DH in a strong DH market. I think it will be a while before a team looks at Dye.

Hitter Who Should Get More Love, But Won’t: Mike Cameron. Despite being 37-years-old, all Cameron is going to do is play a Gold Glove caliber center field, hit around .265, and hit 20-25 home runs.

Something tells me because of his relationship with CC Sabathia, Cameron signs with the Yankees on a one-year deal.

Pitcher Who Should Get More Love, But Won’t: Jon Garland. Why Garland was sitting the bench, while Hiroki Kuroda was starting playoff games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last year is beyond me.

I know wins for pitchers are overrated, but all Garland does is win. That does count for something. He is going to win games and pitch 200 innings. Teams could do a lot worse.

The Milwaukee Brewers would be smart to sign him.

Best Utility Player: Jamey Carroll. Great club house guy, who can play second, third, left, and right. Every team could use a player like Carroll on their roster.

Non-Tender Candidate Sleeper: Kelly Johnson. On December 12th, hundreds of players will not be tendered contracts. The sleeper out of this bunch–Kelly Johnson.

Johnson was put in Bobby Cox’s doghouse in Atlanta in 2009, but in 2007 he had an OPS of .831 and in 2007 he had an OPS of .795. He is a classic change of scenery guy.

You can find a full list of this year’s free agents here.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

2009, The Year Of The Second Basemen…

May 14, 2009

Normally, when I am drafting my fantasy team I like to take a top 2nd baseman early because there are so few good ones out there. That strategy has been blown out of the water this year because it is looking like 2009 will be the year of the 2nd baseman. Has anyone else noticed the depth of the 2nd base position this year? There are 15 to 16 2nd baseman right now who are having legit fantasy seasons and that doesn’t even include 4 other 2nd baseman who have the potential to be in the top 10 at the position.

Look at these fantasy numbers put up by 2nd baseman so far in 2009….

Aaron Hill – .357/9/30

Orlando Hudson – .343/3/20/.424 and 4 sb’s

Felipe Lopez – .328/4/9/.390 and 4 sb’s

Alberto Callaspo – .327/2/12

Ian Kinsler – .326/9/28 with 8 sb’s

Dustin Pedroia – .320/1/12 with 4 sb’s

Luis Castillo – .318/0/11/.392

Asdrubal Cabrera – .318/1/17 with 6 sb’s

Freddy Sanchez – .317/3/11

Robinson Cano – .313/6/18

Chase Utley – .294/10/23/.419

Brian Roberts – .281/4/13 with 4 sb’s

Akinori Iwamura – .277/0/12 with 7 sb’s

Rickie Weeks – .274/8/22

Brandon Phillips – .265/6/22 with 4 sb’s

Those are some pretty impressive stats through the 1st month and a half of the season. How about the performance of Aaron Hill so far? He has carried the Blue Jays and it looks like the side effects of the concussion he suffered last year have seized. Do I think he can keep up this pace? Probably not. I mean, he is on pace for Ruthian 50 Hr’s and about 163 RBI. I can see the average being there at the end but, it’s more likely Hill will end up with 25 HR’s and 80-85 RBI.

That list doesn’t even include 4 guys who are off to slow starts and have the ability to be a top 2nd baseman…

Howie Kendrick – .241/4/19

Kelly Johnson – .235/3/11

Dan Uggla – .193/4/20/.310

Jose Lopez – .248/3/19

Poor Dan Uggla, he really hasn’t been the same since that disastrous All-Star Game performance last year at Yankee Stadium. He hit .226 in the 2nd half last year and is off to a .193 start this year. I wonder if that game did permanent damage to Uggla mentally? It would be a shame if it did.

As you can see, you should have no excuse finding a quality 2nd baseman this year for your fantasy team.

Also, you may have have noticed a new Link Category to the right called MLB Memorabilia. The folks over at Bigflysports.com, who are fans of The Ghost of Moonlight Graham are happy to offer a 10% discount to all my readers.

Simply click on the link to Big Fly Sports and enter the Promo Code:  ICGHOSTS

Looking At Fantasy 2nd Basemen In 2009…

February 23, 2009

It’s time to look at who are the best fantasy 2nd basemen headed into 2009. I always like to take the top 2B or SS early because finding a top hitting middle infielder is a hard to come by. They are few and far between.

In honor of latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, I have broken down this years 2B class by swimsuit model. Enjoy

Like this year's cover girl, Bar Refaeli these are the best of the best

Like this year's cover girl, Bar Refaeli these are the best of the best

1. Ian Kinsler, Rangers –Kinsler was tearing up major league pitching last year until a sports hernia injury ended his season in August. I like Kinsler a lot this year. He is the most complete 2B headed into 2009. He will give you hr, rbi, avg, obp and sb’s. If he can stay healthy for the whole season than a 25 hr/25 sb/90 rbi season is not out of the question.

2. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox –The reigning AL MVP heads into 2009 as the 2nd best 2B on the board. The reason I have Pedroia 2nd is because I expect a little dip in his power numbers numbers (hr & rbi) from last year. Look for the heart and soul of the Red Sox to have a .320/14/75/.380 type season.

3. Chase Utley, Phillies –Any other year Utley is by far the #1 2B on the board. But because of offseason hip surgery, Utley’s ranking dips a little. The Phillies are optimistic about Utley being ready for Opening Day but you never know how someone is going to come back from hip surgery. April is key for Utley. If he looks healthy in April, then a typical Utley year of .295/28/95 is in order.

4. Brandon Phillips, Reds

not the cover girl, but like Brooklyn Decker these are the next best thing and nobody is complaining

not the cover girl, but like Brooklyn Decker these are the next best thing and nobody is complaining

 5. Brian Roberts, Orioles

6. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox – Alfonso Soriano part 2. A tall, lanky 2B who has all the potential in the world? Sounds like Alfonso Soriano part 2 to me. Ramirez had a solid rookie year putting up a .290/21/77 in just 480 ab’s. Now moving over to SS, Ramirez still will qualify at 2B for fantasy purposes which raises his stock even more. The only stat Ramirez hurts you in is obp (.317 last season) but a .300/25/90 with 10+ sb’s is not out of the question for Ramirez

7. Dan Uggla, Marlins – Most fans remember Uggla for his horrific performance in last years All-Star game which is unfortunate. Uggla is a terrific player and one of the most consistent producing 2B in the game. 3 straight years of 25+ hr’s and 85+ rbi proves that. Uggla had career highs in hr (32), rbi (92) and obp (.360) last year so similar numbers should be expected again in 2009.

8. Robinson Cano, Yankees –I don’t think Cano will ever again hit .342 like he did in 2006 but his power numbers and rbi totals should keep Cano a top 10 2B for years to come. 15+ hr’s and 80 rbi is realistic for Cano this year

9. Jose Lopez, Mariners

I would never kick Jessica Hart out of bed and you shouldn't kick these 4 guys out of your fantasy drafts

I would never kick Jessica Hart out of bed and you shouldn't kick these 4 guys out of your fantasy drafts

10. Mark DeRosa, Indians –DeRosa will qualify at 2B, 3B and OF but has the most value at 2B. DeRosa had a career year last year hitting .285 with 21 hr and 87 rbi for the Cubs. Leaving Wrigley will hurt DeRosa’s numbers a bit but 17 hr’s and 75 rbi is realistic for DeRosa in 2009

11. Howie Kendrick, Angels – Can this guy ever stay healthy?? Every year the Angels have depended on him to stay healthy and every year he has let them down. Kendrick has never played in more than 92 games in a season but I think this year Kendrick stays relatively healthy and plays in 130 games. If Kendrick can get to 130 games then .315/10/65 with 15+ steals is doable

11. Kelly Johnson, Braves

 12. Mike Aviles, Royals –Aviles qualifies at SS and at 2B but has more value at the 2B position. The New York native burst on to the scene last year and hit .325 with 10 hr and 51 rbi in just 102 games for the Royals. I like Aviles to hit .300 again but not .325. Look for a .310 avg with 15 hr and 60 rbi from Aviles in 2009

Alison Preston isn't a swimsuit model but she made the issue, these next 4 guys can play on your team too

Alison Preston isn't a swimsuit model but she made the issue, these next 5 guys can play on your team too

13. Rickie Weeks, Brewers –One of these years Weeks is going to break out. He has too much talent to be this mediocre for so long. I think he breaks out this year. By breakout, I mean .260/21/55/.375 with 20+ sb’s. It’s not much but it will do for now

14. Placido Polanco, Tigers

15. Orlando Hudson, Dodgers – You know what you are going to get from Hudson, .285 – .290 with 10 – 13 hr and 55-65 rbi. Going from Chase Field to Dodger Stadium might hurt his power #’s but if the Dodgers re-sign Manny then Hudson will benefit in the runs scored category.

16. Freddy Sanchez, Pirates

17. Mark Ellis, A’s

Shanon Lersch helped round out the Swimsuit Issue and these 4 guys will still help you round out your fantasy team

Shanon Lerschhelped round out the Swimsuit Issue andthese 5 guys will still help you round out your fantasy team

18. Kaz Matsui, Astros –Matsui will give you some value in the sb department but that is about it. He has only played in more than 100 games twice in 5 seasons so don’t count on him too much.

19. Felipe Lopez, Diamondbacks –  Want a sleeper for 2009? Take a look at Lopez. He will go into the season as the starting 2B and is playing in a good hitters ballpark. In 2005 he put up a nice .291/23/85 and in 2006 he stole 44 bases while hitting .274. A bounce back season in 2009 might be in order. Keep an eye on Lopez in April, if he gets off to a good start, snag him before someone else does.

20. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays

21. Akinori Iwamura, Rays

22. Clint Barmes, Rockies

Seeing Star Jones in a bathing suit is not pretty and neither is havin these guys on your fantasy team

Seeing Star Jones in a bathing suit is not pretty and neither is having these guys on your fantasy team

23. Mike Fontenot, Cubs –Fontenot will get you avg and obp but that is about it. A good “baseball player” but not a good “fantasy player”

24. Alexi Casilla, Twins

25. Edgar Gonzalez, Padres

26. Luis Castillo, Mets – Castillo enters the 2nd year of a ridiculous 4 year $25MM contract and boy do Mets fans hate this guy. Castillo only played in 87 games last year and hit a measly .245. At this point if Castillo is still the starting 2B by May (big if) then he might have some value in the runs scored category.

27. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians

28. Emmanuel Burriss, Giants

29. Edgar Gonzalez, Padres

30. Chris Getz, White Sox – With Alexei Ramirez moving to SS, Getz gets first crack at winning the 2B job

31. Anderson Hernandez, Nationals – Hernandez is officially your worst 2B option headed into 2009. No power, no speed and little potential for scoring runs.

So there you have the 2b rankings headed into 2009. As I mentioned I always like to draft a middle IF early because there are few good ones. Good luck and next up will be fantasy 3B.