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Rankings Update: Second Base

Time to update the second basemen, using Fans’ projected wOBAs for another week. Huzzah!

The Top Targets:
1. Chase Utley, Philadelphia (.402 wOBA)
2. Ian Kinsler, Texas (.358 wOBA)
3. Dustin Pedroia, Boston (.360 wOBA)
4. Robinson Cano, New York AL (.370 wOBA)

Not too much to say here really, though it seems that Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano have probably moved past Brian Roberts for good by proving, at the very least, that they have not yet peaked. Roberts’ back issues may affect him all year long and dampen his speed, and the younger two guys are showing sweet power right now.

The Middling Veterans:
5. Chone Figgins, Seattle (.347 wOBA)
6. Brian Roberts, Baltimore (.356 wOBA)
7. Dan Uggla, Florida (.354 wOBA)
8. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay (.408 wOBA)
9. Aaron Hill, Toronto (.357 wOBA)
10. Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati (.337 wOBA)

To be honest, it’s hard not to continue dropping Roberts further, but at least he’s in the right tier now. Chone Figgins has had bigger steals years more recently than him and belongs ahead of him anyway. In this week’s edition of Small Sample Size Surprises, Dan Uggla has maintained his overall power while striking out and walking about at about half of his 2009 rates. The most worrisome thing about Ben Zobrist’s poor start is his reduced walk rate, but even if the power regresses from last year’s probable peak, he’ll retain good value at shortstop.

Streaking Youth:
11. Gordon Beckham, Chicago (.361 wOBA)
12. Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee (.365 wOBA)
13. Ian Stewart, Colorado (.337 wOBA)

Gordon Beckham isn’t exactly streaking to the fore, but he’s still got the upside to move up the list. In the early going, he’s striking out and walking at almost the exact same rate as last year, but reduced power and a poor BABIP are holding him down. ZiPS RoS is still optimistic though. Rickie Weeks looks like he may be in the midst of a career year. While it’s early going, and his BABIP is unsustainable, there’s a lot to like in Weeks this year – he’s combining his best walk rate with his best strikeout rate and his highest ISO, but all three numbers are close to his career norms. Seems organic. The same can be said about Ian Stewart – his current career-best K% is closer to his minor league number than one might expect after last year’s whiffing. His bat is showing light-tower power at this point, too. All three of these guys have a great shot of outperforming the Middling Veterans.

The Leftovers:
14. Placido Polanco, Philadelphia (.321 wOBA)
15. Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles AL (.341 wOBA)
16. Jose Lopez, Seattle (.325 wOBA)
17. Orlando Hudson, Minnesota (.342 wOBA)

This group is pretty meh. Polanco looks to be enjoying the new park, but who knows how many home runs that will translate into. He’s a good contributor in runs and RBI though. Howie Kendrick is doing what we thought he could, but it’s still not going to mean a lot of home runs or steals.

Upside to Join the Top:
18. Casey McGehee, Milwaukee (.330 wOBA)
19. Martin Prado, Atlanta (.341 wOBA)
20. Kelly Johnson, Arizona (.338 wOBA)
21. Alberto Callaspo, Kansas City (.347 wOBA)
22. Ty Wigginton, Baltimore (.332 wOBA)

Casey McGehee probably deserves a post of his own, but there are still reasons for skepticism. That he’s showing this level of power for a prolonged period of time is, to say the least, unexpected. Kelly Johnson is showing that his poor 2009 was mostly poor BABIP-driven and is enjoying his new team. Alberto Callaspo is disappearing off of waiver wires currently, but Ty Wigginton that also deserves some attention. He’s got a little pop and everyday at-bats right now and is a great short-term add.