Athlon presents the first release of its consensus fantasy rankings.
While we still have over a month until voluntary report dates (Feb. 14th can’t get here quickly enough), it is never too early for fantasy owners to start digesting mock drafts, big boards and keeper options.
With that in mind, Athlon Sports has perused the World Wide Web for the latest and greatest positional rankings and brought them together for a one-stop shop. Big media names like ESPN, CBS, Athlon Sports and Yahoo! were incorporated as well as a variety of smaller, yet no less insightful, sites like FantasyPhenoms.com, DeepLeagues.com, RotoChamp.com, HardballTimes.com and RotoProfessor.com.
Each site’s rankings — including Athlon’s own rankings, which will be released early in February — were compiled and averaged into one “consensus” ranking. (Age on Opening Day 2011)
1. Robinson Cano, NYY (28)
The Yankees’ second baseman may be the best player in the Bronx and has ascended to the top of his positional rankings. Cano finished third in AL MVP voting last year on the strength of an amazing combination of average and power. His 73 extra-base hits were best in the majors among second basemen, and his .319 average was eighth-best in baseball for all positions. In 2011 Cano should continue to produce top numbers across the board (except for steals), and he will move into the Top 10 overall selections in many drafts.
2010 stats: 103 R, 29 HR, 109 RBI, 3 SB, .319/.914
2. Chase Utley, PHI (32)
The five-time All-Star will present an interesting decision on your draft day. Utley is obviously among the top second basemen, but is he still a Top 10 overall pick? The usually-durable Utley only played in 115 games last year, as he missed a month and a half after injuring his right thumb sliding into second base in late June. Utley compiled his lowest batting average and OPS since 2004, and he hit .273 with five homers in 43 games after returning in mid-August. Even with the decline, the four-time Silver Slugger should be healthy for 2011 and should still provide stellar numbers like in year’s past.
2010 stats: 75 R, 16 HR, 65 RBI, 13 SB, .275/.832
3. Dustin Pedroia, BOS (27)
The highly productive ‘Laser Show’ only played in 75 games last season after suffering a broken bone in his foot in late June. Pedroia will help your fantasy team in all categories, especially in average (.305 career hitter), runs scored and OPS. All reports are that the former AL MVP is completely healthy for the 2011 season. Pedroia should resume his place among the game’s elite second basemen, especially batting in an absolutely loaded Red Sox lineup.
2010 stats: 53 R, 12 HR, 41 RBI, 9 SB, .288/.860
4. Dan Uggla, ATL (31)
No second baseman has more home runs over the last five seasons than Uggla. He was especially good in 2010, establishing career-highs in batting average, home runs, RBIs and OPS. The former Marlin will now call Turner Field his home park, a better yard for long balls than Sun Life Stadium. Another positive on Uggla is that he has not had any of the injury issues (averaged 155 games played in his five MLB seasons) that many at his position have experienced. If he hits above .280 again, his numbers will be among the best in baseball.
2010 stats: 100 R, 33 HR, 105 RBI, 4 SB, .287/.877
5. Ian Kinsler, TEX (28)
Coming off a 31 HR/31 SB season in 2009, expectations were huge for Kinsler last year. He got off to a rough start, hit well in the middle of the summer, and then missed the entire month of August because of a strained groin in late July. The sum added up to only 103 games played with mixed results: career-lows in home runs and doubles, but a decent batting average, run total and a career-high in OBP (.382) because of improved plate discipline. Kinsler should be healthy to start 2011, but the decision to draft him high depends on how risk averse (five-year average of 124 games played) you are.
2010 stats: 73 R, 9 HR, 45 RBI, 15 SB, .286/.794
6. Brandon Phillips, CIN (29)
The Reds’ second sacker puts up fairly consistent numbers, although it’s starting to look like he may have hit his plateau in an outstanding 2007 season (.288./.816 with 30 HRs/94 RBIs/107 runs scored/32 steals). Phillips has come close to some of those numbers in the three years since, but never in the same season. He was under the 20-mark in both homers and steals in 2010 because of a decline in slugging percentage (.430) and stolen base efficiency (16-for-28). Despite being in a playoff run, Phillips struggled through the second half (.247/.679 with 6 HRs/6 steals) of the season.
2010 stats: 100 R, 18 HR, 59 RBI, 16 SB, .275/.762
7. Rickie Weeks, MIL (28)
After a throw-away season in 2009 (37 games), Weeks played an entire season in 2010 and put up big numbers across the board. He had never played 130 games in his career, so getting 160 from the oft-injured Weeks was thrilling for both the Brewers and fantasy owners. Weeks’ previous high in at-bats was 475, so last season’s 651 (most in the NL) led to career-highs totals in most categories, with the exception of steals. His 29 long balls were tied for second (with Cano) in the majors among second basemen, only trailing Uggla’s 33.
2010 stats: 112 R, 29 HR, 83 RBI, 11 SB, .269/.830
8. Kelly Johnson, ARI (29)
After coming over from Atlanta, Johnson had a power explosion in the desert last season. His 67 extra-base hits ranked best among second basemen in the National League and were second in the Majors to only Cano. Johnson was a very streaky player throughout the season (three months with a batting average above .310, and three months below .260), but he was solid in the end with career-highs in home runs, RBIs, steals and OPS. Johnson hit especially well in the two hole last season (.343/.999 in 166 ABs).
2010 stats: 93 R, 26 HR, 71 RBI, 13 SB, .284/.865
9. Brian Roberts, BAL (33)
A herniated disk caused a wasted season for the usually consistent second sacker, who only played 59 games in 2010. Roberts was hurt in the fourth game of the year and did not return to the field until July 23. Before last season, he had averaged a solid 152 games played from 2004-09. It’s just a question of health for the 33-year old Roberts, who had a very productive three-year average (290/.814 with 12 HRs/64 RBIs/107 runs scored/40 steals) from 2007-09.
2010 stats: 28 R, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 12 SB, .278/.745
10. Martin Prado, ATL (27)
Even with Uggla coming on board, he should still have second base eligibility in most leagues. He was an above average super-sub in 2008-09 and had a breakout 2010 campaign (.294/.832 with 16 HRs) as a full-time player. After playing parts of five seasons, Prado has a career average of .307 and an .810 OPS. He should be a good late value in an improved Braves’ lineup.
2010 stats: 100 R, 15 HR, 66 RBI, 5 SB, .307/.809
11. Aaron Hill, TOR (29)
His stellar 2009 numbers (.286/.829 with 36 HRs/108 RBIs) plummeted to Earth and beyond in 2010. Good power source, but must improve average and dreadful on-base percentage.
2010 stats: 70 R, 26 HR, 68 RBI, 2 SB, .205/.665
12. Howie Kendrick, LAA (27)
Coming into last year, the oft-injured Kendrick had never had over 374 at-bats in a season. He had 616 in 2010, yet underwhelmed with career-lows in average and OPS.
2010 stats: 67 R, 10 HR, 75 RBI, 14 SB, .279/.721
13. Gordon Beckham, CWS (24)
After a quality rookie year, his second season was a tale of two halves. A terrible start (.216/.581 with 3 HRs) was followed by a significantly better second half (.310/.877 with 6 HRs).
2010 stats: 58 R, 9 HR, 49 RBI, 4 SB, .252/.695
14. Ben Zobrist, TB (29)
The surprise slugger of 2009 (.297/.948 with 27 HRs/91 RBIs) faded badly in 2010. After a solid start, he was horrid after the All-Star Break (.177/.587 in 232 ABs).
2010 stats: 77 R, 10 HR, 75 RBI, 24 SB, .238/.699
15. Chone Figgins, SEA (33)
Ugly debut season in Seattle. Good source of steals, but declined majorly in 2010 from a five-year (2005-09) average of 95 runs scored and hitting .291.
2010 stats: 62 R, 1 HR, 35 RBI, 42 SB, .259/.646
16. Neil Walker, PIT (25)
Had a solid rookie year. His numbers after the All-Star Break (.306/.847 with 9 HRs/54 RBIs in 74 games) are very encouraging.
2010 stats: 57 R, 12 HR, 66 RBI, 2 SB, .296/.811
17. Omar Infante, FLA (29)
First time All-Star was part of the Uggla trade. Has a .316 average over the last two seasons (674 ABs), but very limited in power and speed.
2010 stats: 65 R, 8 HR, 47 RBI, 7 SB, .321/.775
18. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, MIN (26)
The Japanese batting champion and five-time All-Star joins a strong batting order in Minnesota.
2010 stats: 121 R, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 22 SB, .346/.905 (144 games with the Chiba Lotte Marines)
19. Juan Uribe, LAD (31)
Helps in the power department (16+ home runs in six of the last seven seasons), but average and steals will suffer.
2010 stats: 64 R, 24 HR, 85 RBI, 1 SB, .248/.749
20. Freddy Sanchez, SF (33)
The 2006 NL batting champ (.344) has a three-year average of .284 with 8 HRs, 47 RBIs and 3 steals.
2010 stats: 55 R, 7 HR, 47 RBI, 3 SB, .292/.739
**Rookies to monitor: Dustin Ackley, SEA