You remember back to March when I gave away all my position player rankings for free, right? For those of you who want to revisit my greatest hits, here’s where you would go to get all my rankings for hitters – 2011: BBGuys Hitter Capsules.
I’m nothing if not accountable, so I’ll review my top-10 predictions at each position as well as point out my biggest “hit” outside of the top-10 and my biggest “bust.”
2011 SECOND BASE Top-10
1 Robinson Cano
2 Dustin Pedroia
3 Brandon Phillips
4 Dan Uggla
5 Chase Utley
6 Ian Kinsler
7 Rickie Weeks
8 Howie Kendrick
9 Aaron Hill
10 Martin Prado
Cano hit .302, third at the position, had 28 homers, third at the position, knocked in 118 runs, first at the position, and scored 104 runs, second at the position. Yeah, he lived up to the preseason hype.
Pedroia was phenomenal for the Red Sox hitting .307 with 21 homers, 91 RBI, 102 runs and 26 stolen bases. That effort was just the sixth, ever, for a second baseman (minimum .300-20-90-100-25).
Phillips hit .300 for the first time, scored 94 runs, blasted 18 homers and knocked in 82 runs. It was a great season even if he stole just 14 bases, his lowest total since joining the Reds in 2006.
Uggla was horrible, then electric in his first season with the Braves. Add it all up and he hit a career worst .233. However, he also scored 88 runs, hit a career best 36 homers, and knocked in 82 runs. That gave him 6-straight seasons of at least 27 homers, 82 RBI and 84 runs scored. Only one other second baseman in history has ever had six such seasons (Jeff Kent), and Uggla has done it 6-years in a row – every year he has been in the league (no other second sacker has done it more than 2-straight years).
Utley had a decent season for a late round draft pick asked to full the middle infield spot (.259-11-44-54-14), but that knee injury just killed his season, and he’s now had back-to-back seasons that are nowhere near his established level of excellence (in 2010 he went .275-16-65-75-13).
Kinsler rebounded from a down 2010 to post his second 30/30 effort in three years. He hit only .255, but he powered a career-high 32 homers and scored 121 runs, another career best.
Weeks, against my better judgment really, came in seventh at the position at the start of the year. As I pointed out numerous times, Weeks had three season of less than 100 games, and three over 100 games coming into the year. He kind of split the difference appearing in 118 games, but the lack of times on the field limited his contributions to being a really good season, but not a great one (.269-20-49-77-9).
Kendrick saved me from a lot of flack. I ranked him pretty high this spring, and everyone called me out for it. In the end, he produced one of the better 5×5 lines at the position going .285-18-63-86-14. Do you know how many second base eligible players hit .285 with 18 homers, 63 RBI, 86 runs and 14 steals? The answer is three – Pedroia, Phillips and Kendrick.
Hill was a massive disappointment yet again, and I’m really at a loss as to why. He hit .246 with eight homers, 61 RBI, and 61 runs scored. Remember, this is a guy who averaged 31 homers a season in 2009-10. He somewhat saved his season by swiping 21 bases, nearly halfway to his career mark of 44 thefts.
Prado was a disaster in 2011. He hit 13 homers with 57 RBI which was about as expected, but he scored only 66 runs and even worse, after hitting .307 in back-to-back seasons, batted just .260. You can, at least in part, blame his BABIP which was .266, well below his career rate of .315 (his line drive rate was also a career worst at 14.6 percent, this after posting at least a 19.8 percent mark from 2008-2010).
Hit: Howie Kendrick #8
Bust: Hill #9
By Ray Flowers