Continuing my series of rankings updates, it’s time to look back at my preseason second base rankings and update them for the rest of the season. Keep in mind that this is a list of who I think will be the best second basemen for the rest of the season, not who I think have been the best second basemen so far this season. (Preseason ranking in parentheses.)
1. Alfonso Soriano, Rangers (1): Soriano actually hasn’t had as good a first half (at least for fantasy purposes) as his double play partner, and I was worried not too long ago that his lack of discipline at the plate was catching up to him. However, he’s now hitting .291 with 16 home runs, eight steals, 44 runs and 53 RBIs.
He seems to be back to his normal self, and I expect him to be the best second baseman around for the rest of the season. Look for him to hit .290-.300 and finish with 30-35 home runs, 20-25 steals, 90-100 runs and 110-120 RBIs.
2. Michael Young, Rangers (7): Young’s hitting .337 with 11 homers, seven steals, 62 runs and 51 RBIs so far. While I don’t expect him to fall apart, neither do I expect him to come particularly close to duplicating that performance in the second half. He’s hit .316 since the beginning of last season, but I think he’ll hit closer to .300 than that the rest of the way.
Look for him to finish the season hitting .315-.320 with 18-20 homers, 12-14 steals, 105-110 runs and 85-90 RBIs. I like him a lot more than I did before the season, but I still think he’s playing above his head.
3. Jeff Kent, Astros (3): Kent is a little banged up right now, but he should be good to go pretty soon and he’s had a fine first half, so I see no reason to change his ranking. He’s hitting .293 with 10 homers, four steals, 46 runs and 52 RBIs right now, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him do pretty much the same thing over the second half of the season.
If anything, I might expect Kent to pop a few more homers and knock in a few more runs. What he’s doing now really isn’t far from what I expected though.
4. Marcus Giles, Braves (4): I hope you haven’t forgotten about him, because he’s due to come back after the All-Star break. Giles was hitting .339 with three homers, six steals, 18 runs and 18 RBIs in the brief time before he broke his collarbone. If his injury doesn’t hamper his performance too much, he should be able to give you a .300 average, 10 homers, 8-10 steals, 45-50 runs and 30-40 RBIs.
5. Jose Vidro, Expos (5): Vidro was having a miserable season as recently as a month ago, but he’s bounced back nicely thanks to a recent 19-game hitting streak during which he went 32-for-73 (.438 average) with six home runs. For the season, he’s now hitting .291 with 10 homers, three steals, 33 runs and 39 RBIs.
Vidro’s run and RBI totals are hurt by the miserable offense in Montreal, but he should still be able to finish the season hitting .300 with 20-25 homers and a half dozen steals.
6. Mark Loretta, Padres (10): If you were expecting Loretta to decline significantly this season, think again. Since the beginning of last year, Loretta’s hit .316 with 20 homers, 131 runs and 107 RBIs in 235 games. What’s more, he’d be a .300 hitter for his career if he got a hit in each of his next five at-bats.
I don’t know if Loretta will finish the season hitting .320, but it’s clear that he can put up a decent average. If he hits worse than .300 with five home runs, 45 runs and 30 RBIs the rest of the way, I’ll be a little surprised.
7. Mark Bellhorn, Red Sox (NR): Bellhorn was such an intriguing sleeper before the season because nobody knew whether the 2002 or 2003 version would show up and nobody knew just how much playing time he’d get. Nomar Garciaparra’s injury gave him time to prove that he’s much better than the 2003 version, and his performance has earned him consistent playing time even with Garciaparra back.
Bellhorn is now hitting .263 with 10 homers, three steals, 58 runs and 47 RBIs. The average, home runs and steals sound like numbers he could duplicate over the rest of the season. He might not score another 58 runs, but he does get on base a lot and he has David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Garciaparra hitting behind him. I will be surprised if he comes close to 100 RBIs, though.
8. Ray Durham, Giants (9): Injuries have severely limited Durham’s playing time, but he’s produced when he’s been in the lineup. If he continues to produce at this rate and is able to play in even 70 of San Francisco’s 77 remaining games, he’ll hit .294 with nine home runs, six steals, 56 runs and 37 RBIs. It really wouldn’t shock me to see him actually put up those numbers, either.
9. Bret Boone, Mariners (2): After hitting .301 over the last three seasons, Boone has somehow hit just .242 so far this year. The good news is that he’s still managed to hit 11 home runs and steal seven bases. He might not be able to hit .300 or better the rest of the year (he is 35, after all), but he’s certainly not a .242 hitter.
I’d expect him to at least hit .275-.280 with another 10-12 home runs, 6-8 steals, 35-40 runs and 40-45 RBIs. He wasn’t one of the top 10 second basemen in the first half of the season, but he will be in the second half.
10. D’Angelo Jimenez, Reds (12): Jimenez is another player who got off to a terrible start, but has battled his way back to respectability. He was hitting below the Mendoza line midway through May, but he’s now hitting .255 with six home runs, nine steals, 39 runs and 26 RBIs.
Jimenez had the same .255 batting average he has now (after 78 games) when the White Sox traded him last year after he played in 73 games. He went on to hit .290 the rest of the season. I don’t know if he’ll hit .290 from here on out this year, but he can certainly hit .275-.280 with 6-8 home runs, 6-10 steals, 40-45 runs and 25-30 RBIs the rest of the way.
Fell from the top 10
Luis Castillo, Marlins (6): I gave Castillo the sixth ranking based on an expectation of a .300-.310 average, 100 runs scored and 25 stolen bases. So far, he’s got a .284 average and is on pace for 86 runs scored and 21 stolen bases. Castillo’s simply not the player he used to be, and his lack of power hurts too much if he’s not hitting for a high average, stealing a lot of bases and scoring a lot of runs.
Adam Kennedy, Angels (8): After Kennedy’s average fell 43 points to .269 last year, I said he should be able to get it back up to .280 this year and also provide 10 homers, 25 steals and 85 runs. It looks like the only category he’ll be able to prove me right in is homers. He has five home runs, but his average has continued to drop down to .246 and he only has eight steals, 32 runs and 30 RBIs. He’s not even close to top-10 material right now.