We’ve looked at how the top 15 second basemen for 2011 stack up (click here to view), but that really only tells you half the story.  If you miss out on one player, who should you be targeting as a replacement?  Who should be considered on the same level?  That’s the benefit of breaking the players down into tiers.  Let’s take a look at how my second baseman tiers look:


Tier 1: Robinson Cano

At this point he has got to be put into a class all by himself.  He brings power.  He brings average.  He brings both runs and RBI.  The only thing he isn’t going to deliver is speed, but is anyone complaining?  We are talking .320/27/100/100, with the potential for even more.  At this point he is the only second baseman who can be considered for the first round of fantasy drafts.


Tier 2: Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia

This tier has two players who are as close to Cano as you can get, but they both have injury questions hanging over them.  Either one, if healthy, could push Cano for the top spot, but heading into the season there are more questions than answers.  These are potential second or third round selections.


Tier 3: Ian Kinsler, Dan Uggla

If Kinsler can stay healthy, he easily could be pushed up to a higher tier, but the injuries just creep up on him year after year after year.  Unfortunately, we have to take that into consideration.  As for Uggla, he likely will bring the most power from the position, but the potential average problems keeps him down in this level (which is still pretty good).  These guys should be targeted no later than the fourth round.


Tier 4: Brandon Phillips, Martin Prado, Rickie Weeks, Ben Zobrist, Aaron Hill, Brian Roberts

Questions, questions and more questions from this group.  Where exactly does Phillips fit into the Reds lineup?  If he’s hitting leadoff, his value is not quite as high.  Can Prado and Weeks repeat their strong 2010 campaigns?  Can Zobrist, Hill and Roberts rebound back to what they have previously proven to be? 

The questions drive them all down in the draft order, but all bring tremendous upside.  These players are likely to be drafted anywhere from rounds six through 12 and are fairly interchangeable depending on your team needs.


Tier 5: Kelly Johnson, Gordon Beckham, Howie Kendrick, Chone Figgins

At this point you are really getting into players that you should prefer taking as a reserve or middle infielder as opposed to your starting second baseman.  They bring upside with them, but they also bring huge risk.  These players make sense to be selected after round 12 depending on whom you have drafted as your starter or how the rest of your team has been shaped.

What are your thoughts on the tiers?  How would you group them?  Is there anyone that you think doesn’t belong in the group that I’ve placed them?

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