Adam LaRoche

On Feb. 19, I took a look at first baseman. Now, let’s shift to second basemen.

Which second baseman should go off the board first?

Robinson Cano (SEA) – This is tough because Cano is playing for a new team in a pitcher-friendly ballpark seeing more money than he ever has. His home run numbers might go down this year since he is not playing in Yankee Stadium half of the time. In any case, Cano will still be a top home run hitter at his position and, aside from stealing bases, he can do it all. It’s also worth noting that Cano has played the second most games of any player over the past five seasons.

Who is making a comeback from a disappointing 2013 season?

Dan Uggla (ATL) – Uggla’s season was ugly in 2013, and even he can admit to that. He has never been known for his batting average, but he hit a career-low .179 last season, striking out 171 times, something Uggla owners are used to seeing him do. Everyone is leaning toward the notion that Uggla is no longer a fantasy option, especially once Tyler Pastornicky recovers from a torn ACL and could take his spot. I, however, expect Uggla to bounce back. The guy has spent the majority of his time working out on a daily basis and coming in with a different attitude.

Don’t sleep on this guy:

Anthony Renden (WSH) – The young Renden is expected to beat out Danny Espinosa for the starting job for the Washington Nationals. Now, the Nationals have some talent in their lineup – Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Denard Span and Adam LaRoche among others. Despite likely being near the bottom of the order, I expect Rendon to explode onto the scene. He may not be known for his power, but Rendon can spray the ball all over the field and should hit for average.

Bound to bust

Chase Utley (PHI) – It is weird putting “bust” and “Utley” in the same sentence, considering how effective he usually is for the Philadelphia Phillies. However, I don’t believe his body can keep up this season. The 35-year-old is coming off one of his better seasons in recent years, but much like his teammates, he’s aging. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins are certainly not what they used to be, and the entire team is trending down. I don’t see Utley living up to his billing as a top 10 second baseman.

My Preseason Rankings: Second Basemen

  1. Robinson Cano (SEA)
  2. Dustin Pedroia (BOS)
  3. Jason Kipnis (CLE)
  4. Ian Kinsler (DET)
  5. Matt Carpenter (STL)
  6. Brandon Phillips (CIN)
  7. Ben Zobrist (TB)
  8. Jose Altuve (HOU)
  9. Jurickson Profar (TEX)
  10. Anthony Rendon (WAS)
  11. Brett Lawrie (TOR)
  12. Howie Kendrick (LAA)
  13. Aaron Hill (ARI)
  14. Martin Prado (ARI)
  15. Jedd Gyorko (SD)
  16. Dan Uggla (ATL)
  17. Chase Utley (PHI)
  18. Daniel Murphy (NYM)
  19. Jed Lowrie (OAK)
  20. Neil Walker (PIT)

I’ll leave you with this...

Getting a top-notch second baseman should be a point of emphasis for anyone in any format. It is so easy to end up with a scrub at second base, although the position is not as weak as catchers or shortstops. Nonetheless, the position is certainly among the shallowest. With Utley aging, Kinsler being a little bit of a question mark as he starts his new venture with the Tigers, Pedroia possibly being vulnerable to a World Series hangover, Cano signing with the Mariners and so much more, the position has a lot of potential disappointment and wonders.

Each week, Adam will give his two cents about the players at each position, naming a clear-cut number one, a comeback player, a sleeper/breakout, a bust, his full rankings and a little advice as to what to do in your draft and throughout the season.

WASHINGTON— Lucas Harrell pitched into the seventh inning and shut down the Washington Nationals offense. The Astros bullpen woke ‘em back up.

Three relievers gave up three walks and two runs in the eighth inning and the Nationals won 3-2 Wednesday night.
Houston lost its fourth in a row and seven in eight games. Four of the Astros’ last five losses have been by one run.

“We’re in every game,” said Jordan Schafer, who had two hits, and RBI and a scored a run. “It’s not like we’re getting blown out. The little things are costing us wins.”

Houston led 2-1 when Fernando Rodriguez (0-2) gave up a walk and a single to the first two batters in the eighth. Wesley Wright relieved and walked Adam LaRoche, loading the bases.

Rhiner Cruz then came in and walked Jayson Werth, tying the game at 2.

“It was a close pitch,” Houston catcher Jason Castro said.

“It was one of those borderline ones and it didn’t go our way.”

A forceout at the plate left the bases loaded for Wilson Ramos, who scored LaRoche with a sacrifice fly to center field.

The Astros took the lead in the top of the eighth. Castro led off with a double and Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman held him there with a pair of highlight defensive plays. He made a sliding catch in foul territory of a popped-up bunt and a diving catch on a sharp line drive before Schafer’s RBI single hopped past the glove of the diving LaRoche at first.

Harrell gave up one run on four hits in 6 2-3 innings, striking out four and walking three.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this team and the way we played,” Harrell said. “We really battled hard, we stayed in the game the whole way. They made some great plays behind me defensively. It’s just a tough loss.”

Harrell didn’t allow a hit between the first and sixth innings. In the seventh, Rick Ankiel doubled off the wall in left-center field with one out and advanced to third on Harrell’s balk. Roger Bernadina tied the game at 1 with a two-out double that ended Harrell’s night.

“You can’t say enough about the way he threw the ball,” Houston manager Brad Mills said. “He got in trouble in the seventh and we were able to get out of it with just the one run, and then the walks kind of hurt us there in the eighth inning.”

Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann allowed one run on four hits in seven innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

Ryan Mattheus (2-0) gave up two hits and a run in the eighth inning but got the win. Henry Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for his third save, as Washington improved to 10-3 and became the first team in the majors to reach 10 wins this season.