Sorry, Soriano. There's been a shakeup at the top of the second base rankings, with Chase Utley edging Alfonso Soriano for the No. 1 spot. Utley might be the best player you've never heard of (unless of course you've heard of him), and the uncertainty surrounding Soriano's situation in Washington is sure to scare off more than a few owners. But know this – Utley and Soriano are in a class by themselves.
After that, you can pick your poison – speed (Chone Figgins), dependability (Jeff Kent), power (Jorge Cantu) or potential (Rickie Weeks) – at a surprisingly deep position. So deep, in fact, that I felt compelled to throw in a bonus pick at No. 21. It got awfully crowded near the bottom. For those in the March Madness mood, Craig Counsell was the last man left out of the field. Call him the bubble boy. Sorry, Craig.
1. Chase Utley, Phillies
2005 stats: .291, 93 R, 28 HR, 105 RBI, 16 SB
Outlook: Last year's sleeper is this year's stud; should be even better in '06.
2. Alfonso Soriano, Nationals
2005 stats: .268, 102 R, 36 HR, 104 RBI, 30 SB
Outlook: Balking at a move to the OF, but it's the move to RFK that will take a bite out of his power numbers.
3. Chone Figgins, Angels
2005 stats: .290, 113 R, 8 HR, 57 RBI, 62 SB
Outlook: Versatility, speed more than make up for lack of pop.
4. Jeff Kent, Dodgers
2005 stats: .289 100 R, 29 HR, 105 RBI, 6 SB
Outlook: Some names that follow on this list might outperform him, but Kent's amazing consistency makes him a reliable pick.
5. Jorge Cantu, Devil Rays
2005 stats: .286, 73 R, 28 HR, 117 RBI, 1 SB
Outlook: Overly optimistic? Maybe. But he's just finding his power stroke, and those 117 RBIs are hard to ignore.
6. Marcus Giles, Braves
2005 stats: .291, 104 R, 15 HR, 63 RBI, 16 SB
Outlook: Not a monster in any one category, but solid across the board.
7. Brian Roberts, Orioles
2005 stats: .314, 92 R, 18 HR, 73 RBI, 27 SB
Outlook: Out-of-character power numbers suggest he's due for a correction; elbow remains a bit of a concern as well.
8. Rickie Weeks, Brewers
2005 stats: .239, 43 R, 13 HR, 42 RBI, 15 SB
Outlook: Average will improve, and remember that his other stats were put up in roughly half of a season. A good pick now, a great pick for the future.
9. Robinson Cano, Yankees
2005 stats: .297, 78 R, 14 HR, 62 RBI, 1 SB
Outlook: A great debut season, but needs to be more patient (16 BBs in '05) to take a big step forward.
10. Tadahito Iguchi, White Sox
2005 stats: .278, 74 R, 15 HR, 71 RBI, 15 SB
Outlook: Made a nice adjustment to the majors; expect a similar stat line.
11. Mark Loretta, Red Sox
2005 stats: .280, 54 R, 3 HR, 38 RBI, 8 SB
Outlook: Should settle in somewhere between last year's disappointing numbers and his great '04 season. In other words: .305-10-60-6. Not too shabby.
12. Ronnie Belliard, Indians
2005 stats: .284, 71 R, 17 HR, 78 RBI, 2 SB
Outlook: A solid option, but look for a slight drop-off from last year's career high in homers, RBIs.
13. Placido Polanco, Tigers
2005 stats: .331, 84 R, 9 HR, 56 RBI, 4 SB
Outlook: Batting average was second-best in the majors, but move to Detroit sapped his power numbers.
14. Craig Biggio, Astros
2005 stats: .264, 94 R, 26 HR, 69 RBI, 11 SB
Outlook: Power output remains healthy, but his days as a full-time player are numbered.
15. Bill Hall, Brewers
2005 stats: .291, 69 R, 17 HR, 62 RBI, 18 SB
Outlook: Would be ranked higher if not for Milwaukee's somewhat puzzling acquisition of Corey Koskie. Still, he'll find Abs somewhere.
16. Jose Vidro, Nationals
2005 stats: .275, 38 R, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 0 SB
Outlook: His best years are behind him and his health is a concern. I can see why the Nats don't want to give second base to Soriano.
17. Ryan Freel, Reds
2005 stats: .271, 69 R, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 36 SB
Outlook: Helps in steals, but not much else, though his versatility is a bonus.
18. Mark Ellis, A's
2005 stats: .316, 76 R, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 1 SB
Outlook: Won't match his 2005 average, but look for a similar HR total and a few more steals – he ran a lot in the minors.
19. Todd Walker, Cubs
2005 stats: .305, 50 R, 12 HR, 40 RBI, 1 SB
Outlook: Plug him into your MI spot as a cheap source of power who won't drag down your average.
20. Ray Durham, Giants
2005 stats: .290, 67 R, 12 HR, 62 RBI, 6 SB
Outlook: Old and fragile, but the return of Barry Bonds should give his numbers a lift.
21. Luis A. Gonzalez, Rockies
2005 stats: .292, 51 R, 9 HR, 44 RBI, 3 SB
Outlook: Will hit right around .300 with occasional power, thanks to the Coors Field effect.