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Three Up, Three Down - Second Basemen
Nate Springfield | Friday November 26th, 2010
Beckham's 2011 should be more similar to his 2009. (AP)
Beckham's 2011 should be more similar to his 2009. (AP)
Gordon Beckham
Beckham's 2011 should be more similar to his 2009.  (AP)
Baseball Press presents a new miniseries titled "Three Up, Three Down" which will review player performances from last season and whether or not we feel they are capable of either improving upon last season's performance, or if the player had a "lucky" season in 2010.

Working our way around the infield (Catchers and First Basemen already in the books) - we take a look at six second basemen that are going to give you something different in 2011. Three that will provide better numbers from 2010 and three that will see a decrease in production.

The statistics provided in parenthesis represent the player's numbers from last season, not a projection for 2011.

Three Up

Gordon Beckham - Chicago White Sox (.252/.317/.378, 9 HR, 49 RBI)
After getting his initial call-up in 2009 to be the savior on the South Side, Beckham impressed with a .270/.340/.460 slash with 14 home runs during 430 plate appearances.  A lot of owners will see those numbers from last season and remember the tremendous slump Beckham was in at the beginning of the year.  What you need to remember is in July and August, Beckham was excellent; he hit 7 home runs, with 26 RBI and a batting average north of .325.  He did cool off the last month of the season - just like the rest of the White Sox.  You can expect more months like July and August in 2011 than the May and June type of months.

Chone Figgins - Seattle Mariners (.259/.340.306, 62 R, 42 SB)
Seattle signed Figgins to fairly lucrative contract last offseason, and he rewarded them with the worst offensive season of his career. A few things contributed to his weak batting average, which was his lowest in a full MLB season.  His BABIP dipped 23 points off of his career mark, his LD% was three points lower and his FB% was three points higher than his career mark.  His 2010 numbers were pretty similar to his 2006 numbers overall.  If his numbers come close to regressing to the mean then he is looking for a boost in value in 2011.  There probably won't be too much of a boost in his stolen base total but the average should rebound close to .300 and run totals bounce back to 75-80 range - even in that bad line-up.

Aaron Hill - Toronto Blue Jays (.205/.271/.394, 26 HR, 68 RBI)
Aaron Hill had a huge bounce back in the 2009 season after missing most of the 2008 season with residual effects of a concussion.  Unfortunately, for owners that were hoping for another 2009 in 2010 were disappointed by the .205 average.  Even though his home run total was down from the 36 he hit in 2009, no owner should have been disappointed with the 26 he hit last year.  Similar to other players that had an average dip he saw a big change in how the ball was coming off the bat for him in 2010.  His LD% was eight points lower than his career average and about half of his 2009 total.  His FB% saw a big jump to 54.2%, which is almost 15 points higher than his career and 2009 benchmarks.  Home runs will stay near the 20-25 range but expect the average to rebound with a basement of .265.  Think of him as a Dan Uggla light.

Three Down

Kelly Johnson - Arizona Diamondbacks (.284/.370/.496, 26 HR, 71 RBI)
With his arrival to the desert from Atlanta, Kelly Johnson turned himself into a stand out fantasy second basemen.  Labeled as a sleeper going into the 2010 draft day, he will be over hyped and over drafted in 2011.  It is hard to compare his 2010 season to previous seasons and there is also the factor of hitting in the more friendly park, but it will be hard for Johnson to duplicate the 26 home run output he put up last season.  His HR/FB% sat at a whopping 15.6% last year, which put him for the 25th highest percentage in the major leagues.  His career average is 10.9% and you can expect his home run total to be closer to 20 next season than 25.

Rickie Weeks - Milwaukee Brewers (.269/.366/.464, 29 HR, 83 RBI)
A perennial question heading into most drafts use to be, "What would Rickie Weeks line look like if he was healthy for a full season?". Well in 2010, that question was answered and it put him among the elite at second base.  His numbers were excellent all around through all 160 games he played in and his previous career high in games was 129 in 2008.  A lot of his numbers indicate that his 2011 should be better than his 2010 considering his FB% and LD% was lower, his GB% was higher and his K% and BB% were trending in the right direction throughout the year.  The problem is health.  Some may be adverse to the risk and take Weeks early, but there is a right point in the draft for the risk/reward to make sense, just make sure you don't take him before then.

Martin Prado - Atlanta Braves (.307/.350/.459, 15 HR, 66 RBI)
Prado finally had a chance to prove what he could do as an everyday player in 2010, even though he played multiple positions in the field.  His high average is what attracted a lot of owners to take Prado in 2010, but were rewarded nicely with 15 home runs and the 66 RBI.  An injury at the end of the season really hurt the Braves in the playoffs and fantasy owners down the stretch.  There are a few things that should alarm you and hamper expectations in 2011.  His K% and BB% trended in the wrong direction in 2010 also his GB% is getting a little on the high side for a player with his speed to keep an average above .300.  I am not saying he is going to fall off a cliff, but you could see an average closer to .295 with 10 home runs next season instead of his numbers from last year.
Nate SpringfieldNate Springfield joined the Baseball Press crew for the 2010 season and hosts the site's podcast. His love for the game has grown thanks to fantasy baseball, with a specialty in NL-only auction leagues. You can contact him at nate@baseballpress.com or follow him on Twitter @NateSpringfield.