It is time to reveal my top five second basemen in baseball as I continue to move forward with this series. My picks are listed below.
5) Aaron Hill: Aaron Hill is one of the more underrated players in baseball, and perhaps it is because for a few seasons he struggled in Toronto mightily, which made him a "change of scenery candidate", and the change of scenery has been positive for Hill. Since the trade to Arizona in the middle of the 2011 season, Hill has posted a .302BA, 39HR, and has 142RBI. Hill took a step back in 2013 as he only hit 11HR, compiled a .291BA, and drove in only 41 runs. The numbers were a far cry from his 2012 production when he posted this stat line: .302BA, 26HR, and 85RBI. However, the drop in production can probably be explained by the fact that Hill played in less games in 2013 due to a fractured hand. After spending a significant amount of time on the Disabled List, Hill returned to play in a total 87 games, and it is worth mentioning that the fractured hand was not properly healed once he returned to game action. On the defensive side, Hill has fielded better than the league average second baseman, posting a fielding percentage of .996 compared to the league average of .984. Over his tenure with Arizona, Hill has neither saved nor cost the Diamondbacks any runs. Given his recent production, and solid fielding to go along with a Silver Slugger Award in 2012, Hill is a slots in nicely at the fifth spot on this list.
4) Brandon Phillips: When baseball fans hear the name Brandon Phillips, they automatically begin thinking about his incredible and "flashy" defensive plays and rightfully so, seeing as Phillips has won four gold gloves over the course of his career. As a matter of fact, three of those gold gloves have been awarded to Phillips in the past four seasons. He won the award in 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013. Phillips has saved the Cincinnati Reds a total of seventeen runs over the last three seasons. In addition to the seventeen runs saved, Phillips has averaged a fielding percentage of .990 in the last three years compared to the league percentage of .984. So, Phillips is a defensive whiz, but for some reason, Phillips is not known as one of the best hitting Second Basemen in the game. Over the course of his career, Phillips has compiled the following stat line: a .271BA, 166HR, and 704RBI in twelve seasons. So maybe Phillips is not well known for his production at the plate, but he should be. Consider that over the past three seasons, Phillips has compiled the following numbers: a .281BA, 54HR, and 262RBI. That is pretty impresve coming from a middle infielder and keep in mind that Phillips hits anywhere in the Red's lineup, as he fills in wherever he is needed. After looking over the statistics, the three time All-Star is deserving of the fourth spot on this list, and while Phillips is more durable than the next Second Baseman on this list (Phillips has played in at least 140 games or more every year since 2006), there are a few reasons why he places fourth on this list and not third.
3) Chase Utley: Chase Utley is my favorite player, so it is fair to consider him landing third on this list as biased. That's great, constructive debate/criticism is a good thing. People may point out that Utley has never won a gold glove glove, and he has not been an All-Star since 2010. Not to mention that Utley has battled a slew of injuries since 2011. In fact in 2013, Utley played in over 115 games for the first time since 2009. There is no disputing that evidence, but hear me out before deciding that Utley made this list (placing third nonetheless) only because he is my favorite player. So aside from winning four Silver Slugger Awards (2006-2009), and five All-Star selections, Utley has never won a Gold Glove or any other award. However, that does not mean that he has not been a deserving candidate at times. Consider that over the course of his career on the defensive side that Utley has saved the Phillies fourteen runs over the course of his career. Now, he did take a step back in 2013 as he cost the Phillies four runs and compiling an appalling .971 fielding percentage compared to the league's .984 as he committed seventeen errors. However over the course of his career he has graded out as just a tick below a league average Second Baseman. On the Offensive side, Utley's career line looks like this: a .287BA, 217HR, and 808RBI. Over the past three seasons Utley has compiled a .266BA, 40HR, and 158RBI. Those numbers are closer to Aaron Hill's production line over the past three seasons than they are to Brandon Phillips. However, consider that over the past three seasons, Utley has a higher OPS, SLG percentage and OBP. Add that to the fact that Utley plays every game as hard as he can and there is no doubt that Utley being third on this list is justifiable, because along with the stats, Utley is a gritty player, but he may not be as gritty as the next player on this list.
|11 Yrs N/A||1323||217||808||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||.287||.373||.498||.871|
|162 Game Avg.||162||27||99||16||2||67||103||.287||.373||.498||.871|
|162 Game Avg.||162||20||85||.271||.320||.429||.749|
1) Robinson Cano: With this career slash line: .309BA, 204HR, and 822RBI, it is tough to deny that Robinson Cano is the top Second Baseman in Major League Baseball currently. Now, the Mariners are more than likely going to regret the back end of that ten year $240 million contract they awarded him this off season, but the mariners did sign the best Second Baseman in baseball. Over the course of the past three seasons, Cano's stat line looks like this: .310BA, 88HR, and 319RBI. Given the stat line, overall, Cano has been the superior offensive Second Baseman for a few years now. Despite the strong offensive output, Cano (unlike Pedroia) has never won a Rookie of the Year Award or an MVP trophy. Cano has however won five Silver Slugger Awards, four of which have come in the last four seasons (2006 and 2010-2013). On the offensive side, it is also worth noting that Cano won the 2012 Home Run Derby. On the defensive side, Cano has also been serviceable, he has won two Gold Gloves (2010 and 2012). During his career, Cano has posted a fielding percentage of .986 compared to the league average of .985. Over the past three seasons, Cano has posted a .990 fielding percentage compared to the league's .984. Being an above average fielder, Cano has saved the New York Yankees two runs over the course of his career, which is nothing to write home about, but over the past three years, he has saved the Yankees nineteen runs. Given the offensive output, solid defensive play and durability (Cano has played in at least 159 games since 2007), the five time All-Star is more than deserving of the number one spot on this list.
Others who were Considered:
Dan Uggla- Massive power, but it has slipped in recent seasons, and he has never hit for much of an average.
Ben Zobrist- Very underrated, but he plays all over the field. He'll make a different list I am compiling. Daniel Murphy- Up and coming underrated Second Baseman for the New York Mets, solid numbers but not strong enough to crack this list.
Neil Walker- Same story as Murphy with slightly weaker numbers.
Jose Altuve- Solid player
Darwin Barney- Defensive whiz, and that is about it.
Ian Kinsler- Another solid player like Murphy.