I have finally finished the second entry in my Top 20 Players by Position series. Today we will take a look at second base. This list was much easier to develop in comparison to the Catcher list. I think that is partly due to it being the second list so i have a better feel for what i want to do with it, but also because i think there is a much more defined crop of players at second base. Remember the players are not ranked only on their current performance but on past and future performance as well. So lets dive right into the top 20 Second Basemen.
Tier 1- These are the superstars at the position, who generally are good in almost every aspect of the game and can stack up against the best at any position.
1. Dustin Pedroia (BOS)- Clearly the top choice as he does everything, hit for average, some power, has good speed and plays good defense. Has contributed to winning a world series and winning an MVP also help him rank as the top at his position.
2. Ian Kinsler (TEX)- Has turned into a multi category stud as he provides excellent power, speed and defense. He is still in his prime so there are likely several more years of solid production ahead.
3. Rickie Weeks (MIL)- It took him a little while to get his career going but now he has figured it out and turned into one of the best in the game. He provides excellent power, has decent speed and has turned into an above average defender on a good team.
4. Robinson Cano (NYY)- Cano gets in this tier on his hitting prowess alone, he may be the best hitter in this tier and is just now in his prime years. But he cannot rank at the top of the tier because he lacks the speed and defensive ability of the guys above him on the list.
5. Chase Utley (PHI)- He gets one here based on his past performance and the hope that he can put a couple more healthy seasons together. Because when healthy he can be one of the best in the game providing power, contact, speed and defense.
6. Ben Zobrist (TB)- While he may not hit for as high of an average as the guys above him he provides solid power and speed to compliment excellent defense and versatility.
Tier 2- With the exception of Brandon Phillips everyone in this tier is on the way up. These are guys who are missing a thing or two from their game that keeps them from being one of the elite players in the league.
7. Howie Kendrick (LAA)- While his numbers this season matchup with those in the top tier his career numbers dont matchup with the guys above him. He may be in the top tier next year if he keeps up this pace of solid average, power, speed and great defense.
8. Brandon Phillips (CIN)- He still provides excellent defense but his offensive numbers are on the decline. He is no longer a 30-30 threat but he can still hit for a nice average and provide a 15-15 season with outstanding defense.
9. Danny Espinosa (WAS)- If he continues his pace he will win Rookie of the year and has helped lead the Nationals to a respectable record thus far. While his average is not great, its skewed by a rough start of the season and he provides excellent power and speed with plus defense.
10. Neil Walker (PIT)- One of the contributers to the turn around in Pittsburgh, he provides a solid average and power with some speed. At age 25 he still has room for growth and could move his way up the list.
Tier 3-This tier contains 3 young guys who have been considered top prospects that are now producing at the major league level along with 2 veterans that have dissapointed thus far.
11. Gordon Beckham (CHW)- Still has the potential to be a star at the age of 24 but has not lived up to it yet. While he may not be the star some thought he would be already he is a solid second baseman. He is mediocre all around with above average defense based on his UZR.
12. Dustin Ackley (SEA) He moved very quickly through the Marniers farm system and has already looked at home at the major league level. He should provide a good average with solid power and some speed to compliment solid defense. His age of 23 leaves plenty of time to improve on his already good production.
13. Kelly Johnson (ARI)- Has regressed from his outstanding 2010 season, but while his average and OBP have dipped he is still providing excellent power and has some speed.
14. Dan Uggla (ATL)- Another all star who has seen his batting average plummet. But he is still providing some pop with a .175 ISO (Isolated Power). I am being extemely generous with this spot based on his performance this season but i have a feeling he can turn it around and when he does he can be one of the best hitting second basemen in the game.
15. Jemile Weeks (OAK)- Another interesting prospect who has made it to the majors and performed very well. While he may provide little to no power he should hit for a good average and provide tremendous speed on the base paths.
Tier 4- These guys may be every day startes but none of them will every be much more than that.
16. Darwin Barney (CHC)- In terms of actual production in 2011, Barney has been one of the best second basemen in the game. But in terms of his skill set he does not matchup with the guys ahead of him. Barney is a grind it out type player who will hit for a good average and play solid defense but he wont hit for much power and wont steal many bases.
17. Mark Ellis (COL)- Ellis looked to be on his way down but after being traded to Colorado has shown some new life. When he is performing he can hit for a solid batting average with decent power and speed and above average defense. But his age and overall declining performance push him to this spot.
18. Alexi Casilla (MIN)- He is a decent young second basemen who's best attribute thus far in terms of production has been stolen bases. He can hit for an OK average and play average defense but provides little power. His age and speed are what push him to this spot.
19. Jeff Keppinger (HOU)- After missing some time due to injury Keppinger has played fairly well. He is already over 30 and will never produce the numbers to get out of this tier but he is a usefull starter.
20. Robert Andino (BAL)- This was the toughest spot to fill, there were a number of guys i could have gone with here but decided to go with the youngest one. Again he is the definition of an average players as are most of the guys at this point on the list.
Summary- The top 3 tiers were the easiest to rate, but when i got to the 4th tier there was a significant dropoff in talent. Again as i said in my last post the specific ranking is not as important as getting the guys in the right tier. Many of the guys within tiers are interchangable at a specific number ranking. Thanks for reading and let me know what you think.