Feb 24, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays vs AL East Part 3: Second Base

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Remember kids this is all a subjective exercise. I am sure that you would all have some different ideas of how these results should be tallied. There have been some rejection of my lists but that’s fine. This would be less fun if you all drank the Morten Kool-Aid. Oh and to one rather verbose reader…I never drink the Yankee Kool-Aid… too overpriced. Onto the Second Basemen sorted alphabetically by team…as usual.

Probable AL East Second Basemen

Baltimore Orioles:Ryan Flaherty

Year Age Tm G AB HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 26 BAL 85 246 10 27 .224 .293 .390 .683 83
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/14/2014.

Other than being a beast of a second baseman (6’3″, 210lbs) there isn’t much to go on with Flaherty. They let incumbent second baseman Brian Roberts leave to make room for this sandwich pick first rounder of the Cubs that the Orioles took in the Rule 5 draft a couple years ago. He can mash the fastball but has some issues with breaking stuff. He is still young so we’ll see how his bat plays. If he falters Jemile Weekes is waiting in the wings.

Defensively he has made the plays while in the majors but his range is a bit average. Not much to say about this guy.He is having a decent spring training…and ummmm…yeah.

Boston Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia

Year Age Tm G AB HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 29 BOS 160 641 9 84 .301 .372 .415 .787 116
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/14/2014.

At the other end of the spectrum we have Dustin Pedroia. Perennial all-star Pedroia. MVP and ROY Pedroia. 3Gold Gloves Pedroia. He gives Robinson Cano a run for best second baseman in the game today. For a wee guy he plays big and he is still in his prime at age 30. He has 20/20 potential every year and has a great eye in the box, often walking more than he strikes out. Offensively he is the total package.

Defensively he is a dirt bag. He plays every day. His range is exceptional and he turns the double play the way the old-timers did. He takes the hit and still gets the guy at first. I love watching him play and it is difficult to find an inherent weakness in his game. If he keeps on this trajectory he will be a no-brainer for the Hall when he retires.

New York Yankees: Brian Roberts

Year Age Tm G AB HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 35 BAL 77 265 8 39 .249 .312 .392 .704 89
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/14/2014.

The 13 year vet has been besieged by injuries the last 4 seasons which led to the former first rounder being released by the Orioles. When he was on, he was like Pedroia, a threat in all facets of the game. 20/40 potential, 2-time all-star and for a while he was also durable and played hard. The Yankees are hoping that his injury situation is in the past and that the bandbox that is Yankee Stadium will bring out the player he once was on offense.

His glove work was always steady. He made the plays, had above average range and for a while would have been in the discussion of best 2nd baseman in the American League. It is all in the past though. Roberts has a lot to prove after 4 injury marred seasons so don’t expect his range to even be league average. He is lucky to have Lyle Overbay to his left because he won’t be getting to too many of those balls.

Tampa Bay Rays: Ben Zobrist

Year Age Tm G AB HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 32 TBR 157 612 12 71 .275 .354 .402 .756 113
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/14/2014.

2-time all-star Ben Zobrist has been a man of many positions having played all of them aside from catcher and pitcher since he arrived in the majors. He has eclipsed double digits in homers and steals for 5 seasons straight and potentially could slug and run a 20/20 season if it all comes together. Thing with Zobrist is he is pretty much average. Very average. In all facets of the game (aside from a stellar 2009 season). He does get on base better at a slightly better than average clip but seems prone to the double play ball as well (18 last season alone). The Rays would like to keep Zobrist as a super utility guy and not an every day player but second base seems to have become a wee bit of a hole in the lineup.

Defensively he does ok. He plays better than league average at multiple positions including second. If he ever was pushed into duty at shortstop rejoice! It is the one position he is quite terrible at. His range is suspect but he keeps his errors to a minimum and until the Rays find another second baseman it has no choice than to shove Zobrist out there every day.

Toronto Blue Jays: Ryan Goins

Year Age Tm G AB HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 25 TOR 34 119 2 8 .252 .264 .345 .609 66
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/14/2014.

I want to say that Ryan Goins is the answer. That no matter what he does with the bat all we need is his glove. This might have played well in the late 80s or early 90s but these days that just doesn’t cut it. He has never been known as a mighty hitter. His minor league average is in the .270s. That does not translate well to the majors. Sure he can hit in spurts but we need solid hitting from every position or the Blue Jays just aren’t going to compare to the rest of the AL East. Unless Chris Getz finally…ummm…gets it…the Jays are going to have an all-world defensive second baseman who is going to be out 80% of the time.

Defensively, Goins has shown the ability to be the best defensive second baseman in the AL East. This will matter muchly given what happened to the albatrosses tossed up on D by Macier Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio last season. His glove works is going to win us a few games and that’s fantastic. At least it’s something. He better show that range off if he wants to keep his job. If he is the second baseman at the end of this season I will be stunned.

And the medalists are:

If I had to break it down today it would be Pedroia, Zobrist, Roberts, Flaherty then Goins. Roberts could move up the list if he is healthy, same as Mark Teixeira at first for the Yanks. That’s a whole lot of maybe on the left side of the infield for the Yankees. Zobrist is second mostly by default due to the unproven nature of the position for the Orioles and Blue Jays. Doesn’t make Jays fans jump out of their seats much does it? Again feel free to comment on my face in the area below and watch for the rest of the list on Monday starting with third base. That is going to be a fun one to break down.

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