RANKED: Every MLB Team’s Second Baseman From Worst to Best

30. Yolmer Sánchez — Chicago White Sox

After struggling through the first 200 games of his career, Sánchez has become a more productive player over the past two seasons. As Chicago’s starting third baseman in ’18, Sánchez had mild success at the plate. He tallied 34 doubles, 10 triples, and eight homers, but also struck out a career-high 138 times. Sánchez will be making the move to second base this year as the Sox attempt to yield better results from Yoan Moncada.

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29. David Fletcher — Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Fletcher, a natural shortstop, handled himself well at both second and third base last year for the Angels. A product of LMU, Fletcher appeared in 80 games and was a plus-defender at both positions. He saved nine defensive runs and committed only two errors. Fletcher will never be a home run threat, but he is a capable contact hitter. Fletcher batted .275 on the year, notching 18 doubles and and two triples in the process. Playing next to Andrelton Simmons up the middle, the two have the potential to form one of the best defensive infields in the league.

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28. Ryan McMahon — Colorado Rockies

DJ LeMahieu’s move to New York has freed up a starting role for McMahon at second. McMahon played a limited role for the Rockies a season ago. Across 91 games, McMahon slashed .232/.307/.376 with five homers. Despite struggling at the plate thus far with the Rockies, McMahon showed enough in the Minors to make you believe it is only a matter of time until he finds success. Standing at 6-foot-2, McMahon may find himself at first base sooner rather than later. However, if he doesn’t produce at the plate this year, McMahon may be more of an afterthought in Colorado.

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27. Jonathan Villar — Baltimore Orioles

It is never easy going from a contender (Milwaukee) to a dumpster fire (Baltimore) in the middle of a season. Despite going through what was likely a traumatic experience, Villar performed very well for the Orioles. Villar hit eight homers in 54 games, compared to six in 87 games with the Brewers. He is an athletic second baseman, allowing him to make plays a lot of players struggle with. Villar could end up being one of the better players for the Orioles over the course of a full season.

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26. Devon Travis — Toronto Blue Jays

Devon Travis has long been considered one of Toronto’s most exciting prospects. His first two stints in the Majors were very successful. Appearing in 163 games between ’15-16, Travis slashed .301/.342/.469 with 19 HR and 85 RBI. The Palm Beach native also provided great defense for the Jays. Unfortunately, Travis has struggled to remain healthy. He has appeared in only 153 games since the beginning of ’17, and his performance has dipped mightily. Travis’ power numbers in ’18 were similar to his breakout ’15 campaign, but he failed to make nearly as much contact. Travis has All-Star potential, but he needs to regain his confidence and find consistency at the plate.

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25. Josh Harrison — Detroit Tigers

After eight seasons in Pittsburgh, Josh Harrison has made the switch to the American League. Harrison’s arrival in Detroit has pushed Niko Goodrum to the bench. A two-time All-Star, Harrison is seeking to redeem himself following the worst year of his career (since becoming a full-time starter in ’14.) Harrison has always been a solid player, though his BA has dropped each of the past four seasons. A lifetime .277 hitter, Harrison should provide the Tigers with steady production near the top of the order. A capable defender, Harrison has always been reliable in the field. From ’16-17, Harrison saved 16 defensive runs while playing second and third base.

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24. Ian Kinsler — San Diego Padres

Ian Kinsler may have been a member of the World Champion Red Sox a year ago, but he must be eager to prove he is still an above-average player after two costly blunders put the Dodgers back in the series last fall. Kinsler’s performance at the plate fell yet again in ’18 — as his BA fell to .240 after hitting .296 only two years prior. While his ability to hit may be tailing off, his defense remains superb. In capturing his third Gold Glove, Kinsler saved 10 defensive runs for the Angels before being traded to Boston.

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23. Starlin Castro — Miami Marlins

It is hard to believe that Starlin Castro is entering his 10th season and is only approaching 29 years of age. A four-time All-Star, Castro remains a good player. He consistently hits around .280 and has plenty of pop in his bat. His first season in Miami wasn’t up to par with his two years with the Yankees, but Castro was a constant presence for the Marlins. Castro provides steady defense — he has come a long way since his first few years in the pros — and is very durable. Alongside Curtis Granderson and Neil Walker, Castro will be tasked with leading a young group of Marlins.

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22. Jason Kipnis — Cleveland Indians

Entering his age-32 season, Jason Kipnis will strive to make more contact for the Tribe. Despite hitting 18 HR and driving in 75 runs, Kipnis’ average dropped to a career-worst .230. He no longer performs like a two-time All-Star, but Kipnis does enough to earn an everyday spot in the lineup. Kipnis is somewhat limited defensively. Though his nine errors don’t jump off the screen, he has been a pedestrian defender for the past two seasons according to advanced stats.

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21. Dustin Pedroia — Boston Red Sox

Pedroia coming in at No. 21 is a case of wishful thinking on my end. 35 years old and coming off a lost season, it would be reasonable to consider the former MVP washed. The last time we saw Pedroia on the field for an extended run was in ’17. In 105 games that year, Pedroia slashed .293/.369/.392. The season before, .318/.376/.449. It is unknown how much Pedroia can play, let alone what he will be able to do both in the box and in the field. Pedroia should think about calling it quits if he can’t get through the year, but until then I’ll give him one last chance to remind us what he’s capable of.

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20. Joe Panik — San Francisco Giants

Like Pedroia, Joe Panik is looking to come back strong following an injury-riddled season. After starting the year with two homers against the Dodgers — both coming in 1-0 victories — Panik appeared ready for a big year at the plate. Instead, he only hit two more homers and had his worst marks in the box since ’16. Despite struggling with injuries and consistency, Panik continued to pace the National League in strikeout rate. Panik whiffed in just 7.7 percent of his plate appearances — his third-straight year leading the league. Barring good fortune, Panik could have a big year. Coupled with an encouraging approach at the plate, the Giants’ second baseman is steady defensively.

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19. Kolten Wong — St. Louis Cardinals

If the Cardinals make a run at the World Series this year, Kolten Wong could end up being a difference-maker. The Hawaii native is fresh off one of the best defensive performances in all of baseball last season. In addition to committing only nine errors, Wong posted a +12 Rtot and +19 Rdrs. He posted a 2.3 dWAR, shattering his previous high of 1.2. Where Wong needs to improve the most, however, is at the plate. A career .255 hitter, Wong tallied only 88 hits in ’18. He may never be a masher, but Wong needs to take the next step if he wants to maximize his career.

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18. Rougned Odor — Texas Rangers

Entering his sixth season with the Rangers, Odor is in a good place heading into the ’19 campaign. After barely hitting over .200 (.204) in ’17, the Rangers’ second baseman recovered nicely to the tune of a .253 BA last season. Despite hitting 12 less homers, Odor’s season was a large improvement. He reached base at a far higher rate and became a more complete hitter. Odor also had a great year defensively. He tied a career-low with nine errors, and posted career-best figures in Rtot (+11) and defensive runs saved (10). If Odor can continue to improve his plate discipline, an All-Star appearance isn’t far off for the fiery Venezuelan.

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17. Wilmer Flores — Arizona Diamondbacks

Wilmer Flores coming in at No. 17 is a perfect example of how deep the second base position is entering ’19. Flores will likely remain a background character for much of his career, but the 27-year-old is a solid professional. A consistently-decent hitter, Flores sports a lifetime .262 BA. He is capable of providing some pop — averaging 15 HR per season since ’15 — and frequently puts the ball in play. Flores has never struck out more than 63 times in a season. He does a good enough job defensively to not warrant concern. Although he is yet to post a positive dWAR mark, Flores is far from a liability in the field.

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16. Adam Frazier — Pittsburgh Pirates

Frazier is an interesting player. He is the rare lefty hitter who fares well against left-handed pitching. He has a higher career average against lefties (.286) than righties (.279). However, almost all of his power has come against RHP. 72-of-76 career XBH have come against right-handed foes. Frazier has been remarkably consistent through two seasons. The Pirate doesn’t strikeout often and reaches base a healthy amount for a young player. Splitting time between four positions a year ago, Frazier saved seven defensive runs and generally fielded his position well. Between Frazier and shortstop Kevin Newman, Pittsburgh has plenty to be excited about in the coming years.

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15. Mike Moustakas — Milwaukee Brewers

Moustakas slotting in smack-dab in the middle of the second base rankings speaks more to the uncertainty of a position change than to Moustakas’ ability as a player. Moose has appeared in over 1,000 games throughout his career, and has spent all but four games (not including games in which he was the DH) at third base. Moose is steady enough at third that the Brewers believe he will be able to make a rather smooth transition to second. There is no guarantee he stays in the middle infield, but he will be given plenty of time to make the spot his own. The two-time All-Star immediately becomes one of the top sluggers at the position — as evidenced by his 56 HR since ’17.

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14. Dee Gordon — Seattle Mariners

After beginning last season in the outfield for the Mariners, Dee Gordon returned to second following Robinson Cano’s PED suspension. Gordon’s agility and arm strength are his two biggest allies in the field. A former Gold Glove winner, Gordon remains a reliable option up the middle. Gordon had a down year at the plate last year following a stellar effort in ’17. A three-time MLB-leader in steals, Gordon’s speed remains his ultimate weapon offensively. Dee stole 60 bases in ’17, and has topped 30 the past five years.

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13. Jurickson Profar — Oakland Athletics

Will this year finally be the year we see Profar breakthrough? A highly-touted prospect ever since his scintillating performance at the Little League World Series in ’04, Profar enjoyed his first substantial run of playing time last year in Texas. Despite debuting in ’12 at the age of 19, Profar has been shuffled in and out of the lineup up until last year. Profar, now 26, appeared in 146 games last year, slashing a career-best .254/.335/.458 with 20 HR and 77 RBI. With no fears of losing playing time in Oakland, Profar is a sneaky candidate to make a name for himself this year.

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12. César Hernández — Philadelphia Phillies 

The ’18 season was a bit of a mixed bag for Hernández. He set career-highs with 15 HR, 60 RBI, 19 SB, and 95 BB — all impressive marks from a second baseman. However, he also whiffed a career-high 155 times and saw his average drop from .294 to .253. Hernández’s offense far surpasses his performance in the field. When it comes to flashing the leather, Hernández doesn’t fare so well. In addition to committing 12 errors, the Phillies second baseman posted an atrocious -12 Rdrs. With Bryce Harper now in the middle of Philly’s lineup, Hernández should post even better numbers at the dish in ’19.

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11. Jonathan Schoop — Minnesota Twins

When the Brewers failed to land Manny Machado at the trade deadline last season, they turned to Jonathan Schoop. Unfortunately for both parties, Schoop struggled immensely in Milwaukee. He slashed .202/.246/.331 over 46 regular season games, and only tallied eight XBH after notching 36 with Baltimore in 85 games. Schoop didn’t enjoy his time in the field, either, but he remains a top-talent at the position. He has the ability to hit 30+ homers and be one of the focal points of Minnesota’s offense in ’19.

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10. Brian Dozier — Washington Nationals

Much like Schoop, Brian Dozier floundered down the stretch after being acquired by the Dodgers. Dozier wasn’t having a good year as it was with the Twins, but he hit a pathetic .182 over 47 games in Los Angeles. Nonetheless, Dozier is only two seasons removed from finishing 11th for the AL MVP. Dozier posted his lowest strikeout rate since ’14, but had tough luck on balls he put in play. ’18 was a year to forget, but Dozier is more than capable of bouncing back in a big way for the Nationals.

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9. Ben Zobrist — Chicago Cubs

Addison Russell’s ongoing legal problems have left the Cubs positional rotations in flux. Javier Baez will be making the move from second to shortstop, leaving Ben Zobrist to man second to start the season. Luckily for the Cubs, Zobrist was great at second last season. In 63 appearances, Zobrist had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage and saved two defensive runs. The 37-year-old was also great at the plate — totaling 139 hits and slashing .305/.378/.440 in 139 games.

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8. Joey Wendle — Tampa Bay Rays

Joey Wendle is near the top of the list when it comes to unknown good players. Being a rookie and playing in Tampa Bay certainly doesn’t help, but Wendle will be a known commodity sooner rather than later. Playing in 139 games for the Rays, Wendle slashed .200/.354/.435 with 33 doubles. At one point last year, Wendle slashed .350/.405/.536 over a 50-game stretch. He is a versatile defender — started games at five positions last year — but is at his best at second. Wendle committed four errors in 101 games, and finished the year with a +11 Rtot and saved five defensive runs at second. If the Rays keep winning in ’19, Wendle will be a big reason why.

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7. Chris Taylor — Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers’ 2017 version of Max Muncy, Chris Taylor regressed slightly in ’18. His BA, OBP, and SLG all dropped — mainly due to an unsightly 178 strikeouts. Despite not living up to the standard he set two years ago, Taylor generated a 4.1 WAR last year. Taylor’s versatility defensively is a huge boon for the Dodgers. He is able to play all three positions in the outfield, as well as every position in the infield — catcher being the lone exception. Ultimately, due to the Dodgers depth, Taylor must perform well to hold onto an everyday spot in the lineup.

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6. Gleyber Torres — New York Yankees

The Yankees have found a new franchise-caliber player in Gleyber Torres. Torres earned an invitation to the All-Star Game as a rookie in ’18. Torres needs to work on his defensive game if he wants to truly become one of the best players in baseball. While not bad, he is simply average at fielding his position at this point in his career. At the plate, there isn’t much to complain about. At 21 years old, Torres hit 24 HR and slashed .271/.340/.480. The one area the Yankees would like to see improvement is making more consistent contact. 122 strikeouts as a 21-year-old rookie isn’t awful, but it’s certainly not great.

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5. Ozzie Albies — Atlanta Braves

Albies will be a force in the National League for many, many, years to come. Entering his age-22 season, Albies is on track to being the best second baseman in baseball in short order. To start last year, Albies looked like an MVP player. The last two months of the season were a slog, but he showed the type of potential that any team would love to have. A switch-hitter, Albies fares much better against lefties — .335 vs. LHP, .231 vs. RHP. The young Brave also stood out as a defender. He finished the campaign with a .985 Fld%, a +4 Rtot, and +8 Rdrs.

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4. Scooter Gennett — Cincinnati Reds

Scooter. What a name. What a player. Gennett has really seen his career takeoff in Cincinnati. In two years with the Reds, Gennett is slashing .303/.351/.508 with 50 HR and 189 RBI. He deservedly earned his first All-Star nod in ’18, as he tallied 181 hits en route to a .310 BA. What keeps Gennett from nearing the mountain top is his defensive play. He is not awful, but he is certainly not a game-changer. His Rtot reached a career-worst -16 last year, piggybacking an 11 error effort at second. A free agent at years end, Gennett could be inline for a sizable contract if he has another All-Star caliber season.

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3. Whit Merrifield — Kansas City Royals

It is unfortunate to see really good players stuck with awful teams, and Merrifield is no exception. Merrifield had a terrific ’18. Not only did he lead the Majors in steals (45), but he also paced baseball with 192 hits — 43 doubles and 12 HR. On the year, Merrifield slashed .304/.367/.438. The 30-year-old also has shown promise while at second. He has saved 18 defensive runs playing second since debuting in ’16. Many teams will try to pry Merrifield from Kansas City should the Royals continue to play uninspired ball, but it won’t be easy.

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2. Robinson Canó — New York Mets

Canó’s truncated season was damaging to both his legacy and the Mariners season. Still, despite being suspended 80 games, Canó proved he remains one of the best second basemen in the game. Albeit in only 80 games, Canó slashed .303/.374/.471 with 10 HR and 22 doubles. Despite his advanced age, Canó still graded out well as a defender last season. Canó committed a lone error and finished with a +8 Rtot and +4 Rdrs. It will be fascinating to see Canó adjust to National League pitching after spending his entire career in the American League.

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1. José Altuve — Houston Astros

Even in a season in which injuries visibly hindered his performance, Altuve registered a .316/.386/.451 line. Since ’14, Altuve’s worst batting average is .313. He has posted four-straight 200+ hit seasons, led the AL in steals twice, and posted the best BA in baseball twice. Altuve is simply incredible. Altuve can hit anything, he can run, and he can field. The former MVP also has a Gold Glove to his name and rarely makes mistakes. Altuve is a lock for Cooperstown.

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