Top 10 2B – Review

My DVR is more interested in doing what it wants rather than what I program it to do so I didn’t get a chance to watch the top 10 second basemen show over the weekend as it did not record Friday night. The replay schedule by the MLBN was odd as they re-showed the CF episode four or five times on Saturday and Sunday with no 2B replays thrown in. It is water under the proverbial bridge, though, since I have now seen it and I can present their lists to you compared to mine.

Harold Reynolds was the guest analyst and on Monday’s Clubhouse Confidential, we actually got a look at Brian Kenny’s personal list, too. As I mentioned in the CF post, Bill James is contributing his lists this year, too. Let’s start with MLBN’s machineamajig, The Shredder.

Shredder (my rank):

10. Daniel Murphy (UR)

9. Jason Kipnis (UR)

8. Howard Kendrick (6)

7. Neil Walker (8)

6. Dan Uggla (UR)

5. Brandon Phillips (4)

4. Ian Kinsler (5)

3. Chase Utley (9)

2. Dustin Pedroia (2)

1. Robinson Cano (1)

Three disagreements between my list and The Shredder, just like with the CF list. Jason Kipnis isn’t surprising as I mentioned how close he was to making my list, but ended up at 11 when it was all said and done. I’ll spoil something right here and tell you that this is the only one of the four MLBN-related lists with Daniel Murphy. He was never a consideration for me. He was really good in 2011 (in 109 games), but basically average in 2012. I think The Shredder was way off here.

Even though he wasn’t mentioned with Jose Altuve and Kipnis in my just-missed blurb, Dan Uggla was close. For me, there were just too many more complete players to find room for him especially as we get further and further away from his excellent 2010 season. His 2011 was salvaged by a big second half and the fact that his power was always there (career-high 36 HR), but last year he flopped again and only hit 19 homers.

Where the hell is Ben Zobrist? We know from the CF episode that they are considering where guys are slated to play for 2013 because they included Shin-Soo Choo on their list. And Zobrist actually played second base for 37 percent of his games last year with plenty of experience before 2012, too. Terrible omission.

Harold Reynolds (my rank):

10. Chase Utley (9)

9. Danny Espinosa (7)

8. Rickie Weeks (UR)

7. Aaron Hill (10)

6. Howard Kendrick (6)

5. Marco Scutaro (UR)

4. Ian Kinsler (5)

3. Dustin Pedroia (2)

2. Brandon Phillips (4)

1. Robinson Cano (1)

Only two differences between Reynolds and myself, should I be concerned? Ours were the only lists with Espinosa, too. We were more or less in lockstep on our agreements, too. I rarely agree with Reynolds’ ideas when he’s on Clubhouse Confidential or MLB Tonight so that’s why I find it so interesting how much we agree here.

Where the hell is Zobrist?

Bill James (my rank):

10. Dan Uggla (UR)

9. Rickie Weeks (UR)

8. Jason Kipnis (UR)

7. Aaron Hill (10)

6. Chase Utley (9)

5. Marco Scutaro (UR)

4. Brandon Phillips (4)

3. Ian Kinsler (5)

2. Dustin Pedroia (2)

1. Robinson Cano (1)

OK, I admit it, I should’ve had Kipnis on my list, but the Scutaro love is horribly short-sighted. I guess his great 61 games with San Francisco (plus playoffs) eliminate his terrible 95 with Colorado. Oh, and his entirely nondescript, below average decade of performance prior to 2012. The fifth best second baseman in baseball? I’m a big-time James guy, but that’s just bad.

There were grumblings throughout the show from just about everyone who appeared on it that second base is this wasteland, but I’m just not seeing it. I didn’t even have Kipnis, Altuve, R.Weeks, Uggla, Scutaro, or Murphy on my list let alone Darwin Barney, who is arguably the best defender at the position, and other capable guys like Omar Infante, Dustin Ackley, or Kelly Johnson who all deserve a modicum of consideration if we are putting Scutaro on the list. This is simply not a thin position.

Where the hell is Zobrist?

Brian Kenny (my rank):

10. Marco Scutaro (UR)

9. Brandon Phillips (4)

8. Rickie Weeks (UR)

7. Neil Walker (8)

6. Jason Kipnis (UR)

5. Aaron Hill (10)

4. Ian Kinsler (4)

3. Chase Utley (9)

2. Dustin Pedroia (2)

1. Robinson Cano (1)

Kenny let me down. I thought for sure he’d remedy the problem. Alas, where the hell is Zobrist? For someone as stats-oriented as Kenny who has touted Zobrist’s value in the advanced metrics, I’m surprised he missed him. There’s really no excuse for it from any of them. He wasn’t even mentioned on the show.

That’s a pretty aggressive ranking for Hill, but Kenny buys his 2012. He’s shown the power on more than one occasion before 2012 and the speed emerged in 2011 so it’s just a matter of whether he hits somewhere near his .302 from 2012 or the .225 he hit from 2010-2011. Obviously I liked a few guys more, but I don’t bring this up to quibble with it, rather to highlight it as a discussion point.

These lists caused some consternation among one All-Star second sacker and he took to Twitter to voice his concerns in a most-hilarious way:

I wonder if Phillips objects to my #4 ranking of him. I had him #3 initially, but eventually landed with Zobrist a bit higher. I was bummed to see Phillips’ walk rate tumble a full two percentage points as it really sliced into his OBP. If he had walked 44 times like he has the last three years on average, his OBP would’ve jumped from .321 to .346 and his output would look quite a bit better since he essentially matched everything else from 2011.

As I mentioned in the CF review, my SP and RP top 10s are coming up later this week to prepare for Friday’s shows.

Where the hell is Zobrist?

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