Spring Training Teasers: Couch Side’s top five second basemen for 2012
We are well into the 2012 spring training season and continuing with our theme of previewing each position in the big leagues, Brett Murdock turns his attention to the second basemen. Here is what he has to say about the spot.
The diminutive player out of Arizona State may be small in stature, but is possibly the Red Sox’s most important player. He does a little bit of everything and plays with a fiery passion. Pedroia won the AL MVP in only his second full year in the bigs and is also a 3-time All-Star. Last year, he finished with a .307 average with a career high 21 home runs and a .990 fielding percentage, committing only seven errors in 722 defensive chances. He is probably the most complete second basemen in the game.
I am not a Yankees fan by any means, but even I can not doubt the ability of Robinson Cano. His offensive talent is through the charts and his consistent batting average and statistics back that up. In 2011, he hit .302 with 28 home runs and 118 runs batted in. The average and long bombs were down from past years, but his run production was up. He is a 3-time All-Star in the middle of his prime, playing on a team that has offensive power up-and-down the line-up. He falls below Pedroia because his fielding is not quite as good and because he’s a Yankee.
When the Cincinnati Reds surprisingly won the NL Central in 2010, it was in large part due to Phillips. The next season, Phillips stayed pretty much on point, with no drastic changes coming except in the batting average and OPS departments, where he improved by 25 and 48 points, respectively. Because of the relatively similar numbers, Phillips stays in the middle of the Top 5 but he is a superb defender, which keeps him from falling lower. With many predicting the Reds to win the Central this year, look for Phillips to be a key cog once again.
Kinsler is one of those guys that you have heard of but because you don’t hear his name enough, its probably because he doesn’t do enough. He is one of the better power-hitting second basemen right now (32 dingers last season) but has fallen off in recent years. Not the best fielder but still a fairly good offensive weapon, Kinsler will need to step up this year if the Rangers want to win the AL West once again.
I’m pretty torn on Utley this year. His production has dropped off in recent years but I know its because of injuries. He’s going to be 33 years old this year and a lot of the offensive pressure will be put on his shoulders. I’m just not sure if he’ll able to produce like he did four and five years ago. However, he is still a big-name player on a World Series favorite and if pitchers aren’t careful, he’ll make you pay.