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The 5 Best Second Basemen in Baseball Today
At Second Base, Defense Comes First
Often times in baseball, little is expected from a second baseman in terms of offensive production. First and foremost, a second baseman needs to show exceptional skills with his glove and ability in the field.
MLB teams require solid defense up the middle of the diamond at the catcher, shortstop, center field and second base positions.
Therefore, a team often sacrafices a little offense for a sound defensive second basemen in the hopes that their first baseman or outfielders will carry the weight at the plate.
However, defense doesn't really pay the bills and in baseball, if you want to be considered one of the best at any position, you need to hit, and hit well.
The Best Players in Baseball Today:
The Best of the Best
Some of the best second basemen of all-time include Joe Morgan, Roberto
Alomar, Ryne Sandberg, Rod Carew, Craig Biggio and Jeff Kent.
With each passing baseball season, more and more second basemen are breaking the mold and showing exceptional ability both in the field and at the plate, which makes choosing the five best harder than you might expect.
Here are The 5 Best Second Basemen in Baseball Today:
2010 Baseball Award Winners:
5) Brandon Phillips
Brandon Phillips was part of one of the worst trades in baseball history. After being drafted by the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals) in 1999, Phillips, along with Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore, was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew in 2002.
In 2006, after four seasons with the Indians, Brandon Phillips was traded only miles away to the Cincinnati Reds. Four years later, in 2010, he, Joey Votto and a young, refurbished pitching staff would lead the Reds to their first division championship in decades.
Fast and Furious:
Phillips possesses a rare combination of power and speed, especially at second base, and has hit 20 HR and had 20 SB in four of his nine seasons, including 30 HR and 32 SB in 2007 with the Reds. Brandon Phillips is one of only five National League players to accomplish the 30/30 feat in the last five seasons, and one of 10 to do so in the last 10 seasons.
Of the hundreds of second basemen who have played in the NL, Phillips is the only one to ever have a 30/30 season.
In 2010, Brandon Phillips appeared in his first ever All-Star Game. No slouch in the field, he has won two NL Gold Glove Awards in his career.
Throughout his nine seasons in baseball, he has hit 112 HR, 442 RBI and scored 473 R, along with a .267 AVG, .316 OBP and .430 SLG. So far, his best season came in 2007 when he hit 30 HR, 94 RBI and scored 107 R. In that season, Phillips maintained a .288 AVG, .331 OBP and .485 SLG.
At only 29 years old, Brandon Phillips is still in the prime of his career and should continue to put up impressive numbers in the young, up-and-coming Cincinnati Reds lineup.
Who is the Best Second Baseman in Baseball Today?
4) Dan Uggla
After five seasons with the Florida Marlins in which he set the franchise record for home runs, Dan Uggla was traded to the Atlanta Braves, the team's NL East rival, immediately after the 2010 season and went on to sign a 5-yr. contract in excess of $60 million.
Flexing the Muscle:
Dan Uggla possesses more power than any other second basemen in baseball. Were it not for his short and stocky frame, you would probably expect him to play first base, as it is, he is a rare commodity at second base.
In 2010, Uggla became the first second baseman in baseball history to have four consecutive seasons with 30 or more home runs. But, with his power comes a price.
When it comes to fielding, Dan Uggla is somewhat below average. In fact, in his second All-Star Game appearance in 2008, he set a MLB record with three errors in the game.
He has appeared in two All-Star Games and won the NL Silver Slugger Award in 2010.
After five seasons in Major League Baseball, Uggla has hit 154 HR, 465 RBI and scored 499 runs. Throughout that time, he has a .263 AVG, .349 OBP and .488 SLG.
His best season was in 2010 when he hit 33 HR, 105 RBI. In that season, he finished with a ,287 AVG, .369 OBP and .508 SLG.
In Atlanta, Uggla will be a part of a much better lineup and should see his RBI and R opportunities increase, making him even more valuable as a second baseman.
Boston Red Sox Swag:
3) Dustin Pedroia
Sometimes great things come in small packages, as is the case with Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox. Listed at only 5'9'' and 180 lbs. in the team media guide, Pedroia possesses more baseball talent than a lot of 250-pound first basemen.
Pedroia is considered to have somewhat of a Napoleon Complex and does his best to put up numbers on the field in both the regular season and postseason that extend far above his stature.
In 2007, both he and the Red Sox rose above all other players and teams by winning the World Series Championship; the first for Pedroia and the second for the team in the decade.
Talkin' the Talk and Walkin' the Walk:
He has never shied away from the media and lets his mouth do quite a bit of talking, but, fortunately for Dustin Pedroia, he has the ability to back it up.
After only four full seasons in the MLB, he has won more awards than quite a few savvy veterans. In 2007, Pedroia won not only the World Series, but the AL Rookie of the Year as well.
Then, in the 2008 season, he won the Silver Slugger Award, Gold Glove Award and AL MVP Award. Thus far, Pedroia has been selected to three All-Star Games.
Dustin Pedroia has hit 54 HR, 253 RBI and scored 377 runs in his career. Over that time, he has maintained a .305 AVG along with a .369 OBP and .460 SLG. Undoubtedly, his best season was in 2008 when he hit 17 HR, 83 RBI and scored 118 runs. That season, Pedroia had a .326 AVG, .376 OBP and .493 SLG on is way to the MVP Award.
During the 2010 offseason, the Boston Red Sox signed Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, only improving the Red Sox lineup and Pedroia's stat projections.
At only 27 years old, expect continued success for Dustin Pedroia, not only at Fenway Park, but anywhere he steps on a baseball field.
2) Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano made his Major League debut in 2005 with the New York Yankees and has played second base for the storied franchise ever since.
Legend in the Making:
Named after legendary second basemen Jackie Robinson, Cano wears the number 24 in tribute to his namesake (the number 42 has been retired across all MLB teams).
In a lineup full of certain Hall of Fame players and somewhat aging All-Stars, Cano is one of the young up-and-comers in the Yankees lineup.
In 2009 he, along with the acquisition of CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, helped lead the team to its second World Series Championship of the decade and in 2010, no one on the team performed better.
Cano has been selected to two All-Star Games in his career. He has won two Silver Slugger Awards and one Gold Glove award at second base.
Since 2005, he has hit 116 HR, 503 RBI and scored 509 runs. During that time, he has maintained a .309 AVG. .347 OBP and .489 SLG. Without a doubt, his best season was 2010 when he hit 29 HR, 109 RBI and scored 103 runs along with a .319 AVG, .381 OBP and .489 SLG.
There are few better batting spots in Major League Baseball than fifth in the Yankees order where Cano currently resides, putting him in prime position to lead all second basemen in RBI for years to come.
1) Chase Utley
Let's cut to the Chase. When it comes to second basemen, no one in baseball is better than Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2009, the Sporting News named Utley the sixth best baseball player in the MLB and made the Sports Illustrated All-Decade Team at second base.
Utley made his first appearance in Major League Baseball in 2003 and platooned at second base for most of the 2004 season until the Phillies traded Placido Polanco and committed to Chase Utley as their full-time second baseman.
First Amongst Second Basemen:
Since then, he has helped lead the team to four consecutive NL East Championships in '07, '08', '09 and 10' along with a World Series Championship in 2008.
In the 2009 World Series, Utley tied Reggie Jackson for the most home runs in a World Series with five.
In his career, Chase Utley has been selected to five All-Star Games. He has won four NL Silver Slugger Awards and a Fielding Bible Award in 2010.
After eight seasons with the Phillies, he has hit 177 HR, 650 RBI and scored 677 runs along with a .293 AVG, .380 OBP and .514 SLG. His best season came in 2008 when he hit 33 HR, 104 RBI and scored 113 runs. During that season, Utley had a .292 AVG, .380 OBP and .535 SLG.
There is no sign of slowing down when it comes to the Philadelphia Phillies and the same could be said about Chase Utley. With many years ahead in his baseball career, expect Utley to end up somewhere among the all-time greats at the position.
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