We’ve ranked Catchers and First Basemen, now we’ll continue to move around the diamond. There are a ton of underrated players at second–a position that just doesn’t get enough credit. Props to the NL on its strong presence, as just three of the ten are AL players. Here’s the Top 10 Second Basemen in MLB:
2. Chase Utley, PHI – While it might be a surprise to see Utley anywhere but #1 on this list, a series of injuries have slowed this NL slugger. After back-to-back 30+ HR seasons, Utley played just 115 games last year. Now, this spring he’s already reporting tendinitis in his knee.
3. Dustin Pedroia, BOS – The 2008 AL MVP has an OPS+ of 127 last season. Problem is, he was only healthy enough to play 75 games. If he gets healthy, he’s going to be an on-base machine for the Red Sox.
4. Dan Uggla, ATL – Atlanta found the RH power hitter they needed by trading for Uggla, who has hit 30+ HRs in each of the last four seasons. The 30-year-old saw it all come together last year, when his average climbed to .287.
5. Ian Kinsler, TEX – Kinsler has some pop in his bat, but–excuse me if you’re tired of hearing this–he struggled with an ankle injury last season, and only played 103 games. When he’s healthy, he’s a deadly hitter in a strong lineup. His career .822 OPS is strong for a Second Baseman.
6. Rickie Weeks, MIL – Everyone knows he has had the skill set to be great, it was just a matter of time before it all came together. Well, last season it did. Weeks stayed healthy all year and ended with an OPS+ of 125. Milwaukee took note and signed him to a healthy extension.
7. Kelly Johnson, ARI – Always an intelligent hitter, his streaky nature never gelled in the Atlanta lineup. After a trade to the DBacks, Johnson was one of few bright spots on a bad team in 2010. His slash line (.284/.370/.496) was fantastic, and should continue to climb as he gains confidence.
8. Brandon Phillips, CIN – Full of intensity (remember his fight with Yadier Molina?), this Cincinnati All-Star doesn’t get on-base at a high rate, but he does pack a good deal of power for a middle infielder. Hitting in the same line-up as Joey Votto and Jay Bruce also gives him the chance to rack up a high Runs total.
9. Neil Walker, PIT – There’s no doubt in my mind this 25-year-old will climb the list at a rapid rate in the near future. In his 110-game rookie season last year, Walker had a strong debut OPS of .811. As he gets more comfortable with Major League pitching, that’s only going to get better.
10. Orlando Hudson, SD – Don’t let the fact that he’s playing for his fourth team in four years fool you, the O-Dog is a solid player. Though he doesn’t hit for much power, he’s great with his glove and has a .358 OBP over the last five seasons.
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