I will spare you from the description of what this list is ranking. Wait, no I won’t. I must make sure that there is no confusion with this list. Five best 2B, ranked in order, right now. Not taking into account what will happen in 2009, simply ranking them based on performance of the past few years especially, and based on their careers in their entirety. Each player in their description will include a number looking like such: .300/.350/.430. If you are for some reason not familiar with that it states in a slash .AVG/.OBP/.SLG. And the number is from 2008, not for their entire career.
- Chase Utley: .292/.380/.535: Chase Utley might be as complete a player as complete players come. Regarded as one of the better defenders at the position, even though Utley lacks a Gold Glove. He is among the absolute best players in the game. Around three years ago, a Yankee fan said I was crazy for stating that Chase Utley was better than Robinson Cano. Who is laughing now? He is. That is who. Utley does play in a park that benefits his numbers, but it isn’t as though he is slacking much on the road. I do wonder how much he benefits from playing in Philly, because Utley on the road slugs below .500, while at home his slugging is well over .500. Regardless, Utley is the best 2B in baseball, and what separates him from the rest at the position is, well, A LOT.
- Dustin Pedroia: .326/.376/.493: Ok, here is the thing. Pedroia will probably never, ever, win another MVP in his career. I would definitely bet against it and give odds to whomever I am betting with. But all Pedroia has done throughout his entire career is produce, at every level, and prove people wrong, at every level. The thing that separates Pedroia from the next player, in my opinion, is his defense. Fenway has definitely helped Pedroia, his batting average is 51 percentage points higher at home then on the road. But Pedroia plays good (maybe better) defense anywhere the game is played. And although Fenway probably aids his power a little, he has still batted .309 on the road over his career, with an above average OBP. Dustin Pedroia could be shifted down a spot, and I would not have a problem, but I am going to slot him in here.
- Ian Kinsler: .319/.375/.517: Had Kinsler not been injured last season, he would have been a legitimate MVP candidate, even if he did play for a team out of playoff contention (which I don’t really believe in anyway). Kinsler isn’t as good as Pedroia with the glove, but Kinsler is no slack with the stick. The only thing that concerns me a little is Kinsler’s Home/Road split. I know, story of the top second baseman, maybe I am placing too much emphasis on the dreaded home/road split. But Kinsler has batted only .259 on the road with a league average OBP over his career. And his slugging dips from .525 to .422. Kinsler is a very good second baseman, but I think my reasoning for ranking him behind Pedroia has some legitimacy.
- Brian Roberts: .296/.378/.450: Roberts is a “two-way player.” A good defender and a good hitter. Roberts is far from spectacular at the plate, but for a second baseman he has really hit pretty well in three of the last four seasons. I almost think that Roberts is underrated at this point, to some. But he contiunes to play well, even though he was suspected of PED use and all that. Sure, Roberts had a year in 2005, OPS+ 139, that was sort of an aberration, but even though he hasn’t been quite that good, he has still had three pretty good seasons, out of four, since then.
- Robinson Cano: .271/.305/.410: What Robinson Cano lacked last season, he made up for in previous great seasons. I know that short term memory can be difficult to shred, but Cano had consecutive seasons of OPS+’s 120 or greater before 2008. His problem is swinging too often, but he kills the ball when he is seeing it well. And I firmly believe he will bounce back and become an average player again this season. He will never take walks, but he will hit a ton.