Ladies and Gentlemen: 30 days, 30 MLB position rankings. Nine positions and the top starting pitcher ranked from each team in three parts each. Each player on the list is based on who the projected starter is for a team for the 2020 season by position. On day seven of this series, we’ll look at MLB second basemen ranked 30-21.
Check out my previous rankings from this series:
30. Isan Diaz, Miami Marlins
2019: 49 games, .173/.259/.307 splits, .566 OPS, 5 Home Runs, 23 RBIs
The second base position is a weak one across the MLB, and Isan Diaz of the Miami Marlins takes the bottom spot. Making his major league debut last year, Diaz struggled mightily at the plate, hitting well under .200. However, without much organizational depth, Diaz should get the first crack at being the everyday starting second baseman for Miami.
29. Tony Kemp, Oakland Athletics
2019: 110 games, .212/.291/.380 splits, .671 OPS, 8 Home Runs, 29 RBIs
A career backup, Tony Kemp was having the best year of his career in 2019 before getting traded to Chicago. Without a clear option at second, the A’s made a move to acquire Kemp during the offseason. If Kemp struggles, Franklin Barreto may get the chance for more playing time in 2020.
28. Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals
2019: 103 games, .240/.276/.325 splits, .601 OPS, 2 Home Runs, 30 RBIs
Whit Merrifield may also play second base for Kansas City, but for the sake of my list, he’ll appear on the center-field ranking. Nicky Lopez struggled mightily in his first MLB season, failing to make any impact across 103 games. Defensively, Lopez was below league-average as well with a -2 Rdrs. If Lopez struggles, the Royals may move Whit Merrifield to second, with Brett Phillips and Bubba Starling playing center field.
27. Mauricio Dubon, San Francisco Giants
2019: 30 games, .274/.306/.434 splits, .740 OPS, 4 Home Runs, 9 RBIs
After Joe Panik was DFA’d by the Giants in August, Mauricio Dubon got the opportunity to play. While he has shown some flashes of potential, Dubon simply hasn’t shown enough at the MLB level to rank him higher. It will be interesting to see how he performs in 2020 as San Francisco’s projected starter.
26. Shed Long Jr., Seattle Mariners
2019: 42 games, .263/.333/.454 splits, .787 OPS, 5 Home Runs, 15 RBIs
Seattle still has veteran Dee Gordon on the roster, but it appears Shed Long Jr. will get the chance to be the Mariners’ everyday second baseman. Not only does Long have an awesome name, but he showed he might have potential at the MLB level. During September of last season, Long turned it on, posting an .855 OPS with four home runs that month. He’ll also be able to steal some bases here and there. It will be interesting to see if he takes advantage of the opportunity to get regular playing time.
25. Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs
2019: 20 games, .282/.305/.436 splits, .741 OPS, 3 Home Runs, 17 RBIs
Back in February, I listed Nico Hoerner on my list of breakout infield candidates for 2020. Between Hoerner, Ian Happ, David Bote, Jason Kipnis, and Daniel Descalso, the Cubs will likely have several different guys at second next year. However, none has a higher ceiling than the 23-year-old Hoerner. He likely won’t hit over 20 home runs, but projects as an Ian Kinsler type of player who can play solid defense and bat .300.
24. Leury Garcia, Chicago White Sox
2019: 140 games, .279/.310/.357 splits, .688 OPS, 8 Home Runs, 40 RBIs
Yolmer Sanchez earned a gold glove at second base for Chicago last year but was released by the team in November. As a result, utilityman Leury Garcia projects to be the starting second baseman. Garcia’s low ranking can be justified by one statistic: he struck out 139 times while walking only 21 times. Honestly, that’s tough to do. If Garcia struggles, prospect Nick Madrigal may get the chance to play.
23. Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates
2019: 152 games, .278/.336/.417 splits, .752 OPS, 10 Home Runs, 50 RBIs
Adam Frazier is not a horrible player but doesn’t do much of anything to stand out on a bad Pirates team. He’ll likely hit around ten home runs in a full season while hitting between .270 and .280. Defensively he’s above league average and was a gold glove finalist in 2019. If Frazier struggles, Cole Tucker or Jose Osuna may get the chance to play second for Pittsburgh in 2020.
22. Gavin Lux, Los Angeles Dodgers
2019: 23 games, .240/.305/.400 splits, .705 OPS, 2 Home Runs, 9 RBIs
Here’s the thing: I do not doubt that 22-year-old Gavin Lux has the potential to be a top-ten second baseman. However, with only 23 MLB games under his belt, I can’t rank him much higher than 23. Lux destroyed Triple-A in 2020, but it didn’t translate to the major league level. If Lux struggles, utilityman Chris Taylor will likely be the next guy in line to play second base.
21. Cesar Hernandez, Cleveland Indians
2019: 161 games, .279/.333/.408 splits, .741 OPS, 14 Home Runs, 71 RBIs
After spending the last seven years in Philadelphia, Cesar Hernandez signed with the Indians after Jason Kipnis left for Chicago. Hernandez is not a horrible player but is more the epitome of league averageness. He likely won’t hit more than 15 home runs or steal more than 15 bases, but he won’t hurt your team either. In the field, Hernandez is a bit below league average at a -3 Rdrs in 2019. It will be interesting to see how he performs with a change of scenery.
Come back tomorrow for day eight of my MLB Rankings!
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