I don’t have much to say about second basemen. Does anyone know who is good at turning the double play and who isn’t? That’s a position specific type of item that I’d like the answer to. By the way, these numbers aren’t rankings. I’m just making comments on these guys still.
1. Chase Utley. To say dual threat would be an understatement. And I hear that he’s hotter than Derek Jeter.
2. Dustin Pedroia. He reminds me a bit of Pete Rose; which is actually good in this context.
3. Brandon Philips. Power/speed combo guy. He can field, too.
4. Mike Fontenot. Dreck.
5. David Eckstein. Not really my type of guy, but here’s what one of my readers had to say about him.
“I have always found it immensely pleasurable to watch David Eckstein play baseball. There probably isn’t a ballplayer alive who couldn’t benefit from adapting something Eckstein does to his own game. (The last guys I remember who were like this were Ozzie Smith and Tony Fernandez). I hope Aaron Hill absorbed a lot of the lessons visible in Eckstein’s play while he was able to play with him this year – noted the furious commitment (to the moment and to the cause of winning) that carries ordinary players and ordinary teams to the top of the heap.
That said, Eckstein is not a major league shortstop anymore and since he still delivers value with the bat he really should be playing second base (presumably with the D-Backs he will). It’s been difficult to watch Eckstein struggle to make his body respond to the demands of a position it can no longer handle. I imagine Eckstein could still play a very fine second base… his feet are definitely not too slow, his footwork is still very fine and his arm, now a total liability at short, is plenty good enough for second.
Much like Mike Bordick before him, David Eckstein was an utter class act and the great thing about his time here is that he’s undoubtedly made tens of thousands of more fans for life. Players like David Eckstein actually deserve the hero worship that people give to athletes. I say that without knowing a thing about his personal life (he could bite the heads of baby rabbits for all I care); I mean he plays baseball like a religious mystic in the throes of a frenzied ecstasy.”
1. Hanley Ramirez. Okay, he IS #1.
2. Jose Reyes. Back when the Mets were in the playoffs the crowd at Shea sounded like they were at a soccer match when he came to bat. He gets points for that, but he’s exciting when healthy anyways.
3. Derek Jeter. Hypothetical: Let’s say that the War of The Worlds really took place and the Martians captured New York and spent a little R and R afterwards taking in games at Yankee Stadium. Never having seen baseball before, would they gravitate towards Jeter like the broadcasters do, or has his popularity bred more popularity? Jeter did have two of the bigger highlight reel moments of the last decade: his flip to the catcher to put out a non-sliding Jeremy Giambi during the ’01 ALDS and his dive in the Fenway boxseats in July of ’04 as Garciaparra watched from the bench.
4. Asdrubal Cabrera. No impression of him either way, but I wanted to type his Carthaginian name. As a second sacker, he had an unassisted triple play.
5. Ryan Theriot. Dreck.
6. Rafael Furcal. Has an UATP on his resume. And, he did it on ESPN.
7. Troy Tulowitzki. Another guy who’s turned three on his own. While researching this piece, I realized that these were most common in the ’20s and the aughts. Makes sense, when you think of it, a lot of baserunners in those decades. But why were they non-existent in the ’30s?
Well, that’s it for now. Next time, I’ll tackle the Hot Corner.