Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Friday, June 30, 2006

All-Star Game Thoughts #4 - Second Base

Phew...I've gotten far, far behind on this whole "All-Star Game Thoughts" series. So here goes. In the next hour or so, I'm going to attempt to finish off a discussion of who will win and who should win the starting positions in each league, along with who should get consideration as the second and third players at each position in each league. Then, sometime tomorrow, I intend to post my final All-Star team rosters for each league, taking into consideration things like the "every team gets an All-Star" provision. On Sunday, the All-Stars will officially be selected, and then the voting for the last player's in will begin in earnest. It should be an exciting 11 days until the All-Star game, and I'm actually looking forward to the game this year, just to see how badly the American League beats up on the National League.

And so, without further ado, here are the projections for Second Base.

American League
1.) Robinson Cano - NYY (1,045,221) [.325/4/27]
2.) Mark Loretta - BOS (966,652) [.321/3/33]
3.) Tadahito Iguchi - CHW (849,149) [.296/8/37]
4.) Jose Lopez - SEA (516,501) [.283/9/57]
5.) Placido Polanco - DET (456,930) [.290/3/29]
* Brian Roberts - BAL [.313/1/30]
* Ronnie Belliard - CLE [.288/5/34]
* Mark Grudzielanek - KCR [.284/3/23]
* Mark DeRosa - TEX [.343/3/25]

Second Base is a pretty tough position in the American League this year, with some pretty solid numbers throughout the league. I can't disagree with any of the names in the top five here. It seems pretty clear that Robinson Cano will win the starting job with the team, and now the only real question is whether or not he'll be healthy enough to play after being placed on the Disabled List by the Yankees not long ago.

The question of who SHOULD get the starting nod is tough. Cano and Loretta are both hitting above .320 for teams that are in playoff contention, and it's hard to argue with either pick. Serious consideration has to be given to Seattle's Jose Lopez, however. He has 20 MORE RBI's than the next closest second-baseman, with 57. That kind of production out of a second sacker is incredibly valuable. In the end, though, I'll stick with the fans on this one and give the nod to Cano.

As for his backups, I can't go any farther than the two other names I've been talking about in this post. Mark Loretta and Jose Lopez should make the team as backups, with Loretta getting the start if Cano can't go.

One quick note on Mark DeRosa: He has played only 22 of his 54 games at 2B this season, having sort of played all over the place. However, those numbers can't be ignored, and this position is probably where he "belongs." If there were room, or if this were a down year for 2B, then I would definitely advocate for DeRosa.

National League
1.) Chase Utley - PHI (1,236,143) [.291/15/45]
2.) Craig Biggio - HOU (1,097,119) [.271/6/28]
3.) Jose Castillo - PIT (1,051,990) [.280/11/43]
4.) Jeff Kent - LAD (483,513) [.271/9/40]
5.) Marcus Giles - ATL (417,997) [.238/5/25]
* Todd Walker - CHC [.296/3/33]
* Brandon Phillips - CIN [.310/7/44]
* Jamey Carroll - COL [.329/3/13]
* Dan Uggla - FLA [.312/13/43]
* Rickie Weeks - MIL [.281/7/26]
* Hector Luna - STL [.318/3/14]
* Jose Vidro - WAS [.308/5/29]

Talk about options! There are some solid numbers being put up in the National as well as the American League. Maybe I just expect all second-baseman to hit around .270, but I have to admit that I'm impressed with the quality of players at this position right now.

So, who will win the starting job? Chase Utley has too big a league to cough up, so he'll get the nod and will be starting across the state from where he usually plays.

The only obviously bizarre pick by the fans is Marcus Giles and his .238 batting average. I can't really argue with the other names, but Biggio and Kent made it on this list based on past history, not this year. Vidro, Uggla and Phillips all deserve to be somewhere on the list.

Who SHOULD win the starting spot? Utley isn't a bad choice, but I think Florida's Dan Uggla should have won the job, since he's hitting for a higher average than Utley and has similar power and production numbers.

For that reason, Dan Uggla should join Utley on the squad as his backup, and Brandon Phillips should get an invitation as well.


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