MLB's most valuable 2nd basemen in 2012

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Second base, the position of misfits. It includes players deemed to have too weak throwing arms for 3rd, who are too small for short, or just too damn scrappy to play anywhere else. Some teams consider it an offensive position, others a defensive one. This post will explore the best values that teams have gotten this year from the position.

Second base may be the hardest position in baseball to take stock of, as the skill-sets range widely. Some second basemen include: Darwin Barney, Dustin Pedroia, Daniel Murphy, Jamey Carroll and Robinson Cano. Those players feature assets ranging from defense, to left-handed power to nothing (unless we are counting grit and passion).

This article is going to explore the best values that team got this season from their second basemen (as of 10-1-12).

I began first by sorting out all qualified second baseman for the 2012 season, coming up with a list of 22 players seen in the table below. I then calculated $/WAR for all the players except Jemile Weeks (can't divide by zero, even I know that), as well as the average and the median for the set of numbers.

The average $/WAR for all second basemen is $1.638/WAR, with 11 second basemen placing as better than average values for the position, while 11 were less than average values for the position. Looking a bit closer into the numbers, one can see that of the 11 above-average-value players at the position, six of them posted better-than-average wRC+, with five of them checking out as below-average offensive players. Defensively, according to Fangraphs's Ultimate Zone Rating stat, nine of the 11 "good values" were above-average defensively.

Of the below-average values, six of the 11 players posted an wRC+ higher than 100. Defensively, five of the 11 "bad values" were above-average defensively according to UZR.

It would appear from looking at this data that second base is a position where value comes from defense, and therefore it is worth investing good money in a good defender such as Darwin Barney. But let's take one more look at the information before we jump to that conclusion.

Sorting by average salary, 12 of the players were below-average for the position ($4.85 mil). Of those 12 however, 10 had better than average $/WAR. This would point towards second base being a good position to focus on defense, and develop internally so that the team does not have to pay big money for a starting 2B.

In conclusion: second base is a metaphorical buffet of skills and assets, but presently the most cost-effective one is defense.

Name

Team

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG


wRC+

WAR

UZR

Salary (Mil)

$/WAR

Robinson Cano Yankees 681 30 0.306 0.373 0.531 142 7 8.2 14 2
Aaron Hill Diamondbacks 652 24 0.304 0.363 0.518 131 6 4 8 1.33
Ben Zobrist Rays 656 19 0.271 0.378 0.471 135 5.7 6.2 4.5 0.789
Dustin Pedroia Red Sox 614 15 0.288 0.344 0.446 111 4.2 9.5 8 1.9
Neil Walker Pirates 530 14 0.28 0.342 0.426 109 3.2 1.3 0.5 0.156
Brandon Phillips Reds 612 18 0.283 0.323 0.434 104 3.9 6.9 12.5 3.2
Ian Kinsler Rangers 718 19 0.26 0.329 0.429 100 3.2 -0.6 7 2.187
Jose Altuve Astros 623 7 0.291 0.341 0.402 107 1.9 -15.6 0.48 0.252
Marco Scutaro - - - 672 7 0.305 0.346 0.403 97 2.5 -3.8 6 2.4
Dan Uggla Braves 626 19 0.219 0.347 0.385 101 3.5 2.3 13 3.71
Daniel Murphy Mets 597 6 0.293 0.335 0.408 103 1.9 -9.5 0.512 0.269
Rickie Weeks Brewers 669 20 0.229 0.327 0.396 100 1.6 -15.3 10 6.25
Jason Kipnis Indians 660 14 0.257 0.335 0.379 105 3.1 0.7 0.482 0.155
Danny Espinosa Nationals 649 17 0.25 0.317 0.407 97 4 14 0.506 0.1265
Omar Infante - - - 578 12 0.276 0.302 0.421 95 3.3 9.6 4 1.21
Howie Kendrick Angels 581 8 0.281 0.318 0.394 97 2.5 1.5 4.5 1.8
Kelly Johnson Blue Jays 574 15 0.224 0.312 0.359 86 0.5 -7 6.375 12.75
Jamey Carroll Twins 532 1 0.265 0.341 0.312 84 2.2 10.9 2.75 1.25
Gordon Beckham White Sox 577 16 0.235 0.297 0.373 77 0.8 -0.1 0.52 0.65
Darwin Barney Cubs 581 7 0.257 0.303 0.359 77 2.6 11.8 0.5 0.192
Jemile Weeks Athletics 511 2 0.221 0.305 0.304 74 0 -5.1 0.4825 none
Dustin Ackley Mariners 654 12 0.227 0.296 0.332 78 1.6 6.3 2.1 1.31
AVG 2.96 1.64 4.85 1.638













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