Where’s the D’back advantage?
With almost half, 47 percent, of all games against division opponents this season, it’s vital to know what advantages you have against other teams in the division.
With that in mind, I’ll take a look at all eight fielding spots, the starting rotation, the bullpen and the coaching staff of those teams and rank them over the next month in “NL West primers” if you will.
This is the third of eleven posts as I take a look at second baseman. The first base primer is here.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks
Aaron Hill has been a marvel for the D’backs the past season and a half. When he was acquired from Toronto in 2011, he was hitting .225 with only six home runs and was getting on base at a horrifying clip of .270. However, after coming to the D’backs, he’s been awesome. In 2012, he hit .302/.360/.522 in 156 games. He essentially locked down second base and provided a stabilizing power bat in the lineup. The D’backs will need that even more this year as second base might be their biggest advantage in the division.
Marco Scutaro has always been a fairly consistent player throughout his career. He’s always around .280/.340/.400 with solid, not spectacular defense, at several positions. However, Outside of two-straight outstanding seasons in Toronto, 2008-09, Scutaro has never amassed more than 2.6 WAR. He’s a consistent yet limited player with some versatility. He’s probably much better than the next guy on our list….
Mark Ellis had his best years with the Oakland A’s from 2005 to 2010. During that time, he amassed 19 WAR as an above-average starter. However, he seemed to really take a nose dive after that in 2011 with the A’s and Rockies. In 2012, he was awesome for the Dodgers in the first half of the season, but like many of their players, he really fell off in the second half. He slugged .315 in 69 games for L.A. in the last three months of the season. Which guy will show up in 2013?
The next two slots is anyone’s guess really considering neither starter for the Rockies of Padres has much experience in the bigs. However, I happen to like Josh Rutledge – a third-round pick in 2010 – for the Rox. He hit .274/.306/.469 for Colorado in limited time – 291 plate appearances – in 2012. However, his minor-league numbers are more indicative of a higher average and on-base guy that has shown a little pop. He also came up through the minors as a short stop but showed he probably wasn’t good enough defensively for that spot in the majors. So the switch to second may do him well.
Logan Forsythe, a supplemental first-rounder in 2008, has in parts of the last two seasons for the Padres, accumulating a .254/.343/.390 slash line. He doesn’t have one tool that stands out, but is solid throughout. He won’t hit 20 home runs, though getting to 12 would be good, he won’t hit .300 or get on base at a .360 clip, but he’s the type of hitter and fielder that can be a big-league regular at second with the versatility to move around the infield. Despite being fifth on this list, the Padres could do much worse at second.