We continue our position by position rankings throughout the division to see how Arizona Diamondbacks players stack up with the rest of the National League West at each spot. Hopefully, we can determine which team have the best rosters overall and which team has the best chance to win this competitive division in 2014. Second base isn’t exactly a depth-filled position in the West. It doesn’t contain a superstar and most of the second baseman in the division are just trying to find their way in the game. Despite all of this there is a great mix of young talent and veteran presence within the West. Without further ado, here is the rankings of the second baseman from worst to first:
5. Colorado Rockies: The Rockies have two options at second base. DJ LeMahieu played 90 games at the position last season with just three errors. D.J’s strongest asset to a team is his flawless defense. He doesn’t give a team a lot of production at the plate. Last season, he hit .280 with just two home runs. He hit .305 and drove in eight runs last September which was his strongest offensive month. The other option is Josh Rutledge. When Troy Tulowitzki was injured in 2012, Rutledge had an impressive rookie season hitting .274 and smacking 18 home runs. However, in 2013 he took a step back hitting .235 and was sent down twice during the season, something pretty unthinkable after such a great rookie campaign. Tulo is ahead of him at shortstop so if he doesn’t win the competition at second, he could be traded or sent down.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers lost Mark Ellis in the offseason and now will bank on another Cuban free agent to provide a spark in an already packed Dodger lineup. Los Angeles signed Cuban sensation Alexander Guerrero to a four year, $28 million dollar contract and are counting on instant success. The problem is he isn’t proven and success at the Major League level against the best pitchers in the world isn’t guaranteed. Just like Yasiel Puig, they will hope he can have success and turn into the second baseman of the future. In the Cuban league he hit 21 home runs and slugged .576. For a power hitter he actually struck out less than he walked which for a young player is impressive and it shows that unlike Puig he has some control at the plate. He has the potential to be great. If it doesn’t work out Dee Gordon would be a good replacement.
3. San Francisco Giants: The Giants are blessed to have a leader and reliable veteran at second base in Marco Scutaro. Throughout his career he has been a consistent hitter, always finding a way to put the ball in play and get on base. In 2012, he finished third in the National League in hits and won the 2012 NLCS MVP after an impressive October proving to be a great mid season acquisition for the eventual world champion Giants. He provides great veteran leadership at the top of the lineup and has a great glove. The key will be for him to stay healthy. He missed most of 2013 with a pinkie injury but he is fully healthy for 2014.
2. San Diego Padres: When San Diego drafted Jedd Gyorko they were getting a third baseman. However last season as a rookie with the Padres he made the transition to second base and it was very simple transition as he made only 4 errors in 502 chances at second base. His .992 fielding percentage was the best ever posted by a rookie at second. At the plate, he hit 23 home runs and drove in a team high 63 runs and finished 6th in the rookie of the year voting.
1. Diamondbacks: Despite an injury riddled 2013, Aaron Hill has the best bat in the division among second baseman. Overall, Hill is a .273 hitter but can provide some pop and production; he has won two Silver Slugger awards in his career including one with the Snakes. He fields his position very well. He posted a .995 fielding percentage and over the past three seasons he has hit near .300. He simply is one of the most consistent second baseman in baseball. Hill should have a bounce back year and get back to his 2011 and 2012 form creating a very dangerous middle of the lineup of Paul Goldschmidt, Mark Trumbo, Hill, Martin Prado, and he can bounce back Miguel Montero. I believe that at the end of this season we will once again be talking about Aaron Hill has one of the best second baseman in the game.