Apr 20, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox third basemanBrock Holt
(26) steals second base past the tag of Baltimore Orioles second basemanJonathan Schoop
(6) during the third inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
The 2015 end-of-season second base rankings are quite surprising, and there are a lot of changes from the preseason rankings. Numerous breakout seasons by individual players helped transform the position in the division.
Again, the end-of-season rankings only include players who started at least 10 games at the position.
- Boston Red Sox – Dustin Pedroia, Brock Holt, Mookie Betts
- Baltimore Orioles – Jonathan Schoop, Ryan Flaherty, Jimmy Paredes
- New York Yankees – Stephen Drew, Brendan Ryan, Jose Pirela
- Toronto Blue Jays – Maicer Izturis, Ryan Goins, Steve Tolleson
- Tampa Bay Rays – Nick Franklin, Logan Forsythe, Tim Beckham
END OF SEASON
1. Boston Red Sox – Dustin Pedroia, Brock Holt, Josh Rutledge
I said in the preseason rankings that there wasn’t much left to say about Dustin Pedroia. And, when healthy, his offense was a stalwart for the Sox, and his defense was consistent as always.
However, for only the second time in his career, he played less than 100 games in a season. Pedroia still hit 12 home runs, had 111 hits and scored 46 runs. Pedroia also hit .291, just a little below his career average of .299.
But, the reason the Red Sox remain in first in the end of the season rankings is utilityman Brock Holt. Holt played 129 games for the Red Sox, and was an All-Star in 2015. He hit .280, with 45 RBIs and 56 runs. Holt started a game at every position other than catcher for the Red Sox, but started 49 games, his most at any position at second base. Holt only made nine errors all season, despite playing all of the different positions.
Now, the offensive numbers may not look fantastic, but you have to remember that these guys were hitting at or near the top of the Red Sox’ order, and parts of the Sox offense struggled in 2015.
A breakout year for Logan Forsythe moves the Rays from fourth in the preseason rankings all the way to second. Forsythe played in over 150 games, which is fantastic for a guy who was not even thought of as a starter heading into the season. Forsythe hit .281 with 17 home runs (one short of his career total before 2015), 33 doubles, 68 HRs, 69 runs and 240 total bases.
Beckham and Franklin both were less than stellar for the Rays, but Forsythe played so much at second and had such a good all-around season (he also stole nine bases) that he deserves the second-place ranking to end 2015.
The Jays’ second basemen won’t hit for power, but they found themselves two good pieces in 2015. Devon Travis was fantastic before he got hurt, hitting .304 with eight homers, 35 RBIs, 38 runs and a .859 OPS. He was the April Rookie of the Month before getting injured. And when you consider that he was acquired for Anthony Gose, and that Kevin Pillar became the Jays’ center fielder, it makes Travis look even better.
Goins had 45 RBIs, 52 runs and hit .250. But it was his defense, as shown by his defensive WAR of 1.8, that helps make him a very valuable player to the Jays. That dWAR was the 9th best in the American League in 2015. It was a good year, and a bit of a surprising year, for the second basemen of the Jays.
I said before the season that I thought that Schoop might close in on Pedroia as the best second baseman in the AL East in 2015. And that was correct. But, Schoop also dealt with his own injury issues. Jonathan only played in 86 games, but had 15 home runs, 39 RBIs, 34 runs, and hit .279.
Schoop’s defensive numbers don’t jump off the page, but that doesn’t tell the full story. His dWAR is 0.0, but he turned 50 double plays, many that those with weaker arms would not have turned. Schoop has a cannon of an arm, and will only improve as he can stay healthy. Schoop is only 23 years old.
But, the backups to Schoop prevent the O’s being second in the AL East. Flaherty had another marginal season and had most of the other starts at the position. And Pearce played second base in a pinch due to injuries to both Flaherty and Schoop, but only for about 10 games, and they were while he was struggling offensively.
I said before the year I didn’t feel right ranking the Yankees options at second base as third in the AL East. Well, I was right. Drew hit .201, although he did add 17 home runs, the second-best number of his career. Drew had 44 RBIs, 43 runs and played in 131 games, including starting 94 at second base.
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Pirela started 19 games at second base, but only played in eight complete games. He hit .240 with one home run and five RBIs. Ryan had arguably the worst year of his career. A guy known for his defense, he had a negative dWAR and had no home runs and eight RBIs, while hitting .229. Reysnyder and Petit saw most of their at-bats late in the year, when the team tried to get anything they could from their second basemen.
No question marks for the Orioles at second base. As long as Schoop is healthy, he will continue to mature and become not only a better hitter, but also a great fielder. He has one of the best arms for a second baseman in the game, and his glove will continue to improve.
It is easy to forget that Schoop is only 23 years old, and that means he is under team control through the 2019 season. Along with Manny Machado, Schoop will help shore up the Orioles’ infield for years to come.