Robinson Cano – NYY (118.3 Runs Created, 33.3 Runs Saved = 151.6 Total Runs Productivity)
Orlando Hudson is a very good second baseman. Robinson Cano was nearly TWICE as productive as Hudson. Power, range, doesn’t swing at bad pitches… My pick for AL MVP, and he might get better. Just entering his prime…
Orlando Hudson – MIN (65.9 Runs Created, 16.3 Runs Saved = 82.2 Total Runs Productivity)
Did exactly what you would expect – hits well and can bat first or second in the lineup (you’d rather have him hit second), fields the position as well as you could hope. Not an all-star, but right below that line – and the kind of guy who can help you win championships.
Howie Kendrick – LAA (87.7 Runs Created, -10.4 Runs Saved = 77.3 Total Runs Productivity)
A very useful player who played every day, produced enough with the bat (5.1 runs per 27 outs), but needs a little work with the glove. He’s NOT a top of the order hitter so long as his OBA is .316, but you could bat him from the seventh to the ninth spot and not do too badly with him.
Mike Aviles – KC (61.4 Runs Created, 15.8 Runs Saved = 77.2 Total Runs Productivity)
Came back from a disappointing 2009 to look like his superstar self from 2008. Batted for average and mid-range power, fields his position extremely well, and remains one of the best players on the Royals. Needs to stay healthy – if he does, the Royals have a top flight #2 hitter.
Ian Kinsler – TEX (62.4 Runs Created, 8.0 Runs Saved = 70.4 Total Runs Productivity)
The new Mark Ellis. Hits, has power, gets on base, can run, fields the position really well, can’t stay in the lineup.
Mark Ellis – OAK (62.8 Runs Created, 3.5 Runs Saved = 66.3 Total Runs Productivity)
Turns 34 in June, Mark Ellis’s body may not help him make it to 2014. Still a decent enough hitter, but his power is leaving him, and his range – once solid – is now a smidge above average. The A’s are getting better and you’d like to see Ellis get one more shot at the post season.
Sean Rodriguez – TB (49.2 Runs Created, 15.2 Runs Saved = 64.4 Total Runs Productivity)
The kid came up, played all over the field as Ben Zobrist had before him, and proved himself to be a very valuable player. Sean Rodriguez settled in at second base and was rock solid there, and with his decent power earned a chance to be the starter for all of 2011. I like him.
Dustin Pedroia – BOS (55.4 Runs Created, -0.8 Runs Saved = 54.6 Total Runs Productivity)
Missed half the season after fouling a ball off his left foot and breaking it, requiring surgery. On pace for 25 homers and 50 doubles, despite a brutal May, Pedroia is one of the best offensive forces in the league. Bill Hall played a lot of second base after Pedroia went down, and not badly. However, even with Hall’s power, he’s not the run producer that Pedroia is. Jed Lowrie is a better fielder, but he can’t hit like DP either. In the years Dustin plays 130+ games, the Sox make the playoffs – so you know what Boston is rooting for…
Reid Brignac – TB (40.3 Runs Created, 14.3 Runs Saved = 54.6 Total Runs Productivity)
A very good season defensively and a pretty good season offensively, he earned a chance to be the regular shortstop and allowed the Rays to trade a declining Jason Bartlett. With Evan Longoria and Rodriguez throwing to a dependable first baseman, this could be the best defensive infield in baseball for 2011.
Gordon Beckham – CHI (51.0 Runs Created, 8.4 Runs Saved = 59.4 Total Runs Productivity)
Offensively, Beckham was off, barely creating four runs per 27 outs. Defensively, having switched over from third base, he was fantastic. For Beckham to really help the White Sox, he needs to create 75 or more runs, the way he seemed to be capable of in 2009. Otherwise, he’s rather ordinary. He is, however, better than Chris Getz.
Chone Figgins – SEA (78.4 Runs Created, -33.3 Runs Saved = 45.1 Total Runs Productivity)
Never really looked comfortable with the switch to second after spending much of the last few years at third base, and his batting stats predictably fell off after his remarkable 2009 season. I think he’ll be better in 2011, but still isn’t one of the five best second base options in the AL.
Aaron Hill – TOR (55.2 Runs Created, -14.5 Runs Saved = 40.7 Total Runs Productivity)
Chone Figgins without the position change. Fell to earth, crashed really, after an amazing 2009, and brought his struggles to the field with him. I think he’ll bounce back, but looking at his baseball card, you’ll always do a double take comparing the two seasons.
Carlos Guillen – DET (35.3 Runs Created, 4.3 Runs Saved = 39.6 Total Runs Productivity)
A stop gap option after Scott Sizemore skidded to Toledo, at least until his body broke down, Guillen used to be a good shortstop, a good left fielder, and could be a good second baseman. On the other hand, he’s 35 and is really best suited to be a DH – and Detroit has DH options. So, Guillen – assuming he has a good chiropractor and trainer – could be a utility guy, getting 450 productive at bats all over the field. In the last year of his contract, so let’s see if he can keep it together and help the Tigers…
Jayson Nix – CLE (35.0 Runs Created, 1.8 Runs Saved = 36.8 Total Runs Productivity)
He could be a new Dan Uggla if the Indians wanted to go that way – he hits for power, doesn’t do badly at the position, and I’d let him play there if they found a good option at third base.
Will Rhymes – DET (28.0 Runs Created, 6.2 Runs Saved = 34.2 Total Runs Productivity)
The best of the Tigers three second baseman, Rhymes hit .304, had an acceptable slugging and fielding percentage, and played the position well – all the things Detroit thought that Scott Sizemore could do. Should have first dibs at the position in 2011 – though he’s a bit old for a rookie, turning 28 on April Fool’s Day.
Luis Valbuena – CLE (20.2 Runs Created, 6.5 Runs Saved = 26.7 Total Runs Productivity)
A disappointing season with the bat, batting under the Mendoza line. I think he’ll be a bit better, but he’ll never be much of a run producer, limiting him to a career as a utility infielder.
Julio Lugo – BAL (20.0 Runs Created, 5.6 Runs Saved = 25.6 Total Runs Productivity)
He’s still around, can help by playing four positions, but can’t hit enough to be more than a good utility guy. Might have one more year left, but I wouldn’t bet on 2012.
Jason Donald – CLE (36.7 Runs Created, -11.9 Runs Saved = 24.8 Total Runs Productivity)
If he had a more discerning eye, he could be the new Brian Roberts. Offensively, Donald doesn’t hurt you, but he didn’t show the type of range needed at either second or short. Both could improve, however, and the Indians would be finding a way to move the team in the right direction. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get a better chance in 2011. Working against him, he’s rather old for a rookie and will turn 27 when the season is over.
Brian Roberts – BAL (32.6 Runs Created, -17.1 Runs Saved = 15.5 Total Runs Productivity)
Injured at the beginning of the season, then perpetually on the trading block. I know he’s not a very good defensive player, but how many really good leadoff hitters are out there? I’d make him the new Paul Molitor. If he can stay healthy, and at 33 his back is going to bother him from time to time, he’s got a shot at 100 runs scored – and that’s a valuable commodity.
Mark Grudzielanek – CLE (10.5 Runs Created, 3.3 Runs Saved = 13.8 Total Runs Productivity)
Had 30 hits and all were singles. At 40, not sure if he’ll be back, but he can still play second base a little bit. He MIGHT be your favorite team’s next manager one day.
Chris Getz – KC (21.1 Runs Created, -8.4 Runs Saved = 12.7 Total Runs Productivity)
An alleged glove man who hasn’t shown that at the major league level, and he can’t hit. Will be a short term utility guy, but you’d rather have someone who does SOMETHING. Maybe someone who plays four positions well defensively (Alfredo Amezaga), or someone who can play the positions poorly, but hits enough to let it slide from time to time and can pinch hit (Jeff Treadway). Getz can’t do either.
Scott Sizemore – DET (14.4 Runs Created, -10.9 Runs Saved = 3.5 Total Runs Productivity)
This wasn’t what Detroit had in mind – the man chosen to replace Placido Polanco didn’t hit and didn’t field as well as had been hoped and wound up back in Toledo for 2010. Compared to Rhymes, he has always been a bit better hitter with a better eye, comparable speed, and a bit more power. He’s also 26. However, Rhymes did the job. Sizemore will likely get another chance, but at this point, he can’t afford to blow it.