A.L. East midseason review: Second base

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It's a spot where the Orioles were noticeably weak entering the 2014 season. They are still pretty bad there, but the rest of the division isn't much better.

Before the season began, I was given the task of ranking each of the starters at second base in the American League East. And now that we have reached the unofficial "halfway" point of the baseball season, I have been asked to revisit those rankings and analyze what has to be one of the weaker crops of infielders in the sport.

To do so, I researched each player that has played as much as one out at second base for the teams in the East. The tables under each organization, arranged in ascending order from worst team record to best, compile the statistics that each guy has gathered while assigned to position "4" on the field.

Boston Red Sox

Player Innings Played Fielding % Hitting BA/OBP/SLG OPS 2B HR RBI
Dustin Pedroia 825.0 .995 106-for-378 .280/.348/.381 .729 26 4 36
Jonathan Herrera 35.0 1.000 5-for-14 .357/.333/.357 .690 0 0 3
Brock Holt 2.0 -- 1-for-1 1.000/1.000/1.000 2.000 0 0 0

This is the team with the starter most entrenched at the position. Pedroia has played 96% of the innings at second base for the BoSox. He has been good for Boston but his power has disappeared; his isolated power is down to a career low .101 and he is striking out at a career high 12.0% rate. But in this division, he is probably still the best at the position.

Herrera, even though he has been serviceable with the bat, is more of a defense-first player. He has played every position on the infield and even a game at DH.

Holt isn't really a second baseman but his one at-bat helped to bump up the collective average of the group.

Tampa Bay Rays

Player Innings Played Fielding % Hitting BA/OBP/SLG OPS 2B HR RBI
Ben Zobrist 435.2 .974 51-for-194 .263/.351/.371 .722 10 3 10
Logan Forsythe 272.0 .992 32-for-116 .276/.312/.397 .692 5 3 13
Sean Rodriguez 123.1 .970 6-for-47 .128/.180/.213 .393 1 1 4
Cole Figueroa 41.0 .947 2-for-14 .143/.143/.143 .286 0 0 0

While he hasn't played quite to his lofty expectations, the Zorilla is having another good season. But remember, this is a review of just his work at second base. His power has actually come elsewhere. When playing shortstop he slugs .467 and has an isolated power of .173 compared to just .108 at second base.

The man who filled in for Zobrist when he was out with a thumb injury was Forsythe. In many ways, he has been just as good as the Rays starter. However, he has struck out 22.4% of the time and only walks 4.8% of the time. Those are things that Zobrist succeeds with that make him so valuable.

Rodriguez has lost his footing as the primary backup at shortstop and second base to the aforementioned Forsythe, appearing more in left field as of late. That may be because he has not hit well when starting at second, as you can see the awful numbers above.

Figueroa sits on the bench a lot. He was just recalled at the end of June and has seen action in just four big league games since then.

This is the only team that has every single player who has played second base this season on their 25-man roster right now.

New York Yankees

Player Innings Played Fielding % Hitting BA/OBP/SLG OPS 2B HR RBI
Brian Roberts 690.2 .979 68-for-277 .245/.311/.383 .694 15 5 20
Yangervis Solarte 105.0 .977 11-for-38 .289/.408/.368 .777 0 1 4
Brendan Ryan 33.0 1.000 3-for-13 .231/.231/.308 .538 1 0 1
Dean Anna 17.0 1.000 1-for-5 .200/.200/.800 1.000 0 1 1
Kelly Johnson 2.0 1.000 1-for-1 1.000/1.000/4.000 5.000 0 1 1

Roberts has been the surprise of the season in the fact that he has been healthy. It has enabled him to tie for the division lead in home runs by a second baseman. He also has the second most RBI and doubles by a second base in the East as well. In addition to that he has four triples and seven stolen bases. This is by no means the B-Rob of old but he has been solid which is much more than most expected from him coming into 2014.

Solarte is the third baseman for the Yanks and while most of his power has come while playing the hot corner, his overall hitting performance is more impressive at second base. This includes the fact that he strikes out just 4.1% of the time at second and walks nearly once every five times he steps to the plate.

Ryan is a glove guy with a rocket arm. His offense doesn't really matter as he is mostly Derek Jeter's backup.

Anna is currently a member of the Indianapolis Indians. They are the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. So, things didn't go so well for him in pinstripes after that one home run.

Johnson was signed to start at third base and occasionally second. He hasn't done much of the latter, but how about that one at bat?

Toronto Blue Jays

Player Innings Played Fielding % Hitting BA/OBP/SLG OPS 2B HR RBI
Munenori Kawasaki 209.1 .960 25-for-85 .294/.355/.341 .696 2 0 3
Brett Lawrie 193.0 .984 23-for-85 .271/.351/.459 .809 4 4 12
Steve Tolleson 184.0 .989 17-for-87 .254/.296/.418 .714 3 2 7
Ryan Goins 104.0 1.000 5-for-34 .147/.194/.265 .459 1 1 1
Maicer Izturis 77.1 1.000 7-for-34 .294/.333/.324 .657 1 0 1
Chris Getz 63.2 1.000 4-for-24 .167/.231/.208 .439 1 0 0
Jonathan Diaz 16.0 1.000 0-for-4 .000/.000/.000 .000 0 0 0

Good teams don't normally have SEVEN different players see time at an infield position in a given season. That said, Toronto is teetering on the line of "good" and "mediocre" so this shouldn't come as big of a surprise as it may.

Kawasaki is easily one of the most interesting players in the league and this season he has brought his play up to the level of his personality, being on target for career highs in average, on base percentage and slugging percentage. That said, he doesn't slug too much. His isolated power is just .045. On top of that he has had hamstring problems lately.

Another guy with a problem staying healthy is Lawrie. He is set to miss a month with a broken index finger on his throwing hand. Before that he had been going well with his switch to second base. All of his stats have been better, including walking more and striking out less.

The former Oriole great, Tolleson, has been a nice utility player for the Jays. While he has spent time at third, short and right field, his power has been on display at second base. His isolated power there is a respectable .164, He has been at his best overall while playing third, however.

Goins was the expected starter entering the season. He is a rookie and has been pretty bad. In fact, he is currently on the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons roster at the moment. His .143 batting averaging on balls in play shows that he is both unlucky and lacking in power big time.

Izturis has been out since late May with a tear in his LCL. He is done for the season. It's a shame because he was doing well with his game; hitting singles and playing solid defense.

Getz's season wasn't going so well. In fact, he decided baseball wasn't for him and he hung up the cleats in mid-May.

Diaz is a guy that has yet to establish himself in the bigs. He is 29 years old and is lauded for having a nice glove but isn't much to talk about with the wood. That has landed him back in Triple-A

Baltimore Orioles

Player Innings Played Fielding % Hitting BA/OBP/SLG OPS 2B HR RBI
Jonathan Schoop 524.2 .987 46-for-212 .217/.265/.307 .572 4 5 13
Steve Lombardozzi 160.2 .988 21-for-72 .292/.301/.333 .635 1 0 2
Ryan Flaherty 157.0 .978 14-for-59 .237/.286/.373 .659 2 2 6
Jemile Weeks 6.0 1.000 0-for-3 .000/.000/.000 .000 0 0 0

We knew it was possible that Schoop would begin the year with the big club but it was likely it wouldn't be until June at the earliest, but there he was on March 31, Opening Day, in the Orioles lineup. Since then he has showed both why he is on the big squad and why he needs more time being groomed. He is striking out 20.6% of the time and walking just 3.1% of the time. The O's are good enough to carry a weak hitting rookie for now, but an improvement would be nice.

Lombardozzi was a late offseason addition. He was good, hitting almost exclusively singles but providing good steady production for the birds. He has not fared as well at Triple-A Norfolk, batting just .266 over 188 at-bats.

Flaherty was expected to start entering the season but it is obvious that the front office wanted an upgrade. With Schoop's struggles, the Vanderbilt product has been given more chances to take the job. Regardless, he is the sole backup at shortstop and much better suited at third base than Schoop. So, he does carry some significant value.

Weeks is still sitting down at Norfolk. He would infuse some speed to the position, but that is about it.

Conclusion

If they had to be re-ranked here is how they would go in my opinion:

1. Boston: Pedroia has stayed healthy and provided the biggest numbers at the position.

2. New York: If we are talking about just second base, Roberts has been very solid.

3. Tampa: If Zobrist hadn't missed time he would likley be higher but his backups cannot replicate his production.

4. Toronto: When Lawrie plays, second base is pretty good. Without him, they have little power.

5. Baltimore: Schoop has not showed enough power to make up for his deficiency when it comes to getting on base.

What say you Camden Chatters?

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