2012 AL East Preview: Second Base

Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Robinson Cano – NYY

Projection PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR
Bill James 671 .302 .350 .505 .360 5.3
Roto Champ 651 .306 .359 .524 .375 5.6
Fans 678 .310 .360 .526 .378 6.0

Robbie Cano’s a pretty good player, doncha know? In fact, he’s widely considered one of the best hitters in the game he is the Yankees most consistent MVP-caliber player. And if you’ve ever heard John Sterling call a game, Cano’s pivot off of second base when turning a double play is truly a thing of beauty.

Kelly Johnson – TOR

Projection PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR
Bill James 59 .251 .334 .439 .336 2.2
Roto Champ 573 .243 .326 .439 .335 1.8
Fans 568 .263 .341 .445 .347 3.8

The Blue Jays acquired Johnson from the Diamondbacks in August and apparently liked what they saw because they offered him arbitration at the end of the season. Well, maybe “liked” is too strong of an endorsement. GM Alex Anthopoulos summed up the arbitration decision as such: “We were fine with whatever outcome. Either [Johnson] comes back or we get Draft picks.” So, yeah, Johnson isn’t a guy that teams are clamoring for, but he is a solid middle-infielder who will give his team average production at the plate.

Brian Roberts- BAL

Projection PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR
Bill James 330 .274 .350 .402 .337 1.2
Roto Champ 450 .267 .336 .400 .332 0.9
Fans 374 .267 .328 .378 .318 1.4

Robert Andino – BAL

Projection PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR
Bill James 296 .253 .303 .350 .290 0.4
Roto Champ 341 .270 .334 .357 .311 1.0
Fans 475 .262 .313 .352 .300 1.5

Brian Roberts has missed most of the past two seasons with injuries, and coming off of a concussion says he is taking his rehab “one day at a time.” As a result, Roberts 2012 projections are even more speculative than they normally would be. Back when he was healthy Roberts was one of the best second basemen in the game, but at age 34 and with his history of injuries it is highly unlikely that he could ever get back to his pre-2010 production levels. In Roberts’ absence Robert Andino took over duties at second base, and he’s pretty much an all-around average replacement. But no matter what Andino does on the field, he’ll always have this going for him.

Ben Zobrist – TAM

Projection PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR
Bill James 646 .262 .360 .436 .352 4.8
Roto Champ 651 .258 .356 .441 .354 4.6
Fans 687 .272 .362 .448 .359 6.4

Zobrist’s power numbers over his three full seasons are interesting: in 2009 he hit 27 home runs with 91 RBI, in 2010 he hit 10 home runs with 75 RBI, and in 2011 he hit 20 home runs with 91 RBI. Of course, in 2010 he seemed to have an overall sophomore slump, so his 2012 numbers are likely to look more like those he put up in 2009 and 2011. Zobrist has finished as high as 8th in MVP voting, so it is a testament to the talent in this division that he is arguably the third best second baseman.

Dustin Pedroia – BOS

Projection PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR
Bill James 642 .299 .378 .469 .370 4.9
Roto Champ 676 .306 .389 .477 .382 5.8
Fans 698 .300 .371 .476 .372 7.3

I’m loathe to say anything nice about Red Sox players, but in the interests of being objective I have to recognize that last year Pedroia was the best second baseman in the AL East. Cano has the potential to outplay him; as good as Robbie is there is still plenty of potential that he hasn’t tapped into. Expect Pedroia and Cano to battle it out as two of the best second basemen in the game for years to come.

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Topics: Robinson Cano

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