By Graham Anderson – Last Word On Baseball
The man in the middle of the infield plays a key role for their franchise. These guys can flash the leather and turn, or start, the double play with ease, while also being a force to reckon with at the plate. Top-end teams build up, the middle and these five players have been key pieces to all the winning their teams have done and will do in 2017.
Top 5 American League Second Basemen
1. Jose Altuve – Houston Astros
At only 26 years old, Altuve is already a three-time All Star and Silver Slugger. He is the definition of what a five-tool player looks like. His .338 average and .928 OPS last season jump off the page. Add in 24 home runs, 96 RBI, and 30 stolen bases, and the MVP chants he garners certainly seem warranted.
2. Robinson Cano – Seattle Mariners
The future Hall of Famer put together a strong 2016, batting .298 with 39 long balls and 103 RBI. He will reach two big career milestones in 2017; he needs 22 home runs to reach 300 and 14 RBI to reach 1100. At 34 years old, his career is winding down, but certainly not with a whimper.
3. Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox
Another veteran destined for Cooperstown, Pedroia has been one of the faces of Bean Town for over a decade. He won AL rookie of the year in 2007, and followed that up with an MVP in 2008 and four All Star appearances. The Red Sox have an elite player at second base. Last season, he batted .318 with 15 home runs and 74 RBI. He needs 38 to reach 700 RBI on his career and, in the tenth anniversary of his ROY season, he would love another World Series ring.
4. Brian Dozier – Minnesota Twins
One of the few things to excite Twins fans, Dozier is a beast who feasts at the plate. His 42 home runs led all AL second basemen, and he chipped in 99 RBI in the process. His .268 average is also respectable, and the Twins have a clean up bat that any team would crave.
5. Ian Kinsler – Detroit Tigers
Unlike Cano and Pedroia, he is not a clear-cut Hall of Fame candidate; however Kinsler has put together a more-than-respectable career. Last season was one of his best; he hit .288 with 28 home runs and 83 RBI. He is a solid top-of-the-order bat and will shortly notch his 800th RBI, as he currently sits at 787.
Honorable mention: Rougned Odor and Jason Kipnis
These players have all had great careers and memorable 2016 seasons. What will 2017 bring? Will Odor crack the top five in 2018? In only a few short months, these questions will be answered.