Unlike at catcher and first base, the AL East is truly home to a couple of elite second basemen. Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano are two of the best second basemen of all time, and while Ben Zobrist is primarily an outfielder now, he could bring another top notch second baseman into the ring.
1. Robinson Cano- New York Yankees: It kills me to put Cano ahead of Pedroia on this list, but last year he was healthier and simply better. In his age 29 season in 2012, Cano put together his best all around season as he batted .313/.379/.550 with 33 home runs and 94 RBIs. Despite only average defense, Cano has really developed into one of, if not the best hitting second baseman of all time. Expect him to put up similarly big numbers in his contract year in 2013.
2. Dustin Pedroia- Boston Red Sox: Injuries ruined what could have been another great season for Pedroia, but by your average second baseman’s standards, he was fantastic again. In 141 games, he batted .290/.347/.449 with his typically excellent defense. Although very different players, Pedroia and Cano are on a similar level of elite-ness if both healthy. If Pedroia recovers well from a thumb injury which limited him in 2012, he should return to form and put up another great season for the Red Sox.
3. Ryan Roberts- Tampa Bay Rays: Should Ben Zobrist start the season in right field, as expected, Ryan Roberts will be the Rays’ starting second baseman. Acquired last season from the Diamondbacks, Roberts fits into the new-fangled role of power-hitting second baseman. He hit just .235/.296/.360 with 12 home runs in 2012, but he hit 19 long balls the year before. Along with good defense, Roberts should bring a bit of pop to a lacking Rays offense in 2013.
4. Maicer Izturis- Toronto Blue Jays: The first acquisition of a momentous Blue Jays’ offseason, Izturis signed for 3 years and $9 million to be the Blue Jays’ starting second baseman. It’s a bit surprising that he merited a three year contract after a season where he batted only .256/.320/.315 for the Angels, but he does provide stability at an unstable position. The 32 year old Izturis will also bring a little bit of speed and defense to the table for the Blue Jays. He won’t be a star, but he may be a solid role player on the first good Blue Jays team in quite a while.
5. Alexi Casilla- Baltimore Orioles: The trade of Robert Andino to the Mariners opens up the door for Casilla, claimed off waivers by the Twins. However, the question is why? Casilla is the perfect example of an all-glove, no-hit middle infielder as he’s never hit for much average or power in his previous six major league seasons. His career high in home runs in 2, and he hit only .241/.282/.321 in 106 in Minnesota. There’s no reason Casilla should be a starter, but at this point, the Orioles have nobody better.
Tags: AL East