NL West Outlook: 2nd Baseman

After reviewing the division's catchers and first baseman, today we turn to the keystone. Another position of weakness for the NL West, Orlando Hudson is the only player with established success.

I'll be ranking the teams based on their total projected 2009 WAR (wins above replacement) for each position. I'll be using the spreadsheet provided here by Beyond the Box Score. Marcels projections will be used to project playing time. If correct playing time is not being accounted for in the projections, I will adjust the plate appearances to equal projected playing time . I will calculate wOBA by averaging the wOBAs projected by Marcels, CHONE and ZiPS.  For fielding I will use the projections provided here.

He's ours now...

via NationalsReview.com

5. Arizona Diamondbacks






Per 700 PAs

Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Lopez 533 .342 .389 .327 -0.49 -0.20 0.25 -0.70 0.86 $3.4 0.7
Ojeda 187 .334 .325 .303 -1.95 0.00 0.25 -0.20 0.10 $0.5 0.0

Felipe Lopez was signed to a 1 year deal this offseason to be the starter at second base for Arizona. Last year was a tale of two seasons for Lopez. He was released by the Nationals after putting up a .614 OPS in 100 games. He was then picked up by the Cardinals where he went on a rampage, putting up a .963 OPS in 43 games. If Arizona could get the second half version of Lopez (or at least some of it) that would help ease the sting of losing Orlando Hudson, the best second baseman in the division, to the Dodgers. The projections seem to think that won't be the case, however. Augie Ojeda can play every infield position but doesn't have enough power to be a very useful player. A division contender can ill afford to have this little production out of a starter, so Arizona will have to hope for a little luck here.

 

4. San Diego Padres






Per 700 PAs

Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Eckstein 436 .345 .359 .318 -1.03 0.00 0.25 0.10 1.32 $4.1 0.8
E. Gonzalez 294 .326 .385 .314 -1.28 0.00 0.25 -0.60 0.37 $1.1 0.2

David Eckstein just wins baseball games... except when he doesn't. The lovable lawn-gnome probably won't be enough to help the Padres this year, projecting to be worth less than 1 WAR. Still, he's better than the altrenatives so he will be the starter. Edgar Gonzalez is best known for being Adrian Gonalez's brother. Matt Antonelli, considered the future at second base for the Padres heading into '08, put up an abysmal .657 OPS in AAA. If he can show anything this year he should be playing, because the rest of these guys are just filler.

 

3. San Francisco Giants






Per 700 PAs

Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Burriss 380 .333 .342 .308 -1.64 0.25 0.25 0.40 1.26 $3.5 0.7
Frandsen 280 .332 .391 .320 -0.91 0.00 0.25 0.00 1.34 $2.8 0.5

 The Giants have two guys competing for the second base spot in '09, Emmanuel Burriss and Kevin Frandsen. It appears that Burriss has the edge as Spring Training draws to a close. The question is whether he will hit. He had a .357 OBP in 240 AB's for the Giants last year, but his career line in the minor leagues, .285/.347/.337, makes a repeat of anything close to that seem doubtful. He's faster and a better fielder than Frandsen. On a team with an emphasis on pitching and defense, that seems like enough to let him win the starting job. Frandsen is a local product and fan favorite who missed basically all of '08 (1 AB) because of an Achilles injury. Nick Noonan is still in the low minors but may eventually be the long term option.

 

2. Colorado Rockies






Per 700 PAs

Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Barmes 412 .310 .412 .316 -1.16 0.10 0.25 0.70 1.89 $5.4 1.1
Baker 292 .327 .459 .342 0.43 0.00 0.25 -0.40 2.28 $4.7 0.9

Since his fairy tale rookie season was cut short by injury, Clint Barmes has been a replacable player whose offensive stats are inflated by Coors Field. He's still a very good fielder, which should allow him to keep the second base job over Jeff Baker, who is not very good at fielding. But the Rockies would be smart to look for someone who can replace these two eventually. It shows the state of the NL West that this combo projects to be the second most valuable in the division.

 

1. Los Angeles Dodgers






Per 700 PAs

Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Hudson 488 .358 .423 .346 0.67 0.00 0.25 0.30 3.22 $10.5 2.2
Loretta 265 .339 .357 .314 -1.28 -0.20 0.25 -0.50 0.27 $0.9 0.1

The  Dodgers project to lead the NL West with 2.3 WAR from second base thanks to newly acquired Orlando Hudson. Hudson projects to be the best hitter and have the highest OBP of the group. Blake Dewitt may see a large chunk of time at second at some point in the season as well, depending on Hudson's health. Mark Loretta will be the backup and supersub for the infield. He does hit lefties decently, but has little pop and is not much of a fielder. Long-term, Dewitt or Ivan Dejesus could be the starter here.

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