About one-quarter of the season has gone by and we are gauging where players rank at each position apropos to the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. We have already recapped the following two positions:
Once again, we use Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings (or FUBAR for short).
FUBAR is a composite score using the most popular, advanced stats available to us. We are looking for position players who have demonstrated the best of the following criteria:
- Offensive Production
- Plate Discipline
- Base Running
Using this criteria, we now take a look at the best second basemen in this young season.
We use two stats to measure production: Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA–basically, not all hits are created equal) and Isolated Power (ISO–a stat that measures power).
— Toronto Sun (@TheTorontoSun) May 6, 2015
Devon Travis is not only our most productive hitter in terms of FUBAR, but he is arguably the front-runner for American League Rookie of the Year. Travis leads all players at his position in ISO.
- Devon Travis: 760.00 points
- Logan Forsythe: 730.00–The Rays lost the versatile Ben Zobrist during the winter. Turns out, Tampa Bay had a backup plan in Forsythe.
- Howie Kendrick: 675.00–The Dodgers were criticized for trading away Dee Gordon in the offseason, but Kendrick is quietly having another solid season at the plate.
- Jason Kipnis: 605.00–Many were wondering if his 2014 struggles were a fluke or a reality. So far, Kipnis is proving he belongs among the best-hitting second basemen.
- Brian Dozier: 605.00–After a slow start, Dozier has been carrying a big stick.
— MLB (@MLB) May 11, 2015
FUBAR uses three stats to measure discipline at the plate: Walk Percentage (BB%), Strikeout Percentage (K%), and Walk:Strikeout (BB:K), as we attempt to reward those players who have shown the ability to take walks and limit their strikeouts.
- Dustin Pedroia: 391.67–Seems every year he is near the top of this category.
- Daniel Murphy: 353.33–One of the most underrated players at this position.
- Jose Altuve: 321.67–Our best-hitting second baseman in 2014, Altuve is finding new ways to improve his game as he attempts to draw more walks this season.
- Ian Kinsler: 300.00–Our fourth best position player in 2014, Kinsler is proving once again why he’s one of the best professional hitters today.
- Joe Panik: 223.33–A prime example of a guy streamlining his approach at the plate from the minors to the majors.
— MLB (@MLB) May 9, 2015
We use two stats to measure base running: Ultimate Base Running (UBR—a way to quantify the value of a player’s base running skills) and Weighted Stolen Base Runs (wSB–basically, how many runs did a player contribute by stealing runs). For a more detail look at these two stats, click here.
- Brandon Phillips: 495.00–BP proving you don’t have to be fast on the base paths; just have to be smart.
- Ian Kinsler: 395.00–Same idea with Kinsler. Both players have yet to be caught stealing.
- Jose Altuve: 292.50–Little guy like him was born to run around the diamond.
- Dee Gordon: 265.00–Some controversy is boiling as Gordon is probably the fastest player in the game, but the advanced stats don’t see much efficiency in his speed.
- Neil Walker: 255.00–Silver Slugger Award winner in 2014, Walker has shown he’s a good base runner early on in 2015.
— #VoteMarlins (@Marlins) May 14, 2015
Best Overall Offensive First Baseman
Combining all the offensive components, production, base running, and plate discipline, the following are the best, overall offensive first basemen according to FUBAR:
- Jose Altuve: 1094.17–New year, same result.
- Dee Gordon: 926.67–To Gordon’s credit, he’s more than just a speed burner in 2015.
- Brian Dozier: 912.50
- Devon Travis: 903.33
- Logan Forsythe: 880.00
FUBAR uses two stats to compute for defense: Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). For further explanation on both of these stats, please read our more detailed look on defense.
We mentioned Dee Gordon’s speed when he gets on base. Turns out, his speed on the field is more important than his speed on the base paths. Similarly, in the AL, Jose Altuve tops as our best-fielding second baseman, edging out Ian Kinsler.
All-Star Second Basemen
Putting all these numbers together, we now try to figure out who deserves to be in this year’s All-Star Game as of mid-May:
- Jose Altuve: 1526.67 (AL Starter)–Just like last year, Altuve SHOULD be voted in to the roster.
- Dee Gordon: 1456.67 (NL Starter)–A combination of great contact skills and speed, Gordon deserves all the props he’s receiving this season.
- Logan Forsythe: 1245.00 (AL Reserve)–A real tragedy here as Forsythe will be overlooked for consideration unless he goes on a hitting spree in the coming weeks. And even then…
- Ian Kinsler: 1202.50
- Danny Espinosa: 1107.50 (NL Reserve)–Taking advantage of the playing time, Espinosa deserves kudos for improving his game after it appeared he was on his way to becoming a bust.
- Devon Travis: 1090.83–Again, your AL ROY at this point of the season.
- Brian Dozier: 917.50
- Jason Kipnis: 907.50
All stats courtesy of fangraphs.com and are good through May 16, 2015.