In the continuing ranking of all the NL Central projected starters, we find ourselves at second base.
There’s a pair that are above the other four, a third that’s awfully close to the top and the “bottom” trio aren’t nearly as bad as some might believe. From top to bottom, this is a decent position for the Central. Borderline strong even.
Here’s a quick list and then the wrap…
1. Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati
I’m sure some in Milwaukee would put their guy here, but you cannot argue that Phillips owns the better package. He’s an offensive contributor and a three-time Gold Glove winner. BP managed to land the Silver Slugger in 2011. A lot of that was due to increasing his production after insisting on leading off, a move that the Reds needed at the time.
There’s this thing about a contract though…
Estimated WAR: 4.4
2. Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee
If Weeks were stronger in the field, this would be much closer. Maybe he’d be at the top. I love his bat, but I’d like for him to stay healthy for 2012…and not bat leadoff against the Reds.
Estimated WAR: 3.3
3. Neil Walker, Pittsburgh
Has all the tools to claim the top spot for a decade. Those tools should propel him into the list of top second basemen for all of MLB.
Estimated WAR: 3.6
4. Darwin Barney, Chicago
Something was confusing. If you check Barney’s player page on Fangraphs, the Bill James projections have Barney playing in only 98 games. Is the new regime going to move him, too?
During 2011, Barney was looking good as a possible All-Star and receiving strong consideration for Rookie of the Year.
Estimated WAR: 1.2
5. Skip Schumaker, St. Louis
Most view this as the Cards weak link. Considering the free agent pool was a little thin, makes sense to go another season with Schumaker. He can play multiple positions, but he better look in his rear view mirror for Daniel Descalso. If Schumaker stumbles, don’t put it past the rookie skipper to make a move.
Estimated WAR: 1.7
I like this kid. I wish Houston was staying in the division so I could see him play more.
Estimated WAR: 1.9
I had little issue with the first four. I did briefly considered Walker ahead of Weeks. I believe he can be a special player. That was the only dilemma among the top four. Barney was a natural at the four spot.
I did debate a little longer on Schumaker and Altuve. Altuve could become something special. Schumaker has the potential of being replaced, Altuve has no one to press him.