This is the third installment of my series of articles which pits the Cincinnati Reds against the best of the National League. I started with catchers, and placed Ryan Hanigan in the unenviable task of competing against MVP Buster Posey.
Today I will focus on the second basemen in the National League. There are really no ‘spectacular’ players to choose from. There are a couple of really good ones and a very good one. The ones who passed my eyeball test were Dan Uggla, Chase Utley, Darwin Barney, Rickie Weeks, Neil Walker, Aaron Hill and Marco Scutaro.
After a brief look at their statistics I narrowed it down to Uggla, Utley, Hill and Weeks. Barney has a promising future, is a Gold Glove winner but isn’t quite there yet. I like Walker but still do not count him as one of the best five in the league. Scutaro had a great playoff run last season, but other than that has not had a spectacular career.
Below is a table that shows the career statistics, all based on 162-games.
Statistics are all extracted from Baseball-Reference.com
All of the finalists in my comparison had at least two All-Star selections while Phillips was the only Gold Glove winner which came as a surprise to me. He won the award three times and the rest of the field was shut out in that regard.
Seniority, stolen bases and fewer errors, are the only categories where Phillips outshined the competition. Other than Hill, the others were barely comparable with Phillips on defense.
Even though he has had two sub-par years in a row, Utley is the leader in eight categories.
Of all the players on this table, Phillips is the only one who falls below the league average in OPS+, which is allegedly a good indicator of their offensive performance with regard to the others in the league.
The winner in this race has to be Utley. Phillips would probably place third in this competition if he got a push. It is too bad there isn’t a metric that shows the intangibles of a player.
After three positions graded, the score: National Leage 2 Reds 1
Third basemen will be the next article.