Vs. Series (2nd Base)

Posted: March 10, 2015 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports
Tags: , , , ,

Three out of the four teams have questions about who will be their opening day 2nd baseman. The Mets appear to be the only team set at the position barring injury. Let’s take a look starting in Chicago with this position.

In a perfect Chicago Cubs world Javier Baez would’ve cut down on his strikeouts over the winter and would walk into spring training and claim the 2nd base job. Sadly it doesn’t work that way and the Cubs will have to make a big decision with Baez. Send down to Triple A Iowa to work on his swing or give him the starting job at 2nd base and hope he plays like the top prospect he was a couple of seasons ago. Baez played 52 games for the Cubs last seasons and struck out 95 times. If he would’ve played all 162 games his strikeout total would’ve been 296; yeah almost 300 strikeouts. In 2009 Mark Reynolds set the single season record for strikeouts by a batter with 223. If Baez hasn’t found a way to cut down on his strikeouts he’ll shatter that record in 2015.  The Cubs did go out this winter and make a deal with the Atlanta Braves for Tommy La Stella. La Stella played in 93 games for Atlanta and hit .251. La Stella doesn’t have a lot of power hitting just one home run last season, but he struck out just 40 times and did walk 36 times. If Baez needs more time in Triple A Iowa look for La Stella to handle 2nd base for the Cubs.

The White Sox starter at 2nd base sin;t any clearer. It’s looking like it’s going to come down to Carlos Sanchez, Gordon Beckham, Micah Johnson and Emilio Bonifacio. I’m thinking that Bonifacio is out as a starter as the talk is he’ll play the “super” utility position teams talk about and be used all over the field. Beckham was the White Sox 1st round draft pick, 8th overall in the 2008 amateur draft. Beckham never hit for the White Sox and was dealt last season to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Yency Almonte in August last season. Beckham was signed as a free agent this off-season and he’ll compete for the 2nd base job, but you have to wonder if anything has changed and he’ll hit. Sanchez played 28 games at the end of last season for the White Sox hitting .250. Sanchez like Beckham is a very good defender as he committed just 1 (one) error in his time at the big league level last season. Sanchez is 22 years old and did hit .293 for Triple A Charlotte in 2014. The White Sox will have to decide if he’s ready for the majors this spring. Micah Johnson is a bit of a wild card at this spring at 2nd base. Johnson has just 65 games of Triple A experience where he hit .275 but he does add a speed factor; stealing 12 bases at Charlotte in those 65 games. I think the White Sox would like to see Sanchez or Johnson break out and win the job in spring training. That would allow Beckham to be the back up infielder on the team and Bonifacio could fill in were ever the team needs him.

I think the Cubs are in a better spot at 2nd base right now going into the season. La Stella is a solid player and if Baez can actually become the player scouts have said he’d be the Cubs are set at the position for years to come. As for the White Sox; well if you have four guys competing foe a job you don’t have one. Gotta go Cubs here.

The New York Yankees situation at 2nd base isn’t a whole lot different from what the White Sox have. The Yankees did decide to bring Stephen Drew back after his horrible 2014 season. Let’s face it Drew and his agent over played their hand in free agency during the 2013 off-season and it cost him all of 2014. Drew combined to play 85 games for the Yankees and Boston Red Sox where he hit.162with 7 home runs. Not that Drew was ever going to hit for a high average, but .162 is terrible. He’ll have to adjust better on the defensive end as well. In 2014 Drew played 34 games at 2nd base for the Yankees and committed four errors.  Will the Yankees stick with Drew or will they look at a player like Jose Pirela. Pirela got 24 at bats with the Yankees last season hitting .333 with 1 double and 2 triples. Could Pirela do enough in spring training to unseat Drew at 2nd. The Yankees do have prospect Rob Refsnyder in big league camp, but he hasn’t played at the major league level and has just 77 games at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Refsnyder did hit .300 at Scranton/Wilkes Barre with 8 home runs in limited action there. It would be a big jump for Refsnyder to make the Yankees out of spring training, but you’d have to figure he’s only a year away. The Yankees do have veteran Brendan Ryan, but he hit .167 last season and has a career batting average of .234. This looks like it’s Drew’s job to lose; so the Yankees need him to bounce back and be the player he used to be. Now the question is; can he?

Believe it or not the New York Mets are the only team that are set at 2nd base going into the 2015 season with All-Star Daniel Murphy there. Murphy hit .289 with 9 homers and 57 RBI’s last season. While Murphy’s not a power hitter; his career high in home runs is 13 in 2013 I’m sure the Mets would like to see the RBI’s total go up. Murphy did add 13 stolen bases last season. Murphy committed 15 errors in 126 games at 2nd base last season. Those 15 errors where more than any other 2nd baseman made in 2014, but did turn the second most double plays as a 2nd baseman turning 88 of them.

With Drew coming off a terrible season in 2014 and it looks more and more like he’ll be the opening day 2nd baseman for them is there really any other options than to take Murphy as New York’s 2nd baseman.

The Vs. Series takes a day off tomorrow (Wednesday) as my weekly Let’s Call it Wednesday blog will go up as usual. The Vs. Series will return Thursday looking at the New York and Chicago shortstop positions.

Follow me on Twitter @Burketime and listen to our podcast Sports Time Radio over at BlogTalkRadio.com

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