Ask most American League baseball fans who the best 2nd baseman in the AL is and you will most likely hear one of three answers – Ian Kinsler, Robinson Cano, or Dustin Pedroia. While there can be a case made for a Ben Zobrist for our purposes, he sucks. Join me as we compare and contrast. You might be surprised what you find out.
- Hitting for average : Dustin Pedroia leads the pack with a .307 average but not by much. Cano has a .302 average with Ian hitting a very modest .255. In a very straight forward category, ADVANTAGE : DUSTIN PEDROIA
- Hitting for power : In the sexiest of all the statistical categories Ian Kinsler leads the group with 32 home runs, 11 more than Dustin Pedroia and 4 more than Robinson Cano. When you add Robinson Cano’s 1st place SLG% for 2nd basemen at .533 and Ian a distant .477 = slight ADVANTAGE : ROBINSON CANO
- Getting on base : That scrappy Dustin Pedroia once again comes out on top in this category. He led the three with a .387 OBP with Ian at .355 and Robby (I can call him that, we are friends) at .349 ADVANTAGE : DUSTIN PEDROIA
- Defense : Defense has historically been a tough thing to quantify. However with the emergence of advance statistics and sabermetrics those people much smarter than me have figured it out. There is a stat called Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) which measures several things including range, arm strength, double play frequency, and errors compared to other players at the same position. The higher this number is, the better the defensive player. This category came down to Ian vs Dustin as Robinson Cano was a terrible fielder and didn’t get into the conversation. Pedroia was at 19.4 and Ian 16.2. ADVANTAGE : DUSTIN PEDROIA
I started this experiment with a firm belief that Ian Kinsler was the best overall 2nd baseman in the AL and was surprised to see the stats say otherwise. Dustin Pedroia is a former MVP and its easy to forget about him because he doesn’t have the flashyness that your typical superstar has but he deserves his due.
With that being said, I believe that Ian is just entering his prime and has so much more in him. I expect to see the gap close next year and eventually Ian taking his place at the top of the list of best 2nd baseman in baseball.