2B, SS and Catchers Wielding Big Sticks

Using Run Values to rate players this season, I have come up with the top 10 hitters of the year in terms of value to their respective teams. This version does not include their gloves, but only their wood…not funny. You’ll notice that we could actually create a real team here out of the positions that these guys play. I’m not sure if that would have been possible 10 years ago before the advent of the slugging middle infielders and catchers.

Player Age Batting Wins
Albert Pujols 29 63.3 6.5
Prince Fielder 25 47.5 5.0
Joe Mauer 26 47.2 4.9
Hanley Ramirez 25 47.0 4.9
Chase Utley 30 46.6 4.9
Adam Dunn 29 42.5 4.5
Kevin Youkilis 30 36.7 3.9
Ryan Braun 25 36.7 3.9
Matt Holliday 29 35.2 3.7
Miguel Cabrera 26 35.1 3.7

And the lineup looks something like this…

1B           Pujols

2B           Utley

3B           Youkilis

SS           Ramirez

C             Mauer

OF          Dunn

OF          Braun

OF          Holliday

DH          Fielder

UT          Cabrera

Not a bad team, and some of these guys can actually play defense, too! Utley’s 3-year average UZR defensive rating is best in the whole league – AL and NL combined – over that span. Holliday and Pujols go 9 and 10, while Youkilis weighs in at 23 (all out of 117 qualified position players).


Despite some defensive prowess on this list, the emphasis is definitely on hitting. While great glove men of the past like Ozzie Smith wowed us with circus plays – to go along with back flips – I think team management is figuring out that players can do more offensively to help the team than defensively. In the last decade we’ve seen a hitting explosion among catchers, shortstops and second basemen, coinciding with the stats analysis craze (not so coincidentally, methinks). A guy like Utley can save his team about 45 runs playing second over the span of three seasons, but can add more than 45 runs offensively in just one. Thus the emphasis on hitting from traditionally defensive positions…


2 Responses to 2B, SS and Catchers Wielding Big Sticks

  1. Dena Minato says:

    I think you should send a link to your blog to John Canzano at The Oregonian and to someone at Sports Illustrated. They might do story about it. I am serious.

  2. […] And, of course, the league MVP awards. It’s a no brainer in both leagues this season, seeing as Albert Pujols (NL) and Joe Mauer (AL) lead their respective leagues by at least 10 runs my Runs Value stat. […]

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