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Second Base
Rankings compiled by DAVID SABINO
March 20, 2006
The top of the list is stacked, but after the first six there are questions
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March 20, 2006

Second Base

The top of the list is stacked, but after the first six there are questions

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Avg. HR RBI Runs SB
1. NL Alfonso Soriano, Nationals .268 36 104 102 30 No other middle infielder blends power and speed as well as he does.
2. NL Chase Utley, Phillies .291 28 105 93 16
3. NL Jeff Kent, Dodgers .289 29 105 100 6
4. AL Jorge Cantu, Devil Rays .286 28 117 73 1
5. NL Rickie Weeks, Brewers .239 13 42 56 15
6. NL Marcus Giles, Braves .291 15 63 104 16
7. AL Brian Roberts, Orioles .314 18 73 92 27 Biggest surprise of '05 missed the end of the season with a dislocated left elbow and may not be ready by Opening Day.
8. AL Tadahito Iguchi, White Sox .278 15 71 74 15
9. NL Ryan Freel, Reds .271 4 21 69 36
10. NL Craig Biggio, Astros .264 26 69 94 11 Returned to second base last season and finished with a career high in home runs.
11. AL Mark Loretta, Red Sox .280 3 38 54 8
12. AL Mark Ellis, A's .316 13 52 76 1
13. AL Robinson Cano, Yankees .297 14 62 78 1
14. NL Orlando Hudson, Diamondbacks .271 10 63 62 7 Having escaped the Blue Jays and their conservative ways on the base paths, he's poised for a breakout year in steals.
15. NL Jose Vidro, Nationals .275 7 32 38 0
16. AL Placido Polanco, Tigers .331 9 56 84 4
17. NL Ray Durham, Giants .290 12 62 67 6
18. AL Ronnie Belliard, Indians .284 17 78 71 2
19. NL Todd Walker, Cubs .305 12 40 50 1
20. NL Luis A. Gonzalez, Rockies .292 9 44 51 3
21. AL Aaron Hill, Blue Jays .274 3 40 49 2
22. AL Adam Kennedy, Angels .300 2 37 49 19 Coming off a solid season, but L.A. is stacked with high-powered young infielders who could cut into his playing time.
23. AL Mark Grudzielanek, Royals .294 8 59 64 8
24. NL Dan Uggla, Marlins (Double A stats) .297 21 87 88 15
25. AL Luis Castillo, Twins .301 4 30 72 10
26. AL Jose Lopez, Mariners .247 2 25 18 4
27. AL Ian Kinsler, Rangers (Triple A stats) .274 23 94 102 19
28. NL Junior Spivey, Cardinals .232 7 24 37 9 St. Louis's latest reclamation project at second base won't hit 20 homers or steal 20 bases, but he's a decent end-of-the-draft pickup.
29. NL Kazuo Matsui, Mets .255 3 24 31 6
30. NL Jose Castillo, Pirates .268 11 53 49 2

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]


SPOTLIGHT

Jorge Cantu

You weren't the only one who didn't see Cantu's breakout season coming. Before hitting 28 home runs and driving in a Devil Rays--record 117 runs in 2005, he was slow to develop a power stroke. In two full Double A seasons ('01 and '02) he hit seven home runs in 1,024 at bats and had only seven more the next year, including four at Triple A. Cantu has never received the attention of ballyhooed Tampa Bay prospects such as Delmon Young and B.J. Upton, and in a 50-game stint in the majors in '04 he didn't turn heads (two homers, 17 RBIs). But Cantu, 24, is the real deal, a free swinger who is lightning quick on inside pitches. Once he becomes more selective at the plate and settles at one position (he played 62 games at third in '05 but enters this year as the every-day second baseman), he should put up even bigger numbers.

DEEP SLEEPERS

ANDERSON HERNANDEZ, Mets Bret Boone retired, and Kazuo Matsui will be traded the second New York finds a taker, leaving this 23-year-old, who had 35 steals in the minors last season, with the job.

DONNIE MURPHY, Royals He came to camp looking ready to earn an every-day spot. If Mark Grudzielanek is traded, Murphy, who hit .313 with 10 homers in 214 Double A at bats last season, would get a look.

TONY WOMACK, Reds After a great 2004 in St. Louis, he fizzled with the Yankees last year. Yet this 36-year-old still has blazing speed (53 steals over the last two seasons) and could become the starter.

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