Top 100 Second Basemen: 60-51

60. Jim Gantner, Brewers 1979-92
Career WARP3 63.7, Career EqA .253, 1 season 8+ WARP3, 10 total seasons 4+ WARP3

Justifiably overshadowed by teammates Yount and Molitor, Gantner was a good enough second baseman to hold down a spot in one of the great lineups of the 1980s, the 1982 Harvey's Wallbangers club. Gantner was not an offensive bright spot for the team, but his solid defense and ball-in-play slap hitting made him one of the most consistent performers of the decade.

59. Jerry Priddy, Yankees 1941-42, Senators 1943, 46-47, Browns 1948-49, Tigers 1950-53
Career WARP3 48.1, Career EqA .260, 3 seasons 8+ WARP3, 4-time MVP vote-getter

Priddy played during a strange era, having productive seasons both before and after World War II. He also had his best years for two of the most obscure teams of that era, namely the Senators and Browns, who didn't help him any by playing in parks that make his numbers look terrible by modern standards. In historically average conditions, Priddy looks like what he was: a pitch-taking, strikeout-prone fellow (1025 in ~5400 PA, translated) who hits home runs and doubles well out of pace with most second basemen (.410 SLG, translated from .373). An average fielder, Priddy's primary value would be as a ball-masher; he hit more like a modern first baseman than a mid-century second baseman.

58. Johnny Ray, Pirates 1981-87, Angels 1987-90
Career WARP3 52.8, Career EqA .268, 2 seasons 8+ WARP3, 1 season 7+, Silver Slugger, 1-time All Star

For a ten-season career that ran from age 24 to 33, Johnny Ray was a darn good second baseman on both sides of the ball. As a hitter, Ray had a good balance of average and power, though his power mostly showed up as doubles--he led the league twice and finished in the top 10 five times. Ray rarely struck out and walked little as well, and this free-swinging probably led him to surprisingly lead the NL in grounding into double plays in 1986. Great defensively except for a surprising 1985, Ray was one of the more underrated performers of the 1980s solely because of who he played for.

57. Ron Hunt, Mets 1963-66, Dodgers 1967, Giants 1968-1970, Expos 1971-74
Career WARP3 56.7, Career EqA .277, 1 season 8+ WARP3, 8 total seasons 4+ WARP3, 2-time All-Star

Hunt was a bit of an on-base machine, OBPing .368 for his career partially through the accumulation of extreme numbers of hit-by-pitches. Hunt led the league in HBP 7 times in a row from 1968-1974 and had a modern-era record 50 in 1970. Hunt is third on the modern-era list behind Biggio and Don Baylor, both of whom are better known for this particular obscure stat. Despite below-average defense and next to nothing in the way of power hitting, Hunt was a very valuable player for much of his career and serves as testament to the fact that a high on-base percentage is worth quite a bit more than everything else you can do on a baseball diamond.

56. Orlando Hudson, Blue Jays 2002-05, Diamondbacks 2006-08
Career WARP3 48.0, Career EqA .270, 3 seasons 8+ WARP3, above 6 in all full seasons, 3-time Gold Glove, 1-time All-Star

O-Dog has a well-deserved reputation as a defensive wizard. He has been worth double-digit runs above average--usually closer to 20 than 10--in each full season he has played. The fact is, Hudson is probably underrated offensively; he's half as good there as he is defensively, which is saying quite a bit. Decent power, average, and eye coupled with a good arm and defensive range make Hudson a rarity indeed: a middle-infield defensive specialist who is better than the full league average in hitting. Hudson will move up the list, and will do so rapidly if he has any more years like the last three since he was traded for Troy Glaus in a trade that neither team lost badly.

55. Frank Bolling, Tigers 1954-1960, Braves 1961-1966
Career WARP3 53.9, Career EqA .243, 1 season 9+ WARP3, 2 seasons 7+, 2-time All-Star

Bolling was an excellent defender during his good years, and during his prime was a pretty good hitter--around average--with .400 slugging power and not enough OBP. Bolling unfortunately hit very few doubles; he appears to have been a fly-ball rather than a line-drive hitter, which is not a great thing to be when you can only get about 13 home runs a year at best. By the later part of his career, Bolling was useless at the plate (.199/.245/.278 in 1964) and merely average in the field.

54. Larry Doyle, Giants 1907-16, Cubs 1916-17, Giants 1918-20
Career WARP3 67.8, Career EqA .286, 1 season 7+ WARP3, 11 total seasons 4+ WARP3, 1912 NL MVP

Larry Doyle is rated much higher than this on many lists; in my opinion he was a very good, maybe great, hitter. He hit .300 many times, drew his share of walks, and in a non-dead ball situation would have mashed almost 300 career HR and slugged almost .500 with a .360 OBP. That would be Hall of Fame stuff, probably. The trouble is, Laughing Larry was a below-average defender, and in dead-ball baseball that is a big no-no for an infielder. Still, those 13 homers in 1911 and the .330/.393/.471 MVP year in 1912 are no joke; if Larry had been any kind of defender he'd be much higher on the list. Still, the DT defense metrics agree that he was bad, prety much always.

53. Miller Huggins, Reds 1904-09, Cardinals 1910-1916
Career WARP3 63.6, Career EqA .275, 2 seasons 7+ WARP3, 10 total seasons 4+ WARP3, 2-time MVP vote-getter, Hall of Fame as manager

Miller Huggins managed the Murderer's Row Yankees of the 1920s, and is probably best known to fans for that. Even so, he was a darn good second baseman, the result of taking Larry Doyle, subtracting all the power, and adding some defense and OBP. Huggins' career OBP is .382; he was a walk machine, finishing in the top 6 nearly every season and leading the league four times. Also a pretty good baserunner, Huggins would fit well as the Luis Castillo of his era: decent defense mixed with a disciplined slap-hitting approach, except way better at the whole not-getting-out thing.

52. Phil Garner, A's 1973-76, Pirates 1977-81, Astros 1981-87, Dodgers 1987, Giants 1988
Career WARP3 66.7, Career EqA .265, 2 seasons 7+ WARP3, 9 total seasons 5+ WARP3, 3-time All-Star

Scrap Iron was a fast guy and a good triples hitter who would have had more homers hitting in modern parks. Equally adept at second and third (though essentially an average defender), Garner had more power than a lot of middle infielders of his day. An infielder's infielder, his career comparables are almost all 2bs and shortstops, with a few oddballs thrown in. For the We Are Family Pirates, he split time at second and third to make some room for Bill Madlock and Rennie Stennett; he forced Rennie to the bench after moving over to make room for Madlock.

51. Dave Cash, Pirates 1969-73, Phillies 1974-76, Expos 1977-79, Padres 1980
Career WARP3 55.7, Career EqA .254, 1 season 9+ WARP3, 1 season 7+, 3-time All-Star

Cash's best years all came right in a row with the Phillies; he played solid defense and hit around .300 with a bunch of triples. A fast guy who didn't strike out or walk much, he was probably miscast as a top-order hitter (led the league in at-bats 3 times).

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