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M2
01-31-2007, 07:44 PM
The Sporting News has been doing various rankings in recent weeks. I don't think I'm going out on a limb in saying the folks around here are at least as smart as the Sporting News. Anyway, here's my cut at it:

1. Mets

Carlos Delgado, Jose Valentin, Jose Reyes, David Wright

There might be three future Hall of Famers in that infield. Reyes is among the most electric players in the game and Wright is one of the best young hitters int he game.

2. Cardinals

Albert Pujols, Adam Kennedy, David Eckstein, Scott Rolen

Two guaranteed Hall of Famers in this IF. Eckstein is a complete pest. Kennedy is functional.

3. Phillies

Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Wes Helms

Hard to believe Helms will produce as a regular for a full season, but Howard's a megastud and Utley is one heck of a nice player. Rollins basically has to play all the defense. He also should be allowed to skip the month of April (career .694 OPS that month).

4. Padres

Adrian Gonzalez, Marcus Giles, Khalil Greene, Kevin Kouzmanoff

Gonzalez arrived last year, Giles will rebound with a vengeance and the team flat out plays better when Greene's in the lineup. Kouzmanoff? Who knows, but he should be at least as good as Wes Helms.

5. Dodgers

Nomah, Jeff Kent, Rafael Furcal, Wilson Betemit

Nomah could spend the year injured and Kent could finally show his age (though he's been worlds better in his 30s than he was in his 20s), but those two guys and Furcal could also carry a team. Betemit's yet another question mark at 3B.

6. Diamondbacks

Conor Jackson, Orlando Hudson, Stephen Drew, Chad Tracy

Potentially the steadiest hitting IF in the league. Defense is shaky (mostly thanks to Jackson being a complete boob in the field), but Hudson can cover a lot of ills on that front.

7. Brewers

Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy, Corey Koskie

Bill Hall's supposedly heading to the OF, but if these guys can stay healthy there's a lot of danger in there. Fielder and Weeks could be on the verge of major star turns.

8. Nationals

Nick Johnson, Felipe Lopez, Cristian Guzman, Ryan Zimmerman

Guzman hurts, a lot, but the other three guys can wear out a pitching staff. Even if Felipe doesn't take all that well to 2B this should be a pretty solid defensive unit too.

9. Rockies

Todd Helton, Kaz Matsui, Troy Tulowitzki, Garrett Atkins

Matsui seemed to rediscover the guy who set the Japanese leagues on fire once he got out of New York. Atkins had a phenomenal season in 2006. If Helton rebounds and Tulo's the real thing this is a solid, if slightly underpowered, unit.

10. Marlins

Mike Jacobs, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Cabrera

There's some serious potential for the middle IF to regress a bit and it's an open question as to whether Cabrera should play 3B. He's sort of Bobby Bo over there. Still, I can't get enough of saying the word Uggla.

11. Braves[b]

Scott Thorman, Kelly Johnson, Edgar Renteria, Chipper Jones

Obviously a lot hinges on Jones playing a full season. Renteria's still got a shot to collect 3,000 hits in his career. Johnson and Thorman massive question marks, both at the plate and in the field. It's possible Johnson will slide over to 1B and Willy Aybar, who seems to be a baseball player, could win the 2B job.

[b]12. Reds

Scott Hatteberg, Brandon Phillips, Alex Gonzalez, Edwin Encarnacion

If EdE can harness his fielding talents, this could be one of the better fielding IFs around. Yet Gonzalez is an out machine and Hatteberg is almost a lock to drop off from what he did last season. The two young guys will have to hold up the offensive end of the bargain.

13. Cubs

Derrek Lee, Mark DeRosa, Cesar Izturis, Aramis Ramirez

Lee's more likely to play like his career average (.863 OPS) than his 2005 career year (1.060 OPS). DeRosa will lose his starting job by Independence Day. Between Izturis and Ramirez you've got one wonderful player and one guy who can't do anything right.

14. Pirates

Adam LaRoche, Jose Castillo, Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez

They'll field well, but Wilson and Castillo could have a .300 OB between them. Sanchez doesn't walk, has no power and he's not hitting .344 again. LaRoche will help, but he's not nearly enough to cover for the offensive holes in the rest of the IF.

15. Astros

Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio, Adam Everett, Morgan Ensberg

Sure Berkman's got MVP ability. Yet Biggio's game is in ruins and Everett is as bad an offensive player as anyone in the majors (and he's not likely to repeat his defensive career year). Ensberg's game looked like it was falling apart last season. Mark Loretta will help a bit, but if Berkman gets injured this IF could turn into a super volcano of suckitude.

16. Giants

Rich Aurilia, Ray Durham, Omar Vizquel, Pedro Feliz

Word is this group just signed to the Swan Song label.

TC81190
01-31-2007, 08:28 PM
I think you underrated the Giants infield, they should be in front of at least the Pirates, but otherwise, yeah. Bonus points for an appearance of the phrase "super volcano of suckitude."

Dracodave
01-31-2007, 08:43 PM
I think the worst infield has to be Houston.

Pirates defensively should be okay outside of Castillo on second. Castillo will bat around 250, Sanchez around 270/280, I doubt any higher. LaRoche is very good but I doubt he provides that "lefty power bat" to go with Bay.

I don't think Cincinnati is gonna be too good either. Outside of Phillips and Gonzo, I really dont see "gold glove" now anywhere. EdE will get better, but that still leaves a hole at first. Not to mention the LOVELY teddy bear of a catcher we have, does he avoid getting hit this year again?

On the topic of infields but offtopic with the AL, I think Clevelands infield minus Peralta could be very nice. Garko/Blake, Barfield, Peralta and Marte/Blake with Hector Luna as a reserve? Could be very good. :evil:

mth123
01-31-2007, 09:36 PM
I took the approach of ranking each position 1 to 16 and summing. Lowest number wins.




Team 1B 2B 3B SS Total
NYM 4 15 1 1 21
Phi 2 1 16 2 21
STL 1 11 3 8 23
FLA 14 7 2 4 27
LA 10 2 12 3 27
HOU 3 9 8 9 29
SD 7 6 15 5 33
Atl 11 16 4 6 37
CHI 5 13 5 14 37
MIL 12 3 13 11 39
SF 15 4 14 7 40
WAS 8 10 7 16 41
COL 6 12 10 13 41
AZ 13 5 11 12 41
PIT 9 14 9 10 42
CIN 16 8 6 15 45

Joseph
01-31-2007, 10:38 PM
Team 1B 2B 3B SS Total
NYM 3 15 1 1 20
Phi 2 1 16 2 21
STL 1 11 5 9 26
FLA 15 7 2 4 28
SD 7 2 15 5 29
CIN 13 3 6 8 30
LA 9 8 12 3 32
CHI 4 13 3 14 34
WAS 6 6 7 16 35
HOU 5 9 8 15 37
MIL 11 4 13 11 39
AZ 12 5 11 12 40
PIT 8 14 9 10 41
Atl 16 16 4 6 42
SF 14 10 14 7 45
COL 10 12 10 13 45




I struggled mightily with the second basemen especially. I think Kent's going to fall off drastically, as is Biggio [his second half wasn't a fluke and his desire to get 3000 will further the fall] as a result I may have homerized the Reds a little much because I asked in some cases which 2b I'd rather have and the answers were few.

Hollcat
02-02-2007, 01:06 AM
Thorman better than Fielder?

mth123
02-02-2007, 05:17 AM
Thorman better than Fielder?

Not if he plays everyday. But if Thorman and Wilson platoon with the hot bat always in, the combo will do quite well IMO.

NYDCYankee
02-02-2007, 06:08 AM
I like the Phillies better than the Cardinals. And the Dodgers better than the Padres, in fact I would drop the Padres infield much further down the list maybe down to 11th.

M2
02-02-2007, 10:40 AM
I like the Phillies better than the Cardinals. And the Dodgers better than the Padres, in fact I would drop the Padres infield much further down the list maybe down to 11th.

So put up your list. That's supposed to be the purpose of the thread. I just threw mine up there as a starter. I'd like to see how others rank them.

As for the Padres, I've certainly got some projection in there. They're probably the best defensive unit from 1B-SS in the league. The real question is how they'll hit. Gonzalez sure looked like the real thing last season. Giles' 2006 should be an anomaly. Greene's just coming into his prime and he's been a lot better than people realize. Petco's chewed up his numbers, but he's a very good road hitter and, park-adjusted, he's been an above average hitting SS. Kouzmanoff is a wild card. He's raked in the minors. That might be an illusion, but being at least as good as Wes Helms, Wilson Betemit and Pedro Feliz shouldn't be too hard.

flyer85
02-02-2007, 11:01 AM
I'd take the Cubs and Stros over the Reds. We certainly have no Lee/Berkman at first nor a GG shortstop.

flyer85
02-02-2007, 11:07 AM
Team 1B 2B 3B SS Total
PHI 2 1 16 2 21
NYM 5 12 3 3 23
FLA 13 4 1 5 23
STL 1 13 5 6 25
LA 10 3 11 1 25
HOU 3 9 9 8 29
ATL 16 11 2 4 33
SD 8 5 14 7 34
ARZ 11 2 10 11 34
WSH 6 7 6 16 35
CHI 4 14 4 15 37
MIL 7 6 15 10 38
SF 14 8 13 9 44
CIN 15 10 8 14 47
COL 12 16 7 12 47
PIT 9 15 12 13 49

Johnny Footstool
02-02-2007, 11:10 AM
Utley is one heck of a nice player.

Led Zeppelin is one heck of a nice band.

Honestly, if the Phillies had anyone better than replacement level at 3B, their infield would rival the Mets'.

CaiGuy
02-02-2007, 11:31 AM
I took the approach of ranking each position 1 to 16 and summing. Lowest number wins.




Team 1B 2B 3B SS Total
NYM 4 15 1 1 21
Phi 2 1 16 2 21
STL 1 11 3 8 23
FLA 14 7 2 4 27
LA 10 2 12 3 27
HOU 3 9 8 9 29
SD 7 6 15 5 33
Atl 11 16 4 6 37
CHI 5 13 5 14 37
MIL 12 3 13 11 39
SF 15 4 14 7 40
WAS 8 10 7 16 41
COL 6 12 10 13 41
AZ 13 5 11 12 41
PIT 9 14 9 10 42
CIN 16 8 6 15 45



You rate Alex Gonzalez under Cesar Izturis and Jack Wilson?

lollipopcurve
02-02-2007, 11:35 AM
OK, here's mine...

1. Mets

2. Phils

3. Cards

4. Marlins

5. Cubs

6. Dbacks

7. Dodgers

8. Brewers

9. Nats

10. Pads

11. Rockies

12. Reds

13. Pirates

14. Astros

15. Braves

16. Giants

NYDCYankee
02-02-2007, 12:17 PM
So put up your list. That's supposed to be the purpose of the thread. I just threw mine up there as a starter. I'd like to see how others rank them.

As for the Padres, I've certainly got some projection in there. They're probably the best defensive unit from 1B-SS in the league. The real question is how they'll hit. Gonzalez sure looked like the real thing last season. Giles' 2006 should be an anomaly. Greene's just coming into his prime and he's been a lot better than people realize. Petco's chewed up his numbers, but he's a very good road hitter and, park-adjusted, he's been an above average hitting SS. Kouzmanoff is a wild card. He's raked in the minors. That might be an illusion, but being at least as good as Wes Helms, Wilson Betemit and Pedro Feliz shouldn't be too hard.

Ok. Let's see. This is what I would do.

Mets
Phillies
Cards
Cubs
Marlins
Milwaukee
DBacks
Dodgers
Rockies
Nats
Padres
Pirates
Houston
Cincy
SF
ATL

M2
02-02-2007, 12:53 PM
The Cubs and Marlins have interesting IFs. Both could be good. Obviously others expect more from Derrek Lee than I do. For the Marlins, there's a potential big hole at 1B, which is a major kick in the pants to an offense. I'm expecting sophomore slumps for Uggla and Ramirez, though it's just as possible they'll match or surpass their 2006 production. How long Cabrera remains at 3B is another question around that team. If things for the team go generally right, he probably won't move to the OF, but if things go wrong well into the summer, I'd expect to see Cabrera sent to an OF corner and Josh Willingham moved to 1B with 3B manned by a committee.

PuffyPig
02-02-2007, 01:38 PM
I"m not sure why anyome would rank Eckstein so much higher than Gonzalez at SS. Eck actually doesn't hit all that much better; his OPS last year was actually a bit less than Gonzalez. And Gonzalez is one of the better fielding SS in the league, while Eckstein lacks arm strength and range galore.

Gonzalez may not be pretty, but he'll give you more than Eckstein. Unless you factor "scrapiness" into it.

Highlifeman21
02-02-2007, 01:46 PM
I"m not sure why anyome would rank Eckstein so much higher than Gonzalez at SS. Eck actually doesn't hit all that much better; his OPS last year was actually a bit less than Gonzalez. And Gonzalez is one of the better fielding SS in the league, while Eckstein lacks arm strength and range galore.

Gonzalez may not be pretty, but he'll give you more than Eckstein. Unless you factor "scrapiness" into it.

Scrapiness trumps talent and production.

M2
02-02-2007, 02:00 PM
I"m not sure why anyome would rank Eckstein so much higher than Gonzalez at SS. Eck actually doesn't hit all that much better; his OPS last year was actually a bit less than Gonzalez. And Gonzalez is one of the better fielding SS in the league, while Eckstein lacks arm strength and range galore.

Gonzalez may not be pretty, but he'll give you more than Eckstein. Unless you factor "scrapiness" into it.

Eckstein was worth an extra 54 points of OB last season (using a park-adjusted league average. He was worth an extra 33 points in 2005 and an extra 66 in 2004. Even with his low SLG, Eckstein has a career OPS+ 10 points higher than Gonzalez's. Essentially, Eckstein wipes the floor with Gonzalez when it comes to what they do at the plate.

On defense, here's one well-regarded system (http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/dialed_in/discussion/2006_national_league_gold_gloves_as_i_see_it/) that estimated Gonzalez was worth roughly 5 extra runs saved over Eckstein with the glove over the course of 150 games. I don't recommend taking that as gospel, but I didn't see Gonzalez ranked well ahead of Eckstein in any normalized defensive measurement last season (e.g. Win Shares gave AG one extra WS with the glove). Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that there isn't any evidence I can find that what AG does with the glove comes even close to making up for what he loses you at the plate.

RANDY IN INDY
02-02-2007, 02:04 PM
I'll be interested to see how he performs at short for the Reds, and if playing in GAB and back in the NL helps him at all at the plate.

M2
02-02-2007, 02:09 PM
I'll be interested to see how he performs at short for the Reds, and if playing in GAB and back in the NL helps him at all at the plate.

It should probably give him a slight power boost, but going from Fenway (one of the best OB parks on the planet) to the GAB (traditionally tough on OB) likely will hurt him where he's weakest. If he's swapping a point of OB for each extra point of SLG, that's not a good trade.

I can still deal with that if he's going to play top-shelf defense (something the Reds need), but other players are going to have to step up on offense to cover for all the outs Gonzalez will be making.

RANDY IN INDY
02-02-2007, 02:32 PM
Agree. It will be nice to see some top notch defense at shortstop. He and Phillips could be real nice up the middle.

thatcoolguy_22
02-02-2007, 03:31 PM
Agree. It will be nice to see some top notch defense at shortstop. He and Phillips could be real nice up the middle.

I think Gonzo and Phillips have a chance to be more than just pretty good but dominant up the middle. As far as pure range and the nack for making the acrobatic play we have a top 3 double play combo in MLB. When was the last time a reds fan could say that?

flyer85
02-02-2007, 03:35 PM
IIRC, Phillips has a sub 290 OBP after the break last year. Once the pitchers seem to get a handle on how to pitch he became an out machine as well.

rdiersin
02-02-2007, 04:13 PM
For fun, I used the PECOTA projections and found the number of estimated runs (with XRR: extrapolated runs) each player is projected. Then, I normalized to 500PA. As a way to bring in defense, I took Dial's numbers M2 linked to. Finally I put weights on the defensive numbers (.025 for 1B, .05 for 2B, .1 for SS, and .075 for 3B) and added that to the XR/500PA.


Team 1B 2B SS 3B Total
1 COL 50.880 38.06 45.44 48.57 182.96
2 ARI 46.736 48.50 42.76 42.26 180.25
3 PHI 45.549 44.16 45.21 43.80 178.71
4 SLN 51.249 42.33 41.40 43.41 178.39
5 HOU 52.849 44.51 36.53 44.45 178.33
6 ATL 37.016 47.95 44.17 46.70 175.84
7 WAS 51.067 46.08 30.47 45.38 173.00
8 FLO 38.898 35.20 47.01 51.37 172.48
9 NYN 41.082 36.47 46.57 47.76 171.88
10 LAN 38.088 45.87 45.88 36.70 166.53
11 SFN 38.123 46.49 47.55 34.32 166.48
12 SDN 41.805 42.51 38.77 40.54 163.63
13 CIN 45.163 42.68 34.83 40.64 163.32
14 MIL 43.499 41.55 35.42 40.38 160.84
15 CHN 44.715 38.90 40.96 36.24 160.82
16 PIT 40.361 34.58 39.86 44.82 159.62

Now, this is completely ad hoc (but what isn't when it comes to baseball statistics, God forbid someone come up with a good theory), and probably completely stupid and meaningless. But, I guess fun none the less. Got to love Friday afternoons.

mth123
02-02-2007, 07:47 PM
You rate Alex Gonzalez under Cesar Izturis and Jack Wilson?

Yes. Definitely under Wilson and under the combo of Izturis and Cedeno.

Highlifeman21
02-02-2007, 09:24 PM
IIRC, Phillips has a sub 290 OBP after the break last year. Once the pitchers seem to get a handle on how to pitch he became an out machine as well.

I hope against this, but I have a lingering feeling Phillips will return to his career norm of being a professional out-making machine. Hopefully his defense will make up for the almost anticpated/expected decline in offensive production.

jmcclain19
02-03-2007, 01:15 AM
I used flyer's method and I was stunned with what I came up with


Team 1B 2B 3B SS Total
FLA 12 2 1 3 18
PHI 2 1 15 4 22
NYM 6 12 2 2 22
STL 1 11 3 8 23
LA 5 7 16 1 29
SD 7 4 11 7 29
ARZ 11 8 8 5 32
COL 8 9 6 10 33
CHI 3 14 4 13 34
SF 9 3 14 9 35
HOU 4 13 10 12 39
MIL 10 5 13 11 39
ATL 16 15 5 6 42
WSH 13 6 9 16 44
CIN 15 10 7 14 46
PIT 14 16 12 15 57


I found myself working backwards - Who was worst up to who was the best. Many guys I don't feel deserve that high of a ranking (Eckstein, Khalil Greene, Ray Durham) But I think that's more due to the weakness of the NL rather than their talents.

That was much harder and more surprising of an outcome than I would have thought.

On the other hand, I really don't have much hope for the Reds in 2007, apparently.