The 2024 MLB season isn’t too far away, with pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training in less than a month. That makes now the perfect time for position ranking across the MLB. That is something that I have decided to do alongside the guys at the Ball Blab podcast. We are releasing our rankings of the top ten players at each position, including the top twenty relievers and top fifty starting pitchers.

Our system of ranking players did not have any specific criteria, and was just us picking who we think are/will be the best ten players at each position. If you missed the first base rankings that came out last week, make sure to go check it out. The position player rankings will continue today with the top ten second basemen in baseball. 

 

1. Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts - MLB News, Rumors, & Updates | FOX Sports

2023 Stats: 693 PA, .307/.408/.579, 39 HR, 107 RBI, 167 wRC+, 8.3 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 679 PA, .279/.377/.514, 32 HR, 96 RBI, 142 wRC+, 5.8 fWAR

Mookie Betts will be playing second base every day for the first time in his career, but if any player can transition back to the infield it’s him. Originally a second baseman in the Red Sox system, Betts moved to the outfield and made himself a gold glove winner. The Dodgers now believe he can be a standout defender back at second base. Betts put up 6defensive runs saved (DRS) in 485 innings at second last year, albeit with -1 outs above average (OAA). With Betts setting the tone in the leadoff spot for a Dodgers team many expect to be dominant, he should be in line for another great year of his Hall of Fame career.

 

2. Marcus Semien

Grind Finally Pays off For Texas Rangers Cornerstone Marcus Semien in World Series - Sports Illustrated Texas Rangers News, Analysis and More

2023 Stats: 753 PA, .276/.348/.478, 29 HR, 100 RBI, 124 wRC+, 6.3 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 679 PA, .265/.336/.460, 26 HR, 84 RBI, 116 wRC+, 4.4 fWAR

Marcus Semien continued his streak of third place finishes in AL MVP voting in odd numbered years, finishing third in AL MVP voting for the third time in his career in 2023. Semien has been the best second baseman in baseball two of the last three seasons. However, with Mookie Betts moving to the position and Jose Altuve potentially having a full healthy year, it will be tough for Semien to be the best at second again. He is clearly in the group of elite second basemen though, and he’s set for another stellar season with the Rangers coming off their first World Series championship.

 

3. Jose Altuve

Whether You Like It Or Not, Jose Altuve Is Already A Hall Of Famer

2023 Stats: 410 PA, .311/.393/.522, 17 HR, 51 RBI, 154 wRC+, 4.0 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 637 PA, .275/.352/.466, 24 HR, 77 RBI, 127 wRC+, 3.9 fWAR

Jose Altuve has been at the top of the second base position for a long time. He only playing 90 games last year though, and his 4.0 fWAR was Altuve’s lowest mark since 2013. Altuve still had a stellar season when he was playing, with his 154 wRC+ being the eleventh best among all hitters with 300 or more plate appearances. As good as Altuve has been in the field, the big story to watch for is his defense. His marks of -15 and -13 DRS in 2022 and 2023 respectively are a rough look, but his OAA of 1 and -1 in 2022 and 2023 look at his defense more favorably. Houston will be looking to regain dominance in a very competitive AL West heading into 2024, and Altuve having a big year will be a massive part of the Astros season.

 

4. Ketel Marte

Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte makes MLB history as Arizona takes Game 2 to even World Series | Fox News

2023 Stats: 650 PA, .276/.358/.485, 25 HR, 82 RBI, 127 wRC+, 4.2 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 651 PA, .277/.353/.469, 21 HR, 80 RBI, 121 wRC+, 3.7 fWAR

Ketel Marte has been one of the most underrated hitters in baseball the last few years, and 2023 was a real coming-out party for him on a national stage. His postseason success throughout the D-Backs pennant run put him in the national spotlight for the first time. Marte is a key veteran presence on a young and fun D-Backs team and, with the Dodgers being a regular season juggernaut, the D-Backs will once again be looking for Marte to help the exciting young core push towards another wild card spot as they look to make another run in 2024.

 

5. Ha-Seong Kim

Ha-Seong Kim's grand slam leads Padres over Marlins 6-2

2023 Stats: 626 PA, .260/.351/.398, 17 HR, 60 RBI, 112 wRC+, 4.4 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 616 PA, .247/.329/.388, 15 HR, 62 RBI, 101 wRC+, 3.3 fWAR

The 2023 Gold Glove Award winner at second base last season was Ha-Seong Kim. He is one of the best defensive players across baseball regardless of position, but his offense was the main catalyst in his massive 2023. Kim set a career high 112 wRC+ in his third MLB season, and his offensive game has improved each year. To top it off, Kim also swiped 38 bases. He is a dynamic player in a contract season, as his four-year deal with the Padres enters its final season barring the highly unlikely acceptance of the mutual option in his contract for 2025.

 

6. Luis Arraez

Luis Arráez is the best hitter alive

2023 Stats: 617 PA, .354/.393/.469, 10 HR, 69 RBI, 132 wRC+, 3.4 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 616 PA, .317/.371/.425, 8 HR, 59 RBI, 115 wRC+, 2.5 fWAR

Luis Arraez may be the best pure contact hitter in baseball, and he rode his skills at the plate to a .354 batting average. However, Arraez’s season was buoyed by his outrageous first half. He boasted a .383 batting average with a 146 wRC+ until the break, following that up with a .314 second-half average with a 113 wRC+. Arraez’s season was still spectacular, but with his lack of value regarding baserunning, defense, and power, there is a question of how good he can be with merely elite contact skills. However, Arraez has shown over the past two seasons that he can be productive, and he’ll hope to continue proving that in 2024.

 

7. Ozzie Albies

Braves' Ozzie Albies suffers fractured left foot | Yardbarker

2023 Stats: 660 PA, .280/.336/.513, 33 HR, 109 RBI, 124 wRC+, 4.0 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 651 PA, .275/.330/.483, 27 HR, 95 RBI, 116 wRC+, 3.6 fWAR

The Braves had the best offensive team in baseball last season, and Ozzie Albies played a big role in the Braves’ success. Albies hopes to continue to play a big part in the Braves lineup in 2024 and, despite his small stature at just 5 foot 8 and 165 pounds, Albies packs a punch with the bat. He has clobbered 24, 24, 30, and 33 homers in his last four full seasons (not including injury-shortened years in 2020 and 2022), and drove in 106 runs and 109 runs in 2021 and 2023 respectively. Entering just his age-27 season, Albies is arguably just entering his prime. He has a chance to continue being one of the most consistent second basemen in baseball when he is on the field.

 

8. Matt McLain

Cincinnati Reds' Matt McLain Makes Team History in First 20 Games - Fastball

2023 Stats: 403 PA, .290/.357/.507, 16 HR, 50 RBI, 128 wRC+, 3.2 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 595 PA, .253/.339/.451, 22 HR, 81 RBI, 109 wRC+, 3.2 fWAR

Matt McLain only played in 89 games in 2023 due to him not making his MLB debut until May 15. Yet he was extremely impressive in those 89 games. McLain split his time between shortstop and second base in 2023, actually playing more games at short. However, McLain will likely slot into the second base spot in a crowded and young Reds infield that features him, Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Jonathan India, Jeimer Candelario, and Spencer Steer, who is likely to play left field due to the crowded infield. McLain showed a bunch of different aspects to his game in 2023, hitting 16 homers while swiping 14 bases and playing solid defense. The Reds have an extremely exciting future. If McLain continues playing well in 2024, he will be a massive part of the Reds potential rise as a force in the NL Central in the near future.

 

9. Andres Gimenez

Guardians infielder Andrés Giménez's journey from undersized and doubted to MLB All-Star - The Athletic

2023 Stats: 616 PA, .251/.314/.399, 15 HR, 62 RBI, 97 wRC+, 3.6 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 651 PA, .268/.334/.426, 18 HR, 77 RBI, 111 wRC+, 4.3 fWAR

Andres Gimenez had a true breakout year in 2022, flashing stellar defense at second base while putting up a 142 wRC+ in an All Star campaign and finishing sixth in AL MVP voting. He struggled with the bat last year, but he started turning things around in the last month of the season, hitting .333 with a 137 wRC+ in his last 25 games. Although that is a small sample size, it brings hope that Gimenez could see his bat bounce back towards his 2022 season. If that happens, he could be back in the conversation as one of the best second basemen in baseball in his age-25 season.

 

10. Nico Hoerner

Nico Hoerner's breakout season by the numbers - Bleed Cubbie Blue

2023 Stats: 688 PA, .283/.346/.383, 9 HR, 68 RBI, 102 wRC+, 4.7 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 658 PA, .278/.339/.398, 12 HR, 68 RBI, 102 wRC+, 3.7 fWAR

Last but not least is Nico Hoerner, who is an elite defensive player at second base that swings a bat that is around league average. Hoerner will likely feature at the top of the Cubs lineup again in 2024 due to his .279 career batting average, but outside of that he doesn’t bring a ton of value at the plate in terms of power. What Hoerner does have is defense and speed. He stole 43 bases in 2023 and put up 12 DRS and 14 OAA in over 1100 innings at second base. Hoerner’s days as a shortstop are likely done, with Dansby Swanson signed through 2029. This hurts the value Hoerner brings, as he was also an elite defensive shortstop. But Hoerner’s elite glove at second gives the Cubs what is likely the best defensive trio in baseball up the middle (2B, SS, CF), especially with Pete Crow-Armstrong likely stepping into center field for them in 2024.

 

That is the top ten second basemen in baseball as ranked by myself and the guys on the Ball Blab podcast. Make sure to follow the @ballblabpod X account as well the @BleacherBrawl X account to check out the rankings and the upcoming columns for each set of rankings. Also make sure to follow me @derrik_maguire on X and give your feedback on the top ten second baseman in MLB.

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