MLB: The game’s most valuable second basemen

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 12: Kolten Wong #16 of the St. Louis Cardinals steals second base, beating the tag of Howie Kendrick #47 of the Washington Nationals, during the first inning of Game 2 of the NLCS at Busch Stadium on Saturday, October 12, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 12: Kolten Wong #16 of the St. Louis Cardinals steals second base, beating the tag of Howie Kendrick #47 of the Washington Nationals, during the first inning of Game 2 of the NLCS at Busch Stadium on Saturday, October 12, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

MLB’s most valuable 2B of 2019

4. Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves, $8.413 million value; $575,000 salary

That the Braves have a potential star on their hands in Albies is freely admitted by all who know the game. All that’s missing is a bit of defensive range plus something of a performance uptick with the bat.

Not that what he’s doing so far is problematic. In only his second full-time season, Albies batted .295 in 2019 with 24 home runs, a .500 slugging percentage and a 114 OPS+. The best news is that the average, slugging and OPS+ all represented nice upticks from 2018, so Albies probably hasn’t peaked yet.

His 4.8 WAR was fourth-best among second basemen and put the value of his offense alone at more than $5 million. His hands were even better. Albies delivered a .994 fielding average, committing just four errors in 661 chances, the best of any MLB second baseman.

He was not only the surest-handed second baseman, but he was also the most durable. Albies showed up for 1,435 innings, best among his peers by nearly 30 innings and nearly 500 more than the positional average.

The range he hasn’t yet developed was Albies’ major weakness. He got to 4.21 plays per nine innings, barely above the 4.1 positional average and justifying just $1.25 million. That’s about $200,000 less than the position’s best.