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 Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)
(Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images) /

MLB’s most valuable 2B of 2019

3. Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers, $8.987 million value; $575,000 salary

The Dodgers alternated Muncy between first and second bases, and he exceeded the positional minimums required for consideration at both. Although he has made more starts and played more innings at first for his career, he rated at second because in 2019 he played five more games and nearly 100 more innings there.

It may be fairly said of Muncy that he plays second like a first baseman. That is, he’s there primarily as a way to maximize the lineup’s juice. In 2019 he hit 35 home runs and drove in 98 runs, both figures that would deserve immediate induction into the Second Basemen’s Hall of Fame if he did it full-time at that spot.

His 5.7 WAR was the position’s third best and translated to $6.075 million in salary.

Muncy’s bat is strong enough that the remainder of his rating pretty much survives the remaining categories. His .973 fielding average at second was below average, standing just 26 among the 35 candidates and translating to only $964,000 in deserved pay.

His 3.68 chances accepted at second was even worse, ahead of just three of his peers at the position. The $1.09 million it equated to was about $200,000 below the positional average.

At least Muncy did what he did with his glove with enthusiasm. Between first and second – and worth an occasional excursion to third – he played 1,156 innings, the 12th best attendance for players rated at the position.