Second Baseman Day: A Postmortem

Tony Graffanino.jpgFirst off, a confession: I cheated a little to get the three second basemen together so it would be easier to discuss this. Lemke and Millan were always ranked together, but Hubbard was originally two spots higher. The first two moved up a spot each when I moved Jeff Burroughs down, and then I swapped spots 30 and 31 to put all three together.

Ed Giovanola.jpgI’m not sure that Hubbard doesn’t belong several spots higher, even in the top twenty. I didn’t exactly have a system for this, but generally I looked at (1) career runs created with the Braves and (2) career runs created above average for the Braves. The players this penalizes for the most part are guys like Hubbard and Millan, who were far better than replacement level hitters at second base, but are below the “average” — which includes outfielders and first basemen. (It could penalize shortstops as well, but I never seriously considered Rafael Ramirez and nobody else was even in the conversation — except for two guys who were above-average hitters.) Hubbard was well above the average for a second baseman, and Millan slightly above the average.

Keith LockhartLemke was a poor hitter even for a second baseman, probably below replacement level. On the other hand, he was an amazing defensive player. If you look at Win Shares, for example, Lemmer is routinely credited with about nine WS a season when playing regularly, two-thirds or more of them on defense. Millan and Hubbard were fine defensive players too, but Lemke is on this list entirely for defense. These three players are the only players with career RC below average who are on the list.

Jeff TreadwayIn retrospect, I am fairly convinced that Hubbard should rank higher, but it’s very hard to see him higher than about 25th. One thing you’ll see going forward is that I tried to spread out the pitchers some; arguably, Hubbard could rank ahead of any pitcher except Niekro and the Big Three, but instead I mixed them in more or less to break up runs of hitters. The difference between the fourth-best pitcher (whoever it is) and the fifth-best is gargantuan.

16 thoughts on “Second Baseman Day: A Postmortem”

  1. All things considered, and with a few exceptions, the Braves have had amazing stability at second base since moving to Atlanta. Except for a few years, they’ve basically had 4 players at second, Millan, Hubbard, Lemke, and now Giles. All players I’ve liked and enjoyed watching over the years.

  2. I am thinking the fifth best pitcher will be either Wholers, Hampton, JIm Bouton, or Pena. Just some thoughts.

  3. Gotta be Wohlers. It’s hard not to think about Jim Leyritz and Steve Blass when you think about Mark, but he was great for us for a while.

  4. Rick Camp, Kevin Millwood, Steve Avery, Carl Morton, and Gene Garber are the contenders for fifth pitcher, I think. Rick Mahler too, maybe.

  5. I think I missed somebody, actually. Maybe two somebodies. They’re not as good as the guys still to come, but maybe better than some of the guys already listed. I’m going to ponder this.

  6. On another note I read on the NY Mets website that Tom Glavine might want to return to the Braves next year. What do you guys think? I think it would be awesome for him to win his 300th game in a Braves uniform. I think he still has a little gas left in his tank.

  7. From SI.com:

    “I have a lot of reasons why I want to be back here [New York],” Glavine said. “The only reason really that it’s even a question is my family.”

    Glavine, who lives in Atlanta, went 15-7 with a 3.82 ERA in 198 innings during the regular season. His contract, which was restructured this year, contains a 2007 player option at $7.5 million and a $14 million team option, both with a $3 million buyout. Both of the options increased because of the 40-year-old left-hander’s strong season.

    With 290 career wins, Glavine is planning to retire after next season if he remains healthy and reaches the 300-win plateau. He said he has to speak with his family before deciding where he might get that historic win.

    “I can only tell you that I don’t know what’s going to happen, I really don’t,” said Glavine, who ruled out going anywhere other than the Braves or Mets. “It’s going to be a tough decision.”

  8. Going back a few threads, if all the Braves can get for Marcus Giles is Paul Byrd, I’m not sure that’s the trade that needs to be made. The Braves have been there TWICE already, and is this guy not a good second baseman? Same goes with Westbrook, in my opinion.

  9. @10

    He’s a second baseman who appeaars to be spilling and is due to make $6-$7 million in arbitration.

  10. Mac–Thanks for the 2B posts. Recalling the achievements of Milan, Lemke and Hubbard, I cannot help think that the Braves need to be careful about replacing Marcus (yes, that day will come either during this offseason or the next) and getting someone who can provide daily leadership. As much as I like Kelly Johnson I am not sure that he is cut out to be a 2b and Aybar still has lots ot prove….

  11. Glavine ponders uncertain future

    NEW YORK — Tom Glavine hoisted a duffel bag over his left shoulder on Friday in the Mets clubhouse, wincing.
    “Ooh,” Glavine joked. “That might put me on the DL.”

    The weighty contents were the personal possessions that, until that morning, had made up the dressings of Glavine’s locker. But as he walked out of Shea Stadium with his wife, Christine, Glavine also carried a sizable amount of uncertainty.

    Glavine’s four-year commitment to the Mets expired when Carlos Beltran struck out looking to end Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.

    He hopes to play one more season, win 10 more games to reach 300 for his career, then retire. That much is set in stone. But a major part of Glavine’s future appears to be evenly split.

    Glavine said that he could see himself pitching in one of two uniforms next season: that of the Mets or the Atlanta Braves, for whom he won 242 of those games and who would offer the comfort of living closer to his four children and their residence in Alpharetta, Ga.

    http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20061020&content_id=1719641&vkey=news_nym&fext=.jsp&c_id=nym

    I’m not going to post the entire article here, but it’s well-worth the read. Just click the link.

  12. I agree with Smitty; Jim Bouton should be on there somewhere just because he was the best writer of all the pitchers the Braves have had–can you imagine Greg Maddus writing a book about anything?– and his literary status is certainly higher than John Scheurholz’s. (-;

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