Nico Hoerner

New MLB Network list ranking top 10 second basemen leaves fans across the league puzzled

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With spring training still more than a month away and several major free agents remaining unsigned, it's natural for fans and the media alike to dig deep into stats from the previous year and try to determine who the league's best players are heading into the next season.

MLB Network played their hand in that practice this week, ranking the top 10 players at each position as the 2024 season approaches.

Their rankings for the best second basemen left many baseball fans, Cubs fans included, a bit confused.

Cubs fans likely raise their eyebrows at Nico Hoerner's placement at 10th, despite him coming off a Gold Glove award in a season in which he hit .283 with 43 stolen bases.

While Zack Gelof posted excellent numbers with the Oakland Athletics in his rookie season, the 137 OPS+ campaign came in just a 69-game showing, well below the durability in Hoerner's 150 games played.

A similar argument can be made for Edouard Julien of the Minnesota Twins, who posted a 130 OPS+ with 16 home runs, yet also played just 109 games and was below replacement level defensively.

While Cubs fans rightfully may have beef with Hoerner's placement, the total omission of Atlanta Braves' star Ozzie Albies drew the ire of fans on social media.

Exclusively a second baseman, Albies is coming off an All-Star campaign in which he smacked 68 extra-base hits, including 33 home runs, en route to a 124 OPS+ and a 16th place MVP finish.

Albies also posted above average defensive metrics, compiling 0.5 defensive WAR on the season according to Baseball Reference.

The inclusion of Mookie Betts' inclusion as a second baseman also drew criticism on social media, as the superstar played 485 innings at the position in 2023, well below the 701.2 innings played in right field last season.

While offseason rankings of players and teams obviously have no impact on how the teams will play in a few months, fans rightfully want to see the stars on their favorite teams represented in a national conversation.

For Nico Hoerner, perhaps a power-filled offensive breakout season would put him onto the scene as an undisputed top-tier second baseman in the league after two excellent campaigns.

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