MLB Network released its list of the top 10 second basemen Thursday night, and the Cubs’ new second baseman made the cut.
According to The Shredder, the Cubs infielders all made it in the top 10 for their respective positions: Anthony Rizzo (4), Ben Zobrist (6), Addison Russell (7) and Kris Bryant (2).
MLB Network’s Top 10 Second Basemen: Jose Altuve (Astros), Robinson Cano (Mariners), Joe Panik (Giants), Ian Kinsler (Tigers), Josh Harrison (Pirates), Ben Zobrist (Cubs), Neil Walker (Mets), Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox), Dee Gordon (Marlins) and Logan Forsythe (Rays)
Zobrist slipped three spots on “The Shredder” ranking from a year ago.
Brian Kenny ranked Zobrist third and Harold Reynolds had Zobrist eighth on his list of the best second basemen in the game. Ken Rosenthal ranked Zobrist as the fifth best second baseman behind Jason Kipnis, Dee Gordon, Jose Altuve and Ian Kinsler.
MLB.com explained, “The Shredder” is an algorithm “based on player performance that accounts for both offense and defense.” And it “uses an objective methodology to rank players at each position based on their pas track records as well as their future projection. It weighs the offensive and defensive statistics for a player in both one- and two-year increments and places more emphasis on defense at positions that are on the right of the defensive spectrum. It also takes into account a player’s durability as well as the offensive environment of his home park.”
Ben Zobrist signed a four-year, $56 million contract with the Cubs in December. Zobrist received a $2 million signing bonus and will be paid $10 million during the upcoming season.
Zobrist is expected to receive a majority of his playing time at second base this season, teaming with Addison Russell as the Cubs’ new double play combo. Zobrist is known for his versatility and played second, third, left and right field for the A’s and Royals last season.
After dealing with injuries and a slow start with the A’s, Zobrist got healthy and turned it on with the Royals. Zobrist hit .268/.354/.447 with 20 doubles, two triples and six home runs for the A’s in 67 games. And he batted .284/.364/.453 with 16 doubles, a triple and seven home runs for a .816 OPS in 59 games with the Royals.
For the season, Ben Zobrist hit .276/.359/.450 with 36 doubles, three triples and 13 home runs for a .809 OPS. Zobrist walked 62 times with 56 strikeouts in 467 at bats over 126 games.
As for the projection for the upcoming season, Steamer has Ben Zobrist batting .273/.356/.424 with 31 doubles, two triples and 12 home runs for a .780 OPS in 548 plate appearances.