Our look at the best MLB players at each position continues with the second basemen. There are a number of interesting candidates for this list, but only five can make. So, who topped our rankings? Let’s take a look at the list, starting with a bright young star in the city of Cleveland, Ohio.
Related: 2023 MLB Power Rankings: Who are the best first basemen?
5. Andres Giménez
With many candidates to choose from, we start off our top five with Guardians second baseman Andres Giménez. Acquired by Cleveland in the Francisco Lindor mega-deal two years ago, Giménez broke out for the AL Central champions last season. The Guardians infielder posted a gaudy 141 OPS+ last season, as Giménez belted 17 home runs and drove in 69 for Cleveland last season. The 24-year-old also recorded a fantastic .371 OBP, a figure that put him among the top players in all of baseball (min. 450 PA). Defensively, Giménez had a +13 Outs Above Average for Cleveland last season. That tidy figure earned Giménez his first AL Gold Glove award.
Giménez posted the sixth-highest bWAR (7.4) in baseball last season, thanks to his prowess both in the field and at the plate. The lack of track record is the reason why Giménez is not higher, but the 24-year-old can change that with a repeat performance in 2023.
4. Ozzie Albies
Braves infielder Ozzie Albies has been one of the game’s best power threats from second base since his debut back in 2017. The switch-hitter has cracked at least 20 home runs three times in his career, with a career-high of 30 that was set in the Braves’ World Series championship team in 2021. In addition to great power, the Curacao native has ranked as an above-average defender, in terms of Outs Above Average, in five of his first six seasons.
Albies missed most of last season due to a litany of injuries, but he’ll look to put together a full campaign in 2023 and help anchor an infield that includes Austin Riley and slugging first baseman Matt Olson.
3. Marcus Semien
A shortstop for most of his career, Marcus Semien moved to second base after he inked a one-year deal with the Blue Jays for 2021. Semien’s first season was a smashing success, from an offensive point of view. The California native cracked 45 home runs and drove in 102 runs for Toronto that season, a performance that helped earn Semien a massive, seven-year deal with Texas last winter. While Semien didn’t replicate those results in 2022, he did hit 26 home runs and 62 extra bse hits for the Rangers last season.
Just six players in MLB over the last three seasons have had more extra base hits (165) than Semien. It’s hard to debate his prowess at the plate, and it is evident that the move to second has benefited Semien over the last season. Traditionally a below-average defender throughout his career at short, Semien has ranked in the top 10% of all players defensively in each of the last two seasons.
2. Jeff McNeil
What a difference a year made for Mets infielder Jeff McNeil. After a rough 2021 that saw McNeil post a career-low .251 average, the two-time All-Star won the NL batting title last season. McNeil recorded a .326 batting average last season, and a .382 OBP that was the eighth-best among all qualified players. The 30-year-old’s strong season netted McNeil his first NL Silver Slugger award.
McNeil might not have the best range or speed at second, but the Mets infielder is also a talented infielder in his own right. The 30-year-old posted a +8 Outs Above Average, a figure that put McNeil in the top 5% of all players. The career .307 hitter will look to once again play a big role for a stacked Mets lineup in 2023.
1. Jose Altuve
Our top second baseman shouldn’t be much of shock. Astros infielder Jose Altuve won his sixth Silver Slugger award this past November after another strong season at the plate. Altuve hit .300/.387/.533 last season with 28 home runs and 39 doubles. Altuve led all second basemen last season in extra base hits (67). The 32-year-old may not be the best defender at second, but Altuve can still more than hold his own. The former AL Gold Glove winner has recorded positive Outs Above Average figures in three of the last four seasons.
The Astros’ star infielder wasn’t much of a factor in the 2022 MLB Playoffs, as he hit just .190 over 13 games. Still, Altuve played a key role for the Astros en route to the team’s second World Series championship victory in 2022.