What is a Second Baseman in Baseball?
The second baseman is typically responsible for most balls hit in the infield between first base and second base, although the first baseman will field balls hit close to the first base bag. The second baseman also fields very shallow flyballs (i.e., pop-ups that drift past the infield).
How Difficult is Playing Second Base?
Like third base and centerfield, second base is a relatively difficult position to field.
Players at second base can typically cover the corner outfield positions, as well as sometimes centerfield or third base. The one limit is whether the player fields 2B due to arm strength. Without that tool, it is unlikely a player will shift over to third base or center. Productive hitting second basemen tend to move over to first as their defensive capabilities deteriorate (e.g., Neil Walker, Max Muncy, and Jonathan Schoop) since first base tends to be a much easier position to field.
Do Second Baseman Wear Special Gloves?
Unlike a first baseman or catcher, a second baseman does not wear a unique glove. Second baseman, though, tend to prefer gloves that allow them to quickly scoop up a ground ball, transfer it to their throwing hand, and deliver the ball to another play in the infield. This is especially true on double plays.
Some typical characteristics of gloves worn by second baseman include:
- an I-web, which provides a shallow pocket ideal for quickly getting the ball out and some extra visibility for handling popouts and flyballs
- around 11.5″, which accommodates the shallow pocket while still having a decent length
Why Are There So Few Left-Handed Second Basemen?
Making routine plays are anything but routine for a left-handed second baseman. In particular, a lefty second baseman cannot make the pivot required for a double play. Even just routine throws are a bit more problematic since the flow (i.e., throwing to first base) is backwards for lefties. For that reason, you very rarely see left-handed second basemen (or left-handed third baseman, shortstops, or catchers).
In fact, only four left-handed players have appeared at second in an inning of Major League Baseball: George Crowe, Sam McDowell, Gonzalo Marquez, and Don Mattingly (yes, that Don Mattingly better known as being a long-time Yankees first baseman).
How Much Does a Second Baseman Make in the MLB?
For this, I looked at the salaries of each team’s 2021 opening day second baseman. Not entirely perfect since some teams employed a platoon, but it gives us a good enough sample to determine an average second baseman salary.
On average, MLB second baseman made $4,715,862 in 2021. MLB salaries typically fall into three tiers: pre-arbitration, arbitration, and post-arbitration. Looking at salaries within each tier:
- Pre-Arbitration: $940,504
- Arbitration: $4,595,833
- Post-Arbitration: $8,237,738
*** indicates the player signed a contract that replaced his pre-arbitration and/or his arbitration years.
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Eduardo Escobar||$7,500,000|
|Atlanta Braves||Ozzie Albies***||$3,000,000|
|Baltimore Orioles||Rio Ruiz||$583,500|
|Boston Red Sox||Enrique Hernandez||$6,000,000|
|Chicago Cubs||David Bote***||$1,500,000|
|Chicago White Sox||Nick Madrigal||$584,000|
|Cincinnati Reds||Jonathan India||$570,500|
|Cleveland Guardians||Cesar Hernandez||$5,000,000|
|Colorado Rockies||Chris Owings||$1,000,000|
|Detroit Tigers||Jonathan Schoop||$4,500,000|
|Houston Astros||Jose Altuve||$26,000,000|
|Kansas City Royals||Whit Merrifield||$6,750,000|
|Los Angeles Angels||David Fletcher***||$2,000,000|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Gavin Lux||$573,000|
|Miami Marlins||Jazz Chisolm Jr.||$571,500|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Kolten Wong||$7,000,000|
|Minnesota Twins||Jorge Polanco***||$4,333,333|
|New York Mets||Jeff Mcneil||$642,251|
|New York Yankees||DJ LeMahieu||$15,000,000|
|Oakland Athletics||Jed Lowrie||$1,500,000|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Jean Segura||$14,250,000|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Adam Frazier||$4,300,000|
|San Diego Padres||Jake Cronenworth||$584,900|
|San Francisco Giants||Donovan Solano||$3,250,000|
|Seattle Mariners||Dylan Moore||$590,400|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Tommy Edman||$590,600|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Brandon Lowe***||$2,500,000|
|Texas Rangers||Nick Solak||$586,000|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Marcus Semien||$18,000,000|
|Washington Nationals||Hernan Perez||$750,000|
Who are the Best Second Baseman
Below you will find the best all-time second basemen and best recent second basemen (2017-2021 and 2021 only). WAR is based on Fangraphs, as is position designation (players on list indicate position they spent most games playing).
|Rank||All-Time WAR||2017-2021 WAR||2021 WAR|
|1.||Roger Hornsby (130.3)||Jose Altuve (21.2)||Trea Turner (6.9)|
|2.||Eddie Collins (120.5)||Javier Baez (15.7)||Marcus Semien (6.6)|
|3.||Nap Jajoie (102.2)||Whit Merrifield (15.4)||Brandon Lowe (5.2)|
|4.||Joe Morgan (98.8)||Ozzie Albies (14.8)||Jose Altuve (5.2)|
|5.||Charlie Gehringer (78.6)||Yoan Moncada (14.8)||Jake Cronenworth (4.4)|
|6.||Frankie Frisch (74.8)||DJ Lemahieu (14.4)||Ozzie Albies (4.2)|
|7.||Rod Carew (72.3)||Ketel Marte (13.5)||Enrique Hernandez (3.9)|
|8.||Bobby Grich (69.2)||Kolten Wong (13.1)||Jonathan India (3.9)|
|9.||Lou Whitaker (68.1)||Jean Segura (12.3)||Jorge Polanco (3.9)|
|10.||Craig Biggio (65.8)||Cesar Hernandez (11.4)||Javier Baez (3.6)|