10. Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates (.268 BA, 20 HR, 68 RBI)
Walker hit .251 last season with 16 HR and 53 RBI. With the likes of Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, and the rising stars in Josh Harrison, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco, Walker and the Pirates seek their 3rd straight postseason appearance.
9. Daniel Murphy, New York Mets (.289 BA, 10 HR, 64 RBI)
Another case of a typical 2nd baseman, Daniel Murphy can hit for a pretty good average, but doesn’t supply a ton of power. He didn’t play the best of defense at 2nd, but Murphy can serve as a utility player and is a very versatile weapon for the Mets.
8. Ben Zobrist, Oakland Athletics (.272 BA, 11 HR, 57 RBI)
Oakland may be friendly to Zobrist as he is now out of Tampa and Tropicana Field. Zobrist is a consistent .270 guy who can give you 10-15 home runs and can play good defense at any position on the field.
7. Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins (.244 BA, 20 HR, 66 RBI)
Dozier is a career .242 hitter, so I don’t see him hitting for a good average. However, his power numbers have increased over the past few years, so that more than likely will continue to trend upwards.
6. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox (.287 BA, 8 HR, 58 RBI)
I expect Dustin Pedroia to feast off of fastballs this season as I see him hitting 2nd in the Boston lineup ahead of the trio of David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, and Pablo Sandoval (not in any order). Pedroia is also a terrific fielder (he made 2 errors all season) and I expect him to be quite busy this year with the acquisitions of Rick Porcello and Justin Masterson who are groundball pitchers.
5. Dee Gordon, Miami Marlins (.281 BA, 2 HR, 31 RBI)
In his first full season as a starter, Gordon proved he deserved it by making the NL All-Star team. As a leadoff type hitter, his power numbers and RBI numbers will never be great, but his smooth fielding, lightning quick speed and contact land him in the top 10.
4. Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Dodgers (.292 BA, 9 HR, 68 RBI)
Kendrick was traded to the Dodgers, but luckily for him the only change of scenery for the most part is the ballpark. A key piece of the AL leading Angels last year, Kendrick finds himself a key piece of the new look Dodgers. He’s not the biggest power guy in the world, but his average is always somewhere around .290, which anyone in the league would be happy to have.
3. Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers (.273 BA, 14 HR, 75 RBI)
Kinsler adjusted nicely to Detroit in his first season with the club hitting .275 with 17 HR and 92 RBI from the 2 slot in the lineup. He also had a fielding percentage of .988. I expect Kinsler to lead off for the Tigers this season, which will more than likely drop his RBI numbers, but his runs number will jump significantly.
2. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros (.319 BA, 6 HR, 52 RBI)
The only reason I didn’t make Altuve number one was because of his power numbers. His hands defensively are great as he posted a .986 fielding percentage. Altuve hit an astounding .341 last season and the way he swings the bat makes me believe he will continue to hit with a terrific average for years to come.
1. Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners (.314 BA, 19 HR, 88 RBI)
Cano is a 6-time AL All-Star at 2nd base and his had an average of at least .300 since 2009. He has one of the prettiest swings in baseball and his power and glove make him the best 2nd baseman in the game. What’s scary this year is that he has the protection of Nelson Cruz as well.