Can I Get A Hitter?

Dear American League Middle Infielders,

You suck.


The Year 2008.

Seriously, what is up with the junior circuit’s middle infielders this year? It’s early, yes, and there’s a couple talented players who will do better as the year wears on, but this is one ugly start to the season. Brian Roberts is the only second baseman in the AL with a positive WPA/LI, and he’s coming in at a whopping 0.07. Way to set the bar high there, Roberts. Every other second baseman is running a negative WPA/LI, and as a group, they’re running a -5.39 WPA/LI. That’s terrible. Robinson Cano is the main culprit, as he’s been the worst hitter in baseball so far this year, but he’s just one among a group of slackers that make him feel welcome.

The story is slightly better when you look at shortstop. Over there, two guys have positive WPA/LI marks through the start of the season. The problem – they both play for Texas. Michael Young and Ramon Vazquez are #1 and #2 on the list among players with at least 50 plate appearances, and they both get the benefit of playing their home games in a very friendly offensive environment. Once we get past the Rangers duo, though, it’s right back to the lousiness, with Derek Jeter being a little bit less terrible than everyone else and Tony Pena Jr giving Cano a run for his waste-of-money.

Everyone knows the bar for offensive production from premium defensive positions is lower than at a corner spot, but right now, the bar is just sitting on the ground. The all-star game is two months away – does anyone want to play like they belong there? Please?

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Mark Runsvold
Mark Runsvold

Your point still stands, Dave, but I think we need to acknowledge the atrocious luck Cano has had this year. His BABIP is .159 even though 16.4% of his batted balls have been line drives.