With the ceremony for Roberto Alomar nearing, I thought it would be fun to take the Dustin Pedroia discussions to the next level. Everyone likes to make projections, yet this one seems to have skipped over many people's heads, probably mostly due to Dustin's small stature. Pedroia right now is on pace to be a top 5 all-time second baseman. Perhaps the best ever? It sounds like such a bold statement, but when you look at the numbers, it's really not. Let's take a look at #1 and #2 interchangeably previous to Pedroia (this is in my opinion) and then compare Dustin's numbers.
#1 Jackie Robinson: The only reason Jackie is not #1 in everyone's book, is because he didn't play long enough in the majors, due to his skin color keeping him out for so many years. When Jackie broke the color barrier, everyone knew what a great player he was and there was a reason he was the first. Jackie stole 20-40 bags a season in his time in the majors, also providing solid power from 2B averaging around 15-17 homers a season. His .311 career batting average and .409 OBP show that he almost always put himself on base. Jackie Robinson, the greatest of all-time.
#2 Roberto Alomar: Some would put Joe Morgan here, but I say Alomar's glove puts him over the top. No one has ever made second base look as easy as Roberto Alomar. His .300 career average, 210 homers, and over 1100 RBI's show that he was not just dynamic in the field, but a genuine threat at the plate too. Roberto Alomar was also a big part of the early 90's championship Blue Jays.
#3 Joe Morgan: Joe Morgan is best known for his involvement in the Big Red Machine, however, he spent many years in Houston as well. Morgan was better than Kent with the glove, winning 5 Gold Gloves along the way, thus I decided to put him in at 3. Morgan is also one of only two second basemen since at least 1950 that has put up over a 1.000 OPS in a season. The other is ranked #4.
#4 Jeff Kent: What else can you say besides you can't possibly leave the all-time home run leader from his position out of the top rankings. 377 career home runs, a career .290/.356/.500 line, and being one of the nicest guys in the game has put Kent in the top 5.
Number 5 could very well be Dustin Pedroia. His .303/.374/.461 line is constantly improving as his plate discipline has steadily improved. His power numbers are surging this year as well, perhaps pointing that 175-225 career home runs is a logical projection for the young second baseman, which would put him right on par with Alomar. That would easily put his career slugging percentage over .500 considering his 45-55 doubles in healthy seasons as well. However, Pedroia has added an element to his game that put Jackie Robinson and Roberto Alomar #1 and #2 in the top 5. That element is speed and stolen bases. Pedroia is on pace for about 30 or so this year, and should health not be an issue, he will find himself near the top of the list for steals as well. I believe Alomar is the current leader with 474.
So while we may never look back at Dustin Pedroia and say he was the best of all-time, his numbers could certainly warrant an argument otherwise. Some names who just missed this list (just so I don't receive a hatemail list) are Rod Carew and Ryne Sandberg, both amazing second baseman who definitley warrant discussion. Sandberg remains among my favorite players. Sorry you missed this list Ryne.