What is the value of a double play?
It seems like a simple question at first, but underneath the surface, incalculable defensive factors muddle up the idea that a double play is anything but a complex and intricate pattern of moving parts.
For those who believe glove conquers all, the middle infield is the most important part of a baseball team. How these two perform defensively can directly affect the number of games a team wins. So which dynamic duo was most valuable defensively this past decade? It's time to find out.
1.) These rankings are purely measurements of defensive prowess. Offensive ability is not taken into account. Apologizes to Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez.
2.) Gold Gloves, as they can be pretty subjective, do not affect my decisions. However, I will use them to reinforce my point, as opposed to throwing a bunch of decimals rounded to the ten-thousandth place at you.
3.) I'm measuring how both players performed together. So no matter how good of a fielder you believe Derek Jeter is, having to rely on the lead gloves of Alfonso Soriano and Chuck Knoblauch didn't exactly put Yankees fans at ease.
4.) The actual requirement for consideration was this: The duo had to log multiple seasons in which both played manned the middle infield positions for at least one hundred games. By these standards, 37 pairs were eligible for my rankings.
This saves me the time of sifting through useless stats for combinations such as Marlon Anderson-to-Brent Abernathy.
An example of a durable player who was unfortunately ineligible due to this qualification would be Miguel Tejada. While with the Oakland Athletics, he played out a full 162 game season on three separate occasions. However, Billy Beane’s inability to find a solid second baseman during those years means the A’s have no combos eligible.
Or, take Royce Clayton. A very underrated defender, he amassed 100+ games in seven seasons during the 2000's, playing superb defense consistently. Unfortunately for Royce, he was never with a team for more than two years, making him an extreme long shot for consideration.