Baseball's Worst: Minnesota Twins' Second Basemen

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIMay 24, 2011

SARASOTA, FL - MARCH 03:  Infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka #1 of the Minnesota Twins stretches just before the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium on March 3, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Next up in our Baseball’s Worst series is baseball’s worst second basemen.

There are a lot of teams have that have underperforming two-baggers, but there’s one team that has had a really rough go of it at the position.

The Minnesota Twins have never been known to produce offensive powerhouses at second base, but this year, it’s gotten down right ugly. The 2011 Twins are owners of the worst offensive performing second basemen in baseball.

Let’s take a look at the guys responsible for this mess and if their is any help on the way…

Second Basemen

Luke Hughes

Matt Tolbert

Alexi Casilla

Michael Cuddyer

Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Major League Rankings

AVG: 29th (.190)

OBP: 30th (.238)

SLG: 30th (.259)

HRs: Tied for 29th (1)

ISO: 24th (.068)

wOBA: 30th (.228)

WAR: 30th (-1.3) 


 The Twins thought they had the answer at second base when they signed Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka this offseason. But when he broke his fibula in a game against the New York Yankees in April, the Twins had to go into scramble mode.

Since Nishioka got hurt, the Twins have used four different players at second, and they have all been terrible.

Hughes has started the most games at second (16), and in those games, he has a slash line of .185/.241/.278 with one HR and two doubles. He’s not the short-term or long-term answer for the Twins.

The Twins have also gone to Casilla at second, also. Casilla’s in the major leagues, but I am not really sure why. He’s never been worth more than one win for the Twins and has been just okay in the field.

He is the modern day Felix Fermin.

Minnesota has also tried Tolbert and Cuddyer as a replacement for Nishioka, but neither of them have done anything. I give credit to Cuddyer for trying to help the Twins out in anyway he can, but he is no longer the three-win player he was a couple of years ago and he has seen his OPS take a dip three straight seasons.

The Future

 I could see things getting slightly better for the Twins at second base as the season moves along. First and foremost, Minnesota second basemen have a .209 BABIP. That’s clearly going to get better throughout the season.

Going into Monday’s games, the average BABIP for major league second basemen was .279.

Second, I believe in Nishioka. I couldn’t believe how hard Twins fans were on this guy at the start of the season. Yes, he only hit .208 and struck out 33 percent of the time in six games, but it was only six games.

To put things in perspective, Kaz Matsui hit .333/.484/.625 with one HR and four doubles in his first six games major league games with the New York Mets back in 2004, and look how his career turned out.

He was run out of NY faster than Gregg Jefferies.

Twins trainer Rick McWane said Monday that Nishioka could play in his first rehab game later this week. If everything goes well, he could return to the Twins in late June.

In regards to prospects, the Twins don’t have any second basemen on their way. Outside of Miguel Sano, who’s shaping up to be more of an OF or 1B than a 3B, most of the Twins’ top prospects are outfielders and right-handed pitchers. Brian Dinkelman is hitting .295/.383/.378 with no HRs in 180 PAs in Triple-A, but he is 27 and is considered more of an organizational filler at this point than anything else.

It’s shaping up to be a long year in Minnesota. Nothing has gone right for them so far, and the performances by their second basemen haven’t helped.


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