Which Second Baseman Isn’t A Second Baseman

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Three names are bing discussed as candidates to play second base for the Braves in 2015 but one of them is not like the others. Phot compiled by Fred Owens for Tomahawk Take from originals taken by Lance Iversen, David Kohl, and Kyle Terada, all of USA TODAY Sports

The Braves have a spring training battle to see who plays second until the arrival of Jose Peraza.  As the Braves internal search for a second baseman continues it’s clear – or should be clear – that one of the candidates shouldn’t be a candidate at all..

Not A Second Baseman

The strength of a team is defense up the middle. Christian Bethancourt should be a plus defender behind the plate, Andrelton Simmons is a plus plus defender at shortstop, Mel Upton is an average defender in center and last season in limited play Philip Gosselin was an average defender at second.  Most see Gosselin as a utility player at best. The Braves acquired Jace Peterson in the Justin Upton trade and as a converted shortstop with quick feet and  good hands should play an above average second base. And then there’s Alberto Callaspo.

The signing of the soon to be 32 year old Callaspo  wasn’t particularly interesting at the time. He’s been journeyman utility infielder getting time mostly at third base but his bat has been on vacation for at least a year making him cheap – I know $3M isn’t cheap but in today’s market it’s seen that way. He was just thought to be the kind of veteran bench player the Braves looked for to add leadership. Then someone suggested he was the front runner to play second base, the media picked that up and weren’t discouraged by Skipper Fredi Gonzalez or any of the John Hart team members.  That baffles me. Why? Glad you asked.

Just the facts

In his major league career Callaspo’s played 996 games; 520 at third, 109 in left and 286 at second. His games at second break down like this.

Year G PA AB
2006 3 12 12
2007 5 14 12
2008 46 173 158
2009 144 583 527
2010 11 47 44
2013 33 117 105
2014 44 160 148
Career Total 286 1106 1006

As you can see he hasn’t played there with any regularity since 2009 and he only played that often that year because of a career year with the bat –.300/.356/.457/.813. Not to put too fine a point on it, Callaspo is a substandard defender at second base. It makes little difference what measure of defensive quality you prefer, as a second baseman in 2009 he was the worst in nearly every category.