As we enter the final stretch of the 2023 series, Pitcher List is ranking the top 10 at every position in baseball.
There were some definite highlights among baseball’s second basemen this season. The list of the top 10 second basemen of 2023 includes a legitimate chase for .400 and two of the major catalysts for the top offenses in baseball.
Some familiar faces at the position enjoyed resurgent seasons while some newcomers burst onto the scene. And one of the best players in all of baseball, and arguably the best second baseman, isn’t even included on this list as he only played 55 games at the position (sorry, Mookie).
Let’s start with a couple of players who would be higher on the list if they had played all season.
10. Jonathan India
15 HR/53 RBI/13 SB
During India’s rookie season, which ended with NL Rookie of the Year honors, he hit .269 with 21 home runs, 69 RBI, and 12 steals. This season, he was on pace to set new career-highs in all of these categories before an injury slowed him down. India hit his 14th home run of the season back in mid-July but then missed over a month with a plantar fasciitis injury.
He was finally activated from the IL on Sunday and promptly hit his 15th home run and swiped his 13th steal of the season. India’s return should provide a boost for the Reds, who are currently sitting 1.5 games back of the final Wild Card spot.
9. Jose Altuve, HOU
16 HR/42 RBI/13 SB
Altuve would typically be higher on this list, but he’s been limited to only 72 games played this season. In that time, he’s cranked out his standard excellent production and would probably be looking at a potential 25/25 or 30/30 season if not for the time missed.
He’s hitting .300 or better for the seventh season of his career and is only 15 RBI off his season total from last year despite playing in half as many games. Altuve has been especially hot in September with six home runs and eight RBI in eight games played.
He’s hated on by a lot of fans outside of Houston but Altuve’s been a model of consistency for over a decade and will likely one day be enshrined in Cooperstown.
8. Whit Merrifield, TOR
11 HR/62 RBI/25 SB
Merrifield has enjoyed a bounce-back season in 2023 and he was named an All-Star for the third time in his career. He’s already surpassed his home run and stolen base totals from last season and is hitting 30 points higher in 2023.
The 34-year-old Merrifield is having more success at the plate this season as he is seeing pitches better. In 2022, he struggled against breaking balls and hit only .233 against the pitch. His average against fastballs in 2022 was .270. This season he’s raised his averages to .277 against breaking balls and to .295 against fastballs. Merrifield has also provided veteran leadership in the clubhouse to the young Blue Jays stars.
7. Bryson Stott, PHI
14 HR/55 RBI/28 SB
After playing more games at shortstop than second base during his rookie year last season, Bryson Stott shifted exclusively to second base in 2023. He’s emerged as a difference maker for the Phillies with his speed on the basepaths and ability to hit. Stott came out of the gates quickly this season and set a new franchise record by hitting safely in 17 straight games to begin the year.
He’s made some adjustments at the plate in his sophomore season allowing him to be more relaxed at the plate and to have a better chance at balls thrown high in the zone, something he struggled with as a rookie.
6. Nico Hoerner, CHI
9 HR/62 RBI/38 SB
Hoerner is like a slightly worse version of Luis Arraez as he doesn’t hit for much power, doesn’t strike out very much, but does hit for a nice average. However, a slightly inferior version of Arraez is still a pretty good ballplayer and Hoerner throws in more speed than Arraez.
After hitting the 20-steal mark in 2022, Hoerner will likely double his total and finish with more than 40 this season. He’s also set a new career-high in RBI in 2023 and is only one behind his career-high home run mark. Hoerner’s also added 88 runs this season.
5. Ha-Seong Kim, SD
17 HR/58 RBI/35 SB
Kim is another newcomer in the midst of a breakout season and has been a bright spot in a disappointing season for the Padres. By season’s end, he will have set career highs in home runs, RBI, steals, and runs. His 35 steals this season even eclipse his career high from his playing time in Korea, when he had 33 in 2019. Kim has also increased his OBP to .361 this season compared to last season’s .325.
He’s versatile on the defensive side of the ball and he splits his time between 2B, 3B, and SS. He has played the most games at 2B (96) while making plays like this.
— MLB (@MLB) June 4, 2023
4. Ketel Marte, ARI
22 HR/73 RBI/6 SB
Marte had a breakout season in 2019 hitting .329 with 32 home runs and finishing fourth in the NL MVP vote that season. Over the next two seasons, he was at times inconsistent, and then last season, he bottomed out as his slash line dropped to .240/.321/.407 and he managed only 12 home runs and 52 RBI.
He’s returned to form in 2023, providing a strong bat and a veteran presence to the Diamondbacks’ young core. Marte is third in slugging among primary second basemen and has provided excellent defense for Arizona’s infield. He ranks first among NL second basemen in assists with 324 and is second in double plays turned with 76.
Marte has increased his BB% to 1o.4% from 9.9% in 2022 and decreased his K% from 18.1% in 2022 to 16.5% in 2023.
His power increase is not just reflected in the number of home runs, but his triples have also jumped this year. After hitting only two three-baggers in 2022, Marte has hit nine triples and is tied for the major league lead with teammate Corbin Carroll.
3. Ozzie Albies, ATL
29 HR/92 RBI/11 SB
Albies predicted some big things for 2023 as he aimed to join the 40/40 club this season. He’ll fall short of that mark but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had a successful season as part of the historic Atlanta offense.
Albies has returned to his All-Star form and put his injury-shortened 2022 season behind him. He’s one home run behind his career-high and has raised his batting average to .266 from last season’s .247. Albies also has a 21.8% CSW rate for the season, which puts him in the 99th percentile in baseball.
He also plays solid defense for the Braves and his career fielding percentage of .988 is second among active second basemen. This season, he’s third in double plays turned with 74.
He may sometimes be overshadowed by Ronald Acuna’s otherworldly feats, but Albies is one of the best middle infielders in the game.
2. Luis Arraez, MA
6 HR/63 RBI/2 SB
After winning the American League batting title last season with an average of .316, Arraez has been even better in 2023. He flirted with the historic .400 mark for the first half of the season and was still above .400 on June 24, the latest into the season a player has been above the mark since Nomar Garciaparra in 2000.
He’s in the 100th percentile for K%, AVG, Con%, and O-Con%, and in the 95th percentile or better in BABIP, CSW%, and Z-Con%.
During last season, Arraez struggled the most against curveballs and changeups—hitting .253 against changeups and only .159 against curveballs. In 2023, he’s raised those averages significantly to .343 against changeups and .432 against curveballs. There is now literally no pitch that can slow him down.
Arraez also has six home runs in 2023, only two less than his single-season career-high; he has already surpassed his career-high in RBI (set last season with 49). In addition, he had three games where he went 5-5 and four other games where he went 4-5 at the plate.
He’s not the most exciting player and he doesn’t hit for much power, but there’s no question that Arraez is an elite hitter. His career batting average currently sits at .324, which would put him in the top 50 all-time if he had enough career plate appearances to qualify.
1. Marcus Semien, TEX
22 HR/85 RBI/14 SB
Marcus Semien was named an All-Star for the second time in his career in 2023 and has been a major contributor to the Rangers’ powerful offense, hitting 22 home runs and 85 RBI while also swiping 14 steals.
Semien is not only a great hitter but he’s also durable and consistent, playing 162 games in 2019, 2021, and only missing one game last season. He’s again first in plate appearances this season and leads the American League in runs (106) and hits (162).
A review of his Pitcher List player page shows that his advanced statistics are also elite, as he’s in the top 10% of the entire league in K% and CSW%.
After averaging around 25.5% CSW% the last two seasons, he’s shaved off nearly three percentage points in 2023. Semien’s OPS+ is also up this season (118) as compared to 2022 (107).
All of this adds up to Semien getting the crown as the top second baseman in all of baseball.