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Ben Verlander’s MLB tiers: Who are the best second basemen?

The MLB offseason is winding down, and while some moves are still being made, we’ve got our eyes on the 2023 season.

Last week, we ranked the top couple dozen first basemen in the league, placing them into four separate tiers — “Elite,” “Almost Elite,” “Really Good” and “Pretty Solid.”

This week, we’re moving onto second base. It’s currently one of the most crowded positions in terms of ranking players.

Let’s get to it!

Elite: José Altuve, Marcus Semien

Altuve’s been the best second baseman in the game of baseball for a decade now.

Marcus Semien has shown how good he is for a few seasons. Last year, he started off on that horrendous pace — he couldn’t hit and couldn’t hit a home run one season after hitting 40-plus and nearly winning MVP. But he turned things around and had a solid year, finishing with 26 homers, 83 RBIs and a .733 OPS.

That alone doesn’t put Semien in the elite category. It’s the two top-three MVP finishes since 2019.

MLB Second Base Tiers: ‘The Elite’

MLB Second Base Tiers: 'The Elite'

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry rank MLB’s second basemen and have the Astros’ Jose Altuve and the Rangers’ Marcus Semien in “The Elite” tier. Do you agree?

Almost elite: Ozzie Albies, Jeff McNeil

Albies has the potential to be an elite second baseman. He’s not in the same class as Altuve and Semien, but he can get there. Jeff McNeil, who’s coming off a batting title, is also close.

In my opinion, there’s a sizable gap between these four and the next group at the position.

MLB Second Base Tiers: ‘The Almost Elite’

MLB Second Base Tiers: 'The Almost Elite'

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry rank MLB’s second basemen and have the Mets’ Jeff McNeil and the Braves’ Ozzie Albies in “The Almost Elite” tier. Do you agree?

Really Good: Tommy Edman, Jonathan India, Ketel Marte, Nico Hoerner, Andres Giménez, Jorge Polanco, Gleyber Torres, Luis Arráez

Tommy Edman is someone I really like. He’s a Gold Glove winner and was the biggest All-Star snub last year. He can play all over the place, but he predominantly occupies second base. He had a .265 batting average with 13 homers and 57 RBIs. Edman flies under the radar, but I’m expecting him to continue his upward trajectory.

Marte is a former All-Star but another player one who gets looked over, maybe because he plays for the Diamondbacks. This guy’s been a stud throughout his career and was solid last season, hitting .240 with 12 homers and 52 RBIs last season.

I included Arráez in my first base tiers last week, but he’s since been traded to Miami, I believe he’ll play second base.

MLB Second Base Tiers: ‘The Really Good’

MLB Second Base Tiers: 'The Really Good'

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry rank MLB’s second basemen and have the Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte and the Cardinals’ Tommy Edman in “The Really Good” tier. Do you agree?

Pretty Solid: Whit Merrifield, Adam Frazier, Chris Taylor, Brandon Drury, Bryson Stott, Kolten Wong, Luis Urías, Brendan Donovan, Brendan Rodgers, Nicky Lopez, Thairo Estrada, Brandon Lowe

The difference between the “Really Good” second basemen and the “Pretty Solid” ones is fairly significant.

Whit Merrifield has been a little down for the past year-plus. Can he get back to being really good or near-elite? I think so. He’s a two-time All-Star. He was one of the better second basemen for a few years, but hit just .250 with 11 homers and 58 RBIs last season.

Adam Frazier’s story is a bit peculiar. He was leading the league in hits upon being traded from the Pirates to the Padres during the 2021 season. Since then, he hasn’t been that guy anymore. Initially he struggled in the leadoff spot, then in the nine hole. His struggles only continued in Seattle.

What will he be in Baltimore? With expectations for him not as high as they once were, perhaps he will get back to who he was with the Pirates.

MLB Second Base Tiers: ‘Pretty Solid’ & ‘The Rest’

MLB Second Base Tiers: 'Pretty Solid' & 'The Rest'

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry rank MLB’s second basemen and have the Angels’ Brandon Drury and the Phillies’ Bryson Stott in “The Pretty Solid” & “The Rest” tiers. Do you agree?

If you didn’t hear your team’s second baseman, that means I’ve got him in “The Rest” category.

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