The Great Zobrist vs. Cano vs. Pedroia Debate

Over at River Avenue Blues, Stephen Rhoads took to answering the age-old question: Who is the best second baseman in the division. Staying true to the northeastern bias that plagues American League East elitists, Rhoads only focused on Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia, leaving Ben Zobrist on the outside looking. Staying true to the hipster bias that plagues Rays elitists, I’m just going to throw this out there:

Player fWAR 600 bWAR 600 WARP600
Cano 3.24 3.9 3.72
Pedroia 4.68 4.56 3.72
Zobrist 4.56 3.42 3.42

Those are the per 600 plate appearances rate for each of the big three value metrics—FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement, Baseball-Reference’s version, and Baseball Prospectus’ Wins Above Replacement Player. The per 600 multiplier is just to give a constant frame of playing time, as the players differ on entrance years, although none are what you would considered injury prone.

Zobrist is in second place by more than a win per fWAR, third by half a win per bWAR, and just three runs shy of tying Cano-Pedroia per WARP. If you average those three values out, then Zobrist again finishes in second, ahead of Cano thanks to the fWAR gap. If you somehow factor in Zobrist’s defensive flexibility, he should gain a little extra credit too. Stylistically, Zobrist’s most annoying feature (the goatee) is also less irritating than Pedroia’s height or Cano’s failed attempts at flair.

Has Zobrist had the best career of the three to date? Probably not, but does he deserve to be the in the conversation? Yes, yes he does.

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