A Brief History of Second Base in San Diego

There are many things that excite me as a Padres fan in 2013: the new Ballast Point Beer Garden at Petco Park, top prospect Jedd Gyorko, and… okay, there are two things that excite me. Let’s talk about Gyorko.

The Padres second-round pick in 2010 out of West Virginia University won the starting second base job this spring. He currently splits time between second and third while Chase Headley recovers from a thumb injury sustained just before Opening Day.

What we know about Gyorko is that a) he will hit (.319/.385/.529 in 1,500 minor-league PA) and b) he may or may not be a second baseman. But he’s there now, so we’ll roll with it.

What we know about second base in San Diego is that it’s not a stable position. The all-time leader in games played is Tim Flannery, with 543, the lowest total for any position in Padres history.

Since Mark Loretta was traded to Boston in December 2005, the Keystone corner has been where careers go to die: Josh Barfield, Marcus Giles, Tadahito Iguchi, David Eckstein, Orlando Hudson, Logan Forsythe. Well, the jury is still out on Forsythe, but you get the idea.

Although this is an extremely crude way to view the situation, here are the top 10 Padres who played at least 50 percent of their games at second base as measured by WAR:

  1. Roberto Alomar, 12.1
  2. Mark Loretta, 11.2
  3. Tim Flannery, 9.2
  4. Quilvio Veras, 5.7
  5. Josh Barfield, 3.0
  6. Juan Bonilla, 2.8
  7. Tim Teufel, 2.5
  8. David Eckstein, 2.3
  9. Logan Forsythe, 1.5
  10. Tito Fuentes, 1.4

If we want to be optimistic (not a bad idea these days), we could note that two of the 10 best second basemen in Padres history are still employed by the team. Granted, Loretta is now in the front office and Forsythe is on the disabled list, but let’s not nitpick.

Also, Gyorko ranks 20th with 0.1 WAR after six big-league games. That puts him ahead of Iguchi, Giles, and 20 other guys, all the way down to Kurt Stillwell (-3.4 WAR). Ah, Stillwell… second pick in a 1983 first round full of suck (198.5 WAR, but Roger Clemens accounts for 71 percent), but I digress.

The point, I think, is that now would be a good time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Good beer is one, Gyorko is another. Cheers to both.

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Still pining for Bonilla or Eckstein? Leave a comment, send an email (geoff@sonofaduck.com), or hit me up on Twitter (@ducksnorts).

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