Examining the 2011 Diamondbacks roster: Second Base

Arizona Diamondbacks Kelly Johnson picks up a ground hit against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning at Nationals Park in Washington on August 13, 2010. The Nationals beat the Diamondbacks 4-2. UPI/Alexis C. Glenn

With continuing to look at this year’s D’Backs roster, we move on from a position with many question marks to a position with very few question marks. Second base.

Kelly Johnson: Even though 2010 was a disaster for Arizona, Johnson was one of the few bright spots. The Texan put up some nice numbers while he was in Atlanta, but the 2000 Supplemental round pick never put it fully together for the Braves with battling injuries and inconsistencies. He finally lived up to his draft billing last season. Johnson had a very respectable .284 average with 26 home runs and 71 RBI. His home run total was good for fourth out of all second baseman in the league and his RBI totals for good for ninth. KJ’s stroke seems to be perfect for Chase Field and he has to be happy with the recent news that a humidor more than likely won’t be put in the park this season. Not only can Johnson hit, but his bat isn’t too shabby as well. He had the lowest error of his career last season with eight and his field percentage was at a solid .998. Barring a setback or an injury, there is no reason to think that Johnson won’t put up similar numbers to last season’s career year.

Tony Abreu: It is amazing how fast a player can fall. Back when he was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the Jon Garland deal, Abreu was expected to be this team’s second baseman of the future. Now he will be fighting for a roster spot during the spring. His 2010 season had a lot to do with that. It was his first season of pro ball where he didn’t hit. He hit at every level while he was in the minors and hit pretty well with the Dodgers back in 2007, but that wasn’t the case last season. In 193 at-bats, the 26-year-old hit only .233 with one home run and 13 RBI. His glove wasn’t much better. In 47 games at second, short and third, Abreu had 16 errors. He will be fighting against a number of different veterans for only a few roster spots and the competition during spring training could bring out the best in Abreu for 2011. If he does make the roster and bounces back, he would be a potent bat off the bench and could spell Johnson and other guys on the infield.

Other guys on 40-man roster: Ryan Roberts will be one of those guys battling for a spot on the roster with Abreu. After a solid 2009 season, where he hit .279 seven home runs and 25 RBI, the 30-year-old veteran struggled in 2010. His average was below .200 with two home runs and nine RBI in only 66 at-bats.  The pop in Roberts bat could give him the edge over other guys, but he needs to have a good spring in order to impress Kirk Gibson. Willie Bloomquist will be the mix for a spot on the roster as well. Bloomquist will remind fans of Craig Counsell, a guy who won’t knock your socks, but he can do everything well. It also helps his case that he has played every position on the field except for catcher and pitcher throughout his career.

Non-roster invitees: Cody Ransom is the only non-roster invitee that he has seen time at second base. Like I have said numerous of times, he is more of a depth guy for Triple A. He will get time throughout the spring though.

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