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Brewer WAR Lords: Second Base

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Earlier in the series:

Catcher
First Base/DH

Now, on to second base, the closest contest of the six:

1. Paul Molitor

Career WAR: 14.4 (2nd)
Top three seasons: 12.4 (1st)
Top five seasons: 13.1 (1st)

If you're scoring at home, this is Molitor's second appearance. He finished in third at first base and (spoiler alert) he played a little third base as well. Just four of Molitor's fifteen Brewer seasons were spent at second base. As such, he's the only Brewer to make #1 on one of these lists without being the leader in Career WAR. However, in Molitor's four seasons as a second baseman (1978-1980, 1990) he averaged 3.6 wins above replacement. Jim Gantner, the Brewer leader in career WAR at second base, only posted one season over 3 in seventeen attempts. Molitor was an All Star second baseman in 1980 and 1988 (despite playing third that season), and in 1979 he hit .322/.372/.469 and stole 33 bases, good for 5 wins.

2. Jim Gantner

Career WAR: 20.8 (1st)
Top three seasons: 9.1 (2nd)
Top five seasons: 13.1 (2nd)

As mentioned earlier, Gantner played 17 seasons as a Brewer, compiling 1449 games at second base. He was worth one win or more at second base nine times in his career, including a career year in 1983, when he hit .282/.329/.401, good for 4.1 WAR. Gantner's five best seasons were worth less than the four Molitor played at second, but he's easily the second most valuable second baseman in Brewer history, and finishing second to a Hall of Famer isn't bad. And his middle name is Elmer.

3: Fernando Vina

Career WAR: 5.6 (3rd)
Top three seasons: 5 (4th)
Top five seasons: 5.6 (3rd)

After Gantner, the drop off is pretty steep. Vina had one really good season as a Brewer, hitting .311/.386/.427 in 1998, good for 3 WAR. Aside from that, he had a pretty pedestrian (and injury prone) Brewer career, posting 2.6 WAR over four seasons.

4. Ronnie Belliard

Career WAR: 5.1 (4th)
Top three seasons: 7.4 (3rd)
Top five seasons: 5.1 (4th)

It's fitting that these two finished their Brewer careers so close in value, as Vina was traded to make room for Belliard. He was a solid major league second baseman for three seasons, posting 7.4 WAR between 1999 and 2001, possibly the best 3-year run by any Brewer second baseman not named Molitor. In 2002, though, Belliard fell apart, hitting .211/.257/.287, good for 2.1 wins below replacement level.

5. Willie Randolph

Career WAR: 4.7 (5th)
Top three seasons: 4.7 (5th)
Top five seasons: 4.7 (5th)

Willie Randolph spent just one season as a Brewer, but that single season was more valuable than any of Gantner's 17, and worth more than the careers of all but four second basemen in Brewer history.

Rounding out the top ten:

Pos. Player Career WAR Rank Top 3 Rank Top 5 Rank
6 Don Money 4.6 6 4.6 6 4.6 6
7 Ron Theobald 4.1 7 4.1 7 4.1 7
8 Scott Fletcher 2.9 8 2.9 9 2.9 8
9 Rickie Weeks 2.5 9t 3.6 8 2.5 9t
10 Eric Young 2.5 9t 2.5 10 2.5 9t

Wednesday: Third base