Best Fielding Second Basemen in MLB History
Second basemen are an important part of a baseball team’s defense.
The job description requires them to be nimble and quick in the field, with a good arm, range to pick up ground balls, and adept at turning double plays. The top second basemen make the routine look easy and the difficult look routine. And they can be a pitcher’s best friend.
Until Ryne Sandberg retired in 1997, the Chicago Cubs two-bagger was considered the gold standard at the position, winning the top fielding award nine seasons in a row. Since then, nine second basemen have posted a higher career fielding percentage than "Ryno."
These are the second basemen with the best fielding percentages in major league history. You might be surprised at who missed the cut.
Some well-known second basemen have career fielding percentages that are just a bit outside the top 25 in baseball history. They include All-Stars, World Series champions, Hall of Famers and baseball legends.
Bret Boone — .9856
Roberto Alomar — .9838
Craig Biggio — .9837
Nellie Fox — .9835
Jackie Robinson — .9830
Bill Mazeroski — .9828
Chase Utley — .9819
Joe Morgan — .9812
Davey Johnson — .9799
Billy Martin — .9797
Harold Reynolds – .9793
Davey Lopes — .9773
25. Ben Zobrist
Career fielding percentage: .9869
Teams: Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Rays, Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs
Years in MLB: 14 (2006-present)
Bottom line: A three-time All-Star, Ben Zobrist is a well-rounded utility player. He's played half his innings at second base, and the rest at shortstop and various outfield positions.
He is one of seven players in MLB history to win consecutive World Series titles with different teams: the Kansas City Royals in 2015 and the Chicago Cubs in 2016.
Zobrist was named MVP of the 2016 World Series. So he's got that going for him, which is nice.
24. Brian Dozier
Career fielding percentage: .9872
Teams: Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals
Years in MLB: 8 (2012-present)
Bottom line: You can go far in baseball if you can play defense and have some pop in your bat. Brian Dozier is a lifetime .245 hitter, but he's hit 192 home runs and made $30 million in career salary.
Dozier started his career with the Twins in 2012, was an All-Star in 2015 and won a Gold Glove Award in 2017. He recorded a 20-20 (20 home runs and 20 stolen bases) in 2014. Three years later, he became the first American League second baseman to hit 40 homers in a season, finishing with 42 overall.
And in 2019, he won his first World Series ring, with the Nationals.
23. Rich Dauer
Career fielding percentage: .9874
Teams: Baltimore Orioles
Years in MLB: 10 (1976-85)
Bottom line: Rich Dauer was a winner. He won the College World Series twice at USC. Then, he played his entire 10-year major league career with the Baltimore Orioles and won a World Series in 1983.
Dauer held two American League single-season fielding records for a second baseman, including 86 consecutive errorless games and 425 straight errorless games, both in 1978.
Following his MLB career, Dauer spent 19 seasons as a pro coach and won the 2017 World Series with the Houston Astros as a first-base coach.
22. Brandon Phillips
Career fielding percentage: .9875
Teams: Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox
Years in MLB: 17 (2002-18)
Bottom line: Brandon Phillips was an All-Star three times, and over a long major league career, he won four Gold Glove Awards and one Silver Slugger Award.
His uniform and cleats were sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame after he became the first player to accomplish a unique feat in two different games: hit three home runs, knock in seven RBI and steal two bases.
In 2007, Phillips joined the 30-30 club 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in one season.
20. (tie) Joe Panik
Career fielding percentage: .9876
Teams: San Francisco Giants, New York Mets
Years in MLB: 6 (2014-present)
Bottom line: Joe Panik was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2011 and didn’t get called up until the 2014 season.
But he cemented his spot on the roster by participating in the Giants' World Series win in 2014, was named an All-Star in 2015 and won a Gold Glove Award in 2016.
To start the 2018 season, Panik set an MLB record by becoming the first player to hit solo home runs in back-to-back 1-0 victories.
20. (tie) Robinson Cano
Career fielding percentage: .9876
Teams: New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, New York Mets
Years in MLB: 15 (2005-present)
Bottom line: Robinson Cano won a World Series title with the New York Yankees (2009) during his nine-year run with the Yanks.
A native of the Dominican Republic, he is an eight-time All-Star, won the Silver Slugger Award five times and netted two Gold Glove Awards.
During the Yankees' 2009 championship season, Cano hit 20 home runs and notched 204 hits (first among all second basemen that year).
Since committing 17 errors in his rookie season in 2005, Cano has never committed more than 13 errors in a season and 123 total errors in 2,124 career games.
19. Jody Reed
Career fielding percentage: .9879
Teams: Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers
Years in MLB: 11 (1987-97)
Bottom line: Jody Reed made his major league debut in 1987 with the Boston Red Sox as a shortstop, but switched to second base in 1989.
Though he never won a Gold Glove Award, Reed was a consistent fielder his entire career.
After retiring in 1997, Reed went into coaching. He managed in the minor leagues for the New York Yankees for three years, and in 2011, he was named manager of the year at the helm of the Arizona League Dodgers.
18. Neil Walker
Career fielding percentage: .9882
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Miami Marlins, New Yor Yankees
Years in MLB: 11 (2009-present)
Bottom line: Neil Walker was drafted by his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round of the 2004 draft, and made his debut with the Pirates in 2009.
He played every position on the diamond before settling in at second base.
Walker won the Silver Slugger Award in 2014. And in 2015, he participated in MLB’s first second-baseman-to-third-baseman-back-to-second-baseman triple play.
17. Jose Lind
Career fielding percentage: .9884
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, California Angels
Years in MLB: 9 (1987-95)
Bottom line: Jose Lind was an exceptional defensive player who won the Gold Glove Award in 1992.
However, that same year, Lind committed a fielding error in the ninth inning of the seventh game of the NLCS that led to a come-from-behind win for the Atlanta Braves.
Still, his play at second base in 1992 was good enough to break Ryne Sandberg’s string of winning nine consecutive NL Gold Glove Awards.
16. Darwin Barney
Career fielding percentage: .9885
Teams: Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays
Years in MLB: 8 (2010-17)
Bottom line: In 2012, Darwin Barney won the Gold Glove Award — the first by a Chicago Cubs second baseman since Ryne Sandberg won nine in a row (1983-91).
During the 2012 season, Barney committed just two errors, and tied the major league record for consecutive errorless games at second base with 141.
In college, Barney played on back-to-back championship teams at Oregon State University.
15. Danny Espinosa
Career fielding percentage: .9986
Teams: Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays
Years in MLB: 8 (2010-17)
Bottom line: After being drafted by the Washington Nationals in 2008, Danny Espinosa was called up to the bigs in 2010 and often served as a utility player at all the infield positions and in left field.
He bounced back and forth between playing shortstop and second base throughout his MLB career.
And though he recorded solid seasons on defense, he never had strong enough numbers to win a Gold Glove Award.
14. Mickey Morandini
Career fielding percentage: .9887
Teams: Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays
Years in MLB: 11 (1990-2000)
Bottom line: His All-Star year was 1995, but one of Mickey Morandini’s best all-around years was 1993, when he and the Philadelphia Phillies played in the World Series (losing to Toronto).
In 1996, Morandini excelled in the field, participating in 87 double plays while making just six errors — good for a .990 fielding percentage.
After retiring, he became a minor league coach and worked his way up to be first-base coach for the Phillies in 2015.
13. Aaron Hill
Career fielding percentage: .9889
Teams: Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona Diamondback, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants
Years in MLB: 13 (2005-17)
Bottom line: A first-round draft pick in 2003 by the Toronto Blue Jays, Aaron Hill was called up in 2005.
Hill excelled in 2009, when he rebounded from a concussion that ended his previous season and was named the AL Comeback Player of the Year after slugging 36 home runs and notching 108 RBI.
He was also named an All-Star that year, and won the first of two Silver Slugger Awards.
Fun fact: Hill is one of just five players to hit for the cycle twice in one year.
11. (tie) Mark Loretta
Career fielding percentage: .9890
Teams: Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers
Years in MLB: 15 (1995-2009)
Bottom line: Mark Loretta was a dependable fielder over a 15-year MLB career that saw him play on six different teams. He was also a solid hitter, finishing with a .295 career batting average.
In 2004, he won the Silver Slugger Award and made his first of two appearances in the All-Star Game.
After retiring, Loretta joined the San Diego Padres as a special assistant. And in 2013, he coached the Israeli national team in the World Baseball Classic.
11. (tie) Tom Herr
Career fielding percentage: .9890
Teams: St Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants
Years in MLB: 13 (1979-91)
Bottom line: Remember when Tom Herr hit a walk-off grand slam in 1987 that led St. Louis past the New York Mets? Hometown fans wildly threw their giveaway seat cushions on the field in celebration.
Herr played on three World Series teams and won with the Cardinals in 1982.
His lone All-Star appearance was 1985 — the year he notched 110 RBI while hitting just eight home runs.
10. Ryne Sandberg
Career fielding percentage: .9894
Teams: Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs
Years in MLB: 16 (1981-94, 1996-97)
Bottom line: "Ryno" was the gold standard for second basemen during his 16-year career. He was a 10-time All-Star (from 1984-93) and a nine-time Gold Glove Award winner (1983-91).
There’s also his seven Silver Slugger Awards, the NL MVP season of 1984 and the year he led the NL in home runs (40 in 1990).
When the Hall of Famer retired in 1997, his .989 fielding percentage was a major league record.
Sandberg went on to manage Philadelphia from 2013 to 2015.
9. Freddy Sanchez
Career fielding percentage: .9897
Teams: Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants
Years in MLB: 10 (2002-11)
Bottm line: Freddy Sanchez overcame physical adversity to become a professional athlete, having been born with a pigeon-toed left foot and a club right foot.
Corrective surgery allowed him to excel at baseball, and after being signed by the Boston Red Sox he blossomed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he was a three-time All-Star and won an NL batting title in 2006.
He was traded to the San Francisco Giants, where he won a World Series in 2010.
8. Scott Fletcher
Career fielding percentage: .9898
Teams: Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers
Years in MLB: 15 (1981-95)
Bottom line: Kudos to a player who never exactly excelled in the major leagues, but crafted a 15-year career with six different teams, playing both second base and shortstop.
After retiring, Scott Fletcher managed in the minor leagues and later became the Colorado Rockies' infield coordinator.
When Fletcher was playing for the Texas Rangers, and former President George W. Bush was the owner, Bush named his dog Spot Fetcher, in recognition of Fletcher.
7. Jamey Carroll
Career fielding percentage: .9899
Teams: Montreal Expos, Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals
Years in MLB: 12 (2002-13)
Bottom line: Jamey Carroll played second base, shortstop and third base during a dozen years in the bigs.
In 2004, he scored the last-ever run for the Montreal Expos, before they relocated to Washington, D.C.
Playing for the Colorado Rockies two years later in the best season of his career, Carroll committed just three errors at second base, and led all NL second basemen in fielding percentage.
6. Mark Ellis
Career fielding percentage: .9910
Teams: Oakland Athletics, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals
Years in MLB: 12 (2002-03, 2005-14)
Bottom line: Mark Ellis made the bigs in 2002, but missed the entire 2004 season after a preseason shoulder injury. He returned sharp in 2005, batting .316 as the starting second baseman for the Oakland A’s.
In 2006, Ellis broke the AL single-season record for fielding percentage (.9968) — though oddly, he did not win the Gold Glove Award that year.
In 2007, he tied the A’s team record for consecutive errorless games at second base (70).
5. DJ LeMahieu
Career fielding percentage: .9912
Teams: Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, New York Yankees
Years in MLB: 9 (2011-present)
Bottom line: The Cubs picked up DJ LeMahieu in the second round of the 2009 draft, but he shined in the major leagues after being traded to Colorado.
Playing for the Rockies from 2012 to 2018, he was a three-time Gold Glove winner (2014, 2017 and 2018), and was an All-Star pick in 2015 and 2017— but not in 2016, when he wound up as the NL batting champion.
In 2014, LeMahieu led the majors with 99 double plays.
4. Craig Counsell
Career fielding percentage: .9913
Teams: Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers
Years in MLB: 16 (1995, 1997-2011)
Bottom line: Known for his distinctive batting stance where he holds his bat high above his head, Craig Counsell has the distinction of being on base twice when the World Series ended with a walk-off hit — with the Florida Marlins (1997) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (2001).
Also in 2001, Counsell was named the MVP of the NLCS.
In 2015, he was hired to manage the Milwaukee Brewers, leading them to the NLCS in 2018.
3. Dustin Pedroia
Career fielding percentage: .9914
Teams: Boston Red Sox
Years in MLB: 14 (2006-present)
Bottom line: Dustin Pedroia is the first Boston Red Sox player to ever win four Gold Glove Awards. The 2007 AL Rookie of the Year has been a significant contributor to the modern-day success of the Red Sox.
In 2008, he was the AL MVP and won the Silver Slugger Award. And he’s been to the All-Star Game four times.
Pedroia, who has played for Boston for all of his 14 years in the big leagues, helped raise the World Series trophy in 2007 and 2013.
2. Jose Oquendo
Career fielding percentage: .9919
Teams: New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals
Years in MLB: 12 (1983-84, 1986-95)
Bottom line: Jose Oquendo primarily played second base and shortstop, but made at least one appearance at every position during his major league career.
The switch-hitter from Puerto Rico signed as an amateur free agent when he was 15 years old, and eventually went to two World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals (2006 and 2011) as the team’s third-base coach.
In 1990, Oquendo recorded just three errors while playing in 150 games.
1. Placido Polanco
Career fielding percentage: .9927
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins
Years in MLB: 16 (1998-2013)
Bottom line: He played second base, shortstop and third base during a 16-year career that saw him net three Gold Glove Awards (2007, 2009 and 2011).
Polanco was named the 2006 ALCS MVP while playing for the Detroit Tigers. In 2007, he won the Silver Slugger Award and was named to his first of two All-Star Game appearances.
In 2008, the Dominican-American received his U.S. citizenship in a ceremony before a Tigers-Indians game. Polanco wore his Tigers jersey.