Catcher – Ryan Doumit, Pittsburgh Pirates:
Doumit may have more pop in his bat than any other catcher in baseball; the only question is whether or not he can utilize that by staying healthy for an entire season. The truth is this was the hardest position to pick on this hypothetical “Un” team, only because outside of Joe Mauer there aren’t to many big names at the position. Bengie Molina would have been picked hands down, if it weren’t for the fact that he currently has no team. Despite his prowess at the plate, Doumit slips under the radar a little more than guys like Yadier Molina and Russell Martin. Doumit had his best offensive year in 2008 in which he hit .318 with 15 homers. He also catches a respectable 25 percent of runners trying to steal against him.
First Base – Aubrey Huff, San Francisco Giants:
Year in and year out, Huff goes about his business and gets it done with the bat. No, he’s not Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira, Ryan Howard or Joey Votto, but he’s actually put up close to or better numbers on average the last three seasons than Kevin Youkilis, Justin Morneau or Paul Konerko. He batted .290 with 25 home runs last season for the world champion San Francisco Giants.
Second Base – Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds:
Philips is an absolute magician in the field and he’s got some pop in his bat. He just picked up his second Gold Glove of his career for his countless web gems last season. He can consistently hit for average and he has nice power (he used to bat cleanup!). He’s had a 30/30 season in which he hit 30 home runs and stole 30 bases. Over the last three seasons, Phillips has averaged a .271 batting average with 20 home runs and 21 stolen bases. When people talk about the best second baseman in the big leagues, you’ll hear names like Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano, Dan Uggla and Ian Kinsler. While Phillips’ name rarely enters the discussion, he might just be the best all around man at the position.
Shortstop – Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox:
Good in the field, good at the plate and solid on the base paths. What more could you want from a shortstop? No he’s not Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins or Derek Jeter. He is, however, one heck of a ballplayer. Despite his string-bean stature at 6-foot-2 and only 175 pounds, Ramirez has no trouble hitting the long ball in Chicago. He’s averaged 18 homers and a .280 batting average over the last three seasons. He only committed 20 errors in 499 opportunities at short last season, and has a career .974 fielding percentage.
Third Base – Michael Young, Texas Rangers:
Young’s so underappreciated that even his own team is trying to push him out. This off-season they signed Adrian Beltre while Young was still there. Sure, he’ll be splitting time at multiple infield positions this year as well as the DH spot to get playing time. All that proves to me is unmatched versatility with the glove. He can play pretty much any position in the infield besides catcher (he won a Gold Glove at short stop in 2008). No, he’s not Alex Rodriguez, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman or even new teammate Adrian Beltre for that matter. But he’s no slouch either – a career .300 hitter with over 20 home runs the last two seasons.
OF – Hunter Pence, Houston Astros:
Pence might just be the most underrated player in all of baseball. He’s hit exactly 25 home runs three seasons in a row. In five seasons the 6-foot-4, 220-pound lanky-built outfielder has hit for a .287 career average. He can run and field. Despite his size, he can steal a base if need be, he had 18 stolen bags last season. He’s also one heck of fielder with a career .987 fielding percentage, not to mention an arm that base runners shouldn’t try to test.
OF – Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates:
He’s underrated, underappreciated and undervalued, but he very well may be the best centerfielder in the game. Over the last few years, we’ve seen the demise of guys like Andruw Jones and Torii Hunter into becoming shadows of the players they once were. McCutchen’s ability to steal a lot of bases, flash brilliance with the leather on the field, as well as knock about 18 dingers a year out of the ball park may just allow him to nose out Curtis Granderson for the title of best centerfielder in the game.
OF – Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles / Sin-Shoo Choo, Cleveland Indians:
The last spot on the “Un” team is a tie. Markakis is a lot like McCutchen in that he can do a bit of everything. He’s a career .297 hitter who averages 18 long balls a year. Markakis is good with the bat, but it’s his glove that really makes him shine. He has an insane .990 career fielding percentage. Choo, a .296 career hitter, has batted .300 or better in the last three seasons (.309 in 2008). He’s hit 20 or more homers in each of the last two seasons, and like the other outfielders on this list, he’s an excellent defender – .982 career fielding percentage.