Ever since he came up over four years ago all we've heard about is Howie Kendrick's supposed potential and how he is going to be contending for batting titles one day. He has had more than enough time to prove himself and the verdict is in: he is no more than a middle of the road 2B. Kendrick is hitting .284 with 2 hr, a .697 OPS so far this year and people are acting like he is the second coming of Charlie Gehringer. Ten years from now he'll be 36 hitting .280/.290 with no power and Jose Mota and Mark Gubicza will be saying, "Howie is going to win a batting title one day. He has that type of potential!"
In the meantime 2B his own age such as Ian Kinsler, Martin Prado and Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia have completely surpassed him as a player. All of these players either have more power, steal more bases, hit for a better avg. or some variation of the three and all play better defense. Not to mention the obvious ones such as Chase Utley or Brandon Phillips or a bevy of others I have yet to mention. If you look at all of these players careers stats and what they're doing this year there is no question they are better than Kendrick and that Kendrick is just a middle of the pack 2B.
Lets start with the unheralded ones who aren't too obvious.
Martin Prado 2B of the Braves is 26 same age as Kendrick. He is a .312 career hitter, hit .311 last year and is at .319 so far this year with an .811 OPS. Scouts say he is only going to get better. Across the board this is easily better than Kendrick.
Dan Uggla is someone baseball fans are familiar with if they take more than a cursory look at teams other than the Angels yet he is still a relative unknown. He has hit 30 hr for 3 straight years and is at .284 6 hr so far this year with an .873 OPS. If Kendrick had done this since 2007 our announcers and radio hosts would act like he is the reincarnation of Rogers Hornsby.
Now lets get to the obvious ones.
Within our own division is Ian Kinsler. No one really heard of Ian Kinsler a couple years ago and then in 2008 he hit .319 with 18 hr and last year he went 30/30. Kendrick will never hit 30 homers or steal 30 bases in a season.
In 2008 Dustin Pedroia had one of the greatest seasons of a 2B ever and is at .303 with 7 bombs this year.
Of course you got Chase Utley who goes without mentioning and then Robinson Cano and his .325 25 hr last year while playing like Ryne Sandberg in 1984 this year. Both have way more range and better arms than Kendrick too but that wouldn't be hard.
Oh but I'm not done. There are more. I can keep going.
Brandon Phillips is a gold glover who hit 20 hr and 98 rbi last year. He hit 30 bombs a few years ago and has gone over 20 three times. He also steals 25/30 bases a year. Kendrick will win a gold glove the day Hideki Matsui and Vladdy lead the league in stolen bases.
Brian Roberts hit 56 doubles last year and has hit over 50 doubles over three times in his career. He also stole 30 bags last year and has had seasons of 50 and 40 stolen bases while consistently hitting around .290 and belting out between 13-18 homers.
Oh but there are more
Aaron Hill 2B of the Blue Jays started year on the DL but just got back. He went .286 36 hr 106 rbi last year. If Howie did that this year people affiliated with the team would already be putting him in the Hall of Fame next to Eddie Collins.
Kelly Johnson 2B of the DBacks just turned 28 and is entering his prime. No one has ever talked about him because he wasn't such a big "prospect" like the great Howie Kendrick and Casey Kotchman. Yet here he his hitting .300 with 10 home runs already. Kendrick will be lucky to get to 10 home runs by the end of the year.
And 2B just got more crowded with Ryan Theriot of the Cubs moving there today. He's only hitting .341. I know, I know, he'll come down to earth and probably finish around his career avg of .292 with no power. Would someone please tell me how Howie Kendrick is any better than that? Other than the fact that oh yeah Theriot steals more bases and plays better defense.
Same with Orlando Hudson who is a former all star and gold glove winner with better range than the "eponymous" Howie Kendrick. Hudson also hits about .290 every year and in the Twins loaded lineup should have a good year. So far he is hitting .280 with 2 hr. But Kendrick is at .284 with 2 hr! And worse defense! Even Rickie Weeks whose been riddled with injuries last few years is healthy this year. He doesn't hit for the same avg as Kendrick but is .261 5 hr 18 rbi this year and an OPS about 130 points higher than Kendrick. And he is faster stealing more bases.
And there is even a 2B with the Padres who is a 2 time World Series winner and and former World Series MVP who is big part of the Padres early season resurgence with key hits.
I could go on listing more 2B who are arguably as good or maybe better or just barely a little worse than Kendrick. At best Kendrick is 12th-17th best 2B in the league. He is nothing but a middle of the road 2B yet this myth persists among certain Angels fans, created and perpetuated from the commentators that he is great.