Mark Bellhorn, who is currently rehabbing in Pawtucket after a thumb injury that put him on the shelf, has been the starting second baseman in Boston for more than a year. Last year he put up career numbers, but this season has been a different story for the Boston native.
Through 85 games Bellhorn is hitting just .216 and has struck out 109 and times so far. That means every 2.5 plate appearances he is striking out. Oddly enough, he walks a lot, and walks ever 5.7 plate appearances. That means you are pretty much guaranteed at least one walk and at least one strikeout per game for him. He also can't turn a double play to save his life. So to put it very simply, he has not been very good.
He's set to come off the disabled list soon, but do we honestly want him back? With Bellhorn gone, we've had Tony Graffanino and Alex Cora split time at second, with Graffanino getting the majority of the starts. Their production as members of the Red Sox has been solid, despite the small sample size:
Cora has appeared in more games, but mostly for late-inning defense at the middle-infield positions. Graffanino has hit well as a Boston Red Sox but, of course, it's a small sample size. I don't really care about the sample size, because even if he hits .290 with the Red Sox then I'll be happy. But I am pretty sure that no matter how many at-bats Graffanino gets for the rest of the season, he won't be hitting .216 to finish the season. That's just a guess, but I think he's better than that.
It's arguable that Cora has the best glove of the three, as he has a .982 fielding percentage in 2,631 innings at second base in his 9 year career. But his Bellhorn and Graffanino don't have stats that are much different:
Graffanino actually has best fielding stats of the trio when you consider all factors. Graffanino and Bellhorn have the same fielding percentage, but Graffanino has a better Range Factor (RF) and Zone Rating (ZR).
My conclusion? Graffanino needs to be the starting second baseman day in and day out. Graffanino not only has the edge with his hitting skills, but he's one of the better defensive second baseman that we can put out there. The experience is there, also, as this his 9th season in the major leagues.
And he can turn a double play - unlike Bellhorn.