No, I don’t think Joe Maddon will be the starting second baseman next season. While the lineup decisions are ultimately his, I doubt he will slot himself in the lineup anytime soon. However, It is worth looking at Joe Maddon’s past trends when trying to figure out how the second base position will be handled going into next season.
While it is no secret Maddon likes to move players around the lineup, his more successful team suggests that when he has a solid second baseman, he tends to keep them there. In 2008, Maddon was the manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the team was 97-65, winning the AL East pennant. Maddon penned Akinori Iwamura in the second base spot 152 times. In 2016, the World Series-winning Chicago Cubs had a regular-season record of 103-58. World Series MVP Ben Zobrist received the bulk of playing time at second base, playing 119 games at the position, opposed to Javier Baez’ 59 games at the position. Maddon’s past trends suggest that while he likes versatile players if he has a second baseman he trusts, he tends to keep them there.
With next season so unclear, Maddon may not have that luxury. If he gets his way and the Angels resign or extend Simmons, Fletcher will receive the lion’s share of playing time at second base. If not, the second base position may be rotated through by a bunch of players who have all underperformed expectations in their young careers.
I expect the second base competition in 2021 Spring Training to be highly anticipated and observed. Any player could realistically storm out of the gate and take the reigns. Each player in the running has shown offensive prowess at one point or another in their minor league careers, it’s just a matter of who will finally be able to bring that success to the big leagues.