There is an impressive group of 2B enshrined in the MLB Hall of Fame. Rogers Hornsby and Jackie Robinson lead the group, with recently induced players Ryan Sandberg and Roberto Alomar rounding it out. Today’s MLB corps includes a few players that should be preparing for that trip to Cooperstown, NY, including Chase Utley and Robinson Cano. But what about the next group of 2B, which ones should you be targeting in dynasty leagues, or keeping your eyes on for the coming year or 2 as possible late round/late season additions?
1. Alexander Guerrero (ETA 2014): Guerrero is the wildcard in these ranks. Several MLB teams have expressed interest in the 26-year old Scott Boras client. The Cuban prospect may not project to be an elite talent, but Baseball America’s Ben Badler certainly thinks he offers some impressive power. If recent Cuban imports of any comps, Guerrero should be able to sign with an organization and make an immediate impact in the majors. While seeking a contract in the 4-5 year, $32MM range, fantasy players should keep an eye on their league rules around international players because once a team signs Guerrero to that type of contract they are going to play him.
2. Arismendy Alcantara (ETA late 2014): Chicago Cubs GM Theo Epstein is in rebuild mode, and Alcantara should be a big chip in his plan. The 22-year old did not look over-matched in his first full season at AA. Alcantara hit 15 home runs and stole 31 bases, showing his potential. He added 36 doubles. And he left room for growth, with a K-rate of 21.9%. With a BABIP was 0.332, he will have to cut down on the K’s to maintain his offensive production.
3. Delino Deshields Jr (ETA 2015, Positional Change ALERT): The #3 prospect in the Astros organization (behind Singleton and Correa), Deshields is quite literally racing his way to the majors. In 2012 he stole 101 bases at 2 levels. In 2013, he followed that up with a pedestrian 53 steals (which would have led the majors). He still gets caught stealing a fair amount (18 caught stealings in 2013), and his K-rate is around 18%. With Jose Altuve manning 2B in Houston, Deshields has transitioned into the outfield. From a fantasy perspective he loses some potential leaving MI, but if his speed can translate, he will be a roto monster.
4. Eddie Rosario (ETA late 2014): Twins prospect Eddie Rosario is taking the opposite route of Deshields, and moving from the OF to 2B. With Brian Dozier currently the Twins 2B, Rosario could be in line to take over the job as early as 2014. He settled into AA in 2013, batting 0.284 with 4 HR and 8 steals. He did strike out over 20% of the time, so increased contact rates can only help his overall production. Currently manning 2B for the AFL Glendale Desert Dogs, a strong showing could mean the majors are just a productive month or 2 away.
5. Kolten Wong (ETA 2014): The St. Louis Cardinals have a solid MLB player in Wong. A 0.300 hitter in the minors with a tantalizing combination of speed and power, Wong could be a run-scoring monster in the Cardinals lineup. Like Profar, Wong may not begin 2014 in the majors but should be monitored by the savvy owner.
6. Cory Spangenberg (ETA late 2014): The Padres 2B of the future, Spangenberg stole 37 bases at 3 levels in 2013. The Padres can take their time to bring him to Petco Park, but once there, he could be a dynamic runner in a lineup that struggles to manufacture runs.
7. Rougned Odor (ETA late 2015): One organization you must have faith in for producing MLB players is Texas. Odor, the 19-year old prospect, hit over 0.300 at 2 levels in 2013, with 11 homers and 32 steals. With a logjam of talent already in Texas it will take several years of development or some trades to get him a chance.
8. Taylor Lindsey (ETA 2015): After hitting 17 home runs in AA, Lindsey has started off the AFL season with a robust 0.444 average, albeit through 2 games. Lindsey projects as a hitter, with a great line drive approach. He is probably a couple of seasons away from the majors, but when he gets there he will probably hit for more power than Howie Kendrick, but an average closer to 0.280.
9. Jonathan Schoop (ETA 2014): Schoop is currently blocked by Brian Roberts, but in a rapid rise to AAA last season, Schoop delivered 9 homers in just under 300 at-bats. Roberts has spent several seasons battling injuries, so the door may be opening for Schoop, and the Orioles put a powerful lineup out every day. Grab Schoop late in your drafts this year as a flier.
10. Christian Colon (ETA 2014): In a full season at AAA in 2013, Colon showed good growth. His 12 HR, 15 steal, 72 run, 58 RBI season would be a nice projection for him at the MLB level. He still needs to develop a bit more patience at the plate, walking a mere 7% of the time, but he does not strike out (K rate under 10%). The Royals could bring him to the majors in 2014.
11. Anthony (Tony) Renda (ETA 2015): Renda’s path to Washington may depend on what happens with Anthony Rendon. With the Nationals inking Ryan Zimmerman until 2019, Rendon made the move to 2B. Health has been a question for the former Rice star, so Renda could be in line to get some play in the next couple years. He has plenty of speed, with 45 steals in 54 attempts over the past 2 years. I really like the Nationals as an organization going forward, so keep an eye on Renda.
12. Mookie Betts (ETA late 2015): I will let the experts speak to Betts. Alex Speier wrote the following, “The number of players with at least a 0.400 OBP, 10 homers and 25 steal this year in the minors? That would be 3. Aside from Betts, the other 2? Byron Buxton and George Springer.”
Betts is not the elite talent that Buxton and Springer project to be, however, he plays very good defense and being in a Boston organization that always spends money to beef up the offense, he should benefit from having a productive lineup around him.
13. Dilson Herrera (ETA 2016): The 19-year old Colombian prospect was shipped out of the Pirates organization and over to the Mets as part of the Marlon Byrd trade. With Neil Walker in Pittsburgh, this may be a great chance for Herrera to rapidly rise through the organization. He probably projects as a double/double player, with 15-18 homers a realistic expectation. Remembering that he is still just 19, there is plenty of time for him to develop or fail.
14. Joe Panik (ETA 2016): The SS from St. John’s may end up at 2B in the majors. Where is offensive production ends up in purely speculative at this point. In 2013, in 599 plate appearances, he hit 0.257. His K and BB rates were between 9-11% and his BABIP was 0.285. A slight uptick in his BABIP could make him an average MLB hitter. He has some speed, 24 steals in 33 attempts over the past 2 seasons, but probably limited power.
15. Angelo Gumbs (ETA 2016): If Robinson Cano leaves New York, could this speed up the development path of the 2010 draftee? A looking pretty good in 2012 in A, Gumbs really struggled in 2013. Drafted out of high school, there is plenty of upside but also plenty of risk.
16. Devon Travis (ETA 2016): The Tiger prospect is built a bit like Dustin Pedroia, but does not possess the power of the Red Sox 2B. A solid baseball player, Travis may be a better player in real life than in fantasy, doing a little bit of everything well but nothing spectacularly. Still a low A player, Travis is several years away from entering most top prospect lists.
Check out all of our prospect rankings