There aren’t typically a lot of second basemen among the best prospects in baseball. Not only is the offensive standard for second basemen generally quite low, but often it is the shortstop prospect who slides over to second base to fill a team need at the major league level (think Javier Baez) . It’s not surprising, then, that while there are some very intriguing names below, there isn’t the overall fantasy projection that you will find with other positional lists. Even in deeper leagues, the bottom half of this list can be largely just watched. If you are interested in more second base prospects, please check out The Prospect Grid.
The Best of the Best
Jose Peraza checks in as the top second base prospect. His value comes from his speed and his ability to make contact at the plate. He doesn’t strike out a lot, but his lack of patience means he walks even less. As a potential top-of-the-order bat, his ability to steal bases will give excellent fantasy value from a weak offensive position. He’ll be given an opportunity (though small) to make the Braves out of spring training.
Drafted in 2014, Forest Wall was one of the best high school bats in the draft. Limited to second base because of shoulder surgery, Wall has more offensive projection than most second base prospects. Wall is a plus runner with a good approach at he plate and developing power, and that could eventually put him among the top fantasy second basemen. At just 19 years old, Wall is at least 3 years away.
Two guys with some power and speed are next: Rob Refsnyder and Dilson Herrera. The Stephen Drew signing likely keeps Refsnyder in the minor leagues to start 2015. He has a good approach at the plate with average power and speed. Nothing grades out as exceptional, but his overall package is very intriguing for second base: think 10-15 HR, 5-10 SB with a good average and OBP. Herrera, 20, jumped from A ball all the way to the major leagues in 2014. He has a good hit tool, decent power and some speed for good measure. Likely to start in the minors in 2015, Herrera could be a 15/10 second baseman with a .275 average by 2016.
Rounding things off in the top-tier are two players who couldn’t be any more different: Micah Johnson and Travis Demeritte. Johnson has little power but makes up for it with outstanding speed. He had two hamstring injuries which slowed him down in 2014, but he could be a big base stealer in the majors while making solid contact at the plate. His lack of patience at the plate limits his ceiling because he’ll never be a high OBP guy. Demeritte, drafted in 2013, has excellent power, hitting 25 home runs in 2014 in A ball. Just 20, Travis strikes out too often but has should be able to hit for better than the .211 average from last season. He makes good contact and has a decent approach at the plate.
The second tier is all about teamwork with two Red Sox prospects, a pair of former Tigers and two Dodgers prospects.
Former Tigers prospects Domingo Leyba and Devon Travis kick things off in this tier. Leyba was traded to the Diamondbacks in the 3-team deal with the Yankees. At 19 years of age, Domingo hit .397 in 116 at bats in A ball last year. He makes good contact, has an excellent approach at the plate and should develop power as he adds strength to his frame. Devon Travis was traded to the Blue Jays for Anthony Gose. With the trade, Travis will stay at second base after working out in the outfield for the Tigers. Travis makes good contact, and he has a little power, a little speed and a solid approach at the plate. Travis will be 24 next season and could make a late debut in the majors.
Dodgers Darnell Sweeney has excellent speed with some gap power as well. He improved his BB and K rates in 2014 to a respectable 13%/20% and performed well in the AFL, hitting .316/.386/.468. Drafted in 2012, this nearly 24-year-old prospect could be the heir apparent to Kendrick in LA after the 2015 season. Alex Guerrero has legit power, but there doesn’t seem to be much chance he ends up at 2B this season with the Kendrick trade. Last year, Guerrero appeared in 3 games defensively for the Dodgers, and they all came in left field, adding fuel to the position switch fire. I still like the power, but fantasy owners need to look elsewhere if you thought he was a long-term infield solution.
The Red Sox have a couple of good second base prospects in Wendall Rijo and Sean Coyle. Just 5’8″, Coyle has surprising power to go along with his good speed on the bases. While he can take a walk (10% BB rate), his strikeout rate of 25% is way too high. The potential is there for a 15/15 hitter, but the poor contact rates makes him a slightly higher risk. Rijo also has power and speed to go with the less than ideal contact rates. Nearly four years younger than Coyle, Rijo hit .254/.348/.416 in A ball, playing most of the season as an 18-year-old.
Tony Kemp is an undersized, speedy, high-contact second baseman for the Astros. That sounds pretty good to me. Kemp also walks more than he strikes out, though expecting Altuve-level success would be unfair.
And finally, drafted in 2012, Avery Romero posted a .320/.367/.423 line across A and high A in 2014. Romero has doubles power now but may develop more down the line. Romero makes good contact and plays very good defensively.
There’s a lot of risk with the following prospects, but each has the potential to have some fantasy value if things break right for them.
Recently signed out of Cuba for $8M, Roberto Baldoquin is a bit of a wild card with limited video of him. What there is shows a good swing with gap power to all fields. He hit .279/.372/.324 in limited at bats in 2013. I’m intrigued and anxious enough to see more to give him some props here.
Taylor Lindsey has some pop in his bat, but the hit tool won’t allow him to have a very good batting average. He won’t steal many bases, either, but if he hits 15 home runs, he can hold some fantasy value.
Ryan Brett makes good, hard contact with gap power and plus speed. He doesn’t take a lot of free passes and strikes out a bit too much, but he’s a throwback hard-nosed player who could make it as a top-of-the-order bat.
Gosuke Katoh‘s second pro season didn’t go as well as his brief debut in 2013, as he hit just .222/.345/.326 in A ball. With plus speed, a patient approach and some pop, there is an intriguing package here if he can make better contact.
And finally, drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 draft, Brian Anderson has good power and can hit for average. He also plays 3B and may have enough offensive potential to profile there.
Other Prospects to Know
This last group is a mishmash of major-league ready low performers, young guys with moderate upside and some players in the middle.
Two players that made their debut in 2014 are Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Sanchez. Spangenberg hit .290 in his 62 at-bat late call up with the Padres last year. His BB/K rate is not conducive to a high batting average, though, as he has generally struck out 3-4 times as often as he walks. He has good speed and some gap power and will likely have a big league utility role in 2015. Sanchez got 100 big league at bats in 2014, hitting a measly .250/.269/.300. He doesn’t have much power, and he doesn’t walk a lot, but he does make decent contact. At 22, he needs a little more bat to hold off Micah Johnson.
Youngsters Jesmuel Valentin and Joshua Morgan deserve some props next. Valentin, traded to the Phillies for Roberto Hernandez last year, doesn’t have a lot of power but has some speed and a good approach at the plate. Just 20, none of Jesmuel’s tools stand out as plus, but the son of former player Jose Valentin is said to have tremendous instincts for the game. Morgan, the 95th overall pick in the 2014 draft, makes good contact, has some speed and has a very good approach at the plate. Without a lot of power, he really needs to be able to hit for average, but it seems that will be something he can do. He is a versatile player who can play all around the diamond.
Danny Muno has a good approach at the plate and has just enough power and speed to be a decent option at second for the Mets. There’s no big tools here, but at 25 he’s near ready to help.
Ronald Torreyes is another small second base prospect from Houston. Unfortunately, Torreyes doesn’t have the speed to make up for his lack of power. He makes excellent contact, though, and profiles more as an infield utility guy that can hit for average.
Honorable Mentions to Chris Bostick (Nationals), Didimo Bracho (Diamondbacks), Jose Pirela (Yankees), Ty Kelly (Cardinals)
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