2017 Top 25 Second Base Prospects

We continued our prospect rankings last week with a look at the first base position, and we continue along the infield looking at second base today. Joining me again for this year’s rankings is our very own Andy Germani. Our rankings will be consolidated to give you our final site rankings, but you can see where Andy and I ranked them in the table as well.

These are fantasy rankings, and I remind you that Andy and I are not scouts, just simply heavy followers of baseball prospects. We hope you enjoy the rankings!

Rank Player Team Age ETA Andy Paul
1 Yoan Moncada White Sox 21 2016 1 1
2 Willie Calhoun Dodgers 22 2017 2 3
T3 Ozzie Albies Braves 20 2017 5 2
T3 Ian Happ Cubs 22 2018 3 4
5 Jorge Mateo Yankees 21 2018 4 5
T6 Isan Diaz Brewers 20 2019  8  6
T6 Lourdes Gurriel Blue Jays 23 2017 7 7
8 Andy Ibanez Rangers 23 2017 6 11
9 Luis Urias Padres 19 2018 10 9
T10 Travis Demeritte Braves 22 2018 13 8
T10 Forrest Wall Rockies 21 2019 9 12
T10 Scott Kingery Phillies 22 2017 11 10
13 Carlos Asuaje Padres 25 2016 12 15
14 Domingo Leyba Diamondbacks 21 2018 16 13
15 Alen Hanson Pirates 24 2016 14 16
16 Luis Arraez Twins 19 2018 20 14
17 Jamie Westbrook Diamondbacks 21 2018 17 18
18 Nick Solak Yankees 22 2019 22 17
T19 Max Schrock Athletics  22 2018 21 20
T19 Tyler Krieger Indians 22 2018 15 N/A
T21 Chad Pinder Athletics 24 2016 19 23
T21 Corey Toups Royals 25 2018 18 24
23 Oswaldo Cabrera Yankees 17 2021 23 21
24 Omar Estevez Dodgers 18 2019 N/A 19
25 Wilmer Difo Nationals 24 2015 25 22
HONORABLE MENTION
X Esteury Ruiz Royals 17 2020 24 25





Who is your favorite prospect to break out in 2017?

Andy: Willie Calhoun had a semi-breakout in 2016, but I think he can truly turn into one of the top fantasy prospects by this time next year with a good 2017. Calhoun hit 27 home runs in his first full minor league season with a .254 average. Some look at that and think that is a breakout already, and sure it is, but I think he can do even better. Calhoun has never been one to strikeout much, five percent of the time in college and just 11 percent in 2015. 

So we might look at his 2016 season and think, well the average dropped 60 points and he flirted with 30 homers so he must have changed his approach to sell out for more power. Except he didn’t. Believe it or not he struck out at essentially the same rate in his power breakout 2016 than he did in in 2015. He also sprayed the ball more to all fields. In 2015 62 percent of his batted balls went to his pull side (first, second, and right) with just 19 percent going to the opposite field. In 2016 the pull side dropped to 50 percent with almost 30 percent going to the opposite field and he hit for more power. 
His walk rate dropped from almost 11 percent down to eight which isn’t a huge concern. The real difference in his two seasons was his BABIP fell from .332 to .242. If you expect that to come close to the average BABIP of .300, or even .280 if you want to be cautiously optimistic, Calhoun is in for a big year. Even if you don’t believe the power outburst in 2016, he was on about a 20 homer pace in 2015.

Paul: I don’t know how high of a ceiling he has, but I’m intrigued by the high-contact hitting Luis Arraez. He hit .347 in A-ball at 19 years old, striking out at just a 9.9% clip. The trouble is the lack of power and speed limits his fantasy appeal, but if he’s hitting .300, there is still reason for optimism. He’s done it in 2014, 2015 and 2016; a successful AA campaign will go a long way towards determining what fantasy value he might have. I’m pulling for him, as I really like the high contact guys who generally have a higher shot at maxing out their potential.  

What prospect could make a surprising contribution
to fantasy teams in 2017?

Andy: Surprising is always tough because some are obvious and some have little chance of being impactful. Of the guys on my list, I think only three have a realistic shot at being impactful fantasy assets. I will avoid the obvious one here, so the guy I will go with is Chad Pinder. The only thing standing in the way of him getting work is Jed Lowrie, who will be 33, hasn’t had a good season in years (ever?), and only played a combined 156 games in the last two seasons.

With that being said, I don’t love Pinder. This is probably just an AL-only or super deep league play. I just think he will get at bats, and I don’t think you can say that about anyone inside my top 10 with confidence after the guy at number one. At the MLB level, assuming he gets 250 at bats, I think Pinder can hit 7-10 homers with around a .260-270 average.

Paul: Like Andy said, there’s isn’t a whole lot of potential surprises here for 2017. Obviously Yoan Moncada is the big prize in this group, but a little more surprising would be an impact from Ozzie Albies. The Braves have little standing in the way of Albies, and if he mashes in Spring Training, it may be hard for the club to not bring him to new SunTrust Park. Albies could be a fantasy asset in Runs, Average, and Stolen Bases immediately, with top-10 position impact as soon as he gets to the show.  

What lesser-known prospect should fantasy owners
put on their radars now?

Andy: He might not be off the radar because of the talk from last year about him and his brother, but Lourdes Gurriel (Gourriel) might not be as high on people’s rookie draft as he was when we found out he defected early last year. Since then there has been a draft and a number of other J2 signings that have made Lourdes slide down draft boards. There is very little to go on with him other than what scouts have said and seeing numbers in Cuba. But the numbers are pretty eye-opening. In his last two years in Cuba at just 20 and 21 years old he hit 18 homers with a .326/.397/.513 slash line in 503 plate appearances. There is a nice player here that might be getting overlooked because people have had new names to look at since he originally defected.

Paul: The Dodgers have an embarrassment of riches in their farm system, and Omar Estevez might just be another interesting name in their war chest. Estevez signed for $6 million out of Cuba in 2015. He was aggressively placed in full-season ball at just 18 years old last year and held his own, hitting .255 with 49 extra base hits. There’s plenty of time for the now-19-year-old, with many possible scenarios that could play out for him. Most likely he never becomes an above average regular, but he could add some power moving forward. That would go a long way towards making him a pretty exciting second base prospect.

What prospect would it not surprise you
if he fell significantly in the next year?

Andy: Sticking with a theme from the first base prospects, I am going with Travis Demeritte. He has some really exciting power for a middle infielder, but it comes with a 33 percent strikeout rate. It is also coming as a 21-year-old in high-A. Higher end pitchers will exploit the holes in his swing and it could lead him to being unownable in any league. He has upside if he can figure out the strikeout issues; I just don’t know if he will.

Paul: Andy Ibanez tore up A-ball to the tune of a .959 OPS with more walks than strikeouts in 2016. He struggled mightily once promoted to AA, where he hit .261/.318/.391 in 340 plate appearances. He makes very good contact, so typically the type of player I like, but I don’t know if as he moves up levels he will be able to maintain that kind of success. He’s going to be 24 when the season starts, and there just isn’t a lot of projection left. Either he’s going to hit or he’s not; and we’re going to find out pretty soon. My guess is that he’s a utility type guy, but I’m holding him in a very deep league in case I’m wrong. I hope I am. 

 

Come back next Friday when we will publish our Top 25 Third Base Prospects.

2017 Prospect Rankings
CatcherFirst BaseThird BaseShortstopOutfieldStarting PitcherTop 100

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Paul Hartman
Fantasy Baseball player since 1987. Creator of Fantasy Assembly, yet just fortunate enough to be a part of it.
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