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!
|1||Yoan Moncada||White Sox||21||2016||1||1|
|T6||Lourdes Gurriel||Blue Jays||23||2017||7||7|
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.
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.