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Bernie On The Scene: Grading the Middle Infielders

Bernie Pleskoff

Bernie Pleskoff

Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.

This is the third in a series of four articles regarding a power decline in baseball.

Previously I looked at corner infielders and outfielders. Compared to the performance enhancement era we have recently come through, clubs are now searching for guys to provide the long ball.

Pitching and defense as well as being able to hit the ball on the ground and bunt are becoming very important in roster construction.

Surprisingly, I think there is some real power potential among middle infielders, the subject of this article.

Please bear in mind that I am looking at power potential for middle infielders and not in comparison or relationship to outfielders or corner infielders. I am looking at a player’s power potential only in relation to other middle infielders and as a subset of an entire offensive roster.

Power is the major component of the grades provided. As such, some great prospects may not have as high grades as they would if I were evaluating their entire game (including defense, stolen-base potential, etc.) For example, the Reds' Billy Hamilton is probably equal to Jurickson Profar in his overall ranking. However, for purposes of this article, he has virtually no power to offer a fantasy team.

My power grade for each player is listed following the year I expect him to be ready for the major leagues. That does not mean he will be promoted or even play his career with his existing team in that year.

Arrows beside the grade indicate my opinion of their trend at this point:

^ indicates power trending up

# indicates power trending down

() indicates no change in power pattern



BALTIMORE ORIOLES
2B - Robert Andino C- ()
2B - Steve Tolleson D ()
2B - Ryan Flaherty C- ()
SS – J.J. Hardy B- ^

MI prospect = Manny Machado SS (2013) B
MI prospect = Jonathan Schoop 2B (2014) B

BOSTON RED SOX
2B - Dustin Pedroia B- ()
SS - Mike Aviles B- ()
SS - Pedro Ciriaco D+ ^

MI prospect = Xander Bogaerts SS (2014) B+
MI prospect = Jose Iglesias SS (2012) C
MI prospect = Sean Coyle 2B (2014) C+

CHICAGO WHITE SOX
2B - Gordon Beckham C+ ()
SS - Alexi Ramirez C- #

MI prospect = Eduard Escobar (2012 playing now) D ()

CLEVELAND INDIANS
2B - Jason Kipnis B- ^
SS - Asdrubal Cabrera B- #

MI prospect = Francisco Lindor SS (2014) B-
MI prospect = Tony Wolters SS (2014) C+

DETROIT TIGERS
2B - Omar Infante B- ()
SS - Jhonny Peralta C #

MI prospect= I do not project any current middle infielders available to the club in the next two years

KANSAS CITY ROYALS
2B - Chris Getz D ()
2B - Yuniesky Betancourt C ()
SS - Alcides Escobar C- ^

MI prospect = Christian Colon 2B (2013) C

LOS ANGELES ANGELS
2B - Howard Kendrick C #
SS - Erick Aybar C- ()

MI prospect = Jean Segura - SS (2012) C-
MI prospect = Taylor Lindsey - 2B (2014) C
MI prospect = Andrew Romine SS (2012) C

MINNESOTA TWINS
2B - Alexi Casilla D ()
2B - Jamey Carroll D ()
SS - Brian Dozier C- ^

MI prospect = Eddie Rosario 2B (2014) C+

NEW YORK YANKEES
2B - Robinson Cano A ()
SS - Derek Jeter C+ ()

MI prospect = Cito Culver SS (2015) C-
MI prospect = Angelo Gumbs 2B (2015) C+
MI prospect = David Adams 2B (2013) C

OAKLAND ATHLETICS
2B - Jemile Weeks D+ ()
SS - Cliff Pennington D+ ()
SS - Brandon Hicks D+ ()

MI prospect = Eric Sogard 2B (2012) playing now C
MI prospect = Yordy Cabrera SS (2014) D

SEATTLE MARINERS
2B - Dustin Ackley C ^
SS - Brendon Ryan D+ ()

MI prospect = Nick Franklin SS (2012 late) C
MI prospect = Brad Miller SS (2014) B+

TAMPA BAY RAYS
2B - Ben Zobrist B- ^
2B - Will Rhymes D ()
2B - Jeff Keppinger D+ ()
SS - Elliot Johnson C- ^
SS - Sean Rodriguez C ^

MI prospect = Hak-Ju Lee SS (2013) C-
MI prospect = Tim Beckham SS (2013) could be playing 3B or OF C
MI prospect = Derek Dietrich SS (2014) B

TEXAS RANGERS
2B - Ian Kinsler B- #
SS - Elvis Andrus D+ #

MI prospect = Jurickson Profar SS (2014) A
MI prospect = Leury Garcia 2B (2014) D

TORONTO BLUE JAYS
2B - Kelly Johnson B- ()
SS - Yunel Escobar C ()

MI prospect = Adeiny Hechavarria SS (2012 late) B-

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
2B - Aaron Hill B- ^
SS - Stephen Drew C ()
SS - Willie Bloomquist D #

MI prospect = Chris Owings SS (2014) D

ATLANTA BRAVES
2B - Dan Uggla B- #
SS - Andrelton Simmons C- ^
SS - Tyler Pastornicky D ()
SS - Paul Janish D ()

MI prospect = Edward Salcedo SS/2B (2014) B+
MI prospect = Nick Ahmed SS (2014) C+
MI prospect = Tommy La Stella 2B (2013) C

CHICAGO CUBS
2B - Darwin Barney C- ^
SS - Starlin Castro B- ^

MI prospect = Javier Baez SS (2014) B+
MI prospect = Junior Lake SS (2014) C
MI prospect = Ronald Torreyes 2B/SS (2014) C

CINCINNATI REDS
2B - Brandon Phillips A- ^
SS - Zack Cozart B+ ^

MI prospect = Billy Hamilton SS (2014) D
MI prospect = Didi Gregorius SS (2013) D
MI prospect = Ryan Wright 2B (2014) C

COLORADO ROCKIES
2B - Marco Scutaro C #
SS - Troy Tulowitzki A ()

MI prospect = Josh Rutledge (2012) playing now A

HOUSTON ASTROS
2B - Jose Altuve C ^
SS - Jed Lowrie B+ ^
SS - Marwin Gonzalez D ()

MI prospect = Jonathan Villar SS (2013) B
MI prospect = Delino DeShields 2B (2014) C

LOS ANGELES DODGERS
2B - Mark Ellis C- ()
SS - Dee Gordon D ()
SS - Luis Cruz C^

Prospect = Ivan DeJesus, Jr. SS (2014) B-

MIAMI MARLINS
2B - Donovan Solano NG
2B - Emilio Bonifacio D+ ()
SS - Jose Reyes C ()

MI prospect = Noah Perio 2B (2014) D

MILWAUKEE BREWERS
2B - Rickie Weeks B- #
SS - Alex Gonzalez C- #
SS - Cesar Izturis D ()
SS - Cody Ransom C- ()
SS - Jeff Bianchi D

MI prospect = Scooter Gennett 2B (2013) C-
MI prospect = Yadiel Rivera SS (2015) B
MI prospect = Eric Farris 2B (2012-2013) C-

NEW YORK METS
2B - Daniel Murphy C- ()
2B - Justin Turner D ()
SS - Ruben Tejada D()

MI prospect = Reese Havens 2B (2013) B
MI prospect = Danny Muno 2B (2014) C
MI prospect = Jordany Valdespin 2B/SS (2012-now) B-

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
2B - Chase Utley C+ #
2B - Freddie Galvis (suspended)
SS - Jimmy Rollins B- #

MI prospect = Cesar Hernandez 2B (2014) D
MI prospect = Roman Quinn SS (2015) D

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
2B - Neil Walker B- ^
SS - Clint Barmes C- #

MI prospect = Alen Hanson 2B/SS (2015) A
MI prospect = Jarek Cunningham 2B (2014) C-
MI prospect = Yamaico Navarro 2B (2013) C

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
2B - Daniel Descalso C- ()
2B - Tyler Greene C- ^
2B - Skip Schumaker D ()
SS - Rafael Furcal C ()

MI prospect = Kolten Wong 2B (2013) B
MI prospect = Ryan Jackson SS/2B (2013) B-

SAN DIEGO PADRES
2B - Alexi Amarista C ^
SS - Everth Cabrera D+ ()

MI prospect = Cory Spangenberg 2B (2013) D
MI prospect = Jace Peterson SS (2014) D
MI prospect = Jeudy Valdez 2B (2013) B-
MI prospect = Jonathan Galvez 2B (2013) B-

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
2B - Ryan Theriot D ()
2B - Emanuel Burriss D ()
SS - Brandon Crawford D+ ()

MI prospect = Charlie Culberson 2B/SS 2012-2013) B-
MI prospect = Joe Panik 2B (2013) B-
MI prospect = Ehire Adrianza SS (2014) C

WASHINGTON NATIONALS
2B - Danny Espinosa C+ #
2B - Steve Lombardozzi D ()
SS - Ian Desmond A- ^

MI prospect = Jeff Kobernus 2B (2013) D+
MI prospect = Zach Walters 2B (2014) C+
MI prospect = Rick Hague SS (2014) C

CONCLUSIONS

I believe a number of potentially very good power hitting middle infielders are now playing in the minor league pipeline.

As you will see, there are some teams with few, if any middle-infield prospects. Why? Because for the most part, those clubs have elected to use their resources on pitching

When evaluating middle infielders (or any position players) for your fantasy team, it is imperative to consider the home park at the time of the auction or draft. In this case, my grades did not take the eventual home park into consideration. There is no guarantee the player will ever play in that park. My grades are based upon raw power - meaning home-run and gap power potential.

Next week: Catchers

Follow me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff and on MLB.com in the voices section.