In today's edition of Bernie On The Scene I will take a look at second base prospects.
It is always misleading to label a player a second baseman or shortstop. Many can play both positions and are often used in both roles by clubs. They should be classified as middle infielders.
In this report, I am listing only players that play second base as their primary role.
While people say shortstop is a scarce position, I totally disagree. As I will illustrate next week, the position is stacked with outstanding prospects. Not so with second basemen.
I do not consider any of the prospect second basemen impact players. Here are my thoughts on the current crop of second base prospects:
Jedd Gyorko - Padres
Gyorko is playing for the Padres already this season. He's having a nice season, with an average hovering in the .250 to .260 range. He has not shown the type of power he can generate, although he has three home runs this season. Last season, for example, he had 30 homers and 100 RBI between Double and Triple-A. Granted, playing in San Diego for half his games may well stifle some of his home runs, even with the new dimensions. For me, Gyorko is major league average to a tad better.
Nick Franklin - Mariners
Franklin is playing more second base than shortstop now at Triple-A Tacoma. I believe he will take over for Dustin Ackley if Ackley doesn't begin to hit as expected. I really like the pop in Franklin's bat. He's having an outstanding season so far, as I had predicted in my spring training and AFL reports.
I see no reason to leave Franklin undrafted this year. In my opinion, he will play and hit well in Seattle from this year forward. Top of the second-tier second baseman at this point, with more to come.
Kolten Wong - Cardinals
Wong has a line drive bat that will generate a good batting average in the big leagues. He's the second baseman of the future for the Cardinals - maybe sooner than later. He's a good fielder, and an average overall player. Wong will give you little power as a fantasy selection. He will, however, be able to steal some bases and score some runs, depending on where they hit him in the lineup. I like Wong as a future mid second-tier second base fantasy player.
Cory Spangenberg - Padres
Spangenberg is just at the beginning of the Padres' minor league development classifications. Because of his good contact and solid batting average, he's a prospect the Padres may hustle to the big leagues sooner than expected. I can see them shifting their infield around pending trades or blowing up the club again. Spangenberg could be in the middle of future planning. He is a high second-tier type hitter for me. Watch his progress and act accordingly.
Scooter Gennett - Brewers
Gennett can hit. I think he's the heir apparent in Milwaukee, but that still remains to be seen. Maybe Rickie Weeks remains there for years to come, but Gennett has always been on the Brewers' fast track. I saw him in the Arizona Fall League and I liked what I saw.
Gennett has advanced every year from A ball to his current assignment at Triple-A. That speaks volumes. And at Triple-A this season, he's hitting .354 in 104 plate appearances. He doesn't have much power, but he can hit for average and run. I see him as a late second tier player due to his average and stolen base potential.
Jeff Kobernus - Nationals
Kobernus was claimed by the Tigers in the Rule 5 Draft. He didn't make the Tigers out of spring training and was returned to the Nationals - who are probably glad to have him.
The guy can hit. I saw him in spring training. He has a very good contact bat, and I'm surprised the Tigers didn't keep him. Actually, I'm surprised the Nationals exposed him in the first place. He is currently hitting .372 with 13 stolen bases already at Triple-A Syracuse. He's a guy to watch carefully. I see him as an eventual second-tier fantasy play.
Jonathan Schoop - Orioles
Schoop is ultimately going to get an infield job with Baltimore. It might be at second base, it might be at shortstop and it might be at third base. He's capable of playing anywhere in the infield. A big guy, Schoop may outgrow the middle-infield. That would move Manny Machado back to shortstop - a long shot. Right now, he isn't hitting at Triple-A Norfolk. I saw him in a recent visit and his bat was very slow.
Assuming three tiers of second basemen, I like Schoop at the top of the last-tier of future second basemen with late blooming pop in his bat. He should be hitting better by this stage of his development, but he isn't. Schoop is athletic and he may surprise. But for now, things are going slowly.
Delino DeShields Jr. - Astros
If DeShields is going to contribute to your team, it will likely be with stolen bases. But he'll have trouble getting on base consistently. I put him as a marginal fantasy player with exception of stolen bases capability. There are more and more guys with ability to steal bases, if only they could get on base. DeShields is a guy to watch. At best he's a draft and stash guy. I don't have much faith in his bat yet.
Eddie Rosario - Twins
Rosario is very young, very raw and very inexperienced. He's currently only in High-A, but he's hitting very well. He has always hovered around or above .300 in his brief four -season career. He also has some true power. I like him a great deal and I would recommend you remember his name.
Rosario is a name to remember. He may well be on the fast track, although the Twins don't rush their players and work via a formula for development. I see Rosario at the back end of the second tier of second basemen in the future.
Derek Dietrich - Marlins
I have to root for Dietrich because he's from St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio. What could be better?
He's a solid hitter. Much like Eddie Rosario, Dietrich has always hit as a professional, carrying a .280 batting average in parts of four seasons. He's a good contact hitter with very little raw power. I would recommend keeping an eye on him. Especially, like Rosario, he's in an organization that really needs his offense. I see him as a second-tier second baseman.
Nick Delmonico - Orioles
Delmonico may be more the second base prospect than Schoop for the Orioles. While I don't see Schoop ever playing second in the big leagues, I do see Nick Delmonico there.
He's young and it's early in his development, but he can hit. He was a sixth-round selection and the Birds may have him on a fast track. He's hitting very well now at High-A in only his second year of professional baseball. I would place him in the second tier right now. That could change.
Christian Lopes - Blue Jays
Lopes is only 20 years old but he is showing that he can hit. The issue will be his ability or inability to hit better quality pitching as he progresses. He is currently in Low-A at Lansing, where he is hitting .339 in 117 plate appearances. There is room for growth in power. He could be a player to watch on both offense and defense.
Carlos Sanchez - White Sox
Sanchez is a much better hitter than he's shown so far this season at Triple-A Charlotte. He won't set the world on fire with any one tool, but he might be able to steal a few bases and hit a gap double now and then. I really like his defense. I see that as the best way for him to help the White Sox. For me, he's a third tier fantasy player, because his bat is still rather weak.
Logan Watkins - Cubs
Watkins is much more advanced than Amaya. He is already playing at Triple-A Iowa. His primary position is as a second baseman, but he also plays shortstop and center field for the Pacific Coast League club. In the past he has hit some home runs and stolen some bases. He's an intriguing guy to watch. Especially if the club wants to move an infielder in trade.
Ryan Goins - Blue Jays
Goins has hit wherever he has played in the Blue Jays organization. He has a .278 batting average over five seasons so far. This year, he is assigned to Triple-A Buffalo, where he's hitting .292 in 76 plate appearances. Last year in Double-A he hit .289 with seven home runs. He may have a future with the club, but I haven't heard him discussed in any recent conversations. Now 25 years old, Goins may just be a solid minor league player, at best.
Ryan Wright - Reds
Wright is repeating High-A ball and not hitting as well as he did last season. In fact, he's scuffling. In the low minors, he always hit. I'm not sure about his future, as much will depend upon his ability to correct his early season issues. At this point I see him as a third tier second baseman.
Gioskar Amaya - Cubs
It's too early in his career to know if this 20-year-old can hit quality pitching. He's only at Low-A Kane County, so there is a long way to go until we know what the Cubs have at second base in Amaya.
Joey DiMichele - White Sox
DiMichele has not hit well after a promotion this season to High-A. He does have a little bit of power and some speed. He has to refine his hitting ability in order to progress. The season is young, but DiMichele does not have much to offer as a potential major league player.
Cord Phelps - Indians
Phelps has had a cup of coffee with the Indians. He is more promising now than in the previous two seasons when he put too much pressure on himself. He had a great spring training but the success has not carried over to the season. He's really scuffling. I see him as a third-tier player.
Angelo Gumbs - Yankees
There have been a number of questions about his ability to both hit and play defense. With Robinson Cano in New York, it will be difficult for Gumbs to break in. However, he has some scouts excited about his upside. I don't know enough about him.
Ronny Rodriguez - Indians
Rodriguez told me the Indians had planned to use him exclusively at second base. However, this season he has played both second and shortstop for Double-A Akron. When I saw him, I liked both his offensive ability and his defense. He's currently hitting only .235, but I think he's a better hitter than that. When all is said and done, he's more likely a "defense first" infielder.
Jose Ramirez - Indians
Ramirez is the other interchangeable part of the middle-infield at Double-A Akron for the Indians. He is hitting much better than Ronny Rodriguez at this point. I saw Ramirez in spring training. The Indians really like his game. He brings outstanding speed with an ability to steal bases - an advantage over Rodriguez. Only 20, Ramirez is the player with the bigger upside between Ramirez and Rodriguez. I see him as a future major league player somewhere, for some team. Maybe not Cleveland.
NOTE: The Indians have a boatload of high quality middle-infielders they have been stockpiling. They have:
Francisco Lindor - SS
Ronny Rodriguez - SS
Juan Diaz - SS
Jose Ramirez - 2B
Cord Phelps - 2B
Robel Garcia - 2B
Joe Wendle - 2B
Prospect Tony Wolters has recently converted to catcher from the middle-infield. I see one or more of the above being traded for much needed pitching at some point.
Christian Colon - Royals
At one point, Colon was considered the second base heir apparent in Kansas City. However, the Royals have been going with Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella, leaving Colon to continue his development. It isn't going very well at Triple-A Omaha. He was there last year and hit .412 in the brief five games he played. This year, he is hitting only .217 in the first 25 games. He is basically a utility player at both middle-infield positions, having little future fantasy value. That said, he might be the team's best second base/shortstop prospect not named Giavotella.
Taylor Lindsey - Angels
He's highly regarded by the Angels at a position that is not deep within the organization. Lindsey has moved nicely in the Angels system, having played from rookie ball to High-A, skipping Low-A entirely. He is now at Double-A where he is scuffling with the bat.
Alex Yarbrough - Angels
Yarbrough is on a similar career path as Lindsey. However, Yarbrough played at Double-A last season for five games. This season, he is at High-A Inland Empire, where he's hitting .272 and seemingly sharing time with Lindsey. He and Lindsey may race to the big club.
Rougned Odor - Rangers
He's a strong guy with some pop in his bat. He has made it to Advanced-A Myrtle Beach in the Rangers system so far. He's only 19-years-old. Slightly built, it remains to be seen if Odor can compete against quality pitching. He's probably the highest rated Rangers prospect. He has some promise, but it's too early to really tell.
Leury Garcia - Rangers
Garcia is a utility infielder now for the Rangers. It's a shame he isn't playing minor League baseball where he could play every day. He clearly is more a utility guy than a starter. I don't see any regular job ahead for Garcia in the Rangers system. They can't find work for Jurickson Profar, let alone Garcia. He's really a defense-first guy anyway, without much help for fantasy players.
Dilson Herrera - Pirates
He is playing now at Low-A. He has hit in his minor league career, but it may still be too soon to know how he will handle advanced play. Last season he hit .281 at two classifications.
Charlie Culberson - Rockies
It may just be that Culberson is a Quad-A player. He's had some time in the big leagues with San Francisco and Colorado. He hits well in Triple-A but may not translate that to better competition. I've always liked his stroke and I think he can play. Especially at Coors. We'll just have to wait and see.
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