Second base is perhaps the weakest position in the minor leagues but I still see several MLB regulars in this list. The issue with ranking second base prospects parallels that of ranking first baseman in that it’s quite possible that the top 2 or 3 minor league prospects at this position may currently be playing another position in the minor leagues. Several of the top shortstops in minor league baseball will have long and productive careers at second base in the Majors, but you won’t find them on this list as I attempted to stay pretty loyal to where each prospect is currently playing.
Bats – Throws – Height – Weight – Team – D.O.B
1. Brett Lawrie – R-R – 5’11 200 – MIL – 1.18.90. Drafted as a prep catcher with the 16th overall pick in 2008, Lawrie was already a Canadian legend, making the Olympic team that same year at just 18. Lawrie’s pro career behind the plate didn’t last long and he moved to second base and it’s questionable that he’ll stay there. He hit 13 HR last season and he projects to hit for more power down the road. He stole 19 bags last year but considering that he was caught stealing 13 times, I’m guessing he’ll have a tighter leash on the base paths this season. He’s not quite as athletic as your typical 2B defensively, and he posted a below average .964 fielding percentage there in the Low A Midwest League last season. The true thunder in his bat aided by his large forearms makes him the top prospect at this position.
2. Todd Frazier – R-R – 6’3 215 – CIN – 2.12.86. If Todd Frazier were in 29 other organizations, I’m not sure any one of them would see him as a second basemen but Cincinnati does so I’ll respect their decision and rank him at this position. I recently read that the Redlegs will give him the opportunity to win a job in LF for the big league club this season and has played 87 games out there in the past 2 seasons. A doubles machine, Frazier smacked 45 two baggers between AA and AAA last season to go with his 16 HR and his .480 SLG. He doesn’t strike out at an alarming rate (15%) but I’d like to see him improve his 8.5% walk rate. I think he’ll start the season at AAA Louisville but his bat will force him into the Queen City sometime after the All Star Break.
3. Eric Young Jr. – B-R – 5’10 180 – COL – 5.25.85. EY Jr., like his father before him, uses his plus-plus speed as his calling card. Unlike many burners in the minor leagues, Jr. shows some true leadoff ability. He displayed a 12.8% BB rate in AA in 08 and a 10.1% rate in AAA in 09 while keeping his K’s in check. Three times in the past four seasons he’s maintained an OBP of over .385. He’s seen time in CF but his poor arm will keep him at 2B or possibly LF. He’ll begin the year as a bench player in Colorado.
4. Jemile Weeks – B-R – 5’10 175 – OAK – 1.26.87. Jemile’s brother Rickie holds the career NCAA DI record for batting average (.465), and Jemile was no slouch himself. He led a talent laden Miami team to Omaha in 2008 and became the 12th overall selection in that year’s draft. Weeks has battled injuries as a professional, totaling just 99 games over the past two seasons. When healthy, he shows the ability to draw walks and make consistent contact. He has plus speed, but that has not yet translated into high SB numbers. He should spend the majority of the 2010 season in AA Midland.
5. Scott Sizemore – R-R – 6’0 185 – DET – 1.4.85. Sizemore has an advanced bat and he’s ready to take over for Placido Polanco in Detroit and he may even take over the #2 spot in the batting order. He’s expected to be fully recovered by Spring Training from a broken ankle suffered in the Arizona Fall League. None of his tools are overly impressive, and his defense is below MLB average, but he showed good speed and power last season, hitting 17HR and stealing 21 bases. He shows above average OBP skills and doesn’t strike out at an alarming rate.
6. Reese Havens – L-R – 6’1 195 – NYM – 10.20.86. A teammate of top 1B prospect Justin Smoak at South Carolina, Havens joined him in the 1st round of the 2008 draft. There was some pre-draft buzz that some teams were interested in converting Havens to a catcher, he’s played SS thus far as a professional, but he’ll be moving to 2B this year. He’ll learn the position in the AA Eastern League where he’ll try to approve his .247 career batting average.
7. Adrian Cardenas – L-R – 6’0 185 – OAK – 10.10.87. The Phillies used a supplemental 1st round pick on Cardenas out of a Miami HS, then traded him to Oakland for Joe Blanton in 2008. Cardenas plays all over the infield and could help the A’s as a utility man right now. He walks at a decent rate and he doesn’t strike out a whole lot. He’s never going to hit for much power and he’s not much of a base stealer. While there is value in Cardenas’ defensive diversity, he’s not yet mastered any of his defensive positions.
8. Jeff Kobernus – R-R – 6’2 210 – WAS – 6.30.88. A UC Berkley product, Kobernus was regarded as the best collage 2B in the 2009 draft and the Nationals used the first pick in the 2nd round on him. Kobernus has solid average tools across the board. He has a patient approach, will flash occasional power, can steal bases and he’s athletic enough to stick at 2B. His mustache points will land him in the top 15, and I expect his talent to keep him there.
9. Ryan Flaherty – L-R – 6’3 200 – CHC – 7.27.86. A shortstop in college, Flaherty shared the left side of the infield with Pedro Alvarez at Vanderbilt where his little brother Regan, a blue chip prospect of his own, is getting ready for his Freshman season. A left-handed hitter with power, the elder Flaherty smacked 20 HR last season in Low A ball where he saw time at SS, 2B and 3B. No matter what position he settles into, he’ll have to keep his strikeouts in check as he’s had a K% over 20% in each of his first two seasons.
10. Johnny Giovatella – R-R – 5’8 185- KC – 7.10.87. If you’re going to be 5’8 and trying to reach the major leagues, you’d better do some things right and Johnny does just that, getting on base on such a high clip. He walked at a 11.8% rate last year and had an outstanding 1.22 BB/K ratio and stole 26 bags. He doesn’t have much power and projects as a below average defender.
11. Logan Watkins – R-R- 5’11 170 – CHC – 8.29.89. A 21st round pick in 2008 because of his strong college commitment to Wichita State, Watkins is a prototype of a guy I’d like my team. He’s shown an impressive 0.94 BB/K ratio as a professional, he’s got a good arm and he runs well. He has yet to hit a professional HR and he doesn’t project to develop much power in his slight frame. A move to the OF is possible as the Cubs have a plethora of 2B/SS types. He’ll get his first taste of full season ball in the Low A Midwest League.
12. Ryan Schimpf – L-R – 5’9 180 – TOR – 3.11.88. Part of the 2009 National Championship LSU team, Schimpf began the season as the double play companion of SS D.J. LaMahieu and ended it in LF when LaMahieu moved to 2B. Schimpf was one of my favorite college players in 2009 and at just 5’9 he’s one of my favorite scrappy minor leaguers. He uses a compact stroke to drive the ball to the opposite field and has slightly above average power for a 2B. He’ll struggle on defense but his offense could make him a MLB regular. He’ll open his first full professional season in High A.
13. Ruben Tejada – R-R- 6’0 160 – NYM – 10.27.89. Three years younger than Reese Havens, but one level in front of him, Tegada illustrates the difference in development between a teenage international signee and a prospect that spends three years in college. While a better defender than Havens, his bat is not as advanced. He lacks plate discipline and doesn’t have much power. He’ll advance to AAA Buffalo this season and could potentially challenge unpopular 2B Luis Castillo for playing time in the 2nd half.
14. D.J. LeMahieu – R-R – 6’4 185 – CHC – 7.13.88. LeMahieu began last season as the starting SS on the eventual National Champion LSU team but he moved to 2B half way through the year to improve the overall team defense. At his height and frame he doesn’t really look like a 2B and I don’t anticipate a long stay at that position. He’s yet to prove he can hit for power with a wood bat.
15. L.J. Hoes – R-R – 6’1 190 – BAL – 3.5.90. A 2008 second team High School All American as an outfielder, Hoes moved to 2B as a professional where he’s still raw. At the plate, Hoes appears to take a simple approach to his swing. It’s nothing more than a simple weight transfer and the hands stay level as he brings them through the zone. Hoes has good speed but is lacking in his other offensive tools. He refuses to take walks, strikes out too much and has well below average power. Defensively, he’s still very raw at 2B but he’s athletic enough to become above average at that position.
Sleeper – C.J Retherford – R-R – 5’11 190 – CWS – 8.14.85. An undrafted free agent from Arizona State, Retherford has worked his way up the prospect ladder into legitimacy. He has power that is a tick above average and he led the minor leagues in doubles last season with 46. He doesn’t do anything particularly well but I could see him helping a major league team as a utility infielder/pinch hitter.
Overrated – Corban Joseph – L-R – 6’0 170- NYY – 10.28.88. Corban’s brother Caleb is a catcher in the Baltimore organization who almost made my Top 15 Catcher Prospect List. Corban was drafted in the 4th round in 2008 out of HS. He fits the mold of many second basemen on this list. He gets on base, walks nearly as much as he strikes out, doesn’t have much power and has some questions on defense. It’s still early for Corban, but I view him more as a utility player at the MLB level.