Impact Prospect Rankings: Second Basemen

I began the year at RotoGraphs by producing a semi-regularly-updated Top 25 prospects list. For the second half of the year and into the offseason, I’ll be rotating expanded Top 10, 12 or 15 lists (on a far more regular basis) by position: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF/RF, CF, RHSP (tier 1), RHSP (tier 2), LHSP. Whether you play traditional formats of fantasy baseball or dynasty/keeper styles (or you’re just a prospect nut like me), you’ll surely find these lists indispensable. You can read the Impact Prospect Catchers here and the Impact Prospect First Basemen here.

 

#1 Mookie Betts | Red Sox | ETA: 2014 (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
21 40 2.5 % 12.5 % .243 .282 .378 .294 81 -1.1 -2.2 -0.2

Aug. 5 notes: I’m keeping Betts on the list of second basemen for now — mainly due to the lack of depth at the position — but the Red Sox’s top prospect could soon move over to the outfield ranking. He’s still learning the nuances of playing the outfield but his athleticism should allow him to become a plus defender in the grass. A top-of-the-order threat, Betts, 21, also generates surprising pop from his 5-9, 160 pound frame. 

 

#2 Jose Peraza | Braves | ETA: 2015 (2B/SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
20 476 152 19 2 16 46 58 .340 .365 .445 .367

Aug. 5 notes: Peraza’s 2014 breakout season (along with the next player on the list) prevents a Grand-Canyon-sized drop in talent between Mookie Betts and the other second basemen on the list. A converted shortstop, the Braves’ prospect looks strong at the keystone. At the plate, he’s controlled the strike zone well and continues to show good speed and base-running instincts. He could push Tommy La Stella to a platoon or backup role within the next year.

 

#3 Dilson Herrera | Mets | ETA: 2015 (2B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
20 494 142 27 9 36 80 21 .319 .374 .463 .380

Aug. 5 notes: A native of Colombia, Herrera is finally getting the attention he deserves — thanks to a strong offensive season split between High-A and Double-A. Just 20, he’s in line to take over the Mets’ second base job from Daniel Murphy who is said to be available in a trade and is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. Herrera combines a strong bat with some speed and improving defense.

 

#4 Sean Coyle | Red Sox | ETA: 2016 (2B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
22 320 87 20 13 30 81 13 .311 .382 .529 .402

Aug. 5 notes: It’s a testament to Coyle’s perseverance that he’s made his way back onto a top prospect list. Perhaps a little overhyped as a prep draft pick in 2010 (because of the comparisons to Dustin Pedroia), Coyle battled inconsistencies and injuries throughout the first four years of his career. He’s probably not going to ever see regular playing time in Boston but he could be a valuable bat off the bench — especially if he keeps murdering left-handed pitching like he has in 2014: .350/.437/.670 in 200 at-bats. 

 

#5 Devon Travis | Tigers | ETA: 2015 (2B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
23 332 93 15 9 25 44 11 .308 .360 .480 .372

Aug. 5 notes: The Tigers’ minor league system doesn’t get much attention but Travis could develop into a solid big league hitter. He’s hit above .300 each of the past two seasons, makes good contact and has gap power but his value is hurt by his lack of walks. It’s always difficult for a rookie to break into the Tigers’ starting lineup but Travis has a shot once Ian Kinsler has to move off the keystone (although Eugenio Suarez could pose a threat once Jose Iglesias returns to action). 

 

#6 Jose Ramirez | Indians | ETA: 2014 (2B/SS)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
21 61 3.3 % 13.1 % .164 .193 .182 .172 3 -6.6 2.0 -0.3

Aug. 5 notes: Ramirez, 21, is “in tough” in Cleveland. He can play either second base or shortstop but will have to contend with top prospect Francisco Lindor, as well as former all-star Jason Kipnis. If he sticks in Cleveland, the diminutive Dominican may have to settle for a back-up role and semi-regular playing time. He could eventually be used as trade bait to acquire some pitching depth and has a shot at being an average-or-better second baseman for someone.

 

#7 Tony Kemp | Astros | ETA: 2015 (2B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
22 532 142 25 8 62 56 36 .319 .414 .465 .396

Aug. 5 notes: Kemp may not be the most talented athlete on this list but he’s a former star college baseball player who has zipped through the Astros minor league system since being selected in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He’s a hard-nosed type of player that won’t be out-worked and could eventually force his way into a starting gig in the Majors (keeping in mind his roadblock in Houston, Jose Altuve). 

 

#8 Micah Johnson | White Sox | ETA: 2015 (2B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
23 427 116 16 5 36 58 20 .307 .368 .421 .361

Aug. 5 notes: Johnson, 23, just keeps on hitting but he doesn’t possess much power and also doesn’t get on-base at a regular clip. Even his best tool — his speed — hasn’t been on full display this year; after nabbing 84 bags last season, he’s been successful just 20 times in 32 attempts. His defense isn’t anything special, either, and he may eventually end up in the outfield. 

 

#9 Alex Guerrero | Dodgers | ETA: 2015 (PH/PR)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
27 1 0.0 % 100.0 % .000 .000 .000 .000 -100 -0.2 0.0 0.0

Aug. 5 notes: Guerrero was well on his way to a potential everyday gig in the Majors when a well-publicized incident occurred that resulted in the Cuba native losing part of his ear. He missed about two months but returned near the end of July. He remains an enigma but has shown flashes of being a solid offensive second baseman.

 

#10 Avery Romero | Marlins | ETA: 2016 (2B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
21 398 119 24 4 23 42 9 .325 .370 .429 .368

Aug. 5 notes: A third-round pick from the 2012 amateur draft, Romero has been quietly plugging away in the low minors for the past few seasons. A strong showing in Low-A ball earlier this year, allowed him to jump into the “faster track” and he was promoted to High-A ball where he’s continued to hit well. The organization doesn’t have much depth at the position so Romero has a solid shot at becoming the eventual starter at second base — assuming the recently-acquired Enrique Hernandez doesn’t trump him.



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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


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Rob
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Rob

How close was Refsnyder to making this list? Is it possible that he is the starting 2B for New York next April?

Bill
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Bill

I imagine that once this wonderful trainwreck of a Yankee’s season is over, they’ll be doing all they can to get a proven hitter. I’d guess they’d make a play for Hanley Ramirez and JJ Hardy to cover the middle of the diamond. If they can’t get someone like this, I think they’ll at least give Refsnyder a chance to win the job in the spring. Cashman said he was reluctant to bring him up after Roberts was cut, so I’m guessing they aren’t sold on him being ready, but he’ll be given a chance at some point.

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