The 2016 second baseman rankings are broken into two parts: the top 10 prospects in order and the next 10 prospects in alphabetical order. As always, these rankings are done from a scouting perspective but with fantasy baseball in mind, generally focusing on standard 5x5 league categories – though other statistics (e.g., OBP) are considered – and long-term, dynasty-league value.
The Top 10:
1. Yoan Moncada, Boston Red Sox (Double-A Portland Sea Dogs)
2016 Stats: 70 G, .299/.407/.481, 64 R, 26 2B, 3 4B, 5 HR, 38 RBI, 37 SB, 46 BB, 73 K
Moncada further confirmed that he’s the real deal with his outstanding first half at High-A Salem, where he hit .307/.427/.496 while pacing the Carolina League in doubles (25), stolen bases (36) and walks (45). And after he started in the circuit’s All-Star Game, the Red Sox decided that he was ready for the move up to Double-A. Moncada, 21, is a dynamic offensive talent whose combination of elite bat speed (from both sides of the plate) and plus-plus speed could make him a fantasy stud. He’s unlikely to arrive in the big leagues before the 2017 season, but the fact that he now resides in the Eastern League means he’s not far off.
Impact categories: AVG, OBP, R, SB
2. Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs (Double-A Tennessee Smokies)
2016 Stats: 76 G, .321/.426/.515, 43 R, 18 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR, 48 RBI, 12 SB, 51 BB, 71 K
Speaking of forcing promotions to Double-A, Happ did just that in late June after hitting .296/.410/.475 with 26 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs and 10 steals in 69 games for High-A Myrtle Beach during the first half of the season. What the 21-year-old switch-hitter has done since arriving in the Southern League is equally impressive, posting a robust .591/.615/.955 slash line with 13 hits (four extra-base hits) in his first seven contests for the Smokies. Basically, Happ has showed exactly why the Cubs made him the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft, exhibiting plus hitting talent, average power and base-stealing ability. He still has gains to make defensively after shifting back to second base from the outfield last fall, but, for the most part, the reports on his development at the keystone has been positive.
Impact categories: AVG, OBP, R, RBI, SB
3. Jose Peraza, 2B/SS/OF, Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
2016 Stats (AAA): 55 G, .274/.318/.354, 31 R, 9 2B, 3 3B, HR, 12 RBI, 9 SB, 14 BB, 33 K
Peraza’s fantasy stock has taken a hit this season with his underwhelming production between Triple-A Louisville and the Major Leagues, where he currently resides. He’s gone 7-for-7 on the basepaths during his time in the big leagues with the Reds, but is just 9-for-16 in attempts this season in the Minors. At the plate, the 22-year-old owns a .255 average with a .538 OPS in 51 big-league at-bats this year compared to a slightly better .274/.318/.354 slash line over 55 games with the Bats. And while Peraza has appeared in exactly 10 games at the keystone between both levels, it seems that, for now, he’s more likely to be used in a super utility role, in turn limiting his at-bats.
Impact categories: AVG, R, SB
4. Forrest Wall, Colorado Rockies (High-A Modesto Nuts)
2016 Stats: 66 G, .267/.331/.370, 22 R, 9 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 36 RBI, 12 SB, 20 BB, 60 K
After an eye-opening professional debut in 2014 and then a strong full-season debut in ‘15, Wall has taken a slight step back with his performance this year in his introduction to the California League. Namely, the 20-year-old is hitting for less power (.103 ISO) and whiffing more often – evidenced by a strikeout rate that’s up nearly five percent (22.1%) from his 2015 mark (17.3%) – with a .333 BABIP that isn’t far off his career average. That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that Wall is still young and facing advanced pitching this year, really for the first time in his career. Once all is said and done, though, he could be an across-the-board fantasy contributor with better-than-projected power numbers because he plays half of his games at Coors Field.
Impact categories: AVG, R, SB
5. Willie Calhoun, Los Angeles Dodgers (Double-A Tulsa Drillers)
2016 Stats: 75 G, .256/.322/.467, 43 R, 16 2B, 3B, 14 HR, 51 RBI, 26 BB, 44 K
After being selected in the fourth round last June, Calhoun proceeded to hit .316 with a .909 OPS and 11 home runs in 73 games across three levels, finishing the year at High-A Rancho Cucamonga. As a result of his success, the Dodgers sent him straight to Double-A Tulsa this year in his first full professional season. The 21-year-old had a slow start to his campaign, posting a .669 in April, but he eventually settled in and has been driving the ball ever since. Since May 8, he’s hit .291/.356/.554 with 10 doubles, 12 homers and 37 RBIs in exactly 200 plate appearances for the Drillers. As long as he can keep the strikeouts under control, Calhoun should develop into an offensive-minded second baseman that can hit for power and average, just the kind fantasy owners covet.
Impact categories: HR, RBI
6. Andy Ibanez, Texas Rangers (Double-A Frisco Rough Riders)
2016 Stats: 70 G, .302/.380/.502, 37 R, 22 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 42 RBI, 10 SB, 33 BB, 37 K
The Rangers signed Ibanez last July for $1.6 million, after he had defected from Cuba the previous year. He was viewed as one of the country’s top hitters prior to defecting, one with a strong track record of excelling as a younger player in advanced leagues and tournaments. It didn’t take the now-23-year-old long to live up to that billing in his U.S. debut, as he tore up the South Atlantic League (.324/.413/.546 in 49 games) to earn a promotion directly to Double-A in early June. Ibanez has the makings of becoming an impact fantasy second baseman because he makes a lot of contact to all fields and generates easy power to the gaps, showing the potential for 12-15 homers in his best seasons. On top of that, he should also be able to provide double digits in stolen bases.
Impact categories: AVG, RBI, SB
7. Wilmer Difo, SS/2B, Washington Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg Senators)
2016 Stats: 75 G, .232/.303/.314, 41 R, 11 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 25 SB, 28 BB, 41 K
After his breakout performance at Low-A Hagerstown in 2014, Difo’s power numbers came back to earth last season at Double-A Harrisburg, for whom he hit just two home runs in 87 games. That trend has continued this season in his return to the Eastern League, but Difo continues to pile up runs scored and stolen bases, and he’s even trimmed his strikeout rate (12.3%) while still drawing a healthy number of walks (8.5%). He’s played shortstop primarily this season for the Senators, but with Trea Turner set to man the position in Washington for the foreseeable future, all signs point to Difo eventually shifting to second base full time.
Impact categories: R, SB
8. Jorge Polanco, SS/2B, Minnesota Twins (Triple-A Rochester Red Wings)
2016 Stats: 50 G, .278/.336/.474, 21 R, 11 2B, 6 3B, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 2 SB, 19 BB, 31 K
Polanco has hit .231 with four extra-base hits in 13 games across three stints in the big leagues this season. Meanwhile, the 22-year-old switch-hitter has shown more power (.196 ISO) and better plate discipline in his first full Triple-A exposure (9.0% walk rate). Unfortunately, with Brian Dozier signed through 2018 and Eduardo Nunez playing well for the time being, Polanco is without a clear path to regular at-bats in Minnesota. Should an injury arise, however, he has the potential to be an average contributor in multiple categories.
Impact categories: AVG, R
9. Scott Kingery, Philadelphia Phillies (High-A Clearwater Threshers)
2016 Stats: 72 G, .287/.359/.416. 46 R, 24 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 21 SB, 26 BB, 44 K
Kingery has had a strong first full professional season so far in spite of an aggressive promotion to the High-A Florida State League, which he currently paces in hits (82) and doubles (24) while ranking second and fourth in runs scored (46) and stolen bases (21). While he offers little in the way of power, Kingery, 22, has the pure hitting ability and speed needed to serve as an everyday second baseman at the highest level.
Impact categories: AVG, R, SB
10. Alen Hanson, Pittsburgh Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis Indians)
2016 Stats: 63 G, .245/.283/.366, 33 R, 6 2B, 5 3B, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 18 SB, 14 BB, 48 K
Hanson made the most of his first big-league callup in mid-May, going 1-for-2 while appearing in three games for the Pirates. Yet, the 23-year-old’s numbers are down across the board this year in his second Triple-A campaign, as he currently sports the lowest batting average and on-base percentage of his pro career. But while Hanson’s approach and pitch selectivity need further refinement, there’s little question that he has the talent to be a solid fantasy contributor at the keystone. Unfortunately for his owners, it likely will take an injury to Josh Harrison for Hanson to see significant playing time in 2016.
Impact categories: R, SB
The Next 10 (Alphabetical Order):
Carlos Asuaje, San Diego Padres (Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas)
Ryan Brett, Tampa Bay Rays (Triple-A Durham Bulls)
Travis Demeritte, Texas Rangers (High-A High Desert Mavericks)
Micah Johnson, Los Angeles Dodgers (Triple-A Oklahoma City)
Tony Kemp, Houston Astros (Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies)
Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays (Low-A Bowling Green Hot Rods)
Mark Mathias, Cleveland Indians (High-A Lynchburg Hillcats)
Joe Wendle, Oakland Athletics (Triple-A Nashville Sounds)
Jamie Westbrook, Arizona Diamondbacks (Double-A Mobile Bears)
Kean Wong, Tampa Bay Rays (Double-A Montgomery Biscuits)