The rankings for second basemen are broken into three parts: the top 10 prospects in order, the next five prospects in alphabetical order and a list of those who could provide some value in 2015. 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 in case you missed it, please check out the initial Prospect Positional column for second basemen this season. It features more in-depth scouting notes as well as a recap of each player’s 2014 campaign.
The Top 10:
1. Yoan Moncada, Boston Red Sox (Low-A Greenville, South Atlantic League)
2015 Stats: 30 G, 122 PA, .229/.311/.321, 18 R, HR, 7 XBH, 9-for-9 SB, 7.4% BB%, 27.9% K%
The Red Sox captured headlines during the offseason with their signing of high-profile Cuban sensation Yoan Moncada. The club gave the then-19-year-old infielder a $31.5 million bonus, far and away a record for a July 2 prospect, and they’ll have to pay a steep penalty for eclipsing their international spending limit, with the total cost coming in at $63 million. Anyway, Moncada has struggled this season in his highly anticipated pro debut, batting just .229/.311/.321 through 30 games in the South Atlantic League. The 20-year-old phenom has had some swing-and-miss and pitch-recognition issues in the early going, resulting in a 27.9% strikeout rate in 122 plate appearances. However, that was to be expected considering he hadn’t played professionally since 2013, prior to defecting from Cuba.
Fantasy Upside: .290+ AVG, 22-25 HR, 20+ SB
2. Jose Peraza, Atlanta Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett, International League)
2015 Stats: 69 G, 305 PA, 33 R, .291/.319/.367, 2 HR, 12 XBH, 20-for-23 SB, 3.9% BB%, 9.2% K%
Peraza has picked up this season at Triple-A Gwinnett where he left off last year at Double-A Mississippi, making tons of contact while utilizing his plus-plus speed. The 21-year-old rarely strikes out (10.5% career strikeout rate) and makes a ton of contact (88.3% contact rate), but he doesn't work deep counts (5.0% walk rate) and has virtually no over-the-fence pop. Peraza’s speed allows him to impact the game on both sides of the ball, and it’s surely the reason why the Braves have been experimenting with him in center field at times in the last month.
Fantasy Upside: .280+ AVG, 3-5 HR, 30+ SB
3. Forrest Wall, Colorado Rockies (Low-A Asheville, South Atlantic League – Disabled list)
2015 Stats: 70 G, 284 PA, 35 R, 6 HR, 21 XBH, 37 RBI, 16-for-23 SB, 10.2% BB%, 18.7% KK%
Wall made an immediate impact last summer after being selected in the draft, posting a .907 OPS with 15 extra-base hits and 18 steals during 41 games in the Pioneer League. The 19-year-old left-handed hitter’s combination of power and speed has translated as expected this season in the South Atlantic League, as he’s produced six home runs, seven doubles and eight triples to go along with 16 stolen bases. And considering Asheville’s home park heavily favors lefties, it is good to see Wall has balanced home (.774 OPS) and road (.762 OPS) splits. Unfortunately, it appears that Wall was placed on the disabled list Tuesday, although the nature of his injury isn’t known at the moment.
Fantasy Upside: .280+ AVG, 12-15 HR, 20+ SB
4. Alen Hanson, Pittsburgh Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis, International League – Disabled list)
2015 Stats: 62 G, 282 PA, .285/.329/.426, 36 R, 4 HR, 20 XBH, 17-for-23 SB, 6.4% BB%, 16.7% K%
Hanson quietly enjoyed a solid 2014 season in Double-A, posting a .280/.326/.442 batting line with 21 doubles, 12 triples, 11 home runs and 25 stolen bases. Moved up to Triple-A Indianapolis for 2015, the 22-year-old switch-hitter scuffled during his first month in the International League but caught fire May. Specifically, over a 42-game period between May 1 and June 16, when he landed on the disabled list with a fractured pinkie, Hanson batted a robust .307/.345/.497 with 55 hits, 19 extra-base hits and 10 steals. It isn’t clear how much longer Hanson will be on the shelf, but it shouldn’t hurt his chances of reaching the major leagues in a utility role later this year.
Fantasy Upside: .260+ AVG, 20+ 2B, 20+ SB
5. Robert Refsnyder, New York Yankees (Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre,
2015 Stats: 70 G, 314 PA, .276/.365/.382, 37 R, 5 HR, 19 XBH, 10-for-11 SB, 10.5% BB%, 12.7% K%
At this point, Refsnyder really has nothing left to prove in the International League. In 147 games between the last two seasons, the 24-year-old has posted a .288/.377/.420 batting line, 13 home runs, 33 doubles, 63 RBI and strikeout and walk rates of 16.5% and 11.4%, respectively. Refsnyder stands out for his hitting talent and excellent baseball IQ, but he’s unlikely to offer consistent power in the major leagues and projects as just average defensively. At the same time, there’s definitely something to be said about how he’s surpassed expectations throughout his pro career.
Fantasy Upside: .270+ AVG, 10-12 HR, 15+ 2B
6. Sean Coyle, Boston Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket, International League)
2015 Stats: 38 G, 145 PA, .163/.280/.309, 5 HR, 8 XBH, 16 RBI, 13.4% BB%, 29.7% K%
Coyle has big-time upside as an offensive-oriented second baseman, but his inability to stay healthy throughout his career has hurt his stock as a prospect. After playing a career-high 116 games back in 2012 at High-A Salem, the 23-year-old played in just 156 between the 2013-14 seasons. Meanwhile, he missed several weeks earlier this season at Triple-A Pawtucket with left elbow inflammation. He’s struggled since returning, too, with a .158/.273/.246 batting line in 17 games. When healthy, Coyle has consistently produced double-digit totals in home runs and stolen bases, although his penchant for whiffing limits him in the average and on-base departments. The 2010 third-round draft pick could serve as an important trade chip for the Red Sox later this season.
Fantasy Upside: .260+ AVG, 15+ HR, 10+ SB
7. Avery Romero, Miami Marlins (High-A Jupiter, Florida State League)
2015 Stats: 72 G, 301 PA, .256/.305/.297, 25 R, HR, 8 XBH, 24 RBI, 6.7% BB%, 14.0% K%
Romero, a third-round draft pick from 2012, spent the final month of the 2014 season at High-A Jupiter, where he batted .320/.370/.400 with eight doubles in 100 at-bats. However, the 22-year-old has struggled this season back in the pitching-dominated Florida State League, as his OPS has dropped with each month, from .653 in April to .636 in May to .531 in June, accompanied by rising strikeout rates. On a more positive note, Romero’s excellent bat-to-ball skills have produced an 84.8% contact rate this season, giving him an 85.6% rate for his career. There’s always hope for a guy who makes a lot of contact.
Fantasy Upside: .280 AVG, 9-12 HR, 25+ 2B
8. Domingo Leyba, Arizona Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia, California League)
2015 Stats: 66 G, 296 PA, .236/.262/.291, 32 R, 11 XBH, 27 RBI, 7-for-9 SB, 3.4% BB%, 14.9% K%
The Diamondbacks acquired Leyba from the Tigers during the offseason as part of the three-team trade that sent Didi Gregorius to the Yankees. The 19-year-old switch-hitter had raked at every minor league stop throughout his young career, even when challenged with aggressive assignments as he was in 2014 with the Tigers. Therefore, it’s surprising that Leyba has struggled this season in the hitter-friendly California League, where his OPS is just .553 through 66 games. However, both his career-low .273 BABIP and 84% contact rate suggest Leyba’s average should begin to improve - and it has of late, as he’s batting .347 with an .842 OPS in his last 11 games.
Fantasy Upside: .280+ AVG, 20+ 2B
9. Wendell Rijo, Boston Red Sox (High-A Salem, Carolina League)
2015 Stats: 53 G, 217 PA, .244/.293/.381, 3 HR, 20 XBH, 22 RBI, 6.9% BB%, 24.4% K%
At 19, Rijo is one of the younger everyday players in the Carolina League this season; so, with that in mind, he’s having a pretty respectable season. Rijo has hit just three home runs in over 200 at-bats, but 42% of his hits have been for extra bases, and he’s currently fifth in the league with 17 doubles. And it’s worth pointing out that he doubled his first-half home run total in the second half last season.
Fantasy Upside: .270+ AVG, 10-12 HR, 10+ SB
10. Josh Morgan, Texas Rangers (Low-A Hickory, South Atlantic League)
2015 Stats: 67 G, 274 PA, .302/.387/.374, 34 R, HR, 14 XBH, 5-for-8 SB, 8.8% BB%, 12.4% K%
Morgan’s full-season debut is looking a lot like his professional debut last summer, as he’s hitting for average, reaching base at a high clip and showing good gap power. The 19-year-old possesses the natural hitting ability and plate discipline to be a healthy source of runs, average and OBP, and he should start to steal more bases with improved jumps and reads. Morgan never will offer much over-the-fence power, likely single-digit home runs in his prime, but he should get his share of doubles.
Fantasy Upside: .270+ AVG, .350+ OBP, 20+ 2B
The Next Five (Alphabetical Order):
Travis Demeritte, Texas Rangers (Low-A Hickory, South Atlantic League - Suspended)
Demeritte is loaded with power, evidenced by his 25 home runs in his 2014 full-season debut, but his struggles with pitch selection and harnessing his swing led to a 36.7% strikeout rate in that span. The 20-year-old showed improvement this season back in the South Atlantic League, batting .241/.313/.412 over 48 games with Hickory, but all of that progress was washed away when he received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
Tony Renda, Washington Nationals (Double-A Trenton, Eastern League)
A second-round draft pick back in 2012, Renda has shown a high-floor blend of hitting ability, on-base skills and speed during his steady, one-level-per-year climb through the Nationals’ system. However, after opening the season at Double-A Harrisburg in the Eastern League, Renda was dealt to the Yankees in early June. He’s batting .245/.328/.283 with two doubles, seven walks and three steals in 15 games since joining Double-A Trenton.
Drew Robinson, Texas Rangers (Double-A Frisco, Texas League)
Robinson is a great athlete who can play just about anywhere on the field, and he has at various points in his six-year career. This season at Double-A Frisco, the 23-year-old has spent his time between second base (53 games) and shortstop (20). That’s of particular interest is because Robinson also is having a breakout year at the plate in the Texas League, with a career-best .849 OPS and 15 home runs through 74 games.
Austin Slater, San Francisco Giants (High-A San Jose, California League)
Slater received an above-slot bonus as an eighth-rounder last summer, and then promptly rewarded the Giants by hitting .346/.411/.457 over 31 games in his professional debut. An outfielder at Stanford, Slater was moved to second base prior to his 2015 full-season debut, making his bat and on-base skills even more valuable. Learning a new position certainly hasn’t hurt the 22-year-old’s production, as he recently received a promotion to Double-A Richmond after batting .292/.321/.396 with 19 extra-base hits in 60 games at High-A San Jose.
Kean Wong, Tampa Bay Rays (High-A Charlotte, Florida State League)
Younger brother of Cardinals’ second baseman Kolten Wong, Kean is holding his own this season in the challenging Florida State League, with a .287/.328/.348 batting line, 13 extra-base hits and 13 stolen bases in 64 games for High-A Charlotte. Kean is more of a gap-to-gap hitter and lacks his brother’s raw power, but he’s still an above-average runner as well as a strong defender at second base. The Rays’ have a wealth of middle-infield talent in its system, so expect Wong to be brought along slowly.
2015 Fantasy Value (Alphabetical Order):
Taylor Lindsey, San Diego Padres
Darnell Sweeney, Los Angeles Dodgers
Tony Kemp, Houston Astros
Joey Wendle, Oakland Athletics
Jacob Wilson, St. Louis Cardinals
Alex Yarbrough, Los Angeles Angels
Previous installments from Prospect Positional series:
First Basemen (6/24/2015)
Starting Pitchers (6/3/2015)
Third Basemen (5/13/2015)
Second Basemen (5/7/2015)
Rotoworld Season Pass Prospect Rankings (Updated weekly)
*All stats reflect games through June 28.