March 06, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (89) warms up before the spring training game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
With the amateur draft completed last week, we figured now would be a great time to revisit our positional prospect rankings. Over the next two weeks, the staff here at Fake Teams will be providing their top 20 prospects in the minors at each of the infield positions (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS), and their top 50 outfielders and starting pitchers. Here's a bit of how our determinations were made:
- Each player ranked at a position is either currently playing there, or widely anticipated to end up there by the time they reach the major leagues. As an example, Billy Hamilton is not expected to remain at shortstop long-term based on the opinions of others within the field. As a result, he can be ranked at shortstop since he currently plays the position, and will also be ranked at second base, as he is most likely to end up at that position.
- Primarily, we are viewing prospects who remain in the minor leagues, or who have been up in the majors for less than one month at most. As a result of this, players like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout will not appear on the outfield rankings.
- Draftees are not necessarily being included within the main rankings, but each position will have a few players from the draft mentioned as players who potentially could be in the top 20/50 lists created during the upcoming offseason.
- In many cases, prospects ranked within a spot of each other could likely be switched and still be fine in my rankings. As with all rankings, they are a good look at how I see the group of players at the time of the list preparation.
You know, I had planned on ranking 20 players that I thought were likely to be at second base when they hit the Majors. However, the position is so shallow in the minors it seems that ranking more than the 15 players I have below is a bit of overkill. Past these 15, the pool becomes so shallow that it becomes hard to see how any of them would be likely to end up in the Majors. Second base is always a hard position to rank, as so many players at other positions end up invariably moving over to 2B. There are a few solid prospects at the position already, but for a few of these players, they are still playing elsewhere on the diamond, and based on what I am reading and seeing, I think the others could very well end up at 2B instead of their current position.
Each player will be listed with their name, their organization, and their current level in the minor leagues.
1. Kolten Wong (STL) - AA
The Cardinals' top draft pick in 2011, Wong has moved very quickly, starting the season in AA. He's performed extremely well thus far, hitting .298/.369/.440 with 6 home runs, 26 RBI, and 10/13 on stolen base attempts. He also shows a solid eye, with 22 walks against 28 strikeouts in 252 plate appearances this season. I believe he will be in St. Louis, playing 2nd base and hitting 2nd in front of Oscar Taveras by the end of the 2013 season at worst.
2. Billy Hamilton (CIN) - High A
I wrote about Hamilton back in April, and Craig wrote him up on Tuesday. He would be what I would call a category winner: If he is on your team, he could single handedly win you stolen bases each year he is in the Majors. He has been hitting extremely well this year, but it remains the California League. Long-term, I think he ends up either at 2B or in center field, as it sounds like he simply won't be able to remain at shortstop due to his arm.
3. Jedd Gyorko (SD) - AAA
The Padres have been converting Gyorko to 2B in part due to the performance of James Darnell, and his performance has not been brutal on the defensive side (3 errors in 155 chances in the minors at 2B). It's hard to get a good judgment on his numbers in AAA, as Tucson has become the anti-Petco in terms of offensive numbers. I think he ends up grading out around 12-15 home runs with a decent average when he gets to the Majors. You can read more about him from Craig here.
4. Cory Spangenberg (SD) - High A
The Padres' top draft pick a year ago, Spangenberg has shown himself thus far to be a speedy 2B with a solid average, but very little in the way of power. In the California League this year, he is hitting .299/.343/.402 with 11 doubles, 6 triples, 1 home run, and 20 stolen bases in 62 games. He is likely the long-term solution for 2B in San Diego (unless Gyorko manages to hold him off in a few years), and looks to me like a top of the order type hitter. I could see him giving 35-40 stolen bases a season at his peak, and adding a batting average around .275-.280 to go with it.
5. Eddie Rosario (MIN) - Low A
The Twins are attempting to convert Rosario to 2B from the outfield, and his bat has not missed a beat so far. The Twins assigned Rosario to full-season Low-A after leading the Appalachian League with 21 home runs in 2011. So far he is hitting .293 with 7 home runs and 9 stolen bases, and I will want to see continued improvement at the position for me to move him higher. Realistically, his bat would likely still warrant consideration if he ends up in the outfield instead of at 2B, but he is young enough for them to give him time to try it out.
6. Jean Segura (LAA) - AA
Segura has always been a favorite of mine since his 10 HR, 50 SB season in the Midwest League in 2010. Health concerns have been the usual thing to derail his progress, as he missed time last season due to injuries. However, he was moved up to AA this year, and appears to be performing very well. The Angels have been playing him at SS both this season and last, but I wonder if at some point they end up moving him back to 2B. Either way, it is hard to see exactly how Segura fits in for the Angels on the timeline he appears to be on.
7. Jonathan Schoop (BAL) - AA
A bit lost in the shuffle with Manny Machado as his double play partner, Schoop would likely still be playing SS in most other systems. However, with Machado at the same level as Schoop, the Orioles have been playing him primarily at 2B. He may be due for a repeat of AA in 2013 based on his performance thus far. It appears that he could profile as a middle infield prospect with double digit power and speed numbers, but not necessarily high quantities of either.
8. Rougned Odor (TEX) - Low A
Odor debuted last season in the Northwest League despite being just 17 years old, and held his own there. The Rangers moved him up to the Sally League this year, and he has been performing extremely well despite being one of the youngest players in the league. I have more research to do on Odor before I can really get a feel for what he could be, but so far this year he is hitting .293/.357/.482 with 6 home runs and 9 stolen bases. Definitely someone who could jump up these rankings in a year.
9. Ryan Brett (TAM) - Low A
I had honestly never heard of Ryan Brett until I started working on this prospect list. A favorite of Craig's, Brett just seems to show up at a level, hit over .300, show a little bit of power (5 HR so far this year), and steal a bunch of bases (19 for 24 so far this year). Definitely someone to watch, as he is just 20 years old at Low-A Bowling Green.
10. Scooter Gennett (MIL) - AA
Another prospect who just shows up and hits, Gennett gets a bit of a knock because of his size (5'9" per B/R may be a bit nice). That said, he has hit .300 at every level so far, including AA this year, and provides a bit of power and a bit of speed. I could see him being a 8-10 HR hitter if he makes it, along with 8-10 stolen bases a year. Probably more of a prospect for deeper leagues where you have 14-16 starting 2B rostered.
11. Delino DeShields Jr (HOU) - Low A
12. Taylor Lindsey (LAA) - High A
13. Sean Coyle (BOS) - High A
14. Angelo Gumbs (NYY) - Low A
15. Joe Panik (SF) - High A
The following players were all drafted in the amateur draft June 4-6, and are discussed here regardless of whether they have signed a contract or are likely to sign a contract. At this point, these are just some of the more interesting names drafted, and we will hopefully be learning more about each of them as they start to sign contracts. These names are shown in order of draft pick, and do not necessarily note their ranking among draftees. Again, a number of position players drafted at other positions are likely to end up at 2B at some point in the minors. As a result, I am only discussing players with 2B as their listed draft position here.
Tony Renda (WAS) - 80th overall
Joey DeMichele (CHW) - 108th overall
Alex Yarbrough (LAA) - 147th overall
You can read more about each of these players over at MLB.COM, but the general consensus on the group of them seems to be that they can all play, but are limited somewhat by their size (5'8" for Renda, 5'11" for the other two). Definitely worth watching, but draftees who come in as 2B only prospects generally will need to hit a ton to make it.