As you have already seen so far this week, we're taking a comprehensive look at one position each week in preparation for the fantasy baseball season. That look would not be complete without a look at the future as well, and with that in mind we will be providing a top prospect list at each position also. While I won't be ranking the same amount of prospect at each position, the goal is to provide enough that will be fantasy relevant in both shallow and deeper formats.
These rankings represent how I view the players at this time, and speak to their value long-term. This means that players like Forrest Wall, who has a higher upside but is a bit further away than some of the other prospects, is ranked higher here based on what his future potential is, rather than his 2015 value.
1. Dilson Herrera (Mets)
I am a big fan of Herrera and his potential to take over for Daniel Murphy by the 2016 season, and Brian will have a profile of him later today.
2. Jose Peraza (Braves)
He's stolen 60 bases or more in each of the last two seasons, while making a ton of contact and hitting for a high batting average. He's only played 44 games at AA so far, so he's not likely to start the season in Atlanta, but I could see him finishing the year there. With just Alberto Callaspo and Kelly Johnson potentially blocking him from the starting job, I can see him debuting in August.
3. Forrest Wall (Rockies)
The only 2014 draftee on this list, Wall is one of the few prospects that comes into the professional ranks not only as a second base-only prospect, but a highly viewed one. He's not likely to be ready for at least 3-4 seasons as a high school draftee, but he can potentially be a top 10 option at the position most years.
4. Micah Johnson (White Sox)
Johnson has seen his stolen base totals drop off as he has moved close to the majors, but should still be capable of providing 20+ in the majors to go along with a good batting average and slightly more than token contributions in home runs. It's not clear yet whether he will win the second base job for the team, or be sent back to Charlotte to start the 2015 season. There remains enough upside of higher stolen base totals to keep him ahead of Hanson.
5. Alen Hanson (Pirates)
The Pirates moved Hanson to second base to finish up the 2014 season, and with Jordy Mercer and Jung-Ho Kang already in the Steel City, second will likely be his long-term spot anyway. He can potentially be the replacement for Neil Walker after the 2016 season, and provide solid all-around production.
6. Rob Refsnyder (Yankees)
Refsnyder emerged in 2014 after hitting .318 with 14 home runs and 9 stolen bases between AA and AAA, and could potentially be the starting second baseman in New York by season's end. Unless you think Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan will hit completely out of their minds (I guess it could happen...)
7. Alex Guerrero (Dodgers)
There is a lot of power potential in Guerrero's bat, but at this point I have no idea what the Dodgers have planned for him. They traded away Dee Gordon, giving fantasy writers a few hours to think of Guerrero as the starter before they dashed any hope of that with the acquisition of Howie Kendrick.
8. Ryan Brett (Rays)
Brett missed a substantial part of the 2013 season due to an amphetamine suspension, but returned to a similar level of production in 2014 as prior to his suspension. He can potentially be a 20-25 stolen base, solid batting average provider who also gives you 6-10 home runs a season. His path to the majors is a bit obscured right now with the glut of short stop prospects along with Nick Franklin in the organization, but he should head to AAA in 2015.
9. Devon Travis (Blue Jays)
Being traded away from Detroit didn't help our Tigers' top 10, but it should help Travis a lot. He has a fairly clear path to the majors, with just Maicer Izturis in his way right now. He should provide a high batting average, along with a bit of power and speed. It wouldn't surprise me if he was the Opening Day second baseman for the Jays.
10. Taylor Lindsey (Padres)
The trade hasn't really helped Lindsey's long-term outlook, as he went from a team where he was blocked by Howie Kendrick for a year or two to one where he is blocked by Jedd Gyorko for much longer. He can provide some decent batting average and a little bit of production in both power and speed categories, but nothing amazing.
11. Travis Demeritte (Rangers)
The power potential from Demeritte keeps him higher on this list than may necessarily be warranted, but there is still 20+ home run potential in him IF he can work through some of his issues with contact and approach.
12. Avery Romero (Marlins)
Romero is an interesting prospect for deeper formats and NL-only, as he can provide a high batting average and a little bit of production in both home runs and stolen bases. It's not necessarily going to be double-digit production in either on a regular basis, but might be a decent MI option down the line.
13. Chris Bostick (Nationals)
A personal favorite of mine since he was with the A's, Bostick has continue to put up solid counting stats at each stop in the minors. However, as a 44th round draft pick, he doesn't have the draft pedigree that will allow him to coast by on name alone if he has a down year. If he can continue a similar level of performance in his promotion to AA in 2015, he could jump way up this list.
14. Tony Kemp (Astros)
Another undersized, high contact second baseman for the Astros, Kemp stole 41 bases and walked more than he struck out in 2014. If he can continue his strong performance from his second-half promotion to AA in 2015, he should jump up this list.
15. Cory Spangenberg (Padres)
Spangenberg can potentially provide some speed with a decent batting average, but it's not clear that the Padres think that he can really help them in 2015 despite reaching the majors last year. A return to AAA El Paso could force the issue if he goes out and hits the cover off the ball, but I'm just not that much of a believer in the long-term fantasy value here.
Darnell Sweeney (Dodgers) - Sweeney has put up interesting numbers at each stop in the minors so far, but there seems to be enough questions about whether he can play enough defense to avoid being a utility player that he ends up off this top 15.
Domingo Leyba (Diamondbacks) - Leyba was the hardest cut for me, as he has some very interesting tools but is a loooooooong way from the majors. The trade to the Diamondbacks seems like it should be more surprising, but the Tigers will pretty much trade away any prospect that doesn't fit into the immediate plans if it will help them.