The minor league season has entered its' final month, and with that I always like to start taking a look back at how my rankings went during the preseason. Next up is second base, a position that can tend to have a limited number of fantasy prospects that start out at the position.
The (Brief) State of the Position
The drop off of the top option at the position has happened fast this year, and while Robinson Cano's overall numbers have not been generally bad, they're definitely not what you were hoping for if you drafted him. Overall though, the top of the position is fairly strong, with nine 2B in the overall top 100 so far this year. We've seen top performers from last year like Dee Gordon and Brian Dozier repeat that level of production in 2015, while Kolten Wong, Mookie Betts, and D.J. LeMahieu have all broken out on varying levels to become options in all leagues.
We generally don't see a lot of second base prospects drafted at the top of the amateur draft, but have had a high pick each of the last two years. The position tends to be the next stop for shortstop prospects who aren't strong enough defensively (generally arm strength will determine third base or second base), but who can still hit fairly well. As a result, there are going to be a fair amount of prospects that remain at shortstop until it is abundantly clear they just won't be able to do it at the major league level.
Preseason Top 15 with Current Level
1. Dilson Herrera - Mets (AAA - Graduate)
Herrera was up for part of the year this season, enough so to lose his prospect eligibility but not enough to take the 2B job outright. Herrera is hitting .343/.391/.518 with six home runs in his 63 games at AAA this year, and looks like he could be the heir apparent with Daniel Murphy's impending free agency.
2. Jose Peraza - Braves/Dodgers (AAA)
The Braves had Peraza playing second base and center field for their AAA team before including him in the gigantic trade with the Dodgers at the deadline. He has since made his major league debut for the Dodgers, and could be the long-term answer for the team if Howie Kendrick leaves via free agency.
3. Forrest Wall - Rockies (A)
Wall has spent the year with the Rockies' full-season Low-A affiliate, hitting .278/.358/.436 with six home runs and 22 stolen bases over 81 games. He missed nearly a month due to a non-throwing shoulder injury, but otherwise has been about what the Rockies expected when they drafted him last year.
4. Micah Johnson - White Sox (AAA)
Johnson made the big club out of Spring Training, but has spent the majority of the year back at AAA Charlotte, where he's hitting .328/.383/.487 with 26 stolen bases over 65 games. Carlos Sanchez has been the primary second baseman this year for the Sox, although his performance at the plate isn't exactly enough in my opinion to not have the job be an open competition in 2016.
5. Alen Hanson - Pirates (AAA)
Hanson has been solid at the plate at AAA this year, stealing 30 bases with a .267 batting average and six home runs. He's blocked in the majors by Neil Walker, who is under team control for another season still after this one, so the team could conceivably send Hanson back to AAA again in 2016. He's still only going to be 23 next year, but he could be the Pirates' long term plan at the position, and a likely top 10 option for fantasy on the strength of his stolen base count.
6. Rob Refsnyder - Yankees (AAA)
I've been wondering out loud all year when the Yankees would cut ties with Stephen Drew and plug in Refsnyder as the starter, but there have been enough questions about his defense at second base that on some level it makes a little sense why they've only had Refsnyder up for a grand total of four games. I imagine he'll be given a shot in 2016 with Drew being a free agent, but I'm not convinced that he'll win that job.
7. Alex Guerrero - Dodgers (MLB - Graduate)
Guerrero played second base primarily in the minors last year, but has been filling it for the team as needed in the outfield and at third base this year. I wonder if we see a trade for Guerrero in the offseason, as it's not clear that he's in the Dodgers' long-term plans as more than a utility and backup.
8. Ryan Brett - Rays (AAA)
Brett received a call up early in the year, but dislocated his shoulder in the majors, and by the time he returned, Logan Forsythe had established himself as the everyday second baseman. Brett hasn't been the same since returning from the injury, hitting for a low average and not really running much either.
9. Devon Travis - Blue Jays (MLB-DL)
Travis made the opening day roster for the Blue Jays, and has been excellent when not on the disabled list this year. He's hitting .304 with eight home runs and three steals in 62 games, but currently remains on the DL with a shoulder injury.
10. Taylor Lindsey - Padres (AA)
It's been a lost year for Lindsey, who started the season at AAA but was demoted to AA, and eventually was removed from the 40 man roster entirely. He is unfortunately a name that can probably be ignored going forward, as he is struggling to hit even .180 at AA now and went unclaimed when the Padres designated him for assignment.
11. Travis Demeritte - Rangers (A - Suspended)
Demeritte was showing decent production at Low-A to start the year, but was suspended for 80 games for a performance-enhancing positive test. The suspension should kill off most of the rest of his season, and could end up back at the same level again in 2016.
12. Avery Romero - Marlins (A+)
Romero is hitting .263/.319/.317 in Jupiter this year, with just three home runs and three stolen bases. He's probably only a prospect worth owning in the deepest of leagues, as the fantasy upside just isn't there in terms of counting stats.
13. Chris Bostick - Nationals (AA)
Bostick hit well in the first half in his return to High-A, but has struggled with his batting average and strikeouts since moving up to AA. I always think he can be an interesting prospect because of his ability to provide counting stats (11 HR, 24 SB), but with the batting average risk that it comes with and the potential that he may move from 2B makes it a bit tougher to see the clear path to value.
14. Tony Kemp - Astros (AAA)
Kemp split his time between AA and AAA this year after blistering the Texas League to the tune of a .358/.457/.420 line. Since moving up to AAA, he's been splitting time between second base and center field (you know, since the Astros already have a pretty good second baseman under contract for a while). He looks to me like an interesting trade chip, as I don't know where the Astros can realistically find him regular playing time to help with stolen bases.
15. Cory Spangenberg - Padres (MLB - Graduate)
Spangenberg has been with the team for most of the season, but missed more than a month due to a knee injury. He had been playing most of the time with Jedd Gyorko struggling so badly, but the numbers don't really look all that interesting except for in NL-only leagues, as he has hit .253 with two home runs and seven steals in 71 games.
Potential Names for 2016's List
Yoan Moncada - Red Sox - Well this one is easy. Moncada had not signed before our prospect list ran back in January, and he's now at the top of the list going forward and would have been then as well. We may not see him for a couple more seasons still, but he has the potential to be a five-category contributor at the position.
Wilmer Difo - Nationals - Difo has seen time in the majors this year due to the injury to Anthony Rendon, although he has also seen it entirely as a pinch hitter so far in 8 games. He's shown both a good batting average and a solid amount of speed (25 SB in 87 games), while playing both shortstop and second base.
Scott Kingery - Phillies - Kingery was a 2nd round draft pick this year by the Phillies out of the University of Arizona, signing for just under $1.25 million. Second basemen generally don't get drafted very high because of its' lower position on the defensive spectrum, and Kingery has the potential to be an interesting hitter for fantasy at the position. Reports on him point to a high OBP, high stolen base option that should be a solid hitter overall.