Second base tends to have a similar role for prospects that first base does in that most major leaguers didn't start there as prospects. In general, second basemen tend to be shortstop prospects that were missing some combination of the arm, quickness, or other defensive skill to stay on that side of the second base bag. With that, the same caveat applies: don't reach for a second base prospect just to ensure you have a prospect already slotted in as a 2B. There's going to be other prospects who will move to the position who should have more offensive upside in a lot of cases.
In terms of depth at the position right now, there is really Yoan Moncada, a bunch of space, and then a group of 4-8 prospects (depending on how you view them individually), and then a group of 12-15 prospects that are fairly close together. When we discussed the group in tier 4 amongst our prospect writers, there really wasn't any particular candidate outside the top 10 that anyone felt particularly strong about. They all have specific skills that should help fantasy owners, but I wouldn't invest in them except in the deepest of formats.
Tier 1 -- The Elite Prospects
These prospects are expected to be in the top 25-50 prospects overall and have the potential to be among the top options at their position regardless of format or league size.
1. Yoan Moncada - Red Sox
After receiving a huge contract from the Red Sox (along with its' requisite penalties), Moncada may turn out to be a bargain. He is a true five-tool talent that can potentially provide five category production at second base. We'll have a profile on him up later today.
Tier 2 -- The Top 100 Candidates
These prospects are expected to be in the discussion for the top 100 prospects overall and are expected to be starting options in all formats.
2. Ian Happ - Cubs
It remains to be seen whether the Cubs will be able to keep Happ at second base long term, but if he does he can be a top 10 option at the position as an advanced hitter who can provide both a good batting average and solid power production.
Tier 3 -- The Next Group of Starters
These prospects likely would slot into the 100-200 range on an overall ranking list and would be starters in mid-depth formats such as 12- and 14-team leagues.
3. Alen Hanson - Pirates
Hanson should get a shot at some point this year to win the 2B job long-term now that Neil Walker has been traded out of the Steel City, and we'll have a profile up later today as well.
4. Wilmer Difo - Nationals
Difo saw a brief call up in Washington last year, but will likely return to AA to start the season. He's capable of providing high stolen base totals with a little bit of power and a good batting average.
Tier 4 -- Single-League and Deep-Format Plays
These prospects likely would slot into the 200-300 range on a ranking list and would have the most value in mixed leagues with 16+ teams and single-league formats with 12+ teams.
5. Forrest Wall - Rockies
I debated whether to move Wall into tier 3, but ultimately left him at the top of tier 4. He profiles as an interesting hitter, one who would be a top 10 option at the position even if he weren't slated to head to Coors Field. He's likely still at least 3 years away, but worth holding onto in deeper formats right now.
6. Micah Johnson - Dodgers
7. Jose Peraza - Reds
A pair of prospects who were in the same trade this offseason, Johnson and Peraza are going to provide the most value with the potential for elite stolen base numbers. It is a little concerning to me that Peraza has been moved twice, and with the Reds' inability to trade Brandon Phillips, his path to playing time this year isn't nearly as clear.
8. Willie Calhoun - Dodgers
A personal favorite of one of our writers, this Calhoun ranking might be way too long if he goes out and hits like he did last year in High-A. He could finish the year in AA, and be in the majors at some point in 2017 if that happens.
9. Brandon Drury - Diamondbacks
10. Brandon Lowe - Rays
11. Rob Refsnyder - Yankees
12. Scott Kingery - Phillies
We've reached the question mark portion of the rankings. Drury may fit better long term as a utility player, especially if the power he showed at Single-A doesn't return. Lowe and Kingery were 2015 draftees who could be very interesting, but are at least a couple years away. Refsnyder continues to need to work on his defense to make him usable at the position in the majors despite a good profile at the plate.
13. Alex Blandino - Reds
14. Tony Kemp - Astros
15. Darnell Sweeney - Phillies
Blandino is still at shortstop, but is fairly widely expected to move to second base by the time he reaches the majors and should be a relatively solid (translation: bland) producer who isn't elite in any category but doesn't hurt you in any either. Kemp is about as blocked as it gets with Jose Altuve in the majors, but could provide high stolen base totals if he ends up on a different team or at a different position. Sweeney debuted last year after his trade from the Dodgers, and could end up providing high stolen base totals if he wins a starting job in Spring Training.
16. Travis Demeritte - Rangers
17. Jamie Westbrook - Diamondbacks
18. Wendell Rijo - Red Sox
19. Max Schrock - Nationals
20. Chris Bostick - Nationals
All five of these guys have something interesting about them that could help carry them to the majors, but come with very specific questions. For Demeritte, it's how much his raw power will play based on his ability to reduce his strikeouts. Westbrook had a great year last season at the plate, but it's not clear yet whether he will be a Cal League mirage or not. Rijo has been solid at the plate, especially given how young he has been at each stop, but it's not clear how well the overall profile will translate for fantasy. Schrock was a 2015 draftee who should hit for average, but may not show a ton of power and remains limited defensively. Bostick has always posted counting stats in the minors, but has seen his batting average drop as he has moved up, which could eventually hurt those counting stats as well.