01/26/2013 10:00 AM ET
Prospect Watch: Top 10 second basemen
Padres' Gyorko, Cards' Wong, Orioles' Schoop displaying offensive promise
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
When the list of second basemen was assembled in 2012, the thought was that many on it might be ready for the big leagues in 2013. Sure enough, some of this year's Top 10 second basemen will have an opportunity this spring to break camp as a Major Leaguer, and several others could be called upon as the season progresses. There are five returnees from last year’s list and five newcomers.
1. Jedd Gyorko, Padres: When the Padres took Gyorko in the second round of the 2010 Draft out of West Virginia University, he was an advanced hitter who didn’t rate as highly as some others because of his size and lack of a natural defensive home. He’s proven that reports about his bat were not grossly exaggerated, reaching the Minors’ highest level while hitting for average and power with a high on-base percentage, too. He’s played both third and second base as a pro and been fine at both positions. He’s a second baseman now and profiles nicely as an offensive-minded player, one who should hit in a big league lineup for a long time to come.
2. Kolten Wong, Cardinals: The No. 22 overall pick in the 2011 Draft out of the University of Hawaii has shown that reports of his advanced hitting abilities were on target. The Cardinals have pushed him aggressively and he responded with a solid first full season in Double-A. He should continue to hit for average, get on base, steal some bases and show more pop than you’d expect for a guy who's 5-foot-9. He’s a solid defender at second to boot and he should look good at the top of a big league lineup.
3. Jonathan Schoop, Orioles: Signed out of Curacao in 2008, Schoop played in the Futures Game in 2011 and the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game in 2012, the latter capping a season in which he was named to the Eastern League All-Star team. Schoop has some offensive upside with a quick bat that should allow him to continue to hit for some power and average. He’s played three infield positions as a pro and can profile well at any of them defensively, though life as an offensively productive second baseman in the same infield as Manny Machado should excite Orioles fans.
4. Cory Spangenberg, Padres: After an impressive summer debut following the 2011 Draft, during which he was taken No. 10 overall, Spangenberg struggled a bit in his first full season, particularly in the second half after being hit in the head by a pitch and spending a month on the disabled list. He has the tools to hit for average and get on base, then use his speed to steal bases. He still profiles as a top-of-the-order catalyst and he is getting more and more comfortable at second base.
5. Carlos Sanchez, White Sox: Sanchez is the kind of player who you can’t help but like the more you watch him play. The 2012 Futures Gamer signed with the White Sox out of Venezuela in May 2009 and made it to Triple-A in 2012. He’s a switch-hitter who can hit for average, get on base and steal some bases, perfect for a top-of-the-order type. He can play both middle-infield positions, but after spending a lot of time at second in offseason leagues, the right side of the infield is looking like his home.
6. Eddie Rosario, Twins: When Rosario was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 Draft out of Puerto Rico, he was an outfielder, and that’s where he played in his first two summers. He made the transition to second base in 2012 and made strides there, though he still dabbled in the outfield and played there in winter ball. The Twins are still committed to him on the right side of the infield. He could be a dynamic offensive force from the left side of the plate, one with a good idea and definite extra-base pop.
7. Delino DeShields, Astros: Sometimes repeating a level can be a good thing. That’s exactly what DeShields, the Astros’ first-round pick in 2010, did last year and he started to show the excellent raw tools that led to him being a No. 8 overall pick. His plus speed allowed him to steal 101 bases and his bat speed allowed him to start tapping into his power a bit. He has a chance to be an impact player at the top of a big league lineup.
top 10 second-base prospects
|1||Cory Spangenberg, SD||1||Dustin Ackley, SEA|
|2||Jonathan Schoop, BAL||2||Brett Lawrie, TOR|
|3||Kolten Wong, STL||3||Billy Hamilton, CIN|
|4||Oscar Tejeda, BOS||4||Jason Kipnis, CLE|
|5||Cesar Hernandez, PHI||5||Danny Espinosa, WAS|
|6||Delino DeShields, HOU||6||Oscar Tejeda, BOS|
|7||Charlie Culberson, SF||7||Cesar Hernandez, PHI|
|8||Scooter Gennett, MIL||8||Jemile Weeks, OAK|
|9||Reese Havens, NYM||9||Eduardo Nunez, NYY|
|10||Joe Panik, SF||10||Johnny Giavotella, KC|
8. Derek Dietrich, Marlins: When the Rays drafted Dietrich in the second round of the 2010 Draft out of Georgia Tech, he was a shortstop. By the time they traded him to the Marlins in December 2012, he was an offensive-minded second baseman. The role seems to suit him. He has some pop from the left side of the plate and more could come if he continues to improve his plate discipline.
9. Ryan Wright, Reds: Cincinnati took this Louisville product in the fifth round of the 2011 Draft, and while he played both middle-infield positions in college, he’s been exclusively a second baseman as a professional. He's an interesting offensive-minded infielder, one who has shown a knack for making contact. He has some extra-base pop and the ability to swipe a few bases.
10. Scooter Gennett, Brewers: Ever since being drafted out of high school in the 16th round in 2009, Gennett has been proving doubters wrong. The undersized overachiever (5-9, 164 pounds) has hit pretty much everywhere he’s been and has a .300 average over his first three seasons. A one-time shortstop, he’s settled in at second base and could be the kind of sparkplug championship-caliber teams always seem to have.