What a difference a year makes. Had I wrote this post in 2016 we’d be discussing one of the deepest positional player pools going. But just 12 months later, and there’s no Moncadas, Albies, or Calhouns to be found. Players that would have graced the back end of my top 10 last year, are now ranked at the top of the heap. That’s not to say there aren’t some impact bats in the mix at the keystone. But it’s a mix of transformative players losing rookie status, and the talent not being as close to the majors as it had been in previous years. There’s another element to all this too. Much like with third base, some of the top 2nd baseman are still playing shortstop. It wouldn’t shock anybody if Bo Bichette, Brendan Rodgers, Franklin Barreto, or even Gleyber Torres ended up at 2nd. So there’s a lot to debate in this ranking. Everyone is bound to have some variance and disagreement. But what’s wrong with some disagreement amongst the consensus? Call me crazy, but it’s a lot more fun when there’s debate and a wide range of opinion. I mean you’ve seen my twitter, right? Without further delay, it’s the Top 10 2nd Base Prospects for 2018.
One of the top breakout stars of 2017. Kingery tapped into his power (and Reading aided lift) and rode it all the way to the top of the 2nd base ranks. While he didn’t hit for the same power in AAA that he did in AA, for obvious (Reading Aided) reasons. He still managed to hit 8 homers in 63 games and slugged .449 along the way. What sets Kingery apart is his ability to pair above average pop with 25 steal potential. Kingery looks like a nice complimentary piece to Rhysus in the developing Phillies core.
Ranking 85th in my midseason top 100, Hiura has been solid through his first half a season of pro-ball. He’s just returned to the field recently, playing 3 games (a total of 21 innings) at second. If you’re unaware of Hiura’s elbow injury do some googling. What I’m getting at is, I guess this second base label is generous. Positional worries aside, Hiura was one of the best college bats from the 2017 draft, pairing excellent contact, with plus approach, and above average power. If he can tap into more of his raw power then Hiura has a chance to be a stud fantasy player. If he doesn’t he’ll be similar to later career Dustin Pedoria. When it comes to first year player drafts he should be going well within the top 5-10 picks.
Since being plucked by Washington in the 13th round of the 2015 draft, all Schrock has done is hit and have a top 5 name. I mean really? Max Schrock sounds like the protagonist of a film noir. He’s pretty much all hit tool, with batting average and approach being his carrying skill. That’s not to say there isn’t power, but a 20 homer ceiling seems generous. I do however think he’s a potential batting title contender, and it wouldn’t shock me to see him in the majors at some point in 2018.
4. Shedric Long, 2B Reds | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .281/.358/.477 16 HR, 50 RBI, 9 SB
An offseason darling of yours truly, and season long teammate of 2nd rated 3rd base prospect Nick Senzel. Shed, had a serious Jekyll and Hyde season. He was excellent in A ball slashing .312/.358/.543 with 13 homers in 62 games. A late June callup to AA didn’t go nearly as smooth. Long slashed .227/.312/.362 with just 3 homers over 42 games with Pensacola. It should be noted he was a little unlucky on balls in play, and did improve both his strikeout and walk rates at AA. While it’s certainly a hitch in his excellent track record of production, it’s not all bad. Shed’s got a quick lefty swing with an uppercut path, leading to some swing and miss but also a good power floor. I think there’s potentially 25 homer power in Long’s bat.
It’s easy to look at the power numbers and forget that Urias just turned 20 at the beginning of June. While it’s certainly not encouraging, it wouldn’t be surprising if he grew into say 10-13 homer power depending upon how juiced the balls were in a given season. He’s yet another hit tool first prospect, and he doesn’t have elite speed. Not the most exciting player on here, but as good a hitter as any.
It was a very down season for Diaz, as his slugging percentage dropped by nearly 100 points. With his batting average already a future struggle, Diaz needs to hit for power in order to keep fantasy relevancy. Unfortunately a .376 slugging percentage ain’t getting it done. Perhaps it’s just growing pains in the young sluggers development. Despite his struggles this year there’s still a lot to like about the profile. Good on base skills, raw power, speed, and the ability to play some short. Diaz isn’t a bad buy low in deeper dynasties. Wouldn’t surprise me if 2018 was a solid bounce back.
A contributor across the board, Solak brings above average speed, power, and batting average. A former outfielder in college there’s some question as to if Solak sticks at the position. Offensively he’s not that far off from how I viewed Kingery a year ago, and a 2018 breakout wouldn’t be surprising from the Yankees 2016 second rounder.
Acquired from the Royals at the trade deadline as part of a package for Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer, and Ryan Buchter, Ruiz is a guy that gets varied opinions from scouts. Some love his combination of contact, raw power, and speed, while others doubt any of those skills are much more than average. That’s obviously a debate that will rage for the foreseeable future. What we do know is Ruiz packs an ample punch in his quick righty swing, manages to get on base, and steal bases at a successful rate. At just 18 he’s one of the standouts of the rookie level Arizona League.
Very likely to exceed his rookie limits over the next few weeks, so perhaps he doesn’t qualify for this list by next Sunday. I felt it was important to include Moroff as I feel he often goes forgotten. While he’s no batting average of speed maven, the switch hitter is certainly capable of getting on base, hitting the ball in the air and hitting it hard. The OPS friendly skill set, and potential to carve out an everyday role in Pittsburgh next year, make him an under the radar dynasty target.
One of the under discussed breakouts of the season, Hampson, the 2016 3rd rounder, went wild on the basepaths this year. Finishing 2017 with the 5th highest steal total in the minors. Hampson isn’t a slugger, but he hits the ball in the air enough that he’ll have a shot at double digit homer totals. His future lies as a speedy leadoff hitter.
With a significant increase in flyball contact, Kramer added power to his game this year. Limited due to injury, Kramer will look to build on his 2017.
Last chance for love here with Demeritte, after 28 homer/17 steal campaign in 2016 the follow up numbers are a major disappointment. Demeritte still brings to the table a true three outcome skillset with big raw power. Those guys are hard to quit.
It’s taken time for George to breakout, but he has power, speed, and some approach.
Solid sleeper with above average approach, some pop, and speed. 24 years old so he’s a little long in the tooth for AA, but he’s not far off.
The Old Men
Jose Miguel Fernandez
Luis La O
Other Names: Gabriel Cancel, Sam Haggerty, Reinaldo Ilarraza, Kevin Josephina, Tucker Neuhaus, Daniel Brito, Walter Rasquin, Jhonny Bethencourt, Vidal Brujan, Samuel Castro, Bret Boswell, Tristan Gray, Orlando Garcia, Shael Mendoza, Connor Hoover, Jonathan Aranda, Borinquen Mendez, Derian Cruz, Max Hogan