2012 Prospect Position Rankings: Second Base
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See also: Lefthanded starters
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See also: First Basemen
Ranking players is one of the bedrocks of what we do here at Baseball America. With the Top 100 Prospects list now in the books, we're not putting the offseason rankings away
just yet. We're ranking prospects by
position, continuing today with second basemen.
An unusually bountiful rookie crop of second basemen in the big leagues last season leaves the upper minors diminished in 2012. The Padres' Cory Spangenberg and the Cardinals' Kolten Wong, both first-rounders last June, will set about producing the next generation of second basemen. The American League last season featured a trio of exciting young keystone sackers in the Mariners' Dustin Ackley (No. 12 on last year's Top 100), the Indians' Jason Kipnis (No. 54) and the Athletics' Jemile Weeks. Over in the NL, the Nationals unveiled Danny Espinosa (No. 66), who faded in the second half but still managed to belt 21 homers and steal 17 bases on the year.
2012 TOP ROOKIE: Steve Lombardozzi, Nationals.
Lombardozzi wins this almost by default, as he's among the only second base prospects expected to play in the big leagues this year.
2012 BREAKOUT: Eddie Rosario, Twins.
If Rosario can prove he can handle the position defensively, he brings an impact bat to a position lacking in power prospects.
1. Billy Hamilton, Reds:
Hamilton electrifies fans and scouts alike with easy 80 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale, and last season he stole 103 bases to become the first minor leaguer to clear the century mark in a decade. The switch-hitting shortstop faces a likely shift to second base in the future, but the name of the game for Hamilton will be learning to reach first base by any means possible.
2. Jean Segura, Angels:
A torn hamstring abbreviated what should have been Segura's coming out party in the Cal League last year, but scouts still raved about his elite bat speed and hand-eye coordination. If you're looking for a second baseman who could one day hit .290 and go 20-20, this is your best bet.
3. Cory Spangenberg, Padres:
The 10th pick in last year's draft made an impression on opponents in the Northwest and Midwest leagues last summer with a line-drive lefty stroke and 70 speed. He hit .316 with 25 steals, 21 extra-base hits and 45 walks in 72 games during his pro debut.
4. Jon Schoop, Orioles:
The Curacao product climbed to high Class A and put up a .781 OPS in a breakout season, though at 6-foot-1, 190 he may outgrow second base, in which case his power must develop to profile at third.
5. Kolten Wong, Cardinals:
Selected 23rd overall last June, Wong signed quickly and helped propel low Class A Quad Cities to the Midwest League title. His smooth lefty stroke produces line drives with occasional power, and he batted .335/.401/.510 during his sensational pro debut.
6. Eddie Rosario, Twins:
Rosario won last season's Appalachian League MVP award as a center fielder, though the Twins think he can handle a move to the infield. Fellow lefty batters Ackley and Kipnis offer proof that the conversion can be made, and with a high degree of success.
7. Steve Lombardozzi, Nationals:
The 23-year-old, fundamentally sound switch-hitter may break in as a utility infielder, but he could land a starting gig at second base if Washington shifts Espinosa back to shortstop down the line.
8. Christian Colon, Royals:
The fourth pick in the 2010 draft shot to Double-A last season, but he batted just .257/.325/.342 in 491 at-bats. The shortstop-for-now will need to rebound in a big way because his bat is easily his strongest tool.
9. Tony Wolters, Indians:
Assuming he recovers his power stroke after 2011 hamate surgery, the lefty-hitting Wolters offers prototype keystone tools. He may get a chance to show them off this season if Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor supplants him as low Class A shortstop.
10. Delino DeShields, Astros:
The 2010 first-rounder's youth was apparent during full-season debut a year ago, as the 18-year-old batted .220 and struck out once per game. On the plus side, DeShields showed plus speed and gap power while learning to play the keystone.
11. Rougned Odor, Rangers
12. Sean Coyle, Red Sox
13. Reese Havens, Mets
14. Scooter Gennett, Brewers
15. Taylor Lindsey, Angels
16. Noah Perio, Marlins
17. Ryan Brett, Rays
18. Zeke DeVoss, Cubs
19. Charlie Culberson, Giants
20. Josh Rutledge, Rockies