Top 15 Second Base Prospects

November 30, 2008

All Positions: C / 1B / 2B / SS / 3B / CF / OF / P

We still haven't dissected 2009's top outfield and pitching prospects in depth, but there's a decent chance that there won't be a single second base prospect inside the Top 50 of our 2009 Top 100 -- don't worry, we'll publish at least a Top 150. Last year, Matt Antonelli was a consensus Top 100 prospect and Top 50 on most lists -- 93rd for ESPN. His 2008 season only reinforced why second base prospects are rarely touted as "can't miss".

The Wake Forest product put up his worst full-season power numbers to date (.106 IsoP vs. .182 in 2007 [A+/AA] and .188 in 2006 [A]). And the main reason we're not completely deterred by his .304 Triple-A wOBA is his BABIP was 80+ points lower than his career average despite a line-drive rate on par with his career rates.

Now our 2007 top second base prospect, on the other hand, has carved out a different niche for himself: Dustin Pedroia, who ranked 74th on our 2007 Top 100. Former "can't miss" second base prospects Rickie Weeks and Howie Kendrick have yet to really establish themselves as above-average big leaguers. Chase Utley and Dan Uggla were never touted as cream-of-the-crop prospects -- Top 25 overall -- though Utley was the 15th overall pick of the 2000 Draft.

We don't advise scouring the Shire for the another Pedroia or chasing the next Utley. Second base is a difficult position to play and a rare home for talented offensive players.

Be cautiously optimistic at best with the names below. It's likely that only a couple of these guys will even become average big leaguers.

Top 15 Second Base Prospects
No.   Player   Pos.   Comments   Age   Org   Lvl
1   Adrian Cardenas   2B/SS   Went .279/.392/.326 in 102 AA PA; no power (.047 IsoP), K's (9.8%); lots of patience (14.7%)   21.0   OAK   AA
2   Matt Antonelli   2B   After posting .382 wOBA in AA in '07, plummeted to .304 in AAA in '08; still, 14.1% BB rate   23.5   SD   MLB
3   Jemile Weeks   2B   No. 12 overall pick had .379 wOBA in 90 A PA; leadoff-type hitter had 14.4% BB, .108 IsoP    21.7   OAK   A
4   Chris Coghlan   2B   .405 wOBA in A, .270 in A+ in '07 left questions; answered them with .369 wOBA in '08 in AA   23.3   FLA   AA
5   Johnny Giavotella   2B   2nd rounder ('08) went .299/.354/.421, .341 wOBA in 308 A PA; puts ball in play (11% K)   21.3   KC   A
6   Eric Young   2B/CF   Improved patience (7.5% BB in '07 vs. 12.8% in '08); .351 wOBA up 8 pts from Cal League   23.4   COL   AA
7   Nick Noonan   2B   Fell to .321 wOBA in 531 A PA after going .349 in R ball in '07; struggles w/ patience: 4.5% BB   19.4   SF   A
8   L.J. Hoes   2B   3rd rounder ('08) turned down UNC to sign with O's; walked in 15.7% of his plate appearances 18.6   BAL   R
9   Jake Smolinski   2B   2nd rounder ('07) has seen wOBA drop at each lvl (.356 in R in '07; .345 in A-, .320 in A in '08)   19.7   FLA
10   Brad Emaus   2B   Made drastic improvements in '08: .278 wOBA in 152 A- PA in '07 vs. .367 in 539 A+ PA in '08   22.5   TOR   A+
11   Luis Valbuena   2B   Went .300/.373/.371 in 244 Triple-A PA; no pop (.071 IsoP), some on-base ability (11.5% BB)   22.9   SEA   MLB
12   Eric Sogard   2B   2nd rounder ('07) put up .308/.394/.453 line in Cal League; will move up if replicates it in AA   22.4   SD   A+
13   Travis Denker   2B   After spending parts of 5 yrs in A ball, posted .369 wOBA in 252 Triple-A PA; 12.3% BB   23.2   SD   MLB
14   Ryan Mount   2B   Like Sogard, had his way with A+: .287/.333/.506 in 369 PA; matter of him showing it in AA   22.2   LAA   A+
15   John Tolisano   2B   2nd rounder ('07) struggled in full-season debut: .301 wOBA in 494 A PA; 11.3% BB, 22.1% K   20.0   TOR   A
Honorables: Tony Thomas (CHC), Shelby Ford (PIT), Joaquin Arias (TEX), Jose Vallejo (TEX), and Chih-Hsien Chiang (BOS).            
* Our rankings combine a player's ceiling with the odds that he'll reach it and favor recent production            
** Ages are as of November 1st, 2008            
*** Level is the highest level the player has reached            
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Questions about this list can be directed toward Adam Foster at