Jedd Gyorko is really a third basemen. But if he wants to play in the Majors for the Padres, a shift to second base will be necessary and thus his inclusion in our list of potential impact prospects at second base for 2013!
Heading into last season I had concerns regarding his power potential given that the righty stands just 5’10 . Well, Gyorko has now produced consecutive 25 and 30 home run outputs. The former second round pick is pretty well disciplined, makes consistent hard contact, but is not the fastest of runners, so there’s potential here as a .280 to .300 20 to 25 HR guy in the Majors and a possibility he could push for the starting job in the spring.
Jonathan Schoop’s 2012 outwardly was not all that impressive with a .245 14 HR performance in Double-A. Now keep in mind that he did not turn 21 until after the season. Schoop’s best tool is his power, projecting possibly as a 20+ HR per season type and with some experience, perhaps making him a .270s hitter. Schoop’s long-term position is part of the question as he not strongly suited for shortstop and is not particularly fast, so it remains to be seen whether he’ll be a second or third basemen long term. For now, his bat profiles well at second. Schoop could repeat Double-A or advance to Triple-A which would put him in line for a mid to late season call-up depending on Brian Roberts’ health.
Cord Phelps, 26, barely retains his rookie status. However, the righty has had three consecutively solid seasons for the Indians at Triple-A, yet has barely received an extended look in the Majors. The switch hitter is highly disciplined, can play multiple infield positions, and has mid-teens power potential. Second base is probably Phelps’ best position, but the best opportunity may lie at third should Lonnie Chisenhall continue to be unimpressive.
Jemile Weeks failed to take the A’s second base job and run away with it. So now, Rickie’s younger brother will have to fend off Grant Green this spring. Green may not have Weeks’ plate discipline skills, but does have a bat that is a good fit for second base. A righty, Green has mid-teens home run power and did make some strong improvements to his contact in 2012. His upside is a.280 to .290 with 12 to 17 HR's a year. In other words Green is a possible starter, but unlikely a star player.
Robinson Cano is well entrenched as the Yankees’ second basemen. However, Corban Joseph has nothing left to prove in the minors and could see a promotion to a utility role. The 24-year old is an exceptionally well disciplined hitter with high single digits to low-teens power skills. The lefty falls well into the Cord Phelps class of player who needs an extended chance, but may need a new organization in order to even receive that opportunity.
The Mariners are still fairly committed to keeping Dustin Ackley as their starting second basemen. However, given the middle infield depth in this organization, this is a make or break year for Ackley. Nick Franklin will soon push Brendan Ryan aside at shortstop while Stefen Romero and Brad Miller will pushing their way to the upper minors. All three players are probably not at their ideal positions with Romero perhaps being better suited to third and both Franklin and Miller best suited to second. While for now, Romero is the only one of the bunch actually being used at this position; the second basemen of the bunch. The 6’3” righty hit 23 homers between two levels while showing an ability to make consistent contact and reminds me a bit of former Mariner, Jose Lopez as an aggressive hitter with power, but with question marks surrounding the rest of his game. Still, this is a player who could end up hitting .280 20+ HR at the MLB level and must be watched.
Henry Rodriguez should see some action with the Reds in 2013, but probably in a utility role with sleeper potential. The switch-hitter is a very aggressive contact hitter with doubles power and double-digits steals potential.
Former first round pick Kolten Wong is inching his way to the Majors and in 2013 the lefty will advance to Triple-A while focused on a mid-season call-up. Wong is a fundamentally strong player who plays solid defense at second and good base stealing technique despite average speed. At the plate he is aggressive, but actually controls the strike zone quite well, making contact well over 80% of the time and possessing gap power and high single digits home run potential. Wong is not going to be a star, but could be a .270's to .280's hitter who may in some years manage double digit results in HR's and steals.
Scooter Gennett, like Kolten Wong, will advance to Triple-A with an eye on a call-up. Unfortunately, Rickie Weeks is a more significant obstacle than Kolten Wong’s Daniel Descalso. Still, Weeks is a weak defensive player who could be moved to the outfield. Like Wong, Gennett makes very consistent contact and is a smart baserunner with gap power. However, Gennett is not quite as disciplined a hitter as Wong. It will be interesting to see which of the two actually ends up a starter in the long run and if both, which ends up superior. I have a sneaking suspicion Gennett actually ends up a utility player given his OBP skill shortcomings.
Possible MLB Phase/Auction Selections:
Jedd, Gyorko, Grant Green
Possible Minor League Draft Phase Selections:
Jonathan Schoop, Stefen Romero, Kolten Wong, Scooter Gennett
Possible In-Season Pick-Ups:
Cord Phelps, Joseph Corban, Henry Rodriguez