B/R's MLB 20 for '20: Projecting Top 20 Second Basemen in 2020

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2015

B/R's MLB 20 for '20: Projecting Top 20 Second Basemen in 2020

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Baseball is a tough sport to predict on a day-in and day-out basis, and it becomes exponentially more difficult to predict looking years into the future. But that's exactly what we're going to be doing here.

    The following is the third installment in a series we've dubbed, "B/R's MLB 20 for '20." In this series, we'll attempt to project the top 20 players at each position five years down the road in 2020.

    We've done catchers and first basemen so far, so now we'll move on to the second basemen. Players will once again be graded according to a 100-point scale:

    • Offense (55 points): After bumping things up to 65 points on the offensive side for first basemen, we'll go back to a more balanced scoring with second basemen, and offense will once again be worth 55 points. Contact rate, batting average, approach, on-base skills and overall power were all taken into account.
    • Defense/Speed (40 points): Defense up the middle is of supreme importance, and while they don't make quite the same impact shortstops do, good defensive second basemen can be assets in their own right. Speed on the bases was also factored heavily into this section.
    • Upside Factor (5 points): On a scale from 1 to 5, players were given a bonus based on their upside moving forward. A three-point bonus indicated that a player is expected to be at essentially the same level five years from now, while more or less than that indicated expected progression or regression.
    • Tiebreakers: On more than one occasion, players graded out with the same overall point total. In that case, the first tiebreaker was who had the higher upside factor. If that still didn't solve things, the second tiebreaker was overall offensive score.

    All basic statistics come courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, while advanced stats were pulled from FanGraphsStats are current through July 13.

    Hopefully that paints a clear picture of how players were graded and where the information is coming from. So with that out of the way, let's get things started.

Honorable Mentions and Notable Veteran Omissions

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    Next Five

    Ryan Brett, TB
    DJ LeMahieu, COL
    Chris Owings, ARI
    Jace Peterson, ATL
    Jonathan Schoop, BAL

    Excluded Due to Age and Expected Regression

    Robinson Cano, SEA
    Howie Kendrick, LAD
    Ian Kinsler, DET
    Daniel Murphy, NYM
    Dustin Pedroia, BOS
    Neil Walker, PIT

    *Note: Addison Russell will be included with the shortstops, as the assumption at this point is that he winds up there long term.

20. Scooter Gennett, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    2020 Age: 30

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    34/55

    The primary second baseman for the first time in his career last season, Scooter Gennett proved to be up to the challenge, as he hit .289 with 31 doubles and nine home runs in 440 at-bats.

    He struggled early this season, to the point that he was eventually demoted to the minors. Since returning in the middle of June, though, he's hit .298/.327/.511 with 12 extra-base hits in 94 at-bats, so things look to be back on track.

    Gennett is never going to be a superstar, and his 4.4 percent walk rate leaves something to be desired. However, there's still plenty of value in a second baseman who's capable of batting .280 with 30 doubles and 10 home runs.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    22/40

    Gennett has been slightly below average defensively during his time in the big leagues, with minus six defensive runs saved (DRS) and a minus-0.5 ultimate zone rating per 150 games (UZR/150), but he's in no way a liability with the glove.

    He doesn't run much, but he's capable of stealing a base, as evidenced by four double-digit-steal seasons during his time in the minors.

    2020 Upside Factor

    3/5

    The 25-year-old still has some work to do to establish himself as a legitimate everyday guy, but a strong return from the minors has certainly helped his case. He's not the kind of player who's going to suddenly take a huge step forward, and last season's production will probably be par for the course going forward.

    2020 Overall Projection

    59/100

    It will be interesting to see how the Milwaukee Brewers' middle infield situation shakes out, as the impending arrival of top prospect Orlando Arcia figures to make either Gennett or Jean Segura a trade chip in the near future. If he does wind up being traded, Gennett has the tools to be a starter wherever he goes.

19. Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers

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    2020 Age: 26

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    31/55

    Rougned Odor was thrown into the fire last season as a 20-year-old because the Rangers lacked a better option at second base, and he held his own with a .698 OPS, 30 extra-base hits and 48 RBI in 386 at-bats.

    He's still adjusting to life in the majors, and his early struggles this season earned him a demotion. But it's important to remember he's still really young.

    In 2013, Odor hit .305/.365/.474 with 41 doubles and 11 home runs as a 19-year-old in the minors, and while he may not be capable of quite that level of production in the big leagues, he can be an above-average offensive option at the position.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    24/40

    Odor stole 32 bases in his final full season in the minors, but he's just 9-of-19 on stolen-base attempts in 164 games in the majors.

    Defensively, he has the tools to be a solid second baseman, but he hasn't graded out favorably in advanced metrics (-13 DRS, -4.5 UZR/150) so far during his time in Texas.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    As we said earlier, Odor is still really young at 21 years old. His performance to this point has been relatively underwhelming, but there is plenty of time for him to take a step or two forward as he gets comfortable at the big league level.

    2020 Overall Projection

    60/100

    Injuries to former uber-prospect Jurickson Profar have opened the door for Odor to move up the organizational depth chart, but once Profar gets healthy, the team could have some decisions to make. Trading Elvis Andrus would open things up for both of them in the middle infield, but that may be easier said than done.

18. Cory Spangenberg, San Diego Padres

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    2020 Age: 29

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    32/55

    The No. 10 pick in the 2011 draft, Cory Spangenberg signed quickly and went on to hit .316/.419/.418 with 17 doubles and 44 RBI in 72 games during his first taste of pro ball.

    While he didn't flash much power during his time in the minors, hitting just 12 home runs in 1,484 at-bats, he did continue to hit every step of the way, with a .296/.356/.405 line in parts of four seasons.

    He's served as a super-utility player of sorts in his first extended big league action, but he still has a chance at locking down the everyday second base job. If he does, he could be a consistent .280-plus hitter with gap power.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    25/40

    Spangenberg stole 104 bases in 374 minor league games, topping out with a 36-steal season in 2013, so he is capable of making some noise on the basepaths.

    He's seen time at third base and all three outfield positions this season, on top of his time at second. While he's not a standout defensively at any of those positions, he's solid at all of them. There is plenty of value in that kind of versatility.

    2020 Upside Factor

    4/5

    Though he is just now getting his feet wet in the majors, Spangenberg was drafted out of college, and he's already 24 years old. He doesn't have as much upside as some others on this list. Regular playing time could help him take a step forward, though.

    2020 Overall Projection

    61/100

    The San Diego Padres gave Jedd Gyorko a five-year, $35 million deal that includes an option for 2020, so he'll get every chance to be an everyday player. He came up as a third baseman, so Spangenberg isn't necessarily blockedand his bat will work its way into the lineup if he plays up to his potential.

17. Avery Romero, Miami Marlins

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    2020 Age: 27

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    36/55

    After a somewhat slow start to his pro career, Avery Romero broke out last season, hitting .320/.367/.423 with 31 doubles, 56 RBI and 63 runs scored.

    He's off to a sluggish start this season at the High-A level, but in terms of offensive potential, he stacks up to any second base prospect in the league right now.

    He profiles as an ideal No. 2 hitter, as he's tough to strike out (13.1 percent career strikeout rate), gets on base at a good clip and should see some of those doubles turn into home runs as he continues to develop.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    21/40

    Drafted as a high school shortstop, Romero immediately slid over to second base as a pro, and he's steadily progressed into an average defender at the position.

    He stole 10 bases last season and has average speed, but don't expect him to be much of a base stealer when he does finally reach the majors.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Romero will need to pick up his production to avoid falling behind the developmental curve this season, as he's already 22 years old and playing at the High-A level. He still has a lot of room to grow offensively, though, and he's the kind of player who could make a big jump.

    2020 Overall Projection

    62/100

    Dee Gordon is under team control through the 2018 season, but he could be pushed by Romero as soon as next season, depending on how the second half of this year goes. Middle infield talent is incredibly valuable in today's game, so it's a good problem for the Miami Marlins to have.

16. Dilson Herrera, New York Mets

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    2020 Age: 26

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    34/55

    Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of Colombia, Dilson Herrera was traded to the New York Mets in exchange for Marlon Byrd and John Buck at the deadline in 2013.

    His power has developed nicely in recent years, and he's coming off a terrific all-around season that saw him hit .323/.379/.479 with 33 doubles, 13 home runs and 71 RBI in 524 at-bats between High-A and Double-A.

    It remains to be seen how well his power will play at the big league level, as he's not exactly a big guy at 5'10" and 150 pounds. All signs point to him being a plus offensive contributor at second base.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    24/40

    Herrera has spent some time at third base and shortstop in the minors, but his future is at second base, where he should have plus range and a strong throwing arm for the position.

    He has good speed, stealing 23 bases on 30 attempts last season, and he should be able to swipe 20-plus bags in the majors if he sees regular playing time.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    While he's already seen 43 games' worth of action in the majors, Herrera is still very much a work in progress. He's been one of the younger players every step of the way in the minors and remains well ahead of the developmental curve.

    2020 Overall Projection

    63/100

    Herrera has started 25 games at second base this season, with Daniel Murphy spending time at third base in place of David Wright. With Murphy headed for free agency at the end of the year, Herrera seems to be in line to take over as the everyday guy heading into next season.

15. Rob Refsnyder, New York Yankees

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    2020 Age: 29

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    38/55

    Rob Refsnyder was a fifth-round pick by the New York Yankees after a standout career at the University of Arizona, and he was one of the biggest breakout prospects of 2014.

    On the heels of a solid 2013 season, Refsnyder hit .318/.387/.497 with 38 doubles, 14 home runs, 63 RBI and 82 runs scored, splitting the season between Double-A and Triple-A in his first taste of the high minors.

    His ceiling is probably 15 home runs, but he's a terrific pure hitter with good on-base skillsso he has the profile to be a standout offensively at second base.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    22/40

    An outfielder in college, Refsnyder made the transition to second base in 2013, which looks to be where he'll stay long term.

    "Refsnyder's chances of becoming a big league regular hinge on his ability to handle second base. He has made progress there but still struggles with his footwork and probably won't become more than an adequate defender," MLB.com's Prospect Watch noted.

    He's a better baserunner than he is a pure speed guy, but he does have 10 stolen bases on 11 attempts so far this season in Triple-A.

    2020 Upside Factor

    4/5

    After breaking out last season, the 24-year-old Refsnyder probably doesn't have as much room to improve as some of the other prospects on this list. He's still young, though, and there is some offensive upside as he continues to adjust against better pitching.

    2020 Overall Projection

    64/100

    If not for the Yankees' decision to sign Stephen Drew, there's a good chance Refsnyder would have been manning second base for the big league club from the get-go this season. He'll need to beat out fellow prospect Jose Pirela, but look for Refsnyder to be the starter next season.

14. Micah Johnson, Chicago White Sox

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    2020 Age: 29

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    34/55

    College second basemen don't often go high in the draft, and the Chicago White Sox look to have gotten some good value when they grabbed Micah Johnson out of Indiana University in the ninth round in 2012.

    "Johnson has the tools to be a classic table-setter at the top of a lineup, starting with his well-above-average speed. He has demonstrated good on-base ability with a .366 OBP in his first three pro seasons," MLB.com's Prospect Watch noted.

    He began 2015 as the White Sox's starting second baseman, hitting .270 with a .333 on-base percentage in 74 at-bats before being sent back to the minors to work on his defense. He's hitting .310/.365/.452 for Triple-A Charlotte, so it may not be long before he's recalled.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    28/40

    He played just 27 games before being sent back to the minors, but during that brief time, Johnson managed to put up some alarming defensive metrics (-8 DRS, -23.0 UZR/150), as he clearly needs more work in the field.

    Those struggles with the glove could mean a move to the outfield at some point. But the White Sox have a pressing need at second base, so he'll get every chance to prove he can stick there.

    As for his wheels, few in minor league baseball compare, as Johnson made a name for himself with an 84-steal season in 2013.

    2020 Upside Factor

    4/5

    Defense and contact rate will eventually be the determining factors in what kind of player Johnson becomes, and at the age of 24, he'll need to figure those things out quicker than some of the other prospects on the list. That said, he has a very high ceiling if the pieces fall into place.

    2020 Overall Projection

    66/100

    Second basemen are hitting just .195/.241/.232 with nine extra-base hits on the year for the White Sox, so expect Johnson to get another look at some point in the near future. Fellow prospect Carlos Sanchez is also in the mix, but the job is Johnson's to lose long term.

13. Darnell Sweeney, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    2020 Age: 29

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    36/55

    A 13th-round pick in 2012, Darnell Sweeney burst onto the prospect scene the following season, when he posted a .784 OPS with 34 doubles, 16 triples and 11 home runs in a full season at the High-A level.

    The switch-hitter has sneaky power, and he's put up a .286/.359/.454 line so far during his time in the minors, though his 21.5 percent career strikeout rate could still use some work.

    His offensive skills will play at second base, and even if he doesn't hit more than 10 home runs in a season, he should provide plenty of gap power.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    26/40

    If there's a guy in minor league baseball right now who could be the next Ben Zobrist, it's Sweeney.

    He's primarily played second base and shortstop, but he's also seen some time in center field and left fieldand he profiles as at least an average defender at all of those positions except for shortstop, where he's fringy at best.

    He's also an aggressive baserunner, stealing a career-best 48 bases in 2013 and going 26-of-36 so far this season on stolen-base attempts.

    2020 Upside Factor

    4/5

    A 24-year-old playing at the Triple-A level, Sweeney is as close to big league-ready as any other prospect in these rankings. He has a clear ceiling both offensively and defensively, but it's as a plus everyday performer.

    2020 Overall Projection

    66/100

    The Los Angeles Dodgers might turn to Sweeney next season with Howie Kendrick headed for free agency, though he could still wind up in a super-utility role like the aforementioned Zobrist.

12. Tony Kemp, Houston Astros

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    2020 Age: 28

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    39/55

    The SEC Player of the Year in 2013 while playing for Vanderbilt, Tony Kemp was a fifth-round selection by the Houston Astros that same season.

    He began his first full season at the High-A level last year, hitting .316/.411/.449 with 46 extra-base hits, and he's hit equally well this season while making the jump to Double-A and Triple-A.

    His size (5'6") brought about plenty of questions regarding his offensive ability, but he's answered all of them so far. He's walked the same number of times as he's struck out as a pro (155), and he fits the mold of a top-of-the-order speedster with good contact skills and plus speed.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    24/40

    Kemp began his college career in the outfield before moving to second base midway through his sophomore season, and he may have to move back to the outfield with Jose Altuve blocking him in Houston. He's an average defender at both spots.

    While he stole 41 bases last season and already has 23 thefts this year, he's been successful just 70.8 percent of the time (85 of 120), so his baserunning could still use some fine-tuning.

    2020 Upside Factor

    4/5

    A fairly polished bat coming out of college, Kemp has moved up quickly, and while his floor is relatively high, he may not have the same ceiling as some of the other prospects on this list. At 23 years old, he still has room to improve, though.

    2020 Overall Projection

    67/100

    Kemp will likely wind up in the outfield if he stays in Houston, but there's a good chance he becomes a trade chip before that time comes. With the Astros looking for a front-line arm, he could be one of the centerpieces of a blockbuster deal before July 31 rolls around.

11. Jose Peraza, Atlanta Braves

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    2020 Age: 26

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    33/55

    Jose Peraza has always brought plus-plus speed to the table, but he took his offensive game to another level during a breakout performance last season.

    Splitting the season between High-A and Double-A, he hit .339/.364/.441 with 20 doubles, 11 triples, two home runs and 79 runs scored.

    Power is not a part of his game (eight home runs in 1,692 at-bats), and he also doesn't walk much (4.9 percent career rate). But Peraza makes consistent contact, and his speed gives him a chance to be a real difference-maker at the top of the lineup.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    29/40

    Originally developed as a shortstop, Peraza moved to second base to get out from behind Andrelton Simmons on the depth chart. He's also seen some time in center field this year, but second base still appears to be where he's headed long term.

    With 64 steals in 2013 and another 60 last season, he's one of the biggest base-stealing threats in the minors right now. More importantly, he's been successful an impressive 80.6 percent of the time (200 of 248) in five seasons.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Peraza turned 21 shortly after the 2015 season began, opening the campaign with Triple-A Gwinnett to remain on the fast track. He'll probably need to learn to walk a bit more to be a true leadoff threat, but with his speed and contact skills, there is legitimate star potential here.

    2020 Overall Projection

    67/100

    The emergence of Jace Peterson has allowed the Braves to be patient with Peraza. Both players figure into the team's long-term plans at this point, with Peterson perhaps sliding over to third base at some point or Peraza further exploring a move to center field.

10. Devon Travis, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    2020 Age: 29

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    38/55

    Blocked in Detroit by veteran Ian Kinsler, prospect Devon Travis was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for outfielder Anthony Gose in a deal that has so far worked out well for both sides.

    After spending all of last season in Double-A, Travis won the second base job outright during spring training and exploded onto the scene with a .325/.393/.625 line that included six home runs and 19 RBI over the first month.

    Travis makes consistent contact, but he's more of a gap hitter than the slugger he looked like in April. He brings an advanced approach at the plate, as evidenced by his .318/.384/.476 line during his time in the minors.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    26/40

    Travis is solid across the board defensively, providing an 8.5 UZR/150 so far this season. He's been playing second base since his time at Florida State University.

    He doesn't have blazing speed, but he's a good baserunner and capable of stealing a base, with 16 thefts on 21 attempts last year.

    2020 Upside Factor

    4/5

    The 24-year-old is among the front-runners for American League Rookie of the Year honors this season, and he looks like the long-term answer at second base in Toronto. He has just about reached his ceiling, but there is still some room to grow.

    2020 Overall Projection

    68/100

    After trotting out the likes of Ryan Goins, Steve Tolleson, Munenori Kawasaki and Maicer Izturis at second base in 2014, the Blue Jays have finally found their answer in Travis.

9. Dee Gordon, Miami Marlins

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    2020 Age: 32

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    35/55

    After struggling to the tune of a .229/.289/.285 line in 2012 and 2013, Dee Gordon looked like a bust. But a move to second base gave him one last chance last seasonand he made the most of it.

    An All-Star for the first time in 2014, the speedster hit .289/.326/.378 with 24 doubles, 12 triples and 92 runs scored as a dangerous table-setter for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    He's been even better this season, hitting .338/.359/.413 and leading the National League with 122 hits. He won't provide anything in the way of power, and he doesn't have the best eye, with a 4.7 percent walk rate. But he knows how to make the most of his speed.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    31/40

    After grading out below average defensively last year, the metrics have been much more favorable for Gordon this season, as he's posted eight DRS and an 11.7 UZR/150 in his first season with the Miami Marlins.

    Gordon led the NL with 64 stolen bases last season, and he has some of the best speed in all of baseball. He was caught 19 times in 2014, though, and he's 33-of-45 on stolen-base attempts so far this year.

    2020 Upside Factor

    3/5

    While he took a big step forward last season, expecting Gordon to improve much more or even keep up his current pace this season may be asking a bit much. That said, the 27-year-old should still be a serious speed threat five years from now as long as he avoids injury.

    2020 Overall Projection

    69/100

    Gordon is under team control through the 2018 season, at which time the Marlins may turn to top prospect Avery Romero as their starting second baseman. As long as he keeps stealing bases and slapping singles, a 30-year-old Gordon should see a nice payday in his first taste of free agency. 

8. Forrest Wall, Colorado Rockies

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    2020 Age: 24

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    38/55

    The rare high school second baseman selected high in the draft, Forrest Wall was taken with the No. 35 pick in the 2014 draft, in large part because of his advanced prep bat.

    He didn't disappoint in his debut, hitting .318/.416/.490 with 15 extra-base hits and 48 runs scored in 41 games, and he looks to be on the fast track to Colorado as a result.

    He doesn't figure to be a huge power threat, with a 6'0", 176-pound frame, but he has great contact skills, terrific bat speed and an advanced approach that should allow him to put up a plus on-base percentage.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    26/40

    Shoulder injuries early in his career necessitated a move to second base in high school, and Wall will always be a bat-first player at the position. He has a below-average arm and average range relative to his speed, so his offensive game will be his ticket to the majors.

    Speed will be a big part of his game, though. He stole 18 bases last season and already has 16 so far this year on 23 attempts.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Still just 19 years old, Wall has made the jump to Single-A Asheville this season after his impressive rookie league debut. He has as high a ceiling as any other second base prospect in baseball and could be a real force offensively while playing half of his games in Coors Field.

    2020 Overall Projection

    69/100

    DJ LeMahieu has been a nice find for the Rockies, winning a Gold Glove last season and earning a spot on the NL All-Star team this year as a reserve. He's still relatively limited offensively, though, and is under team control only through 2018, so expect Wall to be the future at the position in Colorado.

7. Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins

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    2020 Age: 33

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    40/55

    Brian Dozier was never a top prospect while making his way through the Minnesota Twins farm system, but he has emerged as one of the best all-around second basemen in the game since stepping into a starting role.

    After a solid 2013 campaign, Dozier became just the 11th second baseman in MLB history to record at least 30 doubles (33), 20 home runs (23) and 20 stolen bases (21) in a season last year on his way to a 5.2 WAR.

    One of the more notable All-Star snubs this season, he's off to an even better start with an .841 OPS and 19 home runs. He brings plus power and good on-base skills at a position where few players possess those qualities.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    27/40

    Dozier played mostly shortstop during his time in the minors and as a rookie, but his defensive tools play better at second base. His range has graded out slightly below average during his career there (-2.1 UZR/150), but he has been a plus contributor with 10 DRS.

    He is a better baserunner than he is a pure speed threat, but he's nonetheless a menace on the bases, stealing 53 bases on 72 attempts as a big leaguer.

    2020 Upside Factor

    3/5

    At 28 years old, Dozier has more or less reached his ceiling, but there's no reason why he can't continue to produce at this same high level when he reaches his age-33 season.

    2020 Overall Projection

    70/100

    A breakout performance last season earned Dozier a four-year, $20 million extension that will keep him in Minnesota through 2018. As a productive fan favorite, don't be surprised if he's still around five years from now.

6. Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians

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    2020 Age: 33

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    43/55

    After an MVP-caliber campaign in 2013, Jason Kipnis was slowed by a strained oblique last season, but he's healthy once again and has bounced back in a big way here in 2015.

    Kipnis hit just .240/.310/.330 last season, but he's improved that to an impressive .323/.401/.487 with an AL-high 27 doubles so far this year to earn a return trip to the All-Star Game. Cutting his strikeout rate down to a career-best 14.6 percent has played a big part in those numbers.

    His power ceiling is 20 home runs, but Kipnis makes consistent hard contact and gets on base at a good clip thanks to a 10.1 percent walk rate, making him one of the elite offensive players at the position.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    24/40

    A well-below-average defender last season (-11 DRS, -9.7 UZR/150), Kipnis has also rebounded in that department (3 DRS, 7.2 UZR/150). But average defensive production can be expected going forward, as he'll probably never contend for a Gold Glove.

    Kipnis has averaged 28 stolen bases over the past three seasons with an 83 percent success rate, but he has not run as much this season, with 10 thefts on 15 attempts.

    2020 Upside Factor

    3/5

    In the prime of his career at 28 years old, Kipnis will be on the tail end of his prime or perhaps just beginning to decline five years from now. Assuming he stays healthy, he should still be one of the best in the business at the position.

    2020 Overall Projection

    70/100

    Kipnis signed a six-year, $52.5 million deal prior to last season that includes a $16.5 million option for 2020, so expect him to team with Francisco Lindor up the middle in Cleveland for the foreseeable future.

5. Alen Hanson, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    2020 Age: 27

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    38/55

    Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Alen Hanson debuted as a 17-year-old with a .324/.383/.447 line that included 10 doubles, seven triples and two home runs.

    He's continued to hit every step of the way while climbing the organizational ladder, posting a .280/.326/.442 line with 21 doubles, 12 triples and 11 home runs in a full season at Double-A Altoona last season.

    A switch-hitter with more power than his 5'11", 180-pound frame might suggest, Hanson should be able to hit for a solid average with plenty of extra-base hits once he reaches the majors.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    27/40

    Hanson played all but 17 of his games at shortstop from 2012 to 2014. While he has the athleticism and range to play there, a below-average arm makes him better suited for second base, where he's made the full-time move to this season.

    With plus speed, he's stolen at least 20 bases in each of his six minor league seasons, including 23 on 33 attempts already this season. If he can improve his on-base skills a bit, he could make a serious impact at the top of the lineup.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Hanson has been one of the youngest players at every level during his time in the minors, and now the 22-year-old is knocking on the door with strong numbers in Triple-A this season. It remains to be seen how well his power will translate against better pitching, but he has the all-around game to be a bona fide star at second base for the next decade.

    2020 Overall Projection

    70/100

    The Pirates have a rock-solid second baseman in Neil Walker under team control through next season, and the arrival of Hanson will likely go a long way toward determining whether or not the team makes a push to re-sign Walker once free agency arrives.

4. Joe Panik, San Francisco Giants

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    2020 Age: 29

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    41/55

    Joe Panik hit .341/.401/.467 in 304 plate appearances during his 2011 debut season in the minors after being selected with the No. 29 pick that year, and he's continued to hit ever since.

    He debuted in San Francisco last June and immediately solidified the second base position, hitting .305 with 31 runs scored in 269 at-bats the rest of the way. That was followed by a solid postseason, and now he's an All-Star in his first full season.

    Panik will probably top out as a 12- to 15-home run guy, but he has the contact skills and advanced approach to be a perennial .300 hitter and the ideal No. 2 batter.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    26/40

    Panik was originally a shortstop, dating back to his time at St. John's University, and those tools have made him a plus defender since sliding over to second base. Paired with shortstop Brandon Crawford, the Giants have one of the better defensive middle infields in baseball.

    He's not overly athletic and is not much of a base stealer, but Panik has a high baseball IQ that makes him a plus baserunner.

    2020 Upside Factor

    4/5

    Panik adjusted quickly to the big league game, but he is still progressing offensively. He improved his walk rate significantly from last year (5.6 to 8.6 percent), and there is still room for him to add a bit of power as he settles in.

    2020 Overall Projection

    71/100

    With the arbitration clock now started, Panik lines up to enter a contract year in 2020. Don't be surprised if the Giants make a move to lock him up long term before his first year of arbitration rolls around.

3. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    2020 Age: 30

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    43/55

    Few players in the league put the ball in play as consistently as Jose Altuve, and with his line-drive ability and plus speed, that means good things for the Houston Astros.

    With a 5.1 percent walk rate and 10.6 percent strikeout rate, more times than not, Altuve puts the bat on the ball. That trait helped him rack up a franchise-record 225 hits and win the AL batting title with a .341 average last year.

    An excessively high .360 BABIP played a big part in Altuve's high average last season, but he should consistently hover around the .300 mark with plenty of doubles, a handful of home runs and dozens of runs scored thanks to his baserunning ability.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    27/40

    Aside from winning the batting title, Altuve also led the AL with 56 stolen bases last season, and he's paced the league again so far this year with 25 thefts.

    While his speed is an asset, his defense has not been over the course of his career (-20 DRS, -7.8 UZR/150), though he has been on the plus side so far this season (5 DRS, 5.2 UZR/150). His speed gives him plenty of range, but he is not the smoothest fielder.

    2020 Upside Factor

    3/5

    He's only 25 years old, but at this point, Altuve has already reached his peak. That's not a bad thing, and he should be able to keep up his current level of production over the next five years and beyond.

    2020 Overall Projection

    73/100

    The Astros locked up Altuve with an extremely team-friendly four-year, $12.5 million deal that includes two option years totaling $12.5 million. He'll still be in his prime when that contract runs out in 2019, so the Astros could look to tack some years onto the end of that deal.

2. Yoan Moncada, Boston Red Sox

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    2020 Age: 25

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    45/55

    Yoan Moncada sparked quite the bidding war when he defected from Cuba, and in the end, the Boston Red Sox landed him for a record $31.5 million bonus that wound up costing them a total of $63 million when the tax overage was factored in.

    "Moncada has the sort of size, athleticism and strength almost never seen among teenage baseball players," Alex Speier of the Boston Globe wrote after Moncada was signed.

    His pro career is just startingand he has some work to do in the minorsbut Moncada could turn into a perennial .280 to .300 hitter with 20- to 30-home run potential and room for more.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    25/40

    Moncada played all over the diamond during his time in Cuba, primarily lining up at second and third base but also seeing time at shortstop and in center field. The clear path to the majors seems to be at second base, and he should be a solid all-around defender at the position.

    He also figures to make an impact with his legs, as he has above-average speed and is already a perfect 15-of-15 on stolen-base attempts in his pro debut.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Once Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa officially graduate from the prospect ranks, there's not a position player in the minors with a higher ceiling than Moncada's. He'll move faster than most 20-year-olds and could be in Boston by 2017.

    2020 Overall Projection

    75/100

    Dustin Pedroia has a six-year, $85 million extension set to kick in next year that will keep him in Boston through the 2021 season, so how exactly Moncada fits into the long-term plans remains to be seen. The team will find a way to use him once he's ready, though, so we'll consider him a future second baseman for the time being.

1. Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    2020 Age: 29

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    41/55

    Second basemen with 20-20 potential don't come around all that often, but Kolten Wong has the tools to do it on a yearly basis for the St. Louis Cardinals.

    He battled through some ups and downs as a rookie last season but finished the year with 12 home runs and 20 stolen bases before coming up big in the clutch during the postseason.

    He's taken a big step forward this season, improving his OPS by nearly 100 points (.680 to .777) and showing better plate discipline, with his walk rate jumping from 4.8 to 6.5 percent. Expect him to be a force for the Cardinals for the foreseeable future.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    31/40

    Wong wrapped up last season with nine DRS and a 4.2 UZR/150, and he's made his fair share of highlight-reel plays already here in 2015. There could be a Gold Glove in his future.

    He also makes his presence known on the bases, as he stole 20 bases on 24 attempts last year and has 10 thefts already this season. Simply put, he's a solid athlete with an impressive all-around set of tools.

    2020 Upside Factor

    4/5

    Wong has firmly established himself as the everyday second baseman in St. Louis, but the 24-year-old still has room to improve his offensive game as he settles in at the big league level.

    2020 Overall Projection

    76/100

    The Cardinals do a great job of locking up their homegrown talent on team-friendly deals, and Wong might be the next in line for an extension. He's not arbitration-eligible until the 2017 season, but there's a good chance he won't be hitting free agency in 2020.

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