MLB State of the Position 2020: Every Team's 5-Year Plan at Second Base

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2020

MLB State of the Position 2020: Every Team's 5-Year Plan at Second Base

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    Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images

    Over the past decade, second base has become a much more offensive-minded position, and rising stars such as Ozzie Albies, Gavin Lux, Keston Hiura, Luis Arraez and Brandon Lowe promise to continue that upward trend.

    That said, some clubs are better set up for success at the position than others.

    Ahead, we've broken down each team's present and future outlook at second base, highlighting their starter and top prospect, followed by a prediction about who will play there for the next half-decade.

    Think of it as the team's five-year plan at the position.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Ketel Marte
    Ketel MarteJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Present: Ketel Marte (Age: 26)

    After splitting his time between center field (96 games) and second base (83 games) last year, Ketel Marte will be at the keystone full time following the offseason addition of Starling Marte.

    One of 2019's breakout stars, Ketel Marte hit .329/.389/.592 for a 149 OPS+ with 36 doubles, 32 home runs, 92 RBI and 97 runs scored in a 7.2-WAR season. The D-backs signed him to a five-year, $24 million extension in March 2018, and that deal includes a pair of team-friendly club options through 2024.

    Utility infielder Josh Rojas could also see time at second base after heading over from Houston in last summer's Zack Greinke blockbuster.


    Future: Andy Young (Tier 3 prospect)

    A .278/.367/.485 career hitter over four minor league seasons, Andy Young posted a .984 OPS with 21 home runs in 68 games at Triple-A last year after he was part the Paul Goldschmidt trade. The 26-year-old has the offensive profile to be an MLB contributor soon.

    That said, catching prospect Daulton Varsho could be the long-term answer at second base, especially if incumbent catcher Carson Kelly can build off his strong 2019 and solidify the starting job. Varsho is athletic enough that he saw some time in center field last year, and his bat will play out of the crouch.

    Other notable prospects: Blaze Alexander (Tier 3), Glenallen Hill Jr. (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Marte (2020-21), Varsho (2022-24)

Atlanta Braves

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    Ozzie Albies
    Ozzie AlbiesLogan Riely/Getty Images

    Present: Ozzie Albies (Age: 23)

    Ozzie Albies made the NL All-Star team in his first full season in the majors in 2018, and the Atlanta Braves saw enough to lock him up with a seven-year, $35 million extension that runs through 2027 if a pair of club options are exercised.

    He continued to impress last season, hitting .295/.352/.500 for a 114 OPS+ with 43 doubles, 24 home runs and an NL-leading 189 hits. Below the surface, he also raised his walk rate by 2.4 percentage points and lowered his strikeout rate by one point.

    He's also a stellar defensive second baseman who posted 27 DRS over the past two seasons, and he could soon add a Gold Glove Award to the Silver Slugger he won in 2019.


    Future: AJ Graffanino (Tier 3 prospect)

    The Braves have a handful of solid lower-level shortstop prospects, and from that group, AJ Graffanino is the one who has already seen some complementary action at second base.

    An eighth-round pick in 2018, he has played just 44 games since starting his pro career. He has added strength to his 6'2" frame since he was drafted, and he has the offensive tools to make an impact if he can stay on the field.

    Other notable prospects: Beau Philip (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Albies (2020-24)

Baltimore Orioles

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    Hanser Alberto
    Hanser AlbertoG Fiume/Getty Images

    Present: Hanser Alberto (Age: 27)

    Plucked from the waiver wire last March, Hanser Alberto was a pleasant surprise for the Baltimore Orioles, hitting .305/.329/.422 with 21 doubles and 12 home runs in a 2.9-WAR season.

    His .398 average against left-handed pitching trailed only J.D. Martinez (.404) among hitters with at least 100 plate appearances against southpaws, and he played a solid second base (612.1 INN, 2 DRS, 14.5 UZR/150), while also seeing time at the hot corner.

    With team control through the 2022 season, he's a solid player for the rebuilding O's. If he sees significant action at third base again, Ramon Urias and Richard Urena are among the MLB-ready prospects who could see playing time.


    Future: Adam Hall (Tier 3 prospect)

    One of the top Canadian prospects in the 2017 draft, Adam Hall got an above-slot $1.3 million bonus after he went in the second round.

    With a 50-grade hit tool, 60-grade speed and a solid glove that will allow him to play all over the infield, he could profile best as a super-utility type. He could also slot in as the everyday second baseman, potentially forming a long-term double-play combination with Gunnar Henderson.

    Other notable prospects: Rylan Bannon (Tier 3), Cadyn Grenier (Tier 3), Mason McCoy (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Alberto (2020-22), Hall (2023-24)

Boston Red Sox

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    Jeter Downs
    Jeter DownsMichael Reaves/Getty Images

    Present: Michael Chavis (Age: 24)

    Michael Chavis took the league by storm last year when he hit .354/.466/.771 with six home runs and 13 RBI in his first 58 plate appearances.

    He eventually leveled off, finishing his rookie season with a .254/.322/.444 line and tallying 18 home runs and 58 RBI in 95 games. His 33.2 percent strikeout rate will need to improve, but with team control through the 2025 season, he's one of the few young long-term assets in the Boston organization.

    Dustin Pedroia is owed $12 million in the final year of his contract in 2021, but that's likely a sunk cost.


    Future: Jeter Downs (Tier 1 prospect)

    The prospect headliner of the Mookie Betts blockbuster, Jeter Downs hit .276/.362/.526 with 35 doubles, 24 home runs and 24 steals in 119 games in High-A and Double-A last year.

    The 21-year-old has split his time between second base and shortstop since going No. 32 overall in the 2017 draft, and with Xander Bogaerts blocking him at shortstop, his MLB future will likely be at second base.

    Other notable prospects: Nick Yorke (Tier 3), C.J. Chatham (Tier 3), Cameron Cannon (Tier 3), Antoni Flores (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Chavis (2020-21), Downs (2022-24)

Chicago Cubs

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    Nico Hoerner
    Nico HoernerNuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

    Present: Jason Kipnis (Age: 33)

    The Chicago Cubs signed two-time All-Star Jason Kipnis to a minor league deal during the offseason to help ease the losses of Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell from the infield.

    He had an 84 OPS+ with 23 doubles and 17 home runs in a 0.7-WAR season for the Cleveland Indians last year, and he'll join utility man David Bote in holding down second base until the team's top prospect is ready to take over.


    Future: Nico Hoerner (Tier 1 prospect)

    A thumb injury to Javier Baez forced Nico Hoerner into MLB action down the stretch last season, and he made his MLB debut Sept. 9, just 15 months after he was chosen No. 24 in the 2018 draft.

    The 23-year-old held his own, hitting .282/.305/.436 with three home runs and 17 RBI in 20 games, and while he might benefit from further seasoning in the minors, he's as close to MLB-ready as any second base prospect in baseball.

    Other notable prospects: Chase Strumpf (Tier 3), Pedro Martinez (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Kipnis (2020), Hoerner (2021-24)

Chicago White Sox

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    Nick Madrigal
    Nick MadrigalNorm Hall/Getty Images

    Present: Leury Garcia (Age: 29)

    The Chicago White Sox's decision to non-tender 2019 Gold Glove winner Yolmer Sanchez leaves a short-term hole at second base.

    Leury Garcia has played all over the field in his six-plus seasons with the South Siders, and he appeared in a career-high 140 games last year, hitting .279/.310/.378 with 38 extra-base hits and 15 steals in a 1.3-WAR season.

    An extremely valuable utility player, he appears to be the most likely stopgap until Nick Madrigal is ready to take over.


    Future: Nick Madrigal (Tier 1 prospect)

    Madrigal hit .361/.422/.502 as a three-year starter at Oregon State before going No. 4 in the 2018 draft.

    He's continued to rake since starting his pro career, posting a .309/.371/.398 line while striking out just 21 times in 705 plate appearances. His contact-oriented approach and limited power puts a ceiling on his offensive upside, but all signs point to his being an everyday second baseman for the next decade once he arrives in Chicago.

    Other notable prospects: Danny Mendick (Tier 3), Lenyn Sosa (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Garcia (2020), Madrigal (2021-24)

Cincinnati Reds

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    Mike Moustakas
    Mike MoustakasNorm Hall/Getty Images

    Present: Mike Moustakas (Age: 31)

    Mike Moustakas played second base for the first time in his MLB career last season, lining up there for 47 games with the Milwaukee Brewers while slugging 35 home runs and earning his third All-Star selection.

    The Cincinnati Reds signed him to a four-year, $64 million contract during the offseason, and with Eugenio Suarez entrenched at the hot corner, the plan is to make Moose the everyday second baseman.

    He graded out as roughly average at second base (359.2 INN, 0 DRS, -0.5 UZR/150), and he'll give the Reds another big bat in an offense-friendly environment.


    Future: Jonathan India (Tier 2 prospect)

    Despite a slow start to his pro career, Jonathan India remains a quality prospect, and there's a reason he went No. 5 in the 2018 draft.

    However, it's still unclear where he fits into Cincinnati's long-term picture.

    The 23-year-old has seen the bulk of his playing time at third base, and he's played a handful of games at second base and shortstop. He may be a trade chip, but if he does make it to Cincinnati, second base might be his best fit.

    Other notable prospects: Tyler Callihan (Tier 3), Ivan Johnson (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Moustakas (2020-23), Callihan (2024)

Cleveland Indians

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    Cesar Hernandez
    Cesar HernandezNorm Hall/Getty Images

    Present: Cesar Hernandez (Age: 30)

    After cutting ties with longtime second baseman Jason Kipnis this offseason, the Cleveland Indians found a suitable short-term replacement when they signed Cesar Hernandez to a one-year, $6.25 million contract.

    The Philadelphia Phillies non-tendered Hernandez ahead of his final year of arbitration, even though he hit a respectable .279/.333/.408 with 31 doubles, 14 home runs and 71 RBI in a 1.6-WAR season.

    Jose Ramirez could eventually move from third base to second base to accommodate the arrival of top prospect Nolan Jones, though.


    Future: Aaron Bracho (Tier 3 prospect)

    One of the headliners of an impressive collection of high-ceiling talent in the lower levels of the Cleveland farm system, Aaron Bracho signed for a $1.5 million bonus in 2017. A broken arm delayed his pro debut by a year, but he proved worth the wait last season.

    The 19-year-old hit .281/.402/.570 with 21 extra-base hits in 169 plate appearances and nearly as many walks (28) as strikeouts (29). He has a chance for above-average tools across the board—his hit tool in stands out—and his bat will carry him to the big leagues.

    Other notable prospects: Angel Martinez (Tier 3), Richard Palacios (Tier 3), Jose Fermin (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Hernandez (2020), Free Agent (2021), Ramirez (2022-23), Bracho (2024)

Colorado Rockies

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    Brendan Rodgers
    Brendan RodgersJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Present: Garrett Hampson (Age: 25)

    The right side of the Colorado Rockies infield has a lot of moving parts.

    Ryan McMahon (113 games) and Garrett Hampson (50) saw the bulk of the action there last season, while veteran Daniel Murphy can also man the position, and top prospect Brendan Rodgers debuted there as well.

    With Murphy likely to be slotted as the DH in 2020, McMahon figures to slide to first base. That will give Hampson another opportunity to seize the starting second base job after he hit just .247/.302/.385 for a 66 OPS+ in 327 plate appearances last year.

    With a sneaky mix of power and speed, and team control through the 2024 season, he still has a chance to be a long-term piece.


    Future: Brendan Rodgers (Tier 1 prospect)

    Drafted as a shortstop, it looks like Rodgers is ticketed for second base in the big leagues.

    The 23-year-old has hit at every level since going No. 3 in the 2015 draft, including a .350/.413/.622 line in 37 games at Triple-A last year.

    However, he scuffled to a .224/.272/.250 line with 27 strikeouts in 81 plate appearances in his first taste of MLB action last season before a shoulder injury prematurely ended his campaign.

    Other notable prospects: Terrin Vavra (Tier 3), Eddy Diaz (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Hampson (2020), Rodgers (2021-24)

Detroit Tigers

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    Jonathan Schoop
    Jonathan SchoopMark Cunningham/Getty Images

    Present: Jonathan Schoop (Age: 28)

    The Detroit Tigers have done a nice job of finding short-term bargains on the free-agent market in recent seasons while they rebuild, and signing Jonathan Schoop to a one-year, $6.1 million deal has a chance to be another solid move.

    He posted a 102 OPS+ with 23 doubles and 23 home runs in 464 plate appearances with the Minnesota Twins last season, and he's still not far removed from a trip to the All-Star Game in 2017.

    Dawel Lugo could also see time at second base as he tries to carve out a long-term role.


    Future: Kody Clemens (Tier 3 prospect)

    Kody Clemens was a third-round pick in the 2018 draft after he hit .351/.444/.726 with 24 home runs and 72 RBI in 65 games during his junior season at the University of Texas.

    The youngest son of Roger Clemens, he'll go as far as his bat carries him in pro ball.

    He's moving quickly through the minors, reaching Double-A last season while tallying 26 doubles and 12 home runs in 128 games.

    Other notable prospects: Trei Cruz (Tier 3), Andre Lipcius (Tier 3), Jack Kenley (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Schoop (2020), Lugo (2021), Free agent (2022-24)

Houston Astros

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    Jose Altuve
    Jose AltuveVaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Present: Jose Altuve (Age: 30)

    Jose Altuve signed a seven-year, $163.5 million extension just before the 2018 season that runs through his age-34 campaign in 2024.

    The three-time AL batting champ hit under .300 for the first time since 2013 last year, but he still posted a 131 OPS+ while slugging a career-high 31 home runs in a 3.8-WAR season.

    Abraham Toro can also handle second base, though he fits better at the hot corner.


    Future: Jeremy Pena (Tier 2 prospect)

    A third-round pick in 2018, Jeremy Pena put together a breakout season between Single-A and High-A last year, hitting .303/.385/.440 with 35 extra-base hits and 20 steals in 109 games.

    He has the first-step athleticism to handle shortstop, but his average arm might fit better at second base. With Altuve and Carlos Correa entrenched at the middle infield spots and Freudis Nova ahead of him in the prospect hierarchy, a super-utility role could be his ticket to an MLB job.

    Other notable prospects: Grae Kessinger (Tier 3), Luis Santana (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Altuve (2020-24)

Kansas City Royals

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    Nicky Lopez
    Nicky LopezEd Zurga/Getty Images

    Present: Nicky Lopez (Age: 25)

    Nicky Lopez hit .296/.378/.403 over four minor league seasons before making his MLB debut on May 14, 2019.

    That same hit tool didn't show up against MLB pitching, and he scuffled to a .240/.276/.325 line for a 59 OPS+ in 402 plate appearances last year. The rebuilding Kansas City Royals can afford to give him another shot, but he'll need to improve on those numbers to avoid being cast in a backup role.

    The second base job could always go back to Whit Merrifield, who is transitioning to center field in 2020. Looking at the bigger picture, the eventual arrival of Bobby Witt Jr. could also mean shortstop Adalberto Mondesi moves to the other side of second base in a few years.


    Future: Nick Loftin (Tier 3 prospect)

    With Witt viewed as the long-term answer at shortstop and eventual face of the franchise, Nick Loftin will likely need to change positions to have a future in the Kansas City infield.

    The No. 32 pick in the 2020 draft, he had one of the highest floors among this year's crop of college middle infielders, and he played all over the diamond for the collegiate national team last summer, so he's capable of providing some versatility.

    Other notable prospects: Brady McConnell (Tier 3), Jeison Guzman (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Lopez (2020), Merrifield (2021-22), Mondesi (2023-24)

Los Angeles Angels

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    Tommy La Stella
    Tommy La StellaTom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Present: Tommy La Stella (Age: 31) and David Fletcher (Age: 26)

    The addition of Anthony Rendon in free agency creates an infield logjam for the Los Angeles Angels.

    With Andrelton Simmons penciled in as the everyday shortstop for at least one more season before his contract is up, 2019 All-Star Tommy La Stella, David Fletcher and Luis Rengifo will all battle for playing time at second base.

    Fletcher played all over the field last year and quietly finished second on the team with 4.5 WAR. He could fill a similar role in 2020, platooning with La Stella at second base, before taking over as the everyday starter there once La Stella reaches free agency this coming winter.


    Future: Jahmai Jones (Tier 3 prospect)

    Jahmai Jones was a top-100 prospect as recently as 2018 when he checked in at No. 89 on Baseball America's preseason list after posting a .794 OPS with 50 extra-base hits and 27 steals as a teenager in full season ball.

    The 22-year-old has struggled to make the jump to the upper levels of the minors, hitting a punchless .234/.308/.324 in 130 games at Double-A last year. He's still young enough to right the ship, but his stock has dropped.

    Other notable prospects: Leandro Rivas (Tier 3), Livan Soto (Tier 3)


    Prediction: La Stella/Fletcher (2020), Fletcher (2021-24)

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Gavin Lux
    Gavin LuxNorm Hall/Getty Images

    Present: Gavin Lux (Age: 22)

    Gavin Lux forced his way onto the MLB roster last season with a .347/.421/.607 line that included 25 doubles, eight triples and 26 home runs in 113 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

    The starting second base job belongs to him for the 2020 season, with versatile veterans Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor capable of handling the keystone as well, as is slugger Max Muncy, who spent 2019 shuffling between first, second and third base.

    If the Dodgers let Corey Seager walk after the 2021 season, Lux could move back to his natural position of shortstop.


    Future: Michael Busch (Tier 3 prospect)

    One of the most polished bats in the 2019 draft class, Michael Busch played primarily first base and left field during his time at North Carolina.

    The Dodgers moved him to second base to start his pro career. He would be a major offensive weapon at that position, and he has more than enough bat talent to move back to a corner spot if he can't make the transition defensively. For now, there's a strong possibility he's the second baseman of the future.

    Other notable prospects: Jacob Amaya (Tier 3), Zach McKinstry (Tier 3), Devin Mann (Tier 3), Omar Estevez (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Lux (2020-21), Busch (2022-24)

Miami Marlins

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    Isan Diaz
    Isan DiazMichael Reaves/Getty Images

    Present: Isan Diaz (Age: 24)

    Isan Diaz hit a paltry .173/.259/.307 with 59 strikeouts in 201 plate appearances in his MLB debut last season, but there's still plenty of optimism regarding his long-term outlook.

    He hit .305/.395/.578 with 21 doubles, 26 home runs and 70 RBI in 102 games in Triple-A last season, and his .224 BABIP in the majors speaks to some bad luck. A major step forward could be coming, and the rebuilding Miami Marlins will give him every opportunity to prove he's a keeper, as he has club control through 2025.


    Future: Jose Devers (Tier 3 prospect)

    Jose Devers hit .322 with a .391 on-base percentage in 47 games last season while reaching the High-A Florida State League at age 19.

    He played primarily second base in the Arizona Fall League, and the addition of Jazz Chisholm last summer likely means the keystone will be his long-term home if he can snag an everyday job. He could still be the most impactful part of the return package the team received from the New York Yankees for Giancarlo Stanton.

    Other notable prospects: Jose Salas (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Diaz (2020-24)

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Keston Hiura
    Keston HiuraMichael Zagaris/Getty Images

    Present: Keston Hiura (Age: 23)

    Keston Hiura can flat-out hit, and that was abundantly clear in his rookie season when he batted .303/.368/.570 with 23 doubles and 19 home runs in 348 plate appearances. He closed out the year hitting in the cleanup spot for a contending Milwaukee Brewers team and looks like a foundational piece.

    The question is if he'll stay at second base after posting some ugly defensive metrics (-5 DRS, -18.9 UZR/150) as a rookie, but there have been no indications of an imminent switch.


    Future: Brice Turang (Tier 2 prospect)

    While we recently highlighted Brice Turang as Milwaukee's potential shortstop of the future, he could just as easily wind up at second base if the club shifts Hiura to left field or into the DH role if the position sticks in the NL beyond 2020.

    He hit .256/.367/.340 with 28 extra-base hits and 30 steals in 129 games between Single-A and High-A in his first full pro season last year, tallying 83 walks and a 14.7 percent walk rate. His glove fits well on either side of second base, so roster makeup will likely dictate where he winds up.

    Other notable prospects: Hayden Cantrelle (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Hiura (2020-24)

Minnesota Twins

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    Luis Arraez
    Luis ArraezBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Present: Luis Arraez (Age: 23)

    Luis Arraez was well off the top-prospect radar when he burst onto the scene last season to hit .334/.399/.439 for a 123 OPS+ with 25 extra-base hits in 366 plate appearances.

    After filling a super-utility role last year, he'll be given a chance to settle in at second base following the departure of Jonathan Schoop in free agency.

    With team control through 2025, he looks like he'll be the next homegrown piece to make a long-term impact.


    Future: Nick Gordon (Tier 3 prospect)

    It's unlikely Nick Gordon will live up to the hype that accompanied his status as the No. 5 pick in the 2014 draft.

    His offensive game has stalled in the upper levels of the minors, and his prospect stock has plummeted after he appeared on Baseball America's top 100 list four years in a row from 2015 to 2018. The 24-year-old still looks like a future MLB player, but it will likely be in a utility role as opposed to an everyday middle infield spot.

    Other notable prospects: Travis Blankenhorn (Tier 3), Jose Miranda (Tier 3), Yunior Severino (Tier 3), Will Holland (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Arraez (2020-24)

New York Mets

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    Robinson Cano
    Robinson CanoRich Schultz/Getty Images

    Present: Robinson Cano (Age: 37)

    If it weren't for Dominic Smith and his lack of a defensive home, the New York Mets would likely use Robinson Cano at DH and Jeff McNeil at second base. Instead, Cano will be the starting second baseman in 2020 and McNeil will move over to third base to replace Todd Frazier.

    For better or worse, it looks like the Mets are stuck with Cano as their everyday second baseman, and he's owed $24 million annually through the 2023 season.


    Future: Andres Gimenez (Tier 3 prospect)

    With Amed Rosario holding down shortstop in the majors and top prospect Ronny Mauricio looking like the future at that position, fellow top prospect Andres Gimenez is at risk of being lost in the shuffle.

    The 21-year-old hit a disappointing .250/.309/.387 with 36 extra-base hits in 469 plate appearances at Double-A last season, but he's still ahead of the developmental curve, and the organization has pushed him aggressively for a reason.

    Other notable prospects: Shervyen Newton (Tier 3), Carlos Cortes (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Cano (2020-22), Gimenez (2023-24)

New York Yankees

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    DJ LeMahieu
    DJ LeMahieuRob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images

    Present: DJ LeMahieu (Age: 31)

    In the first season of a two-year, $24 million deal last year, DJ LeMahieu hit .327/.375/.518 with 33 doubles, 26 home runs, 102 RBI and 109 runs scored in a 5.9-WAR campaign to finish fourth in AL MVP voting.

    After bouncing around the infield last season, he'll return to a role as the everyday second baseman now that Gleyber Torres has shifted to shortstop. Another two-year deal would help bridge the gap to some of the younger talent in the minor leagues, and a decent annual raise could be enough for him to forgo a potentially longer deal elsewhere.


    Future: Ezequiel Duran (Tier 3 prospect)

    The Yankees have a wealth of middle infield talent in the lower levels of the minors, and Ezequiel Duran is the best of the bunch among the prospects manning second base. The 21-year-old hit .256/.329/.496 with 12 doubles and 13 home runs in 277 plate appearances at Low-A last season.

    There are a wide range of opinions on his prospect profile, and FanGraphs is particularly bullish, ranking him No. 4 in the Yankees farm system and No. 90 on their top-100 list.

    Other notable prospects: Josh Smith (Tier 3), Oswaldo Cabrera (Tier 3), Trevor Hauver (Tier 3)


    Prediction: LeMahieu (2020-23), Duran (2024)

Oakland Athletics

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    Franklin Barreto
    Franklin BarretoMichael Zagaris/Getty Images

    Present: Franklin Barreto (Age: 24)

    Is this the year Franklin Barreto finally breaks through?

    The longtime top prospect has hit just .189/.220/.378 for a 60 OPS+ in 209 MLB plate appearances over the past three seasons.

    With a .295/.374/.552 line that included 29 doubles, 19 home runs and 15 steals in 98 games at Triple-A last year, he has little left to prove in the minors, and the decision to trade Jurickson Profar and Jorge Mateo has cleared a path for him to seize the second base job.

    The versatile Tony Kemp will provide a contingency plan if he struggles again.


    Future: Nick Allen (Tier 2 prospect)

    If the Oakland Athletics re-sign Marcus Semien, slick-fielding shortstop prospect Nick Allen could slide over to second base in the majors.

    He hit .292/.363/.434 with 30 extra-base hits and 13 steals in 72 games at High-A last season, silencing some of the doubters who wondered if he would hit enough to be an everyday player. There's no question his glove fits at shortstop, but second base could be his future home if Semien sticks around this winter.

    Other notable prospects: Sheldon Neuse (Tier 3), Logan Davidson (Tier 3), Jeremy Eierman (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Barreto (2020-21), Allen (2022-24)

Philadelphia Phillies

21 of 30

    Rob Leiter/Getty Images

    Present: Scott Kingery (Age: 26)

    Scott Kingery signed a six-year, $24 million extension that included three club options before he made his MLB debut.

    After posting a middling 61 OPS+ as a rookie, he took a nice step forward last season, hitting .258/.315/.474 for a 100 OPS+ with 34 doubles, 19 home runs, 55 RBI and 15 steals. He played primarily center field and third base in 2019 but will take over as the everyday second baseman.

    The Phillies also signed veterans Josh Harrison and Neil Walker to minor league deals.


    Future: Luis Garcia (Tier 3 prospect)

    Luis Garcia had one of the better rookie league seasons of 2018, hitting .369/.433/.488 with 15 extra-base hits in 187 plate appearances after he signed for $2.5 million in 2017.

    The jump to Single-A did not go well in 2019. He scuffled to a .186/.261/.255 line with a 25.2 percent strikeout rate in 127 games, and his prospect status took a hit. That said, he's still the best middle infield prospect in the Philadelphia system not named Bryson Stott, and there's plenty of time for him to turn it around.

    Other notable prospects: Nick Maton (Tier 3), Kendall Simmons (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Kingery (2020-24)

Pittsburgh Pirates

22 of 30

    Adam Frazier
    Adam FrazierDylan Buell/Getty Images

    Present: Adam Frazier (Age: 28)

    Adam Frazier has quietly been worth 4.7 WAR the past two seasons, trailing only Starling Marte (6.7) and Jameson Taillon (5.2) among all Pittsburgh Pirates players during that span.

    After previously serving in a utility role, he settled in as the everyday second baseman last season with 142 games played at the position. He's under team control through the 2022 season, and his versatility and well-rounded skill set make him a valuable player.


    Future: Nick Gonzales (Tier 1 prospect)

    Nick Gonzales hit .399/.502/.747 during his time at New Mexico State, including an absurd .448/.610/1.155 line with 12 home runs in 16 games this spring before going No. 7 overall in the 2020 draft.

    The 21-year-old was selected as a shortstop, but he fits better at second base defensively, and that is likely his long-term home in the majors. He should move as quickly as any prospect in this year's class, and a late-2022 debut is not out of the question.

    Other notable prospects: Ji-Hwan Bae (Tier 3), Kevin Kramer (Tier 3), Rodolfo Castro (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Frazier (2020-22), Gonzales (2023-24)

San Diego Padres

23 of 30

    Jurickson Profar
    Jurickson ProfarNorm Hall/Getty Images

    Present: Jurickson Profar (Age: 27)

    It's hard to believe that Jurickson Profar is still only 27 years old.

    The consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball at the start of the 2013 season, he never quite found his footing with the Texas Rangers, and the team sold high when he posted a 107 OPS+ with 35 doubles and 20 home runs during the 2018 season.

    He hit just .218/.301/.410 for the Oakland Athletics last year before he was traded again to San Diego in December. With free agency looming next offseason, he has something to prove.

    Veteran Brian Dozier was signed to a minor league deal to provide depth.


    Future: CJ Abrams (Tier 1 prospect)

    With Fernando Tatis Jr. locked in at shortstop, CJ Abrams will need to shift to second base or center field once he reaches the majors.

    Assuming Taylor Trammell develops into the center fielder of the future, second base is the likely landing spot for Abrams. He hit .393/.436/.647 with 24 extra-base hits in 34 games in his pro debut after going No. 6 overall in the 2019 draft, and he could move up quickly if he continues to impress.

    Other notable prospects: Owen Miller (Tier 3), Jorge Mateo (Tier 3), Esteury Ruiz (Tier 3), Tucupita Marcano (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Profar (2020), Mateo (2021), Miller (2022), Abrams (2023-24)

San Francisco Giants

24 of 30

    Mauricio Dubon
    Mauricio DubonLachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    Present: Mauricio Dubon (Age: 25)

    The San Francisco Giants acquired Mauricio Dubon from the Milwaukee Brewers last summer for left-hander Drew Pomeranz, and he immediately became one of the most promising young players on an aging roster.

    He'll likely man second base until Brandon Crawford's contract runs out after the 2021 season, at which point he could shift to shortstop. A move back to second base could eventually follow once top prospect Marco Luciano arrives on the scene.

    Veterans Wilmer Flores, Donovan Solano and 2019 Gold Glove winner Yolmer Sanchez could also see time at second base.


    Future: Will Wilson (Tier 3 prospect)

    The Giants essentially purchased Will Wilson from the Los Angeles Angels over the winter, adding him to the farm system thanks to their willingness to absorb Zack Cozart's remaining contract.

    The 21-year-old was the No. 15 pick in 2019 after hitting .339/.429/.665 with 20 doubles and 16 home runs during his junior season at NC State. He was drafted as a shortstop but fits best at second base defensively, and his high offensive floor should allow him to reach the majors quickly.

    Other notable prospects: Tyler Fitzgerald (Tier 3), Kean Wong (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Dubon (2020), Flores (2021), Wilson (2022), Dubon (2023-24)

Seattle Mariners

25 of 30

    Shed Long
    Shed LongStephen Brashear/Getty Images

    Present: Dee Gordon (Age: 32)

    Dee Gordon is in the final season of a five-year, $50 million contract before his $14 million club option in 2021 is likely declined during the offseason in favor of a $1 million buyout.

    He has a mediocre .271/.295/.353 line (80 OPS+) and 1.4 WAR in his two seasons with the Seattle Mariners, and he could quickly be pushed into a part-time role in 2020.


    Future: Shed Long (Age: 24)

    Shed Long is the future at second base in Seattle, and that future could begin in 2020.

    The 24-year-old hit .263/.333/.454 for a 113 OPS+ and had 18 extra-base hits in 168 plate appearances as a rookie last year after starting the season as the No. 9 prospect in the Seattle farm system. He has work to do defensively (-5 DRS, -5.7 UZR/150), but the athleticism is there for him to make the necessary adjustments.

    Other notable prospects: Donovan Walton (Tier 3), Juan Querecuto (Tier 3), Kaden Polcovich (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Gordon (2020), Long (2021-24)

St. Louis Cardinals

26 of 30

    Kolten Wong
    Kolten WongScott Kane/Getty Images

    Present: Kolten Wong (Age: 29)

    Kolten Wong is coming off the best season of his career, a campaign that included 5.2 WAR, a Gold Glove Award and a 20th-place finish in NL MVP voting. He's in the final guaranteed season of a five-year, $25.5 million contract, and the deal includes a $12.5 million club option for 2021 that will likely be exercised.

    After that, he'll be eligible to hit the open market for the first time in his career. The St. Louis Cardinals have a history of letting other teams pay for a player's post-prime years, so don't be surprised if they let Wong walk after 2021.

    In that case, the versatile Tommy Edman could the answer at second base after his breakout 2019. The 25-year-old is under team control through 2025.


    Future: Edmundo Sosa (Tier 3 prospect)

    Once viewed as the potential shortstop of the future, Edmundo Sosa fell out of the top-prospect picture before rebuilding some value last season when he hit .291/.335/.466 with 18 doubles and 17 home runs in 118 games at Triple-A.

    With Paul DeJong locked in at shortstop, he could wind up at second base in the majors. But he needs to build off last year's success first, and at 24 years old, his prospect window is closing.

    Other notable prospects: Nick Dunn (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Wong (2020-21), Edman (2022-24)

Tampa Bay Rays

27 of 30

    Brandon Lowe
    Brandon LoweBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Present: Brandon Lowe (Age: 25)

    Brandon Lowe signed a six-year, $24 million extension after making his MLB debut in 2018, and with a pair of option years, that contract could keep him in Tampa Bay through 2026.

    He hit .276/.339/.523 with 16 home runs and 49 RBI in 76 games during the first half last season to earn a spot on the AL All-Star team, but a leg injury limited him to six games in the second half.

    The Rays have a wealth of middle infield talent in the minors, and Lowe spent time in left field in 2018, so he could shift to the outfield to clear a path.


    Future: Vidal Brujan (Tier 1 prospect)

    With a 60-grade hit tool and 70-grade speed, Vidal Brujan has the tools to be a game-changing table setter once he reaches the majors.

    The 22-year-old reached Double-A for the first time last season, and a 2020 debut is not out of the question after he was added to Tampa Bay's 60-man player pool for the upcoming season. It's easy to dream on a future middle infield of Brujan and Wander Franco.

    Other notable prospects: Xavier Edwards (Tier 1), Taylor Walls (Tier 3), Tyler Frank (Tier 3), Ford Proctor (Tier 3), Abiezel Ramirez (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Lowe (2020-21), Brujan (2022-24)

Texas Rangers

28 of 30

    Rougned Odor
    Rougned OdorJamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Present: Rougned Odor (Age: 26)

    Rougned Odor is signed through the 2022 season after inking a six-year, $49.5 million extension in 2017, and a $13.5 million club option in 2023 that carries a $3 million buyout could keep him around for an extra year.

    While he has slugged 30-plus home runs in three of the last four seasons, he's hit just .233 with an ugly .288 on-base percentage. He has also been inconsistent defensively, posting negative metrics (-5 DRS, -4.7 UZR/150) in a 0.0-WAR season in 2019.

    Rookie Nick Solak played second base in the minors and provides the team with an MLB-ready alternative, but he profiles better in left field.


    Future: Justin Foscue (Tier 3 prospect)

    The starting second baseman for the collegiate national team last summer, Justin Foscue hit .321/.464/.509 in 16 games this spring, and he was one of the most polished hitters in the 2020 draft class.

    The No. 14 overall pick has an extremely high floor and should be one of the first hitters from this year's draft to arrive in the majors.

    Other notable prospects: Jonathan Ornelas (Tier 3), Luisangel Acuna (Tier 3), Andy Ibanez (Tier 3), Keithron Moss (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Odor (2020-22), Foscue (2023-24)

Toronto Blue Jays

29 of 30

    Cavan Biggio
    Cavan BiggioVaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Present: Cavan Biggio (Age: 25)

    While Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette arrived with more hype, it was Cavan Biggio who led the Toronto rookie contingent with 2.9 WAR last season. That total trailed only that of Marcus Stroman (3.2) among all Blue Jays.

    A fifth-round pick in 2016, he hit .234/.364/.429 for a 113 OPS+ with 17 doubles and 16 home runs in 100 games, benefiting greatly from a 16.5 percent walk rate. With team control through 2025, he looks like a foundational piece.


    Future: Miguel Hiraldo (Tier 3 prospect)

    Miguel Hiraldo is part of the next wave of impressive position-player talent that resides in the lower levels of the Toronto system.

    The 19-year-old hit .299/.346/.485 with 29 extra-base hits and 11 steals in 57 games last season, and he went 1-for-4 with a triple in his Single-A debut five days before his 19th birthday.

    Other notable prospects: Logan Warmoth (Tier 3), Leandro Jimenez (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Biggio (2020-24)

Washington Nationals

30 of 30

    Asdrubal Cabrera
    Asdrubal CabreraG Fiume/Getty Images

    Present: Asdrubal Cabrera (Age: 34)

    Depending on how quickly Carter Kieboom seizes control of the third base job, Starlin Castro could see significant action at second base.

    Until then, it looks like Asdrubal Cabrera will see regular time at the keystone after he was re-signed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal following a strong stretch run after signing with the team last August.

    Howie Kendrick also has ample experience at second base, but he'll likely be slotted in the DH role in 2020.


    Future: Luis Garcia (Tier 2 prospect)

    Not to be confused with the Phillies' middle infield prospect of the same name, Luis Garcia spent the 2019 season as a 19-year-old at Double-A.

    He hit .257/.280/.337 with 30 extra-base hits and 11 steals in 129 games, and while those numbers don't jump off the page, they are promising for a player who was among the youngest at the level. He won't push Trea Turner off shortstop, so second base looks like his long-term home.

    Other notable prospects: Yasel Antuna (Tier 3), Cole Freeman (Tier 3)


    Prediction: Cabrera (2020), Castro (2021), Garcia (2022-24)


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted. Contract information via Spotrac. Prospect tiers refer to each player's status in B/R's most recent farm system rankings.

    Catch up on past State of the Position articles: Catcher, Shortstop, Third Base