MLB State of the Position 2022: Every Team's 5-Year Plan at Second Base

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2022

MLB State of the Position 2022: Every Team's 5-Year Plan at Second Base

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    Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

    The second base position is not the deepest in baseball right now, though young stars like Ozzie Albies, Jazz Chisholm Jr., Jake Cronenworth, Jorge Polanco and Jonathan India are capable of making a major impact.

    The next generation of players at the position is led by Nick Gonzales (Pirates), Nolan Gorman (Cardinals), Nick Yorke (Red Sox) and Michael Busch (Dodgers).

    That said, some teams are better set up for current and future success at the position than others.

    We've broken down each team's present and future outlook at second base, highlighting its current starter and its top prospect, followed by a prediction of who will start for each of the next five seasons. Included with each top prospect is his tier ranking, based on where he slotted in Bleacher Report's latest farm system rankings article.

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


    Other State of the Position articles: Catcher, First Base, Shortstop, Third Base

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Ketel Marte
    Ketel MarteNorm Hall/Getty Images

    Present: Ketel Marte (Age: 28)

    The D-backs signed Marte to a five-year, $76 million extension during the offseason that included $51 million in new money, and that deal will keep him in Arizona through 2027 with a club option for 2028. He had a 143 OPS+ with 44 extra-base hits in 374 plate appearances during an injury-shortened 2021 season, but he's been slow out of the gates this year.


    Top Prospect: Ryan Bliss (Tier 3)

    A second-round pick in last year's draft, Bliss hit .365/.428/.654 with 15 home runs and 45 RBI during his junior season at Auburn. He has a plus hit tool, good speed and a solid glove, though he lacks the arm strength to be an everyday shortstop. At worst, he should be a useful utility player.


    Five-Year Prediction: Marte (2022-26)

Atlanta Braves

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    Ozzie Albies
    Ozzie AlbiesJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Present: Ozzie Albies (Age: 25)

    Albies signed a seven-year, $35 million extension prior to the 2019 season, and with a pair of $7 million club options tacked onto the back end, he's controllable at a team-friendly rate through the 2027 campaign. His on-base skills remain a work in progress, but it's hard to complain about a second baseman coming off a 40-double, 30-homer, 3.4-WAR season.


    Top Prospect: Cal Conley (Tier 3)

    The Braves have a pair of intriguing middle infield prospects in Braden Shewmake and Vaughn Grissom, but we've already profiled them as the top prospect at shortstop and third base long-term. Further down the prospect rankings, Conley is one to watch after hitting .329/.393/.587 with 15 home runs and 55 RBI at Texas Tech last spring before jumping straight to Single-A after going in the fourth round of the 2021 draft.


    Five-Year Prediction: Albies (2022-26)

Baltimore Orioles

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    Connor Norby
    Connor NorbyMark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Present: Rougned Odor (Age: 28)

    The O's plucked Odor from the scrapheap with a one-year, $700,000 deal, and the former 30-homer slugger is hitting a modest .214/.273/.357 with an 86 OPS+ serving as a stopgap starter at second base. It's hard to believe he's still only 28 years old, but he did make his MLB debut shortly after his 20th birthday.


    Top Prospect: Connor Norby (Tier 3)

    Norby was the No. 41 overall pick in the second round of the 2021 draft following a huge junior season at East Carolina. He drew some first-round buzz after hitting .415/.484/.659 with 15 doubles, 15 home runs and 18 steals in 61 games, and his bat is going to be his ticket to the big leagues.


    Five-Year Prediction: Odor (2022), free agent (2023), Norby (2024-26)

Boston Red Sox

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    Trevor Story
    Trevor StoryMaddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Present: Trevor Story (Age: 29)

    If the recent rumor that Xander Bogaerts intends to opt out and sign elsewhere in free agency next offseason is true, it's only a matter of time before Story is back to playing his natural position of shortstop. The two-time All-Star signed a six-year, $140 million deal during the offseason and he's playing second base regularly for the first time in his career.


    Top Prospect: Nick Yorke (Tier 1)

    The No. 17 pick in the 2020 draft, Yorke hit .325/.412/.516 with 20 doubles, 14 home runs and 62 RBI in 97 games between Single-A and High-A in his pro debut last year. gave him a 65-grade hit tool, and he is the type of prospect who could move quickly through the minors. If Bogaerts stays put and Story remains at second base, left field is also an option for Yorke.


    Five-Year Prediction: Story (2022), Yorke (2023-26)

Chicago Cubs

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    Nick Madrigal
    Nick MadrigalIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Present: Nick Madrigal (Age: 25)

    If shortstop prospect Cristian Hernandez lives up to the hype, the Cubs could have a decision to make at second base between Madrigal and Nico Hoerner. For now, the young duo is sharing the middle infield and that profiles as a potential area to build around. Madrigal is never going to hit for much power, but his bat-to-ball skills are elite.


    Top Prospect: James Triantos (Tier 3)

    The Cubs gave Triantos an above-slot $2.1 million bonus in the second round last year, and he hit .327/.376/.594 with 14 extra-base hits in 25 games at rookie ball after signing. He has a big arm but lacks the first-step quickness to be a surefire shortstop, so an eventual move to second base appears likely.


    Five-Year Prediction: Madrigal (2022-26)

Chicago White Sox

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    Josh Harrison
    Josh HarrisonStacy Revere/Getty Images

    Present: Josh Harrison (Age: 34)

    White Sox second basemen are hitting .173/.221/.346 on the year, as the platoon of Harrison and utility man Leury Garcia has provided next to nothing offensively. Harrison has a $5.5 million club option for next season that carries a $1.5 million buyout, while Garcia is in the first season of a three-year, $16.5 million deal.


    Top Prospect: Jose Rodriguez (Tier 3)

    The first prospect who could get a look at second base is Romy Gonzalez, who posted an .896 OPS with 24 home runs and 24 steals in the minors last year before making his MLB debut as a September call-up. The 25-year-old could get a chance to win the starting job next spring, but he'll just be keeping the position warm for Rodriguez, who is one of the team's top prospects and already playing at Double-A at the age of 20.


    Five-Year Prediction: Harrison/Garcia (2022), Gonzalez (2023), Rodriguez (2024-26)

Cincinnati Reds

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    Jonathan India
    Jonathan IndiaIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Present: Jonathan India (Age: 25)

    The most logical long-term infield alignment for the Reds would be to shift India to third base once 2021 first-round pick Matt McLain is ready to join presumptive shortstop of the future Jose Barrero up the middle in the majors. India played mostly third base during his time at Florida and in the minors before shifting to second base last year and winning NL Rookie of the Year honors.


    Top Prospect: Matt McLain (Tier 2)

    With a 60-hit, 50-power offensive profile, McLain was one of the top college hitters in the 2021 draft class after batting .333/.434/.579 with the same number of walks and strikeouts (34) in 47 games during his junior season at UCLA. He'll start his pro career at shortstop, but his bat should play at second base or third base.


    Five-Year Prediction: India (2022-23), McLain (2024-26)

Cleveland Guardians

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    Andres Gimenez
    Andres GimenezIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Present: Andres Gimenez (Age: 23)

    Gimenez had a tenuous grasp on the second base job in Cleveland entering the 2022 season after hitting .218/.282/.351 for a 73 OPS+ in 210 plate appearances last year. However, he has come out of the gates hot, hitting .344 with a 163 OPS+ and seven extra-base hits in 66 plate appearances, and he is still controllable through the 2026 season.


    Top Prospect: Tyler Freeman (Tier 1)

    It's going to be fun to see how Freeman, Gabriel Arias and Brayan Rocchio all factor into Cleveland's long-term plans, especially with Jose Ramirez now locked in at third base and both Gimenez and Amed Rosario showing potential. Freeman seems like the most likely to land at second base long-term, and he figures to debut at some point in 2022.


    Five-Year Prediction: Gimenez (2022-23), Freeman (2024-26)

Colorado Rockies

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    Brendan Rodgers
    Brendan RodgersMitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Present: Brendan Rodgers (Age: 25)

    Rodgers finally seemed to turn a corner last year when he hit .296/.325/.490 with 15 doubles, 10 home runs and 31 RBI in 61 games after the All-Star break. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft has always had tremendous offensive potential, but he is off to a brutal start this year with a .149/.216/.239 line through his first 74 plate appearances. He is controllable via arbitration through 2025.


    Top Prospect: Adael Amador (Tier 3)

    It looks like Ezequiel Tovar is the shortstop of the future in Colorado, which makes second base the logical landing spot for Amador, who is the second-best middle infield prospect in the system. The 19-year-old signed for $1.5 million during the 2019 international signing window, and he's hitting .341/.452/.612 with 11 extra-base hits in 22 games in his full-season debut at Single-A.


    Five-Year Prediction: Rodgers (2022-25), Amador (2026)

Detroit Tigers

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    Jonathan Schoop
    Jonathan SchoopDuane Burleson/Getty Images

    Present: Jonathan Schoop (Age: 30)

    A veteran leader on a rebuilding team, Schoop posted a 108 OPS+ with 30 doubles, 22 home runs and 84 RBI last year while serving as Detroit's primary first baseman. With top prospect Spencer Torkelson taking over that spot, he has shifted back to his natural second base position. The Tigers have a $7.5 million club option for next season with no buyout.


    Top Prospect: Wenceel Perez (Tier 3)

    Perez debuted with a bang in the Dominican Summer League in 2017 and followed that up with a strong year at Single-A, but his production has stalled in the years since. This year the 22-year-old is back at High-A, where he's hitting .269/.356/.577 with 12 extra-base hits in 90 plate appearances while splitting his time between second base and third base.


    Five-Year Prediction: Schoop (2022-23), Perez (2024-26)

Houston Astros

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    Jose Altuve
    Jose AltuveSteph Chambers/Getty Images

    Present: Jose Altuve (Age: 31)

    Altuve has two years and $58 million left on his contract after the 2022 season, and he'll be 34 years old when he hits the open market. With 31-homer seasons in 2019 and 2021, he has developed into more of a power hitter as his career has progressed. Will the Astros sign him to one last contract to ensure he retires in the only uniform he's ever worn?


    Top Prospect: Shay Whitcomb (Tier 3)

    A fifth-round pick in 2020 out of D-II UC San Diego, Whitcomb hit .293/.363/.530 with 23 home runs and 30 steals in 99 games between Single-A and High-A last year. He spent time at shortstop (48), third base (31) and second base (15) in his pro debut, and that versatility could be his ticket to the majors, though he'll get a shot at an everyday job if he keeps hitting.


    Five-Year Prediction: Altuve (2022-26)

Kansas City Royals

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    Whit Merrifield
    Whit MerrifieldDavid Banks/Getty Images

    Present: Whit Merrifield (Age: 33)

    After playing primarily second base last year, Merrifield has returned there, with Nicky Lopez manning shortstop and top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. stationed at the hot corner to begin his MLB career. The expectation is that Witt will eventually be the team's everyday shortstop, which could mean Lopez shifts back to second and Merrifield returns to the outfield next year. Merrifield is under contract for one more year with a mutual option for 2024.


    Top Prospect: Peyton Wilson (Tier 3)

    A second-round pick in 2021, Wilson has the speed, athleticism and defensive versatility to fit the prototypical utility player mold. That said, he showed enough extra-base pop during his time at Alabama to believe he could make a play for an everyday role down the line.


    Five-Year Prediction: Merrifield (2022), Lopez (2023-24), Wilson (2025-26)

Los Angeles Angels

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    David Fletcher
    David FletcherRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    Present: David Fletcher (Age: 27)

    Primarily a second baseman early in his MLB career, Fletcher was expected to shift to shortstop this year before a trip to the injured list changed things. Andrew Velazquez took over as the primary shortstop in his absence, and Fletcher moved back to second upon being activated from the IL. The 27-year-old is signed through the 2025 season with club options in 2026 and 2027.


    Top Prospect: Jeremiah Jackson (Tier 2)

    Jackson put himself on the top prospect radar in 2019, when he hit 23 home runs in 65 games as a 19-year-old in rookie ball, and he continued to show impressive offensive upside last year while making his full-season debut. The 22-year-old has played mostly shortstop, but he's a cleaner defensive fit at second base with significant offensive upside for the position.


    Five-Year Prediction: Fletcher (2022-24), Jackson (2025-26)

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Gavin Lux
    Gavin LuxIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Present: Gavin Lux (Age: 24)

    With Corey Seager gone in free agency and Trea Turner shifting back to shortstop, Lux has finally taken over as the Dodgers' starting second baseman two years after he was widely regarded as the NL Rookie of the Year front-runner. He hit well down the stretch as a September call-up in 2021, and he has a 115 OPS+ through his first 67 plate appearances this year.


    Top Prospect: Michael Busch (Tier 1)

    One of the most polished college bats in the 2019 draft, Busch was shifted to second base at the start of his pro career after playing first base and corner outfield in college. The 24-year-old had an .870 OPS with 20 home runs in 107 games last year, and he's hitting .286/.446/.671 with eight home runs and 20 RBI in 20 games at Double-A to start the year. Where will he land defensively in the big leagues?


    Five-Year Prediction: Lux (2022-26)

Miami Marlins

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    Jazz Chisholm Jr.
    Jazz Chisholm Jr.G Fiume/Getty Images

    Present: Jazz Chisholm Jr. (Age: 24)

    In our shortstop article, we predicted that Chisholm would shift back to his natural shortstop position next season with veteran Miguel Rojas headed for free agency. If that happens, the team will likely need to look outside the organization for a short-term solution at second base. Meanwhile, Chisholm is in the midst of a breakout season with a 189 OPS+, 12 extra-base hits and six steals in 21 games.


    Top Prospect: Ian Lewis (Tier 3)

    Signed out of the Bahamas for $950,000 in 2019, Lewis hit .302/.354/.497 with 18 extra-base hits in 43 games in rookie ball last year. With Kahlil Watson and Jose Salas in the Marlins' minor league system, second base seems like Lewis' most likely long-term home defensively, though he has the defensive tools to handle shortstop.


    Five-Year Prediction: Chisholm (2022), free agent (2023-25), Lewis (2026)

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Kolten Wong
    Kolten WongIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Present: Kolten Wong (Age: 31)

    In the second season of a two-year, $18 million deal, Wong can return to Milwaukee next year with a $10 million club option that carries a $2 million buyout. The 31-year-old is an elite defender who posted a 107 OPS+ with 32 doubles, 14 home runs and 12 steals in a 3.3-WAR season last year.


    Top Prospect: Brice Turang (Tier 2)

    Turang has the defensive chops to play shortstop, but with Willy Adames controllable through the 2024 season, second base is his more likely home when he reaches the big leagues. With plus speed and a good hit tool, he has the potential to be an everyday player, even if he never hits for much power. The Brewers also took Wright State second baseman Tyler Black was also taken with the No. 33 overall pick in last year's draft.


    Five-Year Prediction: Wong (2022-23), Turang (2024-26)

Minnesota Twins

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    Jorge Polanco
    Jorge PolancoG Fiume/Getty Images

    Present: Jorge Polanco (Age: 28)

    Polanco is in the fourth season of a five-year, $25.75 million deal, and he has a $10.5 million vesting option for 2024 and a $12 million club option for 2025. The 28-year-old has two seasons of 4 WAR or more, including a stellar 2021 campaign in which he posted a 125 OPS+ with 35 doubles, 33 home runs and 98 RBI while settling in at second base after previously manning shortstop.


    Top Prospect: Jose Miranda (Tier 1)

    Miranda played all over the infield last year while hitting .344/.401/.572 with 32 doubles, 30 home runs and 94 RBI in 127 games between Double-A and Triple-A. Second base and third base are both possible long-term positions, though a super-utility role may ultimately be the best way to get his bat into the lineup on a regular basis.


    Five-Year Prediction: Polanco (2022-25), Miranda (2026)

New York Mets

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    Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

    Present: Jeff McNeil (Age: 30)

    McNeil has rebounded nicely from a disappointing 2021 season, hitting .348/.408/.483 for a 165 OPS+ through his first 26 games. The 30-year-old is a career .302 hitter in five MLB seasons, and with club control through the 2024 season, he could be a potential extension candidate in the coming years if he continues to be a batting title contender.


    Top Prospect: Carlos Cortes (Tier 3)

    The Mets need to sort out where shortstop Ronny Mauricio and third basemen Brett Baty and Mark Vientos will fit long-term, especially considering Francisco Lindor is not going anywhere from the left side of the infield. It's possible Mauricio moves to third base and both Baty and Vientos shift to the outfield, assuming everyone stays put. Amid all of those moving parts, Cortes is a power-over-average second baseman with surprising pop packed into his 5'7" frame.


    Five-Year Prediction: McNeil (2022-24), free agent (2025-26)

New York Yankees

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    Gleyber Torres
    Gleyber TorresErick W. Rasco/Getty Images

    Present: Gleyber Torres (Age: 25)

    Torres has turned in back-to-back disappointing seasons since his 38-homer, 3.0-WAR season at the age of 22 in 2019, but he's still young enough to right the ship. A move off shortstop and back to second base where he is better suited defensively could help, and with club control through 2024 he still has a few years before he hits the open market.


    Top Prospect: Oswald Peraza (Tier 1)

    Peraza has all the necessary defensive tools to play shortstop, but all signs point to that position being occupied by Anthony Volpe for the foreseeable future once he arrives in the big leagues. The 21-year-old Peraza hit .297/.356/.477 with 46 extra-base hits and 38 steals while reaching Triple-A last year, and he could see the big leagues before 2022 is over.


    Five-Year Prediction: Torres (2022-24), Peraza (2025-26)

Oakland Athletics

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    Tony Kemp
    Tony KempThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Present: Tony Kemp (Age: 30)

    Kemp quietly had a 3.4-WAR season last year while splitting his time between second base and left field, and his value was largely driven by his on-base ability as he posted a .382 on-base percentage with more walks (52) than strikeouts (51) in 397 plate appearances. He has one more year of club control in 2023, but as is the case with anyone on the Athletics roster, he could be traded before he reaches free agency.


    Top Prospect: Euribiel Angeles (Tier 3)

    Acquired from the Padres in the deal that sent Sean Manaea to San Diego just before the start of the 2022 season, Angeles hit .330/.392/.445 with 36 extra-base hits and 19 steals in 105 games last year between Single-A and High-A prior to his 20th birthday. Fellow prospect Nick Allen made his MLB debut in mid-April at second base, but shortstop is his long-term home.


    Five-Year Prediction: Kemp (2022-23), Angeles (2024-26)

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Jean Segura
    Jean SeguraMitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Present: Jean Segura (Age: 32)

    Segura has five 3-WAR seasons over the course of his 11-year career, and he has been a perennial threat for a .300 average and 20 steals since breaking out and earning an All-Star berth during the 2013 season with the Milwaukee Brewers. That said, his $17 million club option for 2023 is steep, and the Phillies could opt instead for a $1 million buyout. Utility man Nick Maton could serve as a stopgap if they do decide to buy him out.


    Top Prospect: Luis Garcia (Tier 3)

    After a terrific pro debut, Garcia hit .186 with 132 strikeouts in 127 games at Single-A in 2019, and he has yet to advance beyond the High-A level. The 21-year-old still has significant upside, and he is young enough that he has not fallen behind the developmental curve, so he may yet be the second baseman of the future.


    Five-Year Prediction: Segura (2022), Maton (2023), Garcia (2024-26)

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Nick Gonzales
    Nick GonzalesJill Weisleder/Getty Images

    Present: Josh VanMeter (Age: 27)

    The Pirates acquired VanMeter from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for low-level pitching prospect Listher Sosa prior to the 2022 season, and he has been the primary second baseman so far, with Diego Castillo, Michael Chavis, Cole Tucker and Hoy Park also seeing time at the position. All of those players fit best in utility roles on contending teams.


    Top Prospect: Nick Gonzales (Tier 1)

    Gonzales hit an absurd .448/.610/1.155 in 82 plate appearances during his junior season at New Mexico State before going No. 7 overall in the 2020 draft. He raked at High-A in his pro debut and then hit .380/.483/.549 in the Arizona Fall League. With a 65-grade hit tool, solid power and the defensive tools to be a solid second baseman, he looks like a future cornerstone in Pittsburgh.


    Five-Year Prediction: VanMeter (2022), Gonzales (2023-26)

San Diego Padres

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    Jake Cronenworth
    Jake CronenworthDylan Buell/Getty Images

    Present: Jake Cronenworth (Age: 28)

    The NL Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2020 and a 4.8-WAR player and first-time All-Star last year, Cronenworth has been a pleasant surprise for the Padres since coming over in the Hunter Renfroe-for-Tommy Pham swap. The late-bloomer is controllable through the 2025 season, and while he's capable of playing all over the infield, second base is his for the time being.


    Top Prospect: Jackson Merrill (Tier 3)

    The No. 27 pick in the 2021 draft, Merrill is hitting .393/.452/.518 with five extra-base hits and four steals in 13 games at Single-A. The 19-year-old was drafted as a shortstop, but with Fernando Tatis Jr. and C.J. Abrams also vying for playing time at that position, he could eventually shift to second base if he continues to impress at the plate.


    Five-Year Prediction: Cronenworth (2022-25), Merrill (2026)

San Francisco Giants

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    Thairo Estrada
    Thairo EstradaDiamond Images/Getty Images

    Present: Thairo Estrada (Age: 26)

    Acquired from the New York Yankees in exchange for cash considerations shortly after Opening Day in 2021, Estrada went 10-for-25 with two home runs during 2022 spring training to win the starting second base job with Tommy La Stella on the injured list. He has an 80 OPS+ through 99 plate appearances, and his long-term role is likely as a utility infielder.


    Top Prospect: Will Wilson (Tier 3)

    Just a few months after he was taken by the Los Angeles Angels with the No. 15 overall in the 2019 draft, Wilson was traded to the Giants in exchange for San Francisco eating the remainder of Zack Cozart's contract. He has shown a power-over-average offensive profile thus far, but if he can make more consistent contact he could be the future at second base.


    Five-Year Prediction: Estrada (2022), La Stella (2023), Wilson (2024-26)

Seattle Mariners

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    Adam Frazier
    Adam FrazierSteph Chambers/Getty Images

    Present: Adam Frazier (Age: 30)

    The Mariners acquired Frazier from the San Diego Padres prior to the start of the season, and he's set to reach free agency for the first time in his career this coming winter. After years as a useful super-utility player, he had a huge first half last year and started the All-Star Game at second base, but his production dipped after the break. Assuming he walks, 2021 deadline pickup Abraham Toro is the top in-house option to replace him.


    Top Prospect: Edwin Arroyo (Tier 3)

    The top player out of Puerto Rico in the 2021 draft class, Arroyo went No. 48 overall and signed for a $1.65 million bonus. He struggled at the plate after signing, but he has the athleticism and upside to develop into a top prospect in the coming years. With J.P. Crawford locked in at shortstop and Noelvi Marte also rising the ranks, a shift to second base seems logical.


    Five-Year Prediction: Frazier (2022), Toro (2023-26)

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Tommy Edman
    Tommy EdmanDylan Buell/Getty Images

    Present: Tommy Edman (Age: 26)

    Edman did a solid job replacing Kolten Wong as the Cardinals' starting second baseman and leadoff hitter last year, tallying 168 hits, 30 steals and 91 runs scored, but his .308 on-base percentage left something to be desired. The former utility player is now hitting .325/.429/.494 with seven extra-base hits and six steals in 24 games, and he's controllable through the 2025 season. The Cardinals have not been shy about giving out early extensions over the years.


    Top Prospect: Nolan Gorman (Tier 1)

    The Cardinals shifted Gorman from third base to second base after Nolan Arenado was acquired prior to last season, and with a 1.067 OPS and 11 home runs in 22 games at Triple-A, he has nothing left to prove in the minors offensively. His immediate role will likely be as a left-handed hitting platoon partner to Albert Pujols in the DH role, and as long as Edman keeps hitting, that could be his long-term spot.


    Five-Year Prediction: Edman (2022-26)

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Brandon Lowe
    Brandon LoweLachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    Present: Brandon Lowe (Age: 27)

    After a 43-game debut in 2018, the Rays signed Lowe to a six-year, $24 million extension that includes club options for 2025 and 2026. He had a 141 OPS+ with 31 doubles, 39 home runs and 4.7 WAR last year, and has finished in the top 10 in AL MVP voting each of the past two seasons. Depending on how things play out with prospects Vidal Brujan and Xavier Edwards, he could shift into the DH role down the road.


    Top Prospect: Vidal Brujan (Tier 1)

    With a 55-hit, 70-speed profile, Brujan profiles as an impact top-of-the-order threat offensively, though his long-term defensive home is still up in the air. He has seen time at second base and shortstop, and for the first time last year he played outfield. If Edwards can show enough offensively, he could line up at second base with Brujan in center field, but for now he looks more like a utility player.


    Five-Year Prediction: Lowe (2022-23), Brujan (2024-26)

Texas Rangers

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    Marcus Semien
    Marcus SemienMitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Present: Marcus Semien (Age: 31)

    The Rangers gave Semien a seven-year, $175 million deal during the offseason after he posted a 131 OPS+ with 39 doubles, 45 home runs and 102 RBI in a 7.3-WAR season while finishing third in AL MVP voting and winning Silver Slugger and Gold Glove honors. He has been one of the league's biggest disappointments in the early going, but he has plenty of time to get on track.


    Top Prospect: Ezequiel Duran (Tier 2)

    Duran was the centerpiece of the return package in the deal that sent Joey Gallo to the New York Yankees last summer. The 22-year-old posted an .827 OPS with 22 doubles, 19 home runs, 79 RBI and 19 steals in 105 games at High-A last year, and he is one of the top prospects in the Texas farm system. However, with Semien and Corey Seager locked into the middle infield spots, it's unclear how he fits into the long-term plans. Justin Foscue is another second base prospect to know.


    Five-Year Prediction: Semien (2022-26)

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Santiago Espinal
    Santiago EspinalVaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Present: Santiago Espinal (Age: 27)

    Thrust into regular action at third base last year, Espinal hit .311 in 246 plate appearances and tallied 2.5 WAR in 92 games. With Marcus Semien gone in free agency and Matt Chapman acquired from the Oakland Athletics, Espinal is now playing second base and looking more and more like a legitimate long-term piece in Toronto. The 27-year-old is controllable through the 2026 season.


    Top Prospect: Otto Lopez (Tier 2)

    It's possible Orelvis Martinez or Jordan Groshans could get a look at second base, though third base is a much better fit for them defensively if they move away from shortstop. That could mean Lopez is the second baseman of the future, though his defensive versatility might be best served in a utility role.


    Five-Year Prediction: Espinal (2022-26)

Washington Nationals

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    Luis Garcia
    Luis GarciaRob Leiter/Getty Images

    Present: Cesar Hernandez (Age: 31)

    The Nationals signed Hernandez to a one-year, $4 million deal during the offseason to serve as a stopgap at second base after he slugged a career-high 21 home runs last season. The 31-year-old is a solid source of power, speed and defense, though one with obvious limitations. Bringing him back on another one-year deal is not out of the question.


    Top Prospect: Sammy Infante (Tier 3)

    Luis Garcia is no longer a prospect, but he may well be the second baseman of the future for the Nationals, and he's hitting .351/.406/.650 with six home runs and 16 RBI in 23 games at Triple-A this year. Looking further down the minor league ranks, Infante has some intriguing upside after going in the second round of the 2020 draft.


    Five-Year Prediction: Hernandez (2022), Garcia (2023-26)


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs and through May 5.