MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2020 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.
The 2019 season was another good one in terms of second base prospects making an impact in the big leagues.
Last year’s list saw a pair of players -- Brandon Lowe and Cavan Biggio -- get American League Rookie of the Year votes. Four others -- Keston Hiura, Luis Urías, Garrett Hampson and Isan Díaz -- joined them in getting enough playing time to graduate off of the list. Two others moved off the list because of performance and position changes, so this year’s second baseman rankings have a brand new look, starting with No. 1 Brendan Rodgers, who slid over to the list in-season, when it became clear that the keystone was his main defensive home.
The two holdovers are impressive, though. The White Sox’s Nick Madrigal, who played across three levels and reached Triple-A in his first full season moves up to No. 2, while Rays infielder Vidal Brujan speeds up to No. 3.
The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Brendan Rodgers, Rockies (2020)
2. Nick Madrigal, White Sox (2020)
3. Vidal Brujan, Rays (2020)
4. Xavier Edwards, Rays (2022)
5. Nick Solak, Rangers (2020)
6. Michael Busch, Dodgers (2022)
7. Aaron Bracho, Indians (2022)
8. Chase Strumpf, Cubs (2022)
9. Ji-Hwan Bae, Pirates (2022)
10. Andy Young, D-backs (2020)
Complete list »
Hit: Madrigal (70)
He doesn’t just have the best hit tool among second basemen, he might be the best pure hitter among all prospects. He struck out in just three percent (that’s not a misprint) of his plate appearances across three levels of the Minors during his first full season in 2019. That led to a .311 average, and he’s hit .309 in his brief career (to go along with a .371 on-base percentage).
Power: Rodgers, Busch (55)
Rodgers, who has incredible bat speed, had his power start showing up in 2018 and he clearly enjoyed hitting in Triple-A Albuquerque last year before his callup. Rockies fans will have to wait for him to come back from shoulder surgery before he can show it off at Coors Field. Busch is just getting started as a 2019 draftee, but hit 33 homers over his final two years at North Carolina. His advanced approach at the plate allows him to wait for good pitches to drive.
Run: Brujan, Edwards, Bae (70)
Combined, this trio stole 113 bases in 2019, with Brujan leading the way with 48 steals across two levels. All have the chance to sit at or near the top of the lineup as table-setting catalysts and all three use their speed defensively as infielders who have seen time on both sides of second base up the middle.
Arm: Rodgers, Brujan (55)
Rodgers might get the edge here if he comes all the way back from labrum surgery as he showed a plus arm that worked well from the hole at shortstop prior to his injury. Brujan’s arm is more solid than plus, but he showed he can make throws from the left side of the infield as well in 2019.
Field: Madrigal (60)
While Madrigal only struck out 16 times in 2019, he also made just four errors in 108 games at second. He has excellent range, hands and instincts, all which point to a future as Gold Glove caliber defender at the position.
Highest ceiling: Rodgers
The former No. 3 overall pick has been slowed by injuries and is rehabbing his shoulder after last year’s labrum surgery, but has the best chance of anyone on this list to become a middle-of-the-order, elite-level player. With the skills to play three infield positions, he also has considerable upside defensively at second.
Highest floor: Madrigal
With his ridiculous feel to hit and knowledge of the strike zone, combined with his instincts and off the charts IQ, would anyone bet against Madrigal becoming at the very least a solid big league contributor soon?
Rookie of the Year candidate: Madrigal
He made it to Triple-A in his first full season and he doesn’t have much else to prove in the Minors. Plus, the White Sox don’t have anyone entrenched at second in the big leagues standing in his way.
Highest riser: Bracho
A big signing by the Indians in the 2017-18 international market, Bracho missed 2018 because of a broken arm. He wasn’t ranked on Cleveland’s Top 30 at the start of the 2019 season, but he jumped on the scene in a hurry with a 1.009 OPS in the rookie-level Arizona League in his professional, and United States, debut, leading to his climb to No. 13 on the Indians’ rankings by season’s end.
Humblest beginning: Brujan
The 2014-15 international signing period was headlined by huge signings like Yoán Moncada ($31.5 million) and three other bonuses of $8 million or more. On the other end of the spectrum was Brujan, who signed with the Rays for just $15,000 in October 2014. His methodical climb up the ladder led to a spot on the 40-man roster this offseason.
Most to prove: Rodgers
If it weren’t for the injury, he’d have graduated off of prospect lists. But the combination of his rough big league debut and labrum surgery all mean he’ll have to show people he’s as good as advertised once he’s 100 percent healthy.
Keep an eye on: Tyler Callihan
Most scouts liked Callihan’s left-handed bat as the 2019 Draft approached, but they weren’t sure where he’d play defensively. The Reds announced him as a second baseman and he saw time there and at third during his pro debut. He’ll primarily be at second during his first full season, though he’ll keep seeing some time at the hot corner.