MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.
There has been quite a bit of turnover from last year to the 2016 edition of the Top 10 second-base prospects, with six new names joining the list, thanks to two graduations and four who dropped off the list.
Top 10 Prospects by Position
The top two from last year, Jose Peraza and Micah Johnson, are still here, albeit with different organizations and in different spots. The top spot is now occupied by the Red Sox's prized acquisition from Cuba, Yoan Moncada, who received $31.5 million to sign with Boston last March, and has as much upside as any second baseman in memory.
In addition to the international import, two players join the list courtesy of the 2015 Draft, while another two are making the move from shortstop.
1. Yoan Moncada, Red Sox
The Red Sox went all in for the Cuban import last March, spending $63 million between the young infielder's bonus and the ensuing international spending overage penalty fee. After a slow start to his debut, Moncada turned it on in the second half as a 20-year-old in the South Atlantic League. He has the potential to do just about everything offensively extremely well.
2. Jose Peraza, Reds
Last year's No. 1 on this list, Peraza's star has faded a tiny bit, partially because of a .694 OPS in the Minors in 2015. He was valued enough to be traded twice in the span of five months in large three-team deals. Now Peraza is looking for an opportunity in Cincinnati with Brandon Phillips still hanging around. It may come as a super-utility type for the time being so the Reds can get him into the lineup.
3. Ian Happ, Cubs
It was another Draft and another college bat taken in the first round by the Chicago Cubs. The first two worked out pretty well (Kris Bryant in 2013 and Kyle Schwarber in '14), and while no one should expect that kind of ascent for Happ, the University of Cincinnati standout can do a lot with the bat. He last played second as a freshman in college, and it wasn't pretty, so the jury is still out whether he can stick on the dirt or if he will have to move back to the outfield.
4. Forrest Wall, Rockies
Despite being limited to just playing second base coming out of high school because of some shoulder issues, Wall was taken No. 35 overall in the 2014 Draft because he can really hit and he can really run. As a pro, he's been as advertised, hitting for average, showing extra-base pop (with more possibly to come) and stealing bases. Wall is only going to get better offensively as he learns the nuances, which should help offset any throwing-related defensive inefficiencies.
5. Alex Blandino, Reds
Blandino was primarily a third baseman at Stanford before being a part of an outstanding class of college hitters in the 2014 Draft. He played shortstop for a year before starting to try second on for size late in '15 and into the Arizona Fall League. It should be a good fit for the natural leader, and Blandino's advanced approach at the plate should allow him to hit his way to the big leagues soon.
6. Alen Hanson, Pirates
There's no question Hanson has considerable tools. He can hit for average, has some extra-base pop, can really run and could be a solid defender at second, a position he really started focusing on in 2015. Consistency and maturity have eluded Hanson at times, allowing glimpses of the dynamic player he can be. He could break in as a super-utility type, seeing time at third, short and even the outfield.
7. Micah Johnson, Dodgers
Don't use Johnson's brief trial as the White Sox's regular second baseman as a measure of who he can be in the big leagues. He may never be more than an adequate defender, but he can hit, he can get on base and he can run, as evidenced by his .301 average, .368 OBP and 153 stolen bases in 385 Minor League games. Perhaps the change of scenery in Los Angeles, courtesy of the three-team trade that brought Todd Frazier from the Reds to Chicago, will help.
8. Tony Kemp, Astros
In another organization, Kemp could be preparing for a shot at winning the second-base job after hitting, getting on base and running his way up to Triple-A in 2015. But the Vanderbilt product is blocked by Jose Altuve, who isn't going anywhere any time soon. Kemp saw some time in the outfield last year and played there in college, so that might be his best ticket to reaching Houston.
9. Rob Refsnyder, Yankees
An outfielder at Arizona, Refsnyder's transition to second base has been slow and steady. It's always encouraging when a solid hitter in the Minors performs well in his big league debut, and that's exactly what Refsnyder did in 2015. Despite that, the Yankees did acquire Starlin Castro from the Cubs this offseason, leaving Refsnyder's future on the right side of the infield in New York in doubt.
10. Scott Kingery, Phillies
Kevin Newman, Kingery's teammate and double-play partner at Arizona, got more of the Draft attention, and he went in the first round to the Pirates. Kingery went a round later after having one of the best seasons in college baseball in 2015, and the Phillies sent him straight to full-season ball. Kingery handled the aggressive assignment well, and his advanced approach and hit tool, to go along with his speed, should allow him to move rather quickly.
The Rays' Ryan Brett was on this Top 10 a year ago, coming in at No. 8. Though he made his big league debut last year, Brett scuffled in Triple-A and missed time with a shoulder injury. He's shown an ability to hit and run throughout his pro career, and he'll try to hit the reset switch this season, playing all year at age 24.
The Dodgers' Willie Calhoun had a ridiculous 2015 season at Yavapai Junior College, hitting 31 homers. It was his bat that landed him in the fourth round of the Draft, and he kept raking during his pro debut. Whether Calhoun can settle in defensively at second remains to be seen, but his offensive ability should not be overlooked.