College second basemen selected in the first 20 rounds of the MLB Draft need to show exceptional ability in one of three offensive categories – power, plate discipline, or speed. I know, I was shocked to find out that big league clubs value those things as well. A quick study of early round college second basemen shows that 78% of college 2B taken in the top 20 rounds over the past three years showed standout skills in one of the three aforementioned areas.
I haven’t looked at the numbers from 2010, but that 78% figure runs from 2007-2009. The unscientific standards that I used for power, plate discipline, and speed were: power = minimum .550 SLG, plate discipline = more walks than strikeouts, and speed = 20+ stolen bases. Here’s how this year’s class ranked:
All 3 benchmarks reached: Wong – Michael – MacPhee
2 of 3 reached: LaStella – Medrano – Peterson – Patton – Johnson – Spangenberg
1 of 3 reached: Wright – Werman – Paolini – Wittels – Muno – Berti – Riley – Gamache – Wilson – Wychock – Pena
0 reached: Jensen – Schwind – Luciano – Jones – Black – Puhl – Heffley
Not enough at bats to qualify: Terry – Winn – Holland
I didn’t realize any of that before making my list, so it’s pretty interesting to see the top three on my personal list just so happened to be the only three players to hit on all three statistical benchmarks. Looking back on that 2007-2009 pool of players, the best player during the “study” was Miami JR 2B Jemile Weeks. Weeks put up a junior year line of 363/.452/.641 with a BB/K ratio of 35/38 and stole 22 bases in 23 tries. Compare the following lines [Draft Year – Player: BA/OBP/SLG (BB/K) (SB/SBA)]:
2008 Weeks: 363/452/641 (35/38) (22/23)
2010 Wong: 438/507/657 (37/19) (20/27)
2010 Michael: 374/509/621 (48/24) (22/24)
2010 MacPhee: 380/483/647 (42/36) (20/24)
2010 LaStella: 388/471/659 (34/14) (6/6)
2010 Wright: 370/418/642 (21/25) (10/11)
2010 Medrano: 443/512/614 (31/24) (17/19)
There is more to amateur player evaluation than just numbers, of course. Wong and Michael absolutely have scouting reports on par with the junior year version of Weeks. I’d argue for MacPhee at or near the same point, but that might be just me. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: 2011 is a great draft for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the outstanding quality of collegiate second base prospects. A few quick words on a few other prospects I love…
Joe Terry is one of my favorites. Here’s what I wrote about him last year:
Terry is the quintessential hitting machine who finds a way to make hard contact darn near every time he steps to the plate. He does more than just hit, however; Terry is also an above-average runner with a strong arm who, despite appearing to fight his body sometimes in the field, should settle in as at least an average second baseman with the help of professional coaching. He reinvented himself somewhat in 2010 sacrificing some power for a more patient approach.
Terry has good speed, a strong arm, and a really quick bat. As mentioned, his defense has been questioned in the past, but reports from Fullerton this fall were very favorable. This comparison isn’t perfect, but in terms of potential upside and positional versatility, Terry could have a career that looks a little like Bill Hall’s.
Peterson is a really underrated prospect that has the crazy athleticism of a former football star with the refined plate approach of a professional. With proper coaching, he has definite big league starter upside. Jensen, Johnson, and Werman all have played around the diamond and have shown enough aptitude at various positions to profile as potential utility guys. If Joe Terry is the Taylor Ard of second basemen (junior college transfers on the pro radar for years who are finally playing major college ball), Corey Spangenberg is the Jamie Bruno (prospects in limbo awaiting transfers to big programs). Spangenberg is going to Miami next fall unless a pro team takes a chance on him this June. Maybe it is just the Miami connection clouding my judgment, but I could see a possible Scott Lawson comp here.