Rally and Sackmann (sounds like a detective show) have given us TotalZone stats for minor leaguers, which can be found at position players' pages at Minor League Splits. Sackmann provided the data, Rally created TotalZone, which he has long used with major league players. For a full explanation on how reliable these stats and how they translate to the majors, you can read here. Over the past couple of days we've looked at shortstops and center fielders, this time we'll check out the keystoners.
Charted below are the consensus top second baseman in the minors. Just a quick word about this class: It's quite weak.
|Eric Young Jr.||COL||23||AA||230||305||11||16|
|Tony Thomas Jr.||CHC||21||A+||249||317||19||27|
- After the trade to Oakland, Adrian Cardenas played more games at shortstop than at second. In his career he has a -3 at SS and -5 at 2B. He's a middle infielder, but at which position is yet to be determined.
- Matt Antonelli went from being "can't miss" to "swing and a miss", as he got all out of sorts with his swing in AAA last year. He still has a patient approach and he believes he pinpointed the problems with his swing, so he may reassert himself into top prospect status. He played third in college but has converted to second, and hasn't really adjusted, posting a -17 over three seasons in the minors.
- Chris Coghlan may be flying under the radar. He's not a real power threat, but he can hit. In his last two seasons, he has wOBA+'s of 122 and 112. This was his first season where his defense is a plus.
Luis Valbuena came to Cleveland from Seattle in that three team, 12-player swap that included J.J. Putz. He posted a .380 OBP last season between AA and AAA, and is a pretty nifty defender, with +43 runs through '05-'08. Asdrubal Cabrera should start looking over his shoulder.
- E-Yo 2.0 looks like a carbon copy of E-Yo 1.0 - A speedy, small ball type of player that can reach base at a reasonable clip. His scouting report says that defense is his biggest challenge, but the numbers disagree, he's a +21 defender over '05-'08 and had his best season in '08. The Rockies seem intent to move him to CF, which looks like a mistake, but his future is as a utility player, so having him play some infield and outfield won't hurt him. I look forward to seeing Jr. on Baseball Tonight some time in the 2020's.
Tony Thomas Jr. had the best TZ of any 2B last season and is an interesting sleeper. He was an outstanding hitter in college in and short-season ball last year, but struggled to find his stroke last year in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. If he could just be close to average with that bat, he ought to be a nice asset. CHONE projects he'd be a +1 win defender per 150 games in the big leagues this year.