The beat marched on yesterday over at MLB Pipeline, where they have been releasing their lists of baseball's top prospects by position over the last few days. Last night they released their list of the best young second baseman headlined by Cuban slugger Yoan Moncada of the Red Sox. You may remember that the Brewers were involved in the bidding for Moncada last summer but their offer ended up falling far short of the Red Sox incredible $31.5 mil guarantee, a record bonus for an international amateur.
Joining Moncada on the list were Jose Peraza, Ian Happ, Forrest Wall, Alex Blandino, Alen Hanson, Micah Johnson, Tony Kemp, Rob Refsnyder, and Scott Kingery. The NL Central was very well represented with Peraza and Blandino in the Reds organization, Happ representing the Cubs, and Hanson as a member of the Pirates.
The Brewers were not fortunate enough to have any representatives on this list, but that lack of star power doesn't necessarily mean they are lacking for solid depth at the position. Milwaukee has two young MLB'ers in Scooter Gennett and Jonathan Villar who figure to share time platooning at the position during the upcoming season. Both have shown the capability of being above-average contributors offensively for the position but have been plagued by inconsistency during their young careers.
Milwaukee also has Rule 5 draftee Colin Walsh on the roster, who is experienced at second base and has shown the capability of playing all over the field in the minor leagues. Walsh has an extremely disciplined approach and walked 124 times in 134 games in AA last season, or a whopping 20% of the time. Heading into his age-26 season it's likely Walsh's ceiling is more of a utility/bench type player than anything else, but he could still prove to be valuable in that role.
Down on the farm, Javier Betancourt was acquired as a part of the deal that sent K-Rod to Detroit earlier this offseason and is probably their top prospect at second base. He has the potential to become an above average defender at second base and consistently makes hard contact with the ball. He doesn't walk much but he also rarely strikes out, and if his hit tool develops to its full potential he could become an average MLB starting second baseman. He'll likely start the season in AA.
Beyond Betancourt, Yadiel Rivera is another prospect who could figure into the picture at second base. He's played plenty of shortstop coming up through the minors and is an outstanding defender, but also worked at second base last season while sharing the infield with star prospect Orlando Arcia in Biloxi. Rivera's ability with the bat might best be described as anemic, so it's more likely that if he has a long-term role with the club it's as a glove-first utility player.
Nate Orf played mostly third base for AA Biloxi in 2015, but he also has experience all over the diamond and could be an intriguing name to keep an eye on as a utility infielder. Christopher McFarland finished second in the Florida State League in hits while playing second base for the high-A Brevard County Manatees last season. 2015 fifth round senior-sign Blake Allemand got some work at the keystone in Appleton and could be a quick riser through the system thanks to his defensive versatility and advanced approach at the plate.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs