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Deep Dive: Second Base Edition, Part 4

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A snapshot of the top free agent second basemen, as well as the best projected keystone players in next year’s draft

Bru Crew: Chase Strumpf from UCLA should be one of the best second basemen available in the upcoming draft.
@CStrumpf

“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the White Sox organization. Each position will be a four-part series:

  1. Depth in the lower levels (Dominican through Kannapolis)
  2. Depth in the higher levels (Winston-Salem through Charlotte)
  3. Under the Radar-type detail on one of the White Sox players at that position
  4. Free-agent options at that position, plus sneak peeks into available players in the upcoming 2019 MLB Draft.

So, finally, let’s take a look at free agent second basemen, as well as second sackers who could be available in the first few rounds of the upcoming MLB draft.

Free Agents

With Yoan Moncada penciled in as next year’s starter, and three others who could man the position in case of injury (Jose Rondon, Yolmer Sanchez, and Leury Garcia), second base wouldn’t seem to be a position of need in next year’s draft. However, for curiosity’s sake, what’s out there in this year’s free agent class?

(age as of April 1, 2019)

Jed Lowrie
Oakland Athletics
2018 bWAR: 4.8
Slash/power: .267/.353/.448, with 23 HR and 99 RBIs
Age: 34

The A’s could still try to re-sign him, and Lowrie’s coming off a career season in nearly all categories. It’s also possible the A’s could give him a qualifying offer, which if that were the case, would mean anybody acquiring him would have to surrender a draft pick.

D.J. LeMahieu
Colorado Rockies
2018 bWAR: 3.0
Slash/power: .276/.321/.428, with 15 HR and 62 RBIs
Age: 30

LeMahieu is considered a high-average hitter with a solid glove, who also stole six bases in 2018. Attained a career-high in homers, but average fell a bit (career BA & OBP are .298 and .350 respectively). It’s possible the Rockies could give him a qualifying offer also.

Ian Kinsler
Boston Red Sox
2018 bWAR: 2.4
Slash/power: .240/.301/.380, with 14 homers and 48 RBIs
Age: 36

Solid defensive player, but likely won’t be given qualifying offer due to his age and declining offense. He should eclipse the 250 HR/250 SB marks next year.

Daniel Descalso
Arizona Diamondbacks
2018 bWAR: 1.0
Slash/power: .238/.353/.436, with 13 HR and 57 RBIs
Age: 32

Descalso had a pretty solid season at the plate. Also played first base, third base, and left field.

Brian Dozier
Los Angeles Dodgers
2018 bWAR: 1.0
Slash/power: .215/.305/.391, with 21 HR and 72 RBIs
Age: 31

Dozier struggled for the Twins and Dodgers this year, but did steal 12 bases. Easily eclipsed 25 homers each year from 2015-17.

Asdrubal Cabrera
Philadelphia Phillies
2018 bWAR: 0.7
Slash/power: .262/.316/.458, with 23 HR and 75 RBIs
Age: 33

Solid offensive year, but not the greatest defensively. Also played shortstop and third base.

Josh Harrison
Pittsburgh Pirates
2018 bWAR: 0.3
Slash/power: .250/.293/.363, with eight HR and 37 RBIs
Age: 31

Numbers dropped considerably after a solid 2017 with the Bucs. Also played third base.

Neil Walker
New York Yankees
2018 bWAR: -0.1
Slash/power: .219/.30/.354, with 11 homers and 46 RBIs
Age: 33

Numbers fell well below career norms. Also played both corner infield and outfield spots.

Logan Forsythe
Minnesota Twins
2018 bWAR: -0.1
Slash/power: .232/.313/.291, with two homers and 27 RBIs
Age: 32

Had a couple good years with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015 and 2016, but not much since. Also played first base, third base, and left field.

Daniel Murphy
Chicago Cubs
2018 bWAR: -0.9
Slash/power: .299/.336/.454, with 12 homers and 42 RBIs
Age: 34

Murphy also played first base this year. Calling him a mediocre defensive player may be too kind, but his offense could be worth a look as a DH for an AL squad.

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2019 MLB Draft prospects

I will be doing a more comprehensive list next year, so this is just a preliminary look at second basemen the White Sox could draft in the first round and beyond. The number in parentheses before the name is where FanGraphs ranked each player as of October 21. Of course, players may move up or down the charts depending upon how well they do in various offseason tournaments and upcoming collegiate/prep seasons. Because the White Sox tend to go with college players, I’ll list five college options and just one prep to consider. I don’t believe the White Sox will go with a fifth round pick or higher at second base with this draft, but of course, I could be wrong.

College

(19) Braden Shewmake
6´4´´
180 pounds
School: Texas A&M

Shewmake can play any infield position, but started all 61 games at shortstop for Texas A&M last spring. He’s been an extremely consistent hitter in the SEC, posting a combined .327/.384/.492 slash line over two seasons. Shewmake does have good plate discipline, walking and striking out just 21 times (7.72%) in 2018. He’s got the build of a third baseman, and one would assume he’s capable of 20-plus homers per season. With 12 stolen bases in 2018, Shewmake has the speed to profile at any of the outfield positions as well.

(41) Chase Strumpf
6´1´´
195 pounds
School: UCLA

Stumpf has also played outfield in his collegiate career with UCLA, and if the Sox were to draft him, that’s probably where he’d play. He had a solid sophomore season with the Bruins in 2018, slashing .363/.475/.633, with 12 homers, 53 RBIs, 45 walks (16.1%) and 53 strikeouts (18.9%). He’s not a threat to steal bases, so if he does play outfield, it would most likely be as a left fielder.

(45) Will Wilson
6´0´´
175 pounds
School: North Carolina State

Wilson is listed in most scouting reports as a shortstop, but like Stumpf, he profiles best as a second baseman due to his lack of speed. Wilson has been consistently good in his first two seasons with the Wolfpack, slashing .303/.377/.546, with 23 homers, 101 RBIs, three stolen bases, 52 walks (9.5%) and 91 strikeouts (16.7%). His plate discipline improved last year, and if that trend continues, should be drafted within the first two or three rounds. He’d be an offensive-minded second baseman, with a reasonable comp being Daniel Murphy.

(50) Michael Massey
6´1´´
185 pounds
School: Illinois

Massey slashed .326/.369/.514, with 17 doubles, three triples, and six homers for the Illini in the 2018 season. He’s primarily played shortstop in his prep (Brother Rice H.S.) and college careers, but he seems to profile better as a second baseman due to his lack of overall speed, having stolen just six bases to date.

Cameron Cannon
5´11´´
175 pounds
School: Arizona

Cameron slashed .321/.427/.549, with eight homers, 50 RBIs, seven stolen bases, 37 walks and 22 strikeouts in 2018 for the Wildcats. His plate discipline is excellent, and is considered a gap hitter. There has been some thought to moving him to third base or shortstop, but I truly believe he’s best suited in the professional game as a second baseman.

High School

Sanson Faltine III
6´1´´
185 pounds
School: Fort Bend Travis H.S., Richmond, Texas
Verbal commitment: Texas

PerfectGame lists Faltine as 6´3´´, while Baseball America has him at 6´1´´. I believe Faltine profiles better as a shortstop or outfielder if he is in fact taller than 6´1´´. He’s not particularly polished defensively, according to Baseball America, so either second base or left field may end up being the ideal position for him. According to PerfectGame, he has 6.53 speed, with great athleticism as a middle infielder.

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Summary

For what it’s worth, the need to go after a free agent second baseman is very slight due to the depth in the major league squad and the upper levels of the minor leagues. The team also has plenty of depth in the lower levels, including Camilo Quinteiro and Amado Nunez. If they do decide to draft a second baseman, it likely will be beyond the top five rounds — probably somewhere between the 10th and 15th.