There is a lot of strength in second base in the minor leagues and a plus hit tool seems to be the popular tool. Keston Hiura and Nick Madrigal lead the list and both have double-plus hit tools with the ceiling of a .300 hitter and a .400 OBP. Garrett Hampson isn’t far behind and both Hampson and Madrigal have plus speed and could also steal 30 plus bases annually.
Luis Urias will be a fine player but from a fantasy standpoint, he lacks both above-average speed and power which will limit his appeal to owners.
Two Tampa Bay second baseman make the list in Brandon Lowe and Nick Solak. While Lowe might get a lot of time at the keystone in 2019, watch out for Solak. He had a very nice season last year with an intriguing speed-power combination.
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Keston Hiura is a hitting machine that should hit his way to the Major Leagues sometime in 2019. While he’ll have speed early in his career, as he fills out, the speed will regress. That shouldn’t matter as he could hit .300 with 20 home runs annually.
You can argue that Nick Madrigal should be higher on this list. He’s a plus runner and plus hitter, but for the moment, doesn’t have much power. Sources have told me that the White Sox want to add some loft to his swing. Regardless, he could be a Top 10 fantasy second baseman, perhaps more.
Garrett Hampson is a sneaky good player. He can hit with plus speed that should allow him to steal 30 plus stolen bases in the Majors. He’s projected to be in an odd share at second base with Ryan McMahon but long-term, I think he secures the job or moves to center field.
I still don’t know how good of a fantasy player Luis Urias is going to be. He’s a plus hitter a good defender but only has average power and speed. Bid accordingly.
I’m a Jahmai Jones apologist but do understand last year looked bad. I can argue that it wasn’t and encourage you to read my detailed write-up. Even if you’re shaking your head, don’t give up, there is just too much talent here.
Vidal Brujan stole 55 bases, hit nine home runs with an OBP of .403 last season. Yeah, he’s pretty good.
Many people who read this site are fantasy owners. Luis Rengifo is a great name for those players. He can really hit and stole 41 bases across three levels last year. Better yet, he’s nearly ready to contribute at the highest level.
Brandon Lowe had a breakout season in 2018 and ended the year getting significant playing time in Tampa Bay. While he strikes out too much, he does have a little pop and speed with the ability to work a count.
Kevin Smith had a nice breakout season in 2018 showing more pop than originally thought. In fact, across Low and High-A, he was one of the few 25-25 performers in the minor leagues (25 HRs and 29 SBs)
Jeter Downs was moved to the Dodgers as part of the Matt Kemp trade during the off-season. There will always be questions with this hit tool, but if it all comes together, he could be an impact performer with 20-20 upside.
11. Nick Solak (TB)
All Nick Solak did last year was post a .834 OPS with 19 home runs and 21 stolen bases in Double-A. Don’t be surprised if you see him in Tampa Bay sometime during the second half of 2019.
12. Shed Long (Sea)
Signed originally by the Reds, Shed Long is now the property of the Mariners. As with a lot of prospects, he’s tooled up with questions around his ability to make consistent contact.
13. Isan Diaz (Mia)
Isan Diaz is getting close to the big leagues with a little bit of pop and speed. I see his upside as a second division starter and given he plays for the Marlins, that fits.
He’s only 19-years-old, but Tucupita Marcano is already showing a feel to hit with plus speed. Plus, he’s a Padre so that immediately makes him interesting.
I’m not a believer but he’s got the bloodlines and should get a chance at some point in Toronto.