Hello and welcome back to State of the Farm. There was a one week hiatus last week after we spent the week analyzing the seasons of each affiliate, but State of the Farm is back and
better just as good as ever.
This week, we’ll be taking a look at the second basemen in the system. Things get a little complicated when you look at specific second basemen, because there’s an endless amount of shortstops in the system who are capable of manning the position, but we’ll discuss those guys next week. This week, we are looking at guys in a more permanent role at the position.
Here’s a list of all the prospects who either A) are officially listed as a second baseman or B) played the majority of their games at second base. Remember, Double-A second baseman Tim Lopes was shipped off to Toronto to complete the Pat Venditte trade, so he was omitted. Anyway, the list:
Is this the definitive list of all the potential future second basemen in the organization? Of course not! Several shortstop prospects (who will be covered next week) aren’t likely to stick at the position, so reinforcements are on the way, but for now this is the group.
The Generals’ starting second baseman now plays for Toronto. Dan Robertson played 38 games at second base for Tacoma this year. There are shortstops who are close, but the earliest we see anyone from that list, if ever, is September 2018.
On the Horizon
See: MLB-Ready Group
Way off in the Distance
Now we’re talking. Here’s a look at some of the more noteworthy names on the list:
Greifer Andrade is my favorite prospect of the bunch. He’s just 19, has been consistently strong with the bat, and the move from shortstop to second base should optimize his defensive value. We’ll get a better look at him next year in either Clinton or Everett; up to this point his only challenge has been various rookie leagues.
Jordan Cowan is another fun story from the bunch. After being drafted in the 37th round out of Kentlake High in 2013, Cowan signed with the Mariners and has managed to stick around for four years now. He’s played the part of organizational filler for the most part, filling in holes on rosters throughout the various levels the last couple seasons. Now 21-years-old and seemingly past rookie ball and Low-A stages, he may find things to be a little more concrete in 2017. I expect to see him start out next season in either Modesto or Clinton, where he’ll have the opportunity to prove whether his improved performance at the plate in 2016 was real or not.
Chris Mariscal put up a massive year in his repeat performance in Clinton, posting a 131 wRC+, but the relatively low SLG% and absurdly high BABIP aren’t an ideal combination for optimal future projections. He should be in Modesto next year, but don’t be shocked if he can’t continue putting up similar numbers.
Joe Venturino is a small school guy, a 36th round pick out of Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ. He was phenomenal all four years for Ramapo, hitting .363/.432/.457 with 73 walks and 48 strikeouts. His college coach showered him with praise after he was selected:
Joe Venturino has been the heart and soul of this program for the past 4 years. His accomplishments on the field have been a major part of an unprecedented run of success never before experienced in the programs history. I truly believe the best is yet to come for Joe. He continues to get bigger and stronger and improve his game. He was drafted because he has yet to reach his full potential. Joe is arguably my favorite player in my 45-years of coaching. He is and was a true all-American, on and off the field. "
I haven’t had the chance to watch Venturino at all, but he managed a 115 wRC+ this summer and it’s really hard to not root for 30+ round picks to make it. Go get ‘em, Joe.
Gianfranco Wawoe was permanently switched to second base this year after playing all over the place his first few years in the system. He lacks much intrigue at the plate, putting up just a .391 slugging percentage and 100 wRC+ in the hitter-friendly California League and his complete shift off of shortstop and third base doesn’t bode well for his defensive value moving forward.
It’s not the strongest group by any means, but there are a couple really intriguing and really young guys that I look forward to watching develop (Rosa, Andrade).