Yankees vs. Red Sox: Second Base Prospects

Comparing what the Yankees and Red Sox have at each position in the minor leagues, we take a look at the crop of second base prospects in each system. Which system is deeper? Which prospects have the most power? The highest ceilings? Take a look at this comparison between the two rival AL East farm systems.

The Two Farm Systems: Barring any potential position changes down the road where a current shortstop might move across the bag to second base, while Boston can hang with the Yankees at the top of the ceiling depth chart, there really isn't much of a comparison between the two farm systems when it comes to overall depth at second base.

The top second base prospect for the Red Sox entering the 2013 season was right-handed hitting Sean Coyle, Boston's third round pick out of high school back in 2010. He battled injuries all season long and amassed just 240 at-bats but still managed to club 14 home runs for high-A Salem. Standing just 5-foot-8, he often gets compared to current Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia for his gritty style of play, his surprising power-speed combination, and his high makeup, but there is a little more swing and miss with Coyle right now [he struck out 65 times in 48 games] and that bears watching as he moves up the minor league ladder.

We mentioned a year ago that Mookie Betts, Boston's fifth round pick out of high school in 2012, was probably the only other Red Sox second base prospect with the tools to get into the conversation of top second base prospects due to his plus speed, quick compact stroke, good long-term hitting ability and the natural athleticism to be a difference-maker defensively, and all the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder did was hit a combined .314 with 36 doubles, 15 home runs, and steal 38 bases between low-A Greenville and high-A Salem in 2013.

There isn't a lot of long-term projection left in his smaller frame but Betts clearly has the present skills to be an impact player on both sides of the ball, especially with his superb plate discipline. He walked a mind boggling 24 more times than he struck out last season and is now easily the top second base prospect in the Boston farm system, and perhaps arguably in either organization.

Boston has one other potential impact second base prospect right now in the form of Wendell Rijo, an International free agent signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. He hit a solid .271 with 15 doubles and 15 stolen bases in the Gulf Coast League this past season as a 17-year old and showed good plate discipline, walking 22 times and striking out just 29 times in 49 games. Like Betts, this former shortstop is on the smaller side, standing just 5-foot-11 and weighing 170 pounds, but he generates very good gap power with his solid bat speed.

Outside of that trio, however, Boston has little in the way of depth at the second base position. Conversely, the Yankees have depth of quality second base prospects up and down their organization even after losing David Adams this offseason when he was designated for assignment, beginning with Triple-A tested Corban Joseph. He hit a career-low .239 for Triple-A Scranton but managed just 188 at-bats after succumbing to shoulder surgery. When he's healthy though he is a supremely disciplined hitter who can hit .300 in any given season and shows solid average power, hitting 19 home runs in his last 515 Triple-A at-bats. Defensively he's okay, not great, but he can man the position adequately.

The up and comer in the Yankee organization at second base is the hard-charging Rob Refsnyder, New York's fifth round pick in 2012. The right-handed hitter batted a combined .293 with 32 doubles and six home runs between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa, stole 23 bases and walked a combined 84 times [compared to 82 strikeouts] in his first full season. He made a successful transition from right field to second base too, turning himself into at least an average defender in one short year and showing some long-term above average defensive potential.

Like Boston, the Yankees have a newcomer at the second base position that brings a lot of long-term potential to the position in the form of Gosuke Katoh. A second round pick in last year's draft, he hit a solid .310 with 22 extra-base hits [including six home runs] in the Gulf Coast League. Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing a generously listed 180 pounds, he has a lot of room to fill out in the coming years and the left-handed bat could wind up being a tailor-made power hitter for the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium when it's all said and done.

While Joseph, Refsnyder, and Katoh are clearly the top three second base prospects for the Yankees, all of whom project to be solid hitters for average, the Yankees have another group of second base prospects right behind them that can not be overlooked either, including Angelo Gumbs, Anderson Feliz, and Jose Pirela.

Gumbs in particular could have arguably the highest ceiling of any second base prospect in either organization but he's coming off of a disappointing 2013 campaign that saw him hit just a combined .213 with four home runs between high-A Tampa and low-A Charleston. Blessed with plus bat speed, great athleticism, and above average running speed, the tools are there to be an elite performer someday, but getting healthy would be a good start. He had arm problems late in 2012 that carried over into the start of the 2013 season.

Feliz has a similarly high ceiling to Gumbs. The Dominican native is a switch-hitter with above average power potential, plus speed, and is a decent hitter for average, but he has been plagued with an array of injuries the past two years that have limited him to just 276 at-bats. A return to health and avoiding missing more development time could get him back on the top prospect radar once again.

Pirela doesn't have nearly the same ceiling as the likes of Gumbs and Feliz, but he's been the model of health over the years and he's turned himself into one of the more consistent run producers around. He can play left field, third base, and even some shortstop too, but second base is his best position by far, and he hit a solid .272 with ten home runs and 18 stolen bases in Double-A Trenton last season, and struck out just five more times than he walked.

How Do They Compare In...

Power: The ascension of Betts now gives Boston at least two second base prospects [Coyle being the other] who project to have average or better power, but it's still not enough to combat the depth of Joseph, Refsnyder, Katoh, Gumbs, Feliz, and Pirela. Advantage: Yankees

Hitting For Average: Again, the depth for the Yankees here is too much. Betts and Refsnyder cancel each other out hitting-wise and Joseph, Katoh, and Pirela, all fine hitters for average, are clearly better than Coyle and Rijo, and that's not even including the possibility that Gumbs and Feliz could get back to being consistent hitters once again. Advantage: Yankees

Defense: This is where the Red Sox can make it a game. Rijo, a former shortstop, has the long-term plus potential to be at least in the same class as Betts and Coyle. Boston's top three are collectively better defensively than the Yankees' top three defenders, but outside of Joseph New York's second base prospects project to be better than average. The Yankees have a slight edge numbers-wise. Advantage: Yankees

Speed: The Yankees don't have a whole lot of speed at second base right now, especially since Gumbs is in need of bounceback season and Feliz is perpetually on the mend. Boston has two plus runners at second base who are producing in Betts and Rijo, and that is enough to give them a slight edge. Advantage: Red Sox

Overall Potential: While Betts could arguably be the second base prospect right now who brings the best balance of ceiling and production, and both Coyle and Rijo have significant enough ceilings of their own, the Yankees have a few too many lottery tickets at the position and that depth can't be ignored. Advantage: Yankees

Highest Ceilings: Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Anderson Feliz (Yankees), Gosuke Katoh (Yankees), Corban Joseph (Yankees)

Best Power: Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Corban Joseph (Yankees), Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Sean Coyle (Red Sox), Gosuke Katoh [Yankees]

Best Average: Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Corban Joseph (Yankees), Rob Refsnyder (Yankees), Gosuke Katoh (Yankees), Wendell Rijo (Red Sox)

Best Defense: Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Anderson Feliz (Yankees), Sean Coyle (Red Sox), Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Rob Refsnyder (Yankees)

Best Speed: Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Anderson Feliz (Yankees), Wendell Rijo (Red Sox), Rob Refsnyder (Yankees)

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Tigs Town Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nThe Two Farm Systems: Barring any potential position changes down the road where a current shortstop might move across the bag to second base, while Boston can hang with the Yankees at the top of the ceiling depth chart, there really isn't much of a comparison between the two farm systems when it comes to overall depth at second base.
\r\n
\r\nThe top second base prospect for the Red Sox entering the 2013 season was right-handed hitting Sean Coyle, Boston's third round pick out of high school back in 2010. He battled injuries all season long and amassed just 240 at-bats but still managed to club 14 home runs for high-A Salem. Standing just 5-foot-8, he often gets compared to current Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia for his gritty style of play, his surprising power-speed combination, and his high makeup, but there is a little more swing and miss with Coyle right now [he struck out 65 times in 48 games] and that bears watching as he moves up the minor league ladder.
\r\n
\r\nWe mentioned a year ago that Mookie Betts, Boston's fifth round pick out of high school in 2012, was probably the only other Red Sox second base prospect with the tools to get into the conversation of top second base prospects due to his plus speed, quick compact stroke, good long-term hitting ability and the natural athleticism to be a difference-maker defensively, and all the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder did was hit a combined .314 with 36 doubles, 15 home runs, and steal 38 bases between low-A Greenville and high-A Salem in 2013.
\r\n
\r\nThere isn't a lot of long-term projection left in his smaller frame but Betts clearly has the present skills to be an impact player on both sides of the ball, especially with his superb plate discipline. He walked a mind boggling 24 more times than he struck out last season and is now easily the top second base prospect in the Boston farm system, and perhaps arguably in either organization.
\r\n
\r\nBoston has one other potential impact second base prospect right now in the form of Wendell Rijo, an International free agent signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. He hit a solid .271 with 15 doubles and 15 stolen bases in the Gulf Coast League this past season as a 17-year old and showed good plate discipline, walking 22 times and striking out just 29 times in 49 games. Like Betts, this former shortstop is on the smaller side, standing just 5-foot-11 and weighing 170 pounds, but he generates very good gap power with his solid bat speed.
\r\n
\r\nOutside of that trio, however, Boston has little in the way of depth at the second base position. Conversely, the Yankees have depth of quality second base prospects up and down their organization even after losing David Adams this offseason when he was designated for assignment, beginning with Triple-A tested Corban Joseph. He hit a career-low .239 for Triple-A Scranton but managed just 188 at-bats after succumbing to shoulder surgery. When he's healthy though he is a supremely disciplined hitter who can hit .300 in any given season and shows solid average power, hitting 19 home runs in his last 515 Triple-A at-bats. Defensively he's okay, not great, but he can man the position adequately.
\r\n
\r\nThe up and comer in the Yankee organization at second base is the hard-charging Rob Refsnyder, New York's fifth round pick in 2012. The right-handed hitter batted a combined .293 with 32 doubles and six home runs between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa, stole 23 bases and walked a combined 84 times [compared to 82 strikeouts] in his first full season. He made a successful transition from right field to second base too, turning himself into at least an average defender in one short year and showing some long-term above average defensive potential.
\r\n
\r\nLike Boston, the Yankees have a newcomer at the second base position that brings a lot of long-term potential to the position in the form of Gosuke Katoh. A second round pick in last year's draft, he hit a solid .310 with 22 extra-base hits [including six home runs] in the Gulf Coast League. Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing a generously listed 180 pounds, he has a lot of room to fill out in the coming years and the left-handed bat could wind up being a tailor-made power hitter for the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium when it's all said and done.
\r\n
\r\nWhile Joseph, Refsnyder, and Katoh are clearly the top three second base prospects for the Yankees, all of whom project to be solid hitters for average, the Yankees have another group of second base prospects right behind them that can not be overlooked either, including Angelo Gumbs, Anderson Feliz, and Jose Pirela.
\r\n
\r\nGumbs in particular could have arguably the highest ceiling of any second base prospect in either organization but he's coming off of a disappointing 2013 campaign that saw him hit just a combined .213 with four home runs between high-A Tampa and low-A Charleston. Blessed with plus bat speed, great athleticism, and above average running speed, the tools are there to be an elite performer someday, but getting healthy would be a good start. He had arm problems late in 2012 that carried over into the start of the 2013 season.
\r\n
\r\nFeliz has a similarly high ceiling to Gumbs. The Dominican native is a switch-hitter with above average power potential, plus speed, and is a decent hitter for average, but he has been plagued with an array of injuries the past two years that have limited him to just 276 at-bats. A return to health and avoiding missing more development time could get him back on the top prospect radar once again.
\r\n
\r\nPirela doesn't have nearly the same ceiling as the likes of Gumbs and Feliz, but he's been the model of health over the years and he's turned himself into one of the more consistent run producers around. He can play left field, third base, and even some shortstop too, but second base is his best position by far, and he hit a solid .272 with ten home runs and 18 stolen bases in Double-A Trenton last season, and struck out just five more times than he walked.
\r\n
\r\nHow Do They Compare In...
\r\n
\r\nPower: The ascension of Betts now gives Boston at least two second base prospects [Coyle being the other] who project to have average or better power, but it's still not enough to combat the depth of Joseph, Refsnyder, Katoh, Gumbs, Feliz, and Pirela. Advantage: Yankees
\r\n
\r\nHitting For Average: Again, the depth for the Yankees here is too much. Betts and Refsnyder cancel each other out hitting-wise and Joseph, Katoh, and Pirela, all fine hitters for average, are clearly better than Coyle and Rijo, and that's not even including the possibility that Gumbs and Feliz could get back to being consistent hitters once again. Advantage: Yankees
\r\n
\r\nDefense: This is where the Red Sox can make it a game. Rijo, a former shortstop, has the long-term plus potential to be at least in the same class as Betts and Coyle. Boston's top three are collectively better defensively than the Yankees' top three defenders, but outside of Joseph New York's second base prospects project to be better than average. The Yankees have a slight edge numbers-wise. Advantage: Yankees
\r\n
\r\nSpeed: The Yankees don't have a whole lot of speed at second base right now, especially since Gumbs is in need of bounceback season and Feliz is perpetually on the mend. Boston has two plus runners at second base who are producing in Betts and Rijo, and that is enough to give them a slight edge. Advantage: Red Sox
\r\n
\r\nOverall Potential: While Betts could arguably be the second base prospect right now who brings the best balance of ceiling and production, and both Coyle and Rijo have significant enough ceilings of their own, the Yankees have a few too many lottery tickets at the position and that depth can't be ignored. Advantage: Yankees
\r\n
\r\nHighest Ceilings: Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Anderson Feliz (Yankees), Gosuke Katoh (Yankees), Corban Joseph (Yankees)
\r\n
\r\nBest Power: Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Corban Joseph (Yankees), Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Sean Coyle (Red Sox), Gosuke Katoh [Yankees]
\r\n
\r\nBest Average: Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Corban Joseph (Yankees), Rob Refsnyder (Yankees), Gosuke Katoh (Yankees), Wendell Rijo (Red Sox)
\r\n
\r\nBest Defense: Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Anderson Feliz (Yankees), Sean Coyle (Red Sox), Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Rob Refsnyder (Yankees)
\r\n
\r\nBest Speed: Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Anderson Feliz (Yankees), Wendell Rijo (Red Sox), Rob Refsnyder (Yankees)
\r\n
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