Second base is a position that the Reds have locked up at the big league level through at least 2017 with Brandon Phillips locked up through then for $50M. Short of an injury, the spot at second base won’t be opening up in Cincinnati at any point in the near future.

Figuring out the top prospect at the position is tough and no one in full season ball posted solid numbers during the season. Coming into the season Henry Rodriguez was the top second base prospect in the system. His average in Louisville was solid at .274, but he struggled to hit for any power as he slugged just .335 and his low walk rate led to a .319 OBP. He is a high contact rate hitter, but that seems to be his biggest asset. Defensively, he isn’t the most ideal player who has below-average range, but he will generally make a play on the balls he does get to.

Brodie Greene struggled with Pensacola in 2013, hitting .227/.28/.296. He showed good plate discipline during the year but struggled to do much damage when he did make contact. His season was cut short in late July when he fractured his leg and he missed the rest of the season. At Bakersfield Ryan Wright manned second base for the Blaze where like Henry Rodriguez he hit for a solid average, .265, but struggled to hit for much power with a .384 slugging percentage. His rate of contact was pretty good, striking out just under 15% of the time, but his walk rate was fairly low at 5.8%. He performed well defensively.

In Dayton the position was split between Sammy Diaz and Brent Peterson. Diaz hit a solid .273/.357/.346 with just as many walks as strikeouts. Peterson struggled as he hit .238/.307/.287 with 17 walks and 54 strikeouts. He struggled to make contact and when he did make contact he struggled to do much damage. In rookie ball the position was also split between two players as Ty Washington and Avain Rachal both got plenty of time at the position while also rotating around the infield. Washington hit .264/.326/.347 with 18 walks and 31 strikeouts to go along with 10 steals. His plate discipline was strong with a good rate of contact and solid walk rate. He didn’t hit for much power though. Defensively he was strong and showed good athleticism at the position. Rachal spent slightly less time at the position and he hit .253/.397/.360 with 41 walks and 39 strikeouts. His walk rate was incredibly high at 17.6% and his strikeout rate was solid at 16.7%. He hit four home runs, but his overall power was a bit below-average.

Overall Thoughts

There are guys throughout the system who have something working for them that gives promise, but heading into the 2014 season there are also questions along with all of the players as well when it comes to viewing them as more than a utility player. The lack of a premiere prospect and struggles from most of the players at the position during the season leaves the grade for the spot lower despite some depth.

Grade: C-

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9 Responses

  1. The Duke

    Ryan Wright was certainly underwhelming in hitter friendly Bakersfield, especially for a four year college guy in his second full professional season. I’d probably consider Rachal the creme of a very weak crop.

    On a side note, the bright side of the Reds pathetically embarrassing weekend series with the Pirates is that they secured the 21st pick in the next draft. Had the weekend played out a little differently they could have been picking 27.

  2. sultan of swaff

    Man, the thought of Phillips being around another 4 seasons scares the heck out of me. You have to assume his hitting will be like what we’re seeing this year rather than previous years, but his decline phase will eat into his defensive value a lot more. We’ll be playing a ton for league average production. Then the critics will come out of the woodwork, and as we found out this year, BP is hypersensitive to it. His stay in Cincinnati will not end well, I guarantee you.

    Even if you’re in win now mode, I think you have to see if there is any interest in trading him. It would free up a lot of money that could go toward securing Bailey or Latos.

    • RobL

      I agree with a couple points, you make. Phillips is declining physically. His speed has already dropped to average and his defensive range will decrease as well.

      But a league average free-agent is a 2 WAR player. At 5 mil per 1 WAR, Phillips will be getting paid fairly.

      Phillips had the worst babip of his career, and his highest K% in 4 years. I believe this had more to do with his hype as an RBI man than diminishing skill. He swung at everything just trying to find holes in the defense instead of driving the ball. If he is put back at the 2 spot, I think he’ll get back to his usual offensive numbers.

      But my biggest issue is that the Reds are in a win now mode, and you advocate trading the third best hitter (Choo is gone) on a team that is struggling offensively. On top of that, there is nobody internally to replace him with. That seems like a decision for two years down the road.

  3. MDRon

    I don’t think it’s a big deal not to have a premiere prospect at second. It seems that most MLB second basemen spent most of their time in the minors at a different position. The only 2B prospect I remember seeing on Top 100 lists over the last few years is Kolten Wong/Wang.

    • Doug Gray

      While you are generally right that most guys who wind up at second base aren’t minor league second baseman, there still isn’t a guy who really stands out at the position and that is a bit of a problem.

  4. stock

    I’d like to see Rahier moved to 2B. This position doesn’t have a single prospect. The only position weaker is SS. Catcher (which received a D+ vs. this C-) has Barnhart and Ortiz. 2B has Rachel (I don’t consider Rodriguez a 2B because he can’t field the position). Barnhart and Ortiz are both much better prospects than Rachel. For that matter both are better prospects than Rodriguez. The two least tradable players in the Reds system are Phillips and Cozart, mostly because there is no replacement available.

    • Doug Gray

      The only one I know of was the elbow after the HBP. Maybe I am forgetting something else though, or maybe we just didn’t know about something that they never talked about.

  5. Da Reds thread - Page 707 - VolNation

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