The Yankees signed Anderson Feliz out of the Dominican Republic for a reported $750,000 as part of…
Yankees vs. Red Sox: Second Base Prospects
Boston designated struggling Oscar Tejeda for assignment over the summer after moving him to the outfield and he was eventually picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates, leaving Sean Coyle as pretty much the only remaining high-ceiling second base prospect in the organization.
Very much like current Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia in nearly every way, Coyle brings the same kind of scrappy play and underrated tool set to the table. Though his 2012 numbers might not show it, he displays good patience and plate discipline, average big league power potential with the chance to be above average for a second baseman, and average speed. And like Pedroia, Coyle is a high makeup guy who brings a lot of intangibles to the game.
Outside of Coyle, however, Boston doesn't have much in the way of potential long-term impact players at the second base position. Lowell's Mookie Betts is probably the only other one with the tools to get into the conversation, showing plus speed, a quick compact stroke, good long-term hitting ability and the natural athleticism to be a difference-maker defensively, but at 5-foot-9 and just 170 pounds he has very limited power potential.
The Yankees on the other hand have five legitimate second base prospects among their four long-season league teams; Corban Joseph, David Adams, Anderson Feliz, Angelo Gumbs, and Rob Refsndyer. Joseph is coming off a career year power-wise after clubbing 15 home runs [mostly at the Triple-A level] and walking nearly as much as he struck out. Defensively he's not great but he plays a serviceable second base and he has just scratched the surface of his offensive talent.
Adams is also coming off of a career year power-wise, smacking eight home runs for the Double-A Trenton Thunder after spending nearly two years recovering from a gruesome ankle injury. Like Joseph, he too displays plus big league plate discipline, an ability to hit for average [he hit .306 in 2012], and while his defensive range is limited he does turn one of the best double-play pivots around.
While the duo of Adams and Joseph give the Yankees two nearly big league ready and reliable bats at second base, New York also has a trio of high-ceiling second basemen coming up behind them. One of the biggest overall 'sleepers' in either organization is the switch-hitting Anderson Feliz. He has an advanced swing, shows good impact with the baseball, a patient approach at the plate, plus speed not yet fully materialized, and difference-making defensive abilities in the field. He missed most of the 2012 season, however, with an array of injuries and just needs to stay on the field long enough to continue his development.
Angelo Gumbs, a former shortstop and centerfielder in high school, arguably represents the highest ceiling second baseman in either organization. Extremely athletic, the right-handed hitter has one of the quickest bats around, long-term above average power potential, above average speed that plays a level higher with his aggressive style, and defensively he has gone from suspect to potential impact player in two short years.
Like Feliz, Rob Refsnyder, this year's fifth round pick and College World Series MVP, brings an underrated game to the table. The former outfielder has just begun his transition to second base and it remains to be seen if he will stick there, but if he can he has the chance to be a high impact offensive player at the position. He is an advanced hitter who shows patience, pitch recognition, an ability to use the whole field, and overall average power potential that could play above average in the middle infield. Offensively there are few question marks. Defensively, however, it's a wait and see proposition.
New York has one other wild card at the second base position and that's Jose Pirela. The Venezuelan native was brought up through the minor leagues primarily as a shortstop but had way too many question marks defensively there. His best position is second base but he also played some left field in 2012 too. Probably more of a long-term utility guy, he hit a solid .293 with eight home runs in Double-A Trenton in 2012 and once again displayed good plate discipline. He gets buried in the Yankees' second base depth but he has real long-term value as a second baseman.
Both farm systems have another layer of 'what if' guys behind their top second base prospects, including New York's Jose Rosario, Bryan Cuevas, and Jerison Lopez, and Boston's Jose Garcia, but all four have just enough question marks that it's just too premature to put them in the first group.
How Do They Compare In...
Power: With the Yankees' "Big Five" of Joseph, Adams, Feliz, Gums, and Refsnyder, and considering only Sean Coyle projects to have at least average power at the big league level for the Red Sox, this one is a no contest from a depth standpoint. Advantage: Yankees
Hitting For Average: Again, the depth for the Yankees here is too overwhelming, especially considering the top two second base prospects closest to the big leagues are Joseph and Adams, and both are regarded as potential .300 hitters. Advantage: Yankees
Defense: Boston doesn't have the overall numbers depth-wise to compete but the two solid second base prospects they do have -- Coyle and Betts - can hold their own defensively with the Yankees' top two. Still, the numbers don't favor the Red Sox. Advantage: Yankees
Speed: Betts helps cross off somebody like Feliz, but Coyle isn't enough to hold off Gumbs. This is actually a tighter race though because neither Joseph nor Adams project to be base stealers. There's only a slight advantage here. Advantage: Yankees
Overall Potential: The three rules of real estate are location, location, and location, and when it comes to farm systems the three rules are depth, depth, and depth. And the Yankees have too much of it at this position. Advantage: Yankees
Highest Ceilings: Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Anderson Feliz (Yankees), Corban Joseph (Yankees), Sean Coyle (Red Sox), Rob Refsnyder (Yankees)
Best Power: Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Corban Joseph (Yankees), Anderson Feliz (Yankees), Sean Coyle (Red Sox), David Adams (Yankees)
Best Average: David Adams (Yankees), Corban Joseph (Yankees), Rob Refsnyder (Yankees), Sean Coyle (Red Sox), Angelo Gumbs (Yankees)
Best Defense: Anderson Feliz (Yankees), David Adams (Yankees), Sean Coyle (Red Sox), Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Angelo Gumbs (Yankees)
Best Speed: Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Anderson Feliz (Yankees), Sean Coyle (Red Sox), Rob Refsnyder (Yankees)
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