By Todd Johnson
I feel pretty confident in saying that the Cubs are loaded at second base. From AAA Iowa all the way down to Mesa in rookie ball, I feel like every single second baseman is outstanding in some aspect of their game. Second base might arguably be the Cubs strongest position and the one they have the least need for the next few year.
With Javier Baez firmly in place for the next five years, the only hope anyone has is converting to the outfield or to be a utility player. Luckily for the Cubs, their top second baseman could fill both those roles by the end of 2017
6. Jonathan Perlaza – I don’t really know if he belongs to second base, but for today we’re gonna put him there. A 2015 international signee, Perlaza debuted last year in the Dominican Summer League. He is a 17-year-old kid whose production was up and down. I think he will see time at second base and third base this year, but Perlaza was signed basically because of his hit tool. I am looking to forward to seeing what he can do in extended spring training and at Mesa in the Arizona Rookie League this summer.
5. Yeiler Peguero – Yeiler is one of the most exciting players to watch. Sometimes it can be good, and sometimes it can be frustrating. At just 18, Yeiler hit .260 in the Northwest League playing a mixture of second base and shortstop. His monthly batting average splits in 2016 were .306/230/.274. I expect to see vast improvement this year in South Bend. 140 games can really fast track the development of a prospect, especially a young one like Yeiler.
4. Trent Giambrone – The 2016 draft pick came into the system with a reputation for defense. By the end of his first year, he changed that reputation immensely. He did it as a multi-positional player and power hitter. As part of the Eugene Emeralds championship team, Trent might’ve been the MVP for the month of August. He played third base, second base, and first base, and hit 3 home runs for the month. His average and OBP improved every month at Eugene. In 2017, he should be in South Bend. Over the course of the next 140 games, I think South Bend Cubs fans are going to really enjoy watching his all-around game.
3. Carlos Sepulveda – I really enjoyed watching Carlos play almost every day at South Bend in 2016. He’s not the flashiest fielder, but he is an amazing hitter. He is one of the best pure hitters in the system. He’s able to work account and last year he started to show some gap to gap power for doubles. He’s not going to be a homerun type hitter, but he will beat the cover off of a baseball over the course of the season. At 18 years old, he held his own in South Bend. I expect more of the same from him this year at Myrtle Beach.
2. Chesny Young – I think within the next year to year and a half, Chesney Young is a major leaguer. Playing in the Pacific Coast League in 2017 will only enhance his prospect profile. He has done everything the Cubs have asked of him the past two years. He now plays every position in the infield and has even played a few games in left field. The only thing missing from his resume is power. I don’t really think he needs it with his plate discipline and bat control.
1. Ian Happ – I don’t quite know what to make of him of Ian Happ. I get very frustrated at times. There are days where he goes three for five with a homerun and the next day he goes zero for four with three strikeouts. His batting average fluctuates greatly but he’s always taking his walks. I don’t quite understand how he can hit .600 for a three-week stretch and then hit .230 for a month. When you watch him, it is easy to fall in love with the swing. When he bats from the left-hand side, his hands through the zone are a work of art. I sometimes wonder if his swing is too mechanical and it only works in a certain zone. I don’t know if the Cubs can make him a more flexible hitter or if he’s just gonna snap out of it.
There are other second baseman in the system not listed here, but I think this position will be an interesting lot to watch. I think the player to watch this year is Giambrone. He just has a habit of doing the right things at the plate and in the field. And I would not be surprised to see the Cubs trade one of them in the next year since there is some serious redundancy.