Padres’ Minor League Depth: Top 5 Second Basemen

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Currently the San Diego Padres have an intense battle going on between Carlos Asuaje and Cory Spangenberg for the second base position to begin the 2018 season.

Both men are capable of holding on to the job, but the future at the position seems to belong to Luis Urias.

There are possibilities that Urias plays elsewhere, as he is capable of playing shortstop as well, but most talent evaluators agree his future in the major leagues is as a second baseman.

There is plenty of depth at this position throughout the Padres’ minor leagues though, as the team drafted and selected many middles infielders over the past few seasons. The majority of these men are Latin and have experience all over the diamond. For the second, shortstop, and third base positions in these pieces, I attempted to gauge the player’s future at a specific position. This is not set in stone as a lot of these men are teenagers and can easily develop elsewhere. Please do not grill me because I have them categorized this way.

Here is a glimpse at the second base position:

1- Luis Urias

At 20, Urias is still very young. He has made huge progress since being signed by the Padres as a 16-year-old out of Mexico. He just finished batting under .300 for the season, but did continue his amazing streak of walking more than he struck out. In his career, Urias now has 153 walks compared to 135 strikeouts in over 1,300 minor league at-bats. In this day and age of the game, it is unreal to see a player continue to display that type of plate discipline. He could play some shortstop in the coming years, but looks to be a second base option long-term. He showed off his skill even more in the spring and stuck with the major league team for most of camp. Urias is the future at the position, though the Padres might initially have him play some shortstop.

2- Esteury Ruiz

An absolutely great grab by the Padres and A.J. Preller was this young Dominican infielder. He was acquired from the Royals in the Mauer, Cahill, Buchter package and could be the best player in the deal when it is all said and done. His .997 OPS was certainly impressive. Ruiz has excellent speed as he stole 26 bases last year in 52 games. His power is also legit and you get many comparisons of him and Alfonso Soriano. Like Soriano, Ruiz is a little stiff at second. Defense will probably not be his forte, but with the way he swings the bat, the Padres will have no trouble advancing him through the system.

3- Luis Almanzar

He was signed for $4 million during the 2016 international spending spree. The infielder came to the Padres with the reputation of being a plus bat and average glove. He has struggled a bit offensively, but is still only 17. You just have to be patient with him. The team has utilized him at second base and shortstop so far in his professional career. The right-handed hitter uses the whole field well and has an athletic build. The belief is that he will develop power in time and should be a plus hitter. His arm is above average, but his thicker build leads many to believe that he will not profile at the shortstop position long-term. He seems a little high on this list, but with a breakout 2018, he could be the next talked-about prospect in the Padres’ system.

(Luis Almanzar) Credit: Baseball America

4- Reinaldo Ilarraza

Ilarraza played in Fort Wayne all year and performed admirably for his age. The teenager did struggle slightly with the bat, but logged innings at second and shortstop for the TinCaps in 2017. The switch hitter had equal splits from both sides of the plate. His speed is an asset, as he stole 26 bases in 2017. Ilarraza got an early look at Single-A pitching, and that will surely benefit him in the long run.

5- Olivier Basabe

In 2017, the Padres selected this man with their 8th-round pick out of Faulkner University. The Venezuelan native went to college in the States to further his professional career, and that speaks volumes towards his commitment to the sport. Coming out of his South American country to college in the States had to be difficult. The infielder/outfielder has the ability to play shortstop, second base, and left field. He played 156 innings at short and made six errors, resulting in a .932 fielding percentage. The right-handed hitter makes decent contact and will take a walk. He has a pretty nice floor at this point.

Honorable Mentions

Chris Baker

Baker had a down year in Lake Elsinore in 2017, where he put up a .210/.270/.316 slash line. He battled some injuries and struggled drawing a walk. In 2016, the right-handed hitter was very productive, so the Padres will just hope he had a down year. The 23-year-old can play second base, third base, shortstop, and left field, and has decent speed. He could easily climb this list with a productive 2018. Baker is a gamer and could end up all over the diamond this year. Expect him to bring man gloves to the ballpark each day.

Kelvin Alarcon

This 19-year-old, left-handed hitter had a decent 2016, putting up a .254/.450/.290 batting line with 16 steals in 58 games for the DSL Padres. In 2017, he was slowed by nagging injuries and only played in 35 games, recording a .202/.342/.244 batting line with zero stolen bases. The slap hitter has virtually no power, but has proven that he can take a walk. The team can work on him being more productive with the bat, but the eye at the plate is encouraging. Alarcon can play third base, but with his body type, he will likely be a second baseman moving forward. The kid is 6 foot 1, but weighs 155-160 lbs. He just turned 19, so he could add size and strength with some hard work. A decent sleeper-type player to keep an eye on.

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