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Before we start looking at second basemen in the organization, I want to apologize for my lack of posts lately. I moved into a new house in the last week and have been getting things sorted and also came down with the flu a couple of days ago, which pretty much knocked me out for about 48 hours.
The second base position in 2014 was dominated from the bottom up. As you will see below, the second basemen at the top of the organization have limited at-bats thanks to promotions. Valera was promoted from Palm Beach to Springfield and Katz from Peoria to Palm Beach, but they still qualified as the leaders at the position for their new team. If either one of them would have stuck with their original team, they would have probably been selected. Below also shows that there may be some solid depth in the lower minors. Collymore and Seferina are prospects, while the jury is out on Turgeon as he was about a year older than the rest of the Appalachian League in 2014.
Below is the player who had the most games at second base for each team and their slash lines with OPS included at the end. I have also included a sabermetric stat, wRC+, on the stat line. wRC+ has a baseline of 100, thus if a player has a 125 wRC+ it means they produced 25% more runs than a league average hitter. Obviously these are limited stats and you can click on their names for a better stat picture including stolen bases, strike outs, etc.
Memphis: Greg Garcia – 441 plate appearances – .272/.358/.382/.740, 8 HR, 40 RBI, 96 wRC+
Springfield: Breyvic Valera – 247 plate appearances – .286/.329/.339/.668, 0 HR, 20 RBI, 93 wRC+
Palm Beach: Mason Katz – 183 plate appearances – .276/.341/.442/.782, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 123 wRC+
Peoria: Richy Pedroza – 296 plate appearances – .239/.318/.349/.668, 1 HR, 27 RBI, 93 wRC+
State College: Darren Seferina – 219 plate appearances – .294/.358/.366/.724, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 115 wRC+
Johnson City: Casey Turgeon – 272 plate appearances – .306/.428/.446/.874, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 156 wRC+
GCL Cards: Malik Collymore – 201 plate appearances – .333/.403/.480/.883, 1 HR, 34 RBI, 154 wRC+
DSL Cards: Luis Flores – 235 plate appearances – .217/.258/.281/.539, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 60 wRC+
While Seferina and Katz had strong years, it is obvious the front-runners are Turgeon and Collymore. If we were looking at this from a prospect point of view, the obvious pick would be Collymore, who is 2 plus years younger than Turgeon, but played at just one level below the University of Florida product. When deciding between two players, my first instinct is to look at the wRC+ as that gives you a good overview of how well they played during the season. In this case, Turgeon edges Collymore by just two percentage points. To break it down even further, Turgeon has the OBP advantage, but Collymore the SLG. A big difference that I found was in their walk/strikeout rates. Turgeon had an impressive 1.27 BB/K rate, while Collymore was at 0.42. Again, that could be a product of the fact that Turgeon was +0.8 age difference and Collymore was -0.6.
I have selected Casey Turgeon as the All-Organization Team Second Baseman. He had an impressive season regardless of his age and was selected to the 2014 Appalachian League All-Star Team. In the end, his better wRC+ (however miniscule) and his impressive strike zone command made him my choice. To be mentioned as a prospect, the 22-year old Turgeon would have to begin the 2015 season with the Peoria Chiefs or Palm Beach Cardinals as an everyday player. Another stop at a short-season club would further delay his advancement and would give us some thoughts as to what the organization thinks about him. I would not count him out.
2015 will be a transition year for the second base position. Mason Katz will likely be moving to the catching position (which could open up a spot for Turgeon at Palm Beach) and Greg Garcia could find himself in St. Louis (although I am betting against that). Breyvic Valera should have a full season at Double-A Springfield, in which he should see a bounce back. A couple of these players (Seferina, Collymore) could see position changes. While there may not be a lot of star potential at the second base position, you have to like the depth as it is now. We will see how much position tinkering the club does with these players.