After we looked at both catcher and first basemen in the 2021 MLB Draft, the draft preview moves along to the second basemen.
This is a very strong crop of second basemen, a position that is usually a weaker crop of players. The reason for that is, like first baseman, it is a position guys tend to move to if they can’t handle that other more premium position.
This class features 11 players who bring good value to the table and there is a chance that some could sneak into the later half of the first round, especially for teams who put value on 2021 college production.
This isn't a position of need for the Braves, but should the right player be available then they shouldn’t hesitate to take someone especially if they like the bat enough. With that said, none of these players are guys I would use the first round pick on, but each of the guys in my Top 3 would be appealing in the second round.
- Connor Norby, East Carolina
A breakout 2021 has put Norby into first round consideration. His tools are pretty average across the board, with the exception of his hit tool being potentially a plus tool. I say potentially because while he makes good contact and has no problem drawing walks with his discipline, he does have questions about facing elite velocity which is something he didn’t do a ton of this year. While his speed is only average to a tick better than that, his ability to steal bases plays up because of his instincts. Norby is a bit of an undersized overachiever who doesn’t have the biggest tools or frame, but he gets the most out of what he does have. He’s a consideration for late in the first and has been linked slightly to the Braves.
2. Cody Morissette, Boston College
Morissette is a shortstop playing second in college due to BC already having an elite defender there. Morisette is likely a better pro fit at second or even third or possibly the outfield. He’s a very good hitter from the left side with a great swing and long track record of success with a plus hit tool, though he was slowed at times this spring by a hand injury. The power likely grows into big league average as he still has a little projection on him, though his swing is more geared to contact than power. Both the running and glove are solid and he does offer some versatility defensively. Morissette would bring solid value in the second round.
3. Cooper Kinney, Tennessee HS
One of the more unique prep prospects in some time, Cooper Kinney is an all bat second baseman only. Kinney brings an above average to plus hit tool and likely average power that could play up to above average. The drawbacks are that he’s already a well below average runner and a fringy fielder without a strong enough arm to profile elsewhere. All of the value with Kinney comes from the bat, and it’s a tough sell to draft a prep second base only guy high, especially one without plus power or even average speed. Kinney is one of the better pure hitters in this prep class and that will influence his draft status. There is some talk of him going in the late first round, though I would have a hard time seeing him go before the second.
4. Tyler McDonough, NC State
Tyler McDonough is a bit of a tweener all the way around. He’s a bit undersized and shuffled between second and third base and the outfield during his time in Raleigh. McDonough has always been productive, even though he doesn’t have the loudest tool set. Nothing in his tool set other than his running ability grades out as better than average, but he’s also got no weaknesses as every other tool can get an average grade and he brings defensive versatility. Whether it’s in a starting role or as more of a super utility role, McDonough is the type of player whose Trackman exit velos will have him looking better than his true average raw power, so he is the type who could surpass expectations.
5. Max Ferguson, Tennessee
Max Ferguson is a guy coming off a disappointing spring as he failed to capitalize on his 2020 breakout in part because it felt like he was trying to sell out for more power in his draft year. He’s got an above average hit tool and I believe he can get back to his 2020 numbers by simply changing his approach and gearing it more towards contact. If he can get back to his 2020 approach, that plus speed and potentially plus glove with some versatility to it make him intriguing. If he’s going to continue to try to get the most of his below average power out that he can, this ranking will have been too high.
6. Peyton Wilson, Alabama
Peyton Wilson has a shot of going on the first day of the 2021 MLB Draft but even with that he is only the third most famous sibling in his family. Oldest brother John Parker was the starting QB for Alabama and middle brother Ross, a former White Sox draft pick, was the star of the MTV show Two A Days featuring a look at the Hoover HS football program. Peyton is a guy with some differences in opinion based on how much power you think he will develop. What he does bring is plus speed, a good glove, and at least an average hit tool to go with plenty of defensive versatility. If you’re a team that thinks there is more power to come from this athletic switch hitter, you see a regular. If you’re a team who thinks the power isn’t going to come, you see a utility type with a game based around speed and defense.
7. Tyler Black, Wright State
This may be the low ranking you see with Tyler Black, a player that elsewhere has gotten linked in the late first round. Black had an extremely productive 2021 season along with a very productive 2019 season and brings a hit tool that is either above average or plus. The issues I have with him are that the rest of his tools are more fringy than big league average and the former hockey prospect’s impressive numbers are inflated by playing at a hitter friendly park. He’s the type of prospect that will have a wide range of opinions on him going from anywhere near the end of the first round to not until the third round.
8. Eddie Saldivar, California HS
I hadn’t had Eddie Saldivar on my radar until the middle of last summer when he broke out at the Area Code Games with a very good swing to go with plus running ability and solid defense. I caught him in Boston at the Future Stars Series event and the bat didn’t do a ton over a short sample size, though he has had a very good spring. Saldivar is a potential plus hitter from the left side with plus running and average to above average defense at second. He’s a little undersized, but based on his hitting ability there is thought that he may be able to grow into average power, even though his swing has been more geared towards contact. Saldivar starts the next tier of the second basemen and is a candidate to come off the board as early as the third round.
9. Roc Riggio, California HS
The best way to describe Roc Riggio is almost too stereotypical because he’s an undersized(5’9, 180) gamer who doesn’t have the best tools, but he gets the most out of the tools he does have. I saw him in the fall at the Future Stars Series and after a quiet start to the weekend he really stood up and made you take notice with the bat and with a very good defensive play. The bat is what will get him drafted, as it is an above average to plus hit tool and while he doesn’t offer the most raw power he does make a lot of hard line drive contact. The knocks on him are that outside of the hit tool all of his other tools grade as fringy, he is already 19 years old, and he doesn’t have a set defensive position- though he does offer some versatility with the ability to play the outfield in left.
10. Dayton Dooney, Arizona JUCO
Dayton Dooney had a big year at Arizona in 2019 as a true freshman before getting off to a slow start in the shortened 2020 and ending up in a JUCO for this spring. It should surprise no one that he was extremely productive at his school this year as he just rakes with a potentially plus hit tool and average to slightly above power and quality plate discipline. The only reason he’s not higher on the list is because he’s in the Keston Hiura mold of all bat and not much defense at second, but without the same power Hiura brought coming out of school. Still someone will take a chance because the bat will play.
The Next 8
11. Darren Baker, Cal
12. Cooper Bowman, Louisville
13. Zack Raabe, Minnesota
14. Nick Biddison, Virginia Tech
15. Drew Swift, Arizona State
16. Austin Schultz, Kentucky
17. Kobe Kato, Arizona
18. Elijah Hammill, Canada HS/Georgia HS
Hammill is going to get a writeup because he’s such a fascinating story. From successful child actor to legit MLB hopeful, he left home in Canada to attend the Georgia Premier Academy this spring so he could play. He’s got enough versatility that there are reports of some teams considering him at catcher, which isn’t a spot many have seen him play to this point and only adding to the intriguing story. The bat is the real attraction though, as he can flat out hit as a switch hitter and has some pop in there to go with strong plate discipline in addition to him being a solid athlete with a decent arm.