Yankees vs. Blue Jays: Second Base Prospects

Offensively Corban Joseph is big league ready

Comparing what the Yankees and Blue Jays have at each position in the minor leagues, we take a look at the crop of second base prospects in each system. Which system is deeper? Which prospects have the most power? The highest ceilings? Take a look at this comparison between the two AL East farm systems.

The Two Farm Systems: Both the Yankees and the Blue Jays are very deep at the second base position down on the farm, but they're deep in very different ways. While the Jays have an intriguing crop of 'sleeper' type prospects up and down the organization, the Yankees have a full collection of high-ceiling talents that could have major impacts at the big league level someday nearly at every level too.

New York has a pair of big league ready second basemen right now in the form of Corban Joseph and David Adams. Both are exceptional overall hitters, the kind of batters who display plus big league plate discipline. Both can draw nearly as many walks as they strike out and each can be .300 hitters in a given season.

Joseph, a sweet-swinging lefty, can barrel the baseball with the best of them and he clubbed a career-high 15 home runs between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton in 2012. Defensively he's more adequate than anything, which is really the only knock on his overall game.

Adams, a right-handed batter, also set a career-high in home runs last season, hitting eight bombs for Double-A Trenton. He is more average than anything power-wise but he can pile up extra-base hits in a hurry, hit in the clutch, and he is outstanding at turning the double-play pivot.

Both players have ceilings as everyday starting big league second basemen and the great Yankee depth at the position doesn't end there. Switch-hitting Anderson Feliz missed most of the 2012 season with an array of injuries but he has great tools across the board, including a refined swing, average now power with room to grow, plus speed, and the potential to be a plus defender. He needs a little more time in A-ball but he's not as raw as some folks believe and his ceiling is immense.

Immense ceiling is actually the perfect term to describe New York's Angelo Gumbs. A superb athlete with some of the best bat speed around, he had 24 extra-base hits and 26 stolen bases in just 67 games with low-A Charleston last year before a torn tricep ended his first full season. The 20-year old projects to be above average in every category and his hitting is only going to get better.

Giving the Yankees five high-ceiling second baseman in the long-season leagues is last year's College World Series MVP, Rob Refsnyder. The former right fielder is only now transitioning to second base so there's a lot of work to do defensively, but offensively he shows a solid bat, average or better power potential, and an all-out hustle style of play that feeds his teammates.

Toronto is not without a high-ceiling second base prospect of their own. Christian Lopes, a seventh round pick out of high school in 2011, is making a rather smooth transition from shortstop to second base. He doesn't have quite the same power or speed potential as Gumbs, but he fits into the Refsnyder mold as a solid right-handed batter who plays with a high energy level and shows some real extra-base hit potential and solid speed.

Perhaps the peskiest hitter among the second base prospects in either organization is Toronto's Ryan Schimpf. He'll have his fair share of strikeouts [121 last season] but he also draws a very good number of walks [71] and he has surprising power for somebody just 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds. The former LSU producted collected a ridiculous 62 extra-base hits between high-A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire in 2012, including 22 home runs, and he plays a solid second base. The ceiling isn't vast here despite the numbers but he just produces.

After Lopes and Schimpf, Toronto has a quartet of potential 'sleeper' candidates at second base, each of whom have some long-term question marks that might hold them back from securing a potential starting big league job but each of whom have enough to make a case too. Jon Berti is a plus defender, plus speed guy who will also draw a good number of walks, but his power is below average. Andy Burns, a former shortstop for the University of Arizona, doesn't have the one plus tool to give him a high ceiling but he does everything in solid fashion, including average power potential and average speed.

Justin Atkinson and Jorge Vega-Rosado are two other intriguing 'sleeper' guys for the Jays. Atkinson, a 26th round pick out of high school in Candada, fits into the Andy Burns mold as more solid than spectacular but like Burns he has some great intangibles that allow the tools to play a level higher at times. 'Vega' is an above average runner, a plus defender, and he shows solid hitting ability and some pop, but the power is still below average and that limits his ceiling a bit.

New York has some 'sleeper' prospects of their own at second base, one of whom has Double-A experience. Venezuelan native Jose Pirela, a former shortstop, has been used as a utility player recently and that's because he has had a hard time cracking starting second base duties over the likes of Joseph and Adams. However, he has solid speed, solid power, good plate discipline, and he can hit for average. In fact he was the Eastern League batting average leader for a few weeks in 2012. He is also an outstanding defender at second base.

Jose Rosario, a Dominican native, has a Pirela-like ceiling despite only having experience in the short-season leagues thus far. A right-handed batter too, like Pirela he's a shortstop by trade who is much better defensively at second base and his tools grade out as big league average.

Toronto's Derrick Chung and Daniel Arcia, and New York's Jerison Lopez all project to be more solid organizational types than real long-term potential solutions at second base.

How Do They Compare In...

Power: Even with Schimpf's unlikely power source and the average power potential of Christian Lopes, it's not nearly enough to offset the collective power of Angelo Gumbs, Corban Joseph, David Adams, Anderson Feliz, Rob Refsnyder, and company. Advantage: Yankees

Hitting For Average: Toronto has some decent hitters overall, some of whom could develop into .300 hitters in due time including Christian Lopes, the fact is the Yankees have .300 hitters right now at second base in Joseph, Adams, and Pirela, and have some who could project to be those down the road too. Advantage: Yankees

Defense: Here is where the Jays can make it a race. Schimpf, Lopes, and Burns are all solid, and Berti and Vega-Rosado are excellent. The Yankees have a pair of would-be plus defenders too in Feliz and potentially Gumbs, and Adams and Pirela are at least borderline above average. Advantage: Even

Speed: Long-term is where it counts. Toronto's best speed guys at second base -- Berti and Vega-Rosado -- don't exactly project to be big league starting second basemen whereas New York's top two speed guys -- Feliz and Gumbs -- could be impact starting second basemen. Advantage: Yankees

Overall Potential: New York has just way too much depth here. They have no less than five second base prospects in the long-season leagues with the ceiling of potential big league starting second basemen, and six if you include Pirela too. Toronto on the other hand has two legitimate potential big league starting second basemen and one [Schimpf] is in the long-season leagues right now. Advantage: Yankees

Highest Ceilings: Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Anderson Feliz (Yankees), Corban Joseph (Yankees), Christian Lopes (Blue Jays), Ryan Schimpf (Blue Jays)

Best Power: Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Corban Joseph (Yankees), Ryan Schimpf (Blue Jays), Anderson Feliz (Yankees), David Adams (Yankees)

Best Average: David Adams (Yankees), Corban Joseph (Yankees), Rob Refsnyder (Yankees), Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Anderson Feliz (Yankees)

Best Defense: Anderson Feliz (Yankees), Jon Berti (Blue Jays), Jorge Vega-Rosado (Blue Jays), David Adams (Yankees), Angelo Gumbs (Yankees)

Best Speed: Angelo Gumbs (Yankees), Anderson Feliz (Yankees), Jonathon Berti (Blue Jays), Jorge Vega-Rosado (Blue Jays), Rob Refsnyder (Yankees)

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