MLB Pipeline will reveal its 2023 Top 100 Prospects list at 7 pm ET on Thursday, Jan. 26, with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com. Leading up to the release of the Top 100, we’ll examine baseball’s top 10 prospects at each position.
Second base is one of the least toolsy positions. But as clubs put an increased premium on hitting ability, second basemen are working their way into the Draft’s first round more than ever.
In the last five Drafts, six second basemen have gone in the first round: Michael Busch (2019); Nick Gonzales, Justin Foscue and Nick Yorke (2020); and Termarr Johnson and Jace Jung (2022). That total matches the number of keystone first-rounders from the first 35 Drafts. The 2020 and 2022 Drafts doubled the number of times that multiple second basemen have gone in the same first round.
Not surprisingly, our Top 10 Second Base Prospects list includes all six of those first-rounders — the most we’ve ever featured.
The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Termarr Johnson, Pirates (2025)
2. Michael Busch, Dodgers (2023)
3. Jace Jung, Tigers (2025)
4. Justin Foscue, Rangers (2023)
5. Zack Gelof, Athletics (2023)
6. Connor Norby, Orioles (2023)
7. Edouard Julien, Twins (2023)
8. Nick Gonzales, Pirates (2023)
9. Nick Yorke, Red Sox (2024)
10. Wenceel Perez, Tigers (2023)
Complete list »
Top 10 prospects by position:
HPR | HPL | C | 1B | 2B
1/26: Top 100
Hit: Johnson (70)
Scouts considered Johnson the best high school hitter in years, with one saying he combined Wade Boggs’ plate discipline with Vladimir Guerrero Sr.’s bat-to-ball skills. The fourth overall pick in the 2022 Draft, he has a compact left-handed stroke, outstanding hand-eye coordination and advanced swing decisions.
Power: Johnson, Busch (60)
Johnson isn’t particularly physical at a listed 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds, but his bat speed, strength and ability to barrel balls project to produce more power. Busch has more raw pop and ranked third in the Minors in extra-base hits (70) and total bases (285) and sixth in homers (32) last season while splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A.
Run: Perez (60)
Perez’s plus speed translates more into extra-base hits and advancing on the bases than steals. He ranked fourth in the Minors last year with 10 triples while swiping 18 bags in 23 attempts between High-A and Double-A.
Arm: Perez (55)
While second base isn’t a position associated with arm strength, Perez has a solid arm that allows him to play all over the infield. That could come in handy, because the arrival of 2022 first-rounder Jung could make Perez more of a utilityman for the Tigers in the long run.
Field: Johnson (55)
Though his average arm and quickness dictated a move from shortstop to second base, Johnson has the makings of a solid defender at his new position. His hands and feet work well, and he’s focusing on improving his speed and agility to bolster his range.
Highest ceiling: Johnson
Johnson has the upside to win batting titles while providing 25-30 homers per season and being an asset on defense. That’s the description of a perennial All-Star.
Highest floor: Busch
Busch has lived up to his reputation as one of the best all-around offensive talents in the 2019 college class, batting .274/.365/.516 in his first fully healthy season as a pro in 2022. He should hit for average and power while drawing plenty of walks, and he has worked to transform himself into an adequate defender.
Rookie of the Year nominee: Busch
At least half of our Top 10 should make their big league debuts this season, with Busch having less to prove in the Minors than any of them. That said, he’ll have to find at-bats on a crowded Dodgers roster that also includes talented rookies Miguel Vargas and James Outman.
Highest riser: Julien
Though Julien topped the Minors with 110 walks in his first full pro season in 2021, he didn’t vault into Top 100 Prospects consideration until last season. He batted .300/.441/.490 in Double-A while raking fifth in the Minors in on-base percentage and sixth in walks (98), then hit .400/.563/.686 in the Arizona Fall League and led the developmental circuit in hitting, OBP, OPS (1.249), runs (24) and walks (23).
Humblest beginning: Julien
The only members of our Top 10 who didn’t land seven-figure signing bonuses were Julien and Perez, who were valued as quality prospects but not stellar talents. Julien signed for an over-slot $493,000 as an 18th-round Auburn sophomore-eligible in 2019, while Perez turned pro for $550,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2016.
Most to prove: Yorke
A surprise first-round pick in 2020, Yorke led the Low-A East in hitting (.323) and OPS (.913) in his pro debut the following year but slumped to .232/.303/.365 last season while dealing with injuries and ill-advised adjustments. He did look like his old self in the AFL, where he beat .342/.424/.526.
Keep an eye on: Eguy Rosario, Padres
Signed for $300,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Rosario broke out at the plate six years later and encored by hitting .288/.368/.508 with 22 homers and 21 steals in Triple-A last season. Listed at 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds, he has feel to hit, some deceptive strength and solid speed.