San Diego Padres: 2B Prospects

Apr 17, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres second baseman Cory Spangenberg (15) reacts after striking out to end the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres second baseman Cory Spangenberg (15) reacts after striking out to end the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

With no current clear long term solution at the second base position for the San Diego Padres, we examine the prospects who will help anchor the future middle infield.

While reviewing the shortstop prospects it became obvious that there is a lot of maneuvering in the Padres organization with their infield talent.

Many of the players listed for the shortstop position can also play second or third. Same holds true here for the 2B prospects.

Luis Urias makes his second appearance in this evaluation because the Padres are trying to establish him as both a shortstop and a second baseman. This seems to be a new trend within the organization that is distinctly different than most major league teams. The current thinking is that players who can play more than one position gives the manager more flexibility in his lineup and allows for better match ups with opposing pitchers.

Of course, the down side to this thinking is that there are athletes playing out of their optimal position and that could be a drawback on the defensive front. If these players are talented athletes and get proper instruction for the positions they are being asked to play there can be significant upside to this thinking. The players themselves also have to buy into this process for it to be effective.

San Diego Padres
San Diego Padres /

San Diego Padres

It appears AJ Preller and Andy Green will be using this approach for the foreseeable future as they determine which players fit best into the available positions and which athletes have the flexibility to play multiple spots.

Back to Urias, it seems the Padres recognize their lack of available shortstop talent that is close to the major league level and are searching for stopgaps to allow time for the top prospects in the system (Tatis, Arias) to develop. If Gabriel Arias and/or Allen Cordoba can be serviceable in the near future they can both play other positions that will keep them in the organization when the job goes to one of the better players.

So far this season, in a small sample size, Urias is performing well with a .357/.397/.440 batting line at AA San Antonio while playing mostly shortstop. Although not considered a power hitter, he has clobbered two home runs already this season and has 5 doubles and three triples as well. Felt by many scouts to not have the adequate lateral range to stick at shortstop, it seems this 19 year old feels at home at both positions and is currently tearing up AA pitching.

Related Story: San Diego Padres: Shortstop Prospects

Carlos Asuaje, 25 years old, spent most of 2016 in AAA El Paso and hit .321/.378/.473 across 134 games for the AAA champion Chihuahuas. His seven game call up after the AAA playoffs showed a player with a short stroke and good contact skills who can play both second and third base but whose primary role is to hit. Although his natural position is second base, his value to this team is more likely as a utility player going forward.

Cory Spangenberg, 26 years old, has begun the 2017 season playing third base for the AAA Chihuahuas. Sidelined for all but 14 games in 2016 with a quad injury, Spangenberg needs everyday playing time for his further development.

As Yangervis Solarte and Ryan Schimpf are getting the starts at second and third, respectively, Spangenberg was lined up for only spot starts on the major league team. His current line in hitter friendly El Paso of .382/.433/.491 shows he can still hit and his ability to play both second and third promises that he will be the first call up if either infielder is injured or if Schimpf continues to struggle at the plate. It was surprising when the Padres sent Spangy down at the beginning of the season but the reasoning seems sound and I expect we will see him before very long.

His long term role is cloudy as he will have to play himself into a job with the prospects behind him knocking at the door.

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International signees Eguy Rosario and Reinaldo Ilarraza seem to possess similar value in that both are able to play more than one infield position with Rosario, at 17 years old, playing second and third and Ilarraza, 18 years old, currently playing second but may be a shortstop in the making. Both are rated as plus defenders and have bat to ball skills. It will be worth watching to see how they develop. Both are currently with low single A Fort Wayne.

Two players drafted in the amateur draft, 2015 12th rounder Peter Van Gansen and 2016 23rd rounder Nate Easley don’t possess the upside of the younger players but had solid college careers.

Easley is playing second for the Tri City Dirt Devils, a short season league that is for rookie players and Van Gansen is the utility infielder, playing second, short and third, for Lake Elsinore. Neither is considered a future prospect in the Padres system.

Next: Week #3 Power Rankings Update

Not wanting to put all their eggs in one basket, it would be wise for the Padres to draft and/or sign more middle infield prospects over the next couple of years to keep the lower minor leagues stocked with talent. The outfield prospects far outweigh those that have big upside in the infield at this point in time.

Next will be the third base talent in the system.