MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2023 Top 100 Prospects list at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, January 26, with an hour-long show on MLB Network and MLB.com. Before the Top 100 is released, we’ll take a look at baseball’s top 10 prospects at every position.
Second base is one of the least equipped positions. But as clubs place greater emphasis on hitting ability, second basemen are squeezing their way into the first round of the draft more than ever.
In the last five drafts, six second basemen have gone to the first round: Michael Busch (2019); Nick Gonzales, Justin Foscue and Nick Yorke (2020); and Termarr Johnson and Jace Jung (2022). This total corresponds to the number of key first rounds of the first 35 drafts. The 2020 and 2022 drafts doubled the number of times multiple second basemen went to the same first round.
Unsurprisingly, our list of the top 10 second base prospects includes the top six candidates – 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: 100 best
Hit: Johnson (70)
Scouts had considered Johnson the best hitter in high school for years, with one saying he combined the plate discipline of Wade Boggs with the batting skills of Vladimir Guerrero Sr. Fourth overall pick in of the 2022 draft, he has a compact left-handed shot, exceptional hand-eye coordination and advanced swing decisions.
Power: Johnson, Busch (60)
Johnson isn’t particularly physical at 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds, but his batting speed, strength and ability to throw balls project to produce more power. Busch has more raw pop and ranked third among the minors in added 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 to extra-base hitting and on-base progression than steals. He ranked fourth in the minors last year with 10 triples while slipping 18 sacks on 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 strong arm that allows him to play anywhere in the infield. That could come in handy, as the arrival of first-round Jung in 2022 could make Perez a more utilitarian for the Tigers in the long run.
Estate: Johnson (55)
Although his medium arm and quickness dictated a move from shortstop to second base, Johnson has the makings of a solid defenseman in his new position. His hands and feet work well, and he’s focused on improving his speed and agility to bolster his reach.
Highest ceiling: Johnson
Johnson has the advantage of winning batting titles while providing 25-30 home runs per season and being an asset on defense. That’s the description of a perennial All-Star.
Top floor: Busch
Busch lived up to his reputation as one of the top all-around offensive talents in the 2019 college class, batting .274/.365/.516 in his healthy first season as a pro in 2022. He should hit for medium and power while shooting plenty of walks, and he’s worked to turn himself into an adequate defender.
Rookie of the Year: Busch
At least half of our Top 10 are set to make their league debut this season, with Busch having less to prove in the Minors than any of them. That said, he’ll have to find batsmen on a crowded Dodgers roster that also includes talented rookies Miguel Vargas and James Outman.
The highest elevator: Julien
Although Julien led the minors with 110 walks in his first full pro season in 2021, he only made the top 100 prospect last season. He beat .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 League. fall from Arizona and led the development circuit in hitting, OBP, OPS (1.249), runs (24) and walks (23).
Humble beginning: Julien
The only members of our Top 10 who didn’t pick up seven-figure signing bonuses were Julien and Perez, who were seen as quality prospects but not stellar talent. Julien signed for a $493,000 overslot as an eligible sophomore at Auburn in the 18th round in 2019, while Perez turned pro for $550,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2016.
Most to prove: Yorke
Surprise 2020 first-round pick, Yorke led the Low-A East in hitting (.323) and OPS (.913) in his pro debut the following year, but fell to .232/.303/.365 last season while dealing with injuries and ill-advised adjustments. He looked like his old self in the AFL, where he beat .342/.424/.526.
Watch: Eguy Rosario, Padres
Signed for $300,000 from the Dominican Republic in 2015, Rosario broke out at the plate six years later and hit again hitting .288/.368/.508 with 22 homers and 21 interceptions in Triple-A last season. Listed at 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds, he has a knocking feel, deceptive strength and solid speed.