MLB Pipeline will reveal its Top 100 Predictions for 2023 at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, January 26, with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com. Prior to the release of the Top 100 Players, we will examine the top 10 prospective baseball players at each position.
The second base is one of the least tools positions. But as clubs place an increasing premium on hitting ability, the second baseman is making his way to the first round of the draft more often than ever before.
In the last five draft picks, six other starters have gone in the first round: Michael Bosh (2019); Nick Gonzalez, Justin Fusco, and Nick York (2020); and Termar Johnson and Jace Jung (2022). This total matches the number of groundbreaking first innings from the first 35 draft picks. The 2020 and 2022 drafts doubled the number of times multiple second basemen went in the same first inning.
Not surprisingly, our top 10 primary prospects list includes all six of these first-rounders—the most we’ve ever submitted.
Top 10 (ETA)
1. Termar Johnson, Pirates (2025)
2. Michael Bush, Dodgers (2023)
3 – Jess Jung, Tiger (2025)
4. Justin Fusco, Rangers (2023)
5. Zach Geloff, Athletics (2023)
6. Connor Norby, Orioles (2023)
7. Edouard Julien, Twins (2023)
8. Nick Gonzalez, Hackers (2023)
9. Nick York, Red Sox (2024)
10- Vincel Perez, Tigers (2023)
Hit: Johnson (70)
Scouts considered Johnson the best high school hitter in years, with one saying he combined the discipline of Wade Boggs with the hitting skills of Vladimir Guerrero Sr. The fourth overall pick in the 2022 draft, he has a built-in left-handed bunting stroke, great hand-eye coordination and advanced swing decisions.
Strength: Johnson, Bush (60)
Johnson isn’t particularly physical at 5-foot-7, 175 pounds listed, but his bat’s speed, strength, and ability to barrel balls produce extra energy. Busch has more raw pop and ranks 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.
Running: Perez (60)
Perez’s extra speed translates into additional base hits and gets further on the bases than steals. He ranked fourth in the Minors class last year with 10 sacks while passing 18 sacks on 23 attempts between High-A and Double-A.
Arm: Perez (55)
While second base is not a position associated with arm strength, Perez has a solid arm that allows him to play all over the field. This could be beneficial, as Jong’s first arrival in 2022 could make Perez more of a benefit factor for the Tigers in the long run.
Field: Johnson (55)
Although his arm average and speed dictate the transition from shortstop to second base, Johnson has the makings of a solid fullback in his new position. His hands and feet work well, and he’s focused on improving his speed and agility to enhance his range.
Top cap: Johnson
Johnson has the upside of winning batting titles with saving 25-30 homers per season and being a staple on defense. This is the permanent all-star description.
Top floor: Bush
Bosh has lived up to his reputation as one of the best all-around offensive talents in the college class of 2019, hitting .274/.365/.516 in his first fully healthy season as a pro in 2022. He should hit average and power while pulling in plenty of walks , and he has worked to transform himself into a proper defender.
Rookie of the Year: Bush
At least half of our top 10 players should be making their big league starts this season, with less Busch to prove at the Minors than any of them. Having said that, he will have to find batters on a crowded Dodgers roster that also includes talented rookies Miguel Vargas and James Ottman.
Top Rookie: Julian
Although Julian led the Minors with 110 walks in his first full professional season in 2021, he didn’t break into the top 100 prospects until last season. 300/.441/.490 in Double-A while ranking 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. developmental circuit in batting, OBP, OPS (1.249), running (24) and walking (23).
Humble start: Julian
The only members of the top 10 not to have seven-figure signing bonuses are Julian and Perez, who were valued as good prospects but not stellar talents. Julian signed for $493,000 as an 18th-round sophomore at Auburn in 2019, while Perez turned pro for $550,000 from the Dominican Republic in 2016.
More to prove: York
A surprise first-round pick in 2020, York led the Low-A East in hits (.323) and OPS (.913) in his professional debut the following year but fell to .232/.303/.365 last season while dealing with Injuries and imprudent modifications. He looked like his old self in the AFL, batting .342/.424/.526.
Stay tuned: Iggy Rosario, Padres
Signed for $300,000 from the Dominican Republic in 2015, Rosario broke out at the plate after six years and cheered it on by batting .288/.368/.508 with 22 steals and 21 steals at Triple-A last season. Listed at 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds, he feels like hitting, some beguiling power and solid speed.