We are moving into the middle infield as part of our 2023 MLB Draft preview, and today will take a look at the second base position. The Atlanta Braves obviously have an incumbent second baseman locked down for the future in the form of Ozzie Albies. A position historically not valued, only 31 true second baseman have ever been taken in the first round of the draft
Why the Braves could pick a left-handed pitcher early
There isn’t much reason to believe the Braves will go with second baseman early in the draft, though Stanford’s Tommy Troy could be a consideration if he were to drop down to 24. Troy did play some shortstop in the Cape Cod League, but is seen as a second baseman at the professional level and has played there with Stanford this spring. Troy is an all-around solid hitter with average pop who is poised to move quickly through the system. This would make him an unlikely fit for a Braves team not really in need of a second baseman, but nonetheless he would be a valuable pickup in the unlikely event he slid to 24. Outside of that, or the Braves going completely off the map in their first two picks there is not much likelihood of them going second baseman on day one.
Why the Braves won’t pick a left-handed pitcher early
The most likely way the Braves, or any team for that matter, would pick up a second baseman in the first round is by drafting a shortstop who ultimately slides over to second base. There aren’t many top second base prospects in this draft and there rarely are many, with them needing to be exceptional hitters to generate that sort of buzz. Most players athletic enough to play second base will play shortstop as an amateur and get drafted at that position.
Day Two/Three Targets
Cal Fisher - Currently a shortstop for his high school, consensus for Fisher is that he will end up at second base long-term. Still, a team like the Braves would be highly likely to run him out at shortstop when he starts so he maybe doesn’t fit well on this list. His glove work and instincts should make him an above average second baseman, but his ultimate future will depends on his bat. With below average power he will need to get on base a lot to provide value, and his aggressive approach if not refined may limit walk rates despite his having good barrel control.
Roc Riggio - Riggio has had a monster second season at Oklahoma State, hitting 18 home runs and posting a 1.139 OPS. A performance like that mirror’s Riggio’s prep profile, where he was a high draft prospect out of high school but was so strongly committed to Oklahoma State he went undrafted. Riggio’s strong for his 5’9 frame which gives him average power potential and has a good overall offensive game between contact and approach. Riggio may not stick in the dirt as a professional, and his lack of arm strength and speed makes him a huge risk as his next best option would be left field. His bat doesn’t profile well at the position, so to be a value pickup he will have to improve defensively and stick at second base.
Brock Rodden - Rodden has been a standout and an All American for Wichita State, having posted an OPS over 1.000 in back-to-back seasons. Rodden turned down the Athletics in the draft last season and could do so again as he has one year left of eligibility, but as a 23 year old doing so would significantly hamper his leverage next year. Like Riggio, Rodden has good power for his size, though he is hit over power, and he has better speed which gives him a higher defensive ceiling and more versatility on where he can fit as a professional. Rodden has a good tool set for making contact at the next level.
Quinn McDaniel - McDaniel has been incredible for the University of Maine in his career, but has taken that to new heights as a senior with a .513 on base percentage and 1.201 OPS. McDaniel has questions surrounding his ability to stick on the infield, though he has the range to make a play at it in professional ball or move to center field. McDaniel isn’t incredibly strong, but has good enough power where as long as he hits it won’t hamper his development. Think of him as a supercharged version of current Braves utility prospect Cody Milligan, with that ability to grind deep into at bats and cause trouble once he reaches base. McDaniel hasn’t faced good competition in college, and the activity and length of his swing gives scouts pause as to how he will handle velocity at the professional level.