Chase Utley – 35 – MLB
Cesar Hernandez – 23 – AAA (18)
Albert Cartwright – 26 – AA
Carlos Alonso – 26 – AA
Angelo Mora – 21 – A+
Samuel Dove – 23 – A-
Andrew Pullin – 20 – A- (29)
Jair Morelos – 20 – SS
Positional Overview: True second base prospects are a rare breed, because they must be able to play a physically demanding position and hit enough to be major league regulars. Unless they can fake shortstop their floors are off of major league rosters, and so it means they are undervalued until they can show that major league ceiling. The Phillies have been blessed with one of the best second basemen of the past 10 years in Chase Utley. Utley is now into the decline phase of his career and the search for a suitable replacement is on the horizon. The system really only has two guys in that discussion; Cesar Hernandez is near major league ready, but there are plenty of questions about whether the bat can play as a major league regular, and further away is Andrew Pullin who is still getting used to playing the position.
Future of the Position: I wanted to make a case for Roman Quinn shifting over here, but I am going with Andrew Pullin. I think Pullin is going to hit, and hit with enough authority to keep pitchers honest. It isn’t big power, but he is going to punish it to the gaps and spray line drives around the field. There were some questions about Pullin’s speed when he was drafted, but he has been showing plus speed the past two years in the Phillies organization. He is still really raw in the field, but there is enough athleticism to make it work. He will likely move slowly for the next few years while he gains feel for the position, but he could explode when he puts it all together.
The Reading Pair: This year Reading looks like it will feature both Albert Cartwright and Carlos Alonso. Of the pair it looks like Alonso should get most of the reps. Cartwright at one point was a promising prospect that had a bit of a breakout in the high-offense environment of Lancaster in the 2010 season, but an Achilles injury later he has yet to recapture the feel for contact. Alonso on the other hand has more feel for contact, and has good defense to go with it. Unfortunately Alonso is also 26 years old and doesn’t have enough power to make pitchers respect his approach at higher levels (nor the speed to take advantage of his OBP). It’s doubtful either make the majors, but they are solid org options at a shallow position.
The Cesar Conundrum: Cesar Hernandez will likely exhaust his eligibility with a week or two of his next call up and so fall off of many of these lists and discussions, much like Freddy Galvis, so now is the time to talk about his future. As a second base only player, Cesar is probably more second division regular as a ceiling. The problem is that many teams don’t have a need for that type of player. Ultimately his bat profiles more in a utility role, the problem is can he play any other positions. If he can fake SS and 3B, along with all three OF positions, then he becomes a very interesting bench player who can provide contact and speed. Otherwise Cesar may be destined to pass through the waiver wire for all eternity.