Second base was the ying and the yang in Blue Jays' history. Stop gaps aplenty. Take the names Damaso Garcia, who may be more famed for burning his jersey in the locker room, and Roberto - remember the - Alomar (who some believe put a curse on second base when he left town), but there is little else. After that guys like Staggs, McKay, Liriano, Lee, and Garcia litter the landscape. Finally, the Jays have a young, good glove, with potential to stick around. Yet, he, like Jose Cruz Jr. before him, is constantly in every trade rumour, and one day it will come true.
At second base do you look for a power hitter ala Boone and Kent, a speedster like Castillo, a multi-tool player like Young, or just plug it with a player like Vina? The Jays system isn't as bountiful with second basemen. Many say it is easy for a shortstop to just move over, and constantly predict Russ Adams will do just that. Yet a few points of consideration, outside of a handful of games to day in the fall leagues, Adams hasn't played second, and the Jays brass continues to say he is a shortstop. If he was the man of the future, wouldn't they be grooming him?
Many can make the switch, just note guys like Manny Lee. Yet, it takes a special talent. From second base, the throw is different, different arm angles, different foot work, and the ball comes off the bat differently. From second you have more challenges and are generally a lesser athlete. Second basemen usually have a relative weak, but quick arm, whereas shortstops have the good arm, and better feet. That all said, let's look at who, outside of Adams is worth keeping an eye on.
Jorge Sequea is a talented swich hitter, a singles hitter with a tolerable eye at the plate. He doesn't offer power, nor speed (7 SB in 16 attempts last season). The Jays' brass gives conflicting reports as to his future being at short or second this year. However you cut it he should replace Dave Berg gaining splinters next year. Not bad for a guy the Tigers left open in a rule 5 draft.
|Sequea - 2003 Syracuse|
Dominic Rich may sneak up to Syracuse as some project, but to date 622 AA at bats have been less then promising. At 24, time still is on his side, but not much longer. Some question his range, and Rich is a contact hitter, a polite way of saying he isn't very patient. He has a decent eye, and is a good curve ball hitter. Built like a halfback, he is prone to some injury.
|Rich - 2003 New Haven|
William Rivera was a 25th rounder, not much with the stick, not much for speed, not much on size, 6 foot even with 155 pounds. So in turn, there is not much to hope for.
|Rivera - 2003 Charleston|
Carlo Cota is one they can't decide if he plays third or second. Shows some tools as a hitter, and some say he may move up soon. My call is, don't look for much, at 23, and guarenteed A ball for at least one more year, he won't be much to keep track of, shy of a great year.
|Cota - 2003 Auburn|
Jermy Acey is also often listed as Jeremy Acey. Regardless of the name, he is of all the current second basemen, the one to watch. He has good size and good discipline at the plate. A 23rd round pick who could be a steal. Keep an eye on how he fairs this season, and then decide.
|Rich - 2003 New Haven|
Looking for a home:
Howie Clark. Clark is the working man's choice. A journey man minor leaguer, did better in his stint at the Show then he did at Syracuse. Clark can bluff his way at any position, and no doubt will sneak up to the Show again unless he melts down as a utility guy at Syracuse. He and Sequea could be the reserves in 05.
|Clark - 2003 Syracuse|
Syracuse: Joe Lis - A common name for baseball fans, and through 1994 this 30th round pick seemed to be on a fast track. Part of the class that had some potential, Lis, was the second baseman destined to come after the championships. At all his stops he had never hit under .291, usually walked more then he struck out, and was a real down and dirty player JP would have loved. However, Alomar resigned, and he was done after a disappointing 95 at Syracuse.
Knoxville: Chris Stynes - All eyes were also on this kid. In all his stops this 3rd rounder had never hit under .284. Stynes was a gutsy player, whom others teams liked as well. He found his bags packed in a trade for David Cone. Stynes spent last year in Colorado, and still serves as a viable major leaguer.
Dunedin: Santiago Henry - Look up career minor leaguer and you will see his picture. Like Stynes, he was one who bounced around between short and second, but is proof of the above statements, that a switch is not always best. Henry played from 1991-98 in the organization.
Hagerston: Victor Davila - Yet another two position guy, and yet another who never handled it. 4 seasons of A ball and out.s
St Catherines: Carlos Cabrera - The only puzzle piece in my minor league records. In 79 and 80 Carlos Cabrera played for Utica, and then returned in 93 at Gulf Coast. Either Carlos broke in at 6 years old, or I am missing a birth date. Either way, the two shared one thing in common, they never amounted to much.