2019: Top 5 Second Base Prospects

Welcome to top prospect month at Pinstriped Prospects.  Throughout this month we will be bringing you the top five prospects at each position, leading up to the release of our top 100 Yankees prospects list.

The middle infield is one of the deepest positions for the Yankees in their minor league system.  Most of them came into the organization as shortstops and due to lack of playing time they moved to second base.  Some have even gone on to move to other positions such as third base and even first base.

Ezequiel Duran in a minor league spring training game at the Yankees Player Development and Scouting Complex in Tampa, Florida. (Robert M. Pimpsner/Pinstriped Prospects)

Ezequiel Duran

Ezequiel Duran was signed by the Yankees as an international free agent on July 2, 2017, for just $10,000 as an 18-year old.

Because he was already 18 at the point, he signed he was allowed to immediately make his professional debut in the DSL with the Dominican Summer League Yankees.

In 61 at-bats over 15 games, he hit .393/.415/.754 with five doubles, four triples, three home runs and 11 runs batted in, while also walking three times.

Duran showcased his incredible power, posting exit velocity numbers over 100 mph.  He also saw time at shortstop and second base in the field.

Duran would come to America for spring training 2018, showcasing the incredible power he had in the Dominican Summer League the year prior.  With that, the Yankees decided to test him and send him to the Pulaski Yankees in his first season in the USA.

With the Pulaski Yankees, he struggled a bit.  He hit just .201/.251/.311 in 68 games at the Rookie-Advanced level.  He hit eight doubles, two triples, and four home runs while driving in 20 runs and walking nine times and stealing seven bases.

Duran possesses plus raw power and posted exit velocity numbers as high as 114 mph at times.  He projects to stay at second base as he moves through the minors as he isn’t that agile and has a slightly below-average arm and is at best an average runner.  He is a bat-first prospect, that will give you passable defense at second.

Diego Castillo (Bryan Green)

Diego Castillo

Diego Castillo was a part of the Yankees big 2014 international free agent spending spree.  He did not get as much fanfare as Dermis Garcia and Wilkerman Garcia who headlined that class.

Castillo made his professional debut in 2015 with the DSL Yankees.  In 56 games, 239 at-bats, he hit .331/.373/.444 with 11 doubles, eight triples, and 40 RBIs while walking 16 times.

He came state-side in 2016 with the Gulf Coast League Yankees, appearing in 44 games.  He hit .267/.332/.327 with seven doubles, a home runs, and eight RBIs over 165 at-bats.

The 2017 season was Castillo’s first full season in the minors, and he spent it with the Charleston RiverDogs.  In the South Atlantic League, he hit .263/.310/.315 in 118 games with 15 doubles, three triples, a home run, and 42 RBIs.

He played 120 games for the Tarpons this season, hitting .260/.307/.324 with 20 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 51 runs batted in.  He also walked 30 times and stole 11 bases for Tampa.

Castillo is an all-around solid player; he doesn’t have one skill that sticks out as he does everything well.  He has shown to be a competent player on both sides of the game, batting and fielding.  He understands he isn’t a power hitter and gets results.  His arm is good and has good agility making him a threat on the bases.

Charleston RiverDogs Oswaldo Cabrera against the Lakewood BlueClaws in Lakewood, NJ on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Photo by Martin Griff)

Oswaldo Cabrera

Oswaldo Cabrera was signed by the Yankees as an International free agent July 2, 2015, out of Guatire, Venezuela.

In his debut season in 2016, Cabrera hit a combined .345/.396/.523 over three different levels in the minor leagues.

Cabrera opened the 2017 season with the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League.  With Charleston, he appeared in 49 games where he hit .208/.267/.280.  He was later re-assigned to the NY-Penn League where he hit .289/.337/.344 in 23 games, with most of his playing time coming at second base.

He returned to the RiverDogs after July 21, hitting e hit .289/.337/.344 in 23 games, with most of his playing time coming at second base.

Cabrera returned to the RiverDogs for his age 19 season.  The infielder appeared in 126 games for Charleston hitting just .229/.273/.320 with 24 doubles, a triple, six home runs, and 48 RBIs.

Cabrera is very natural in the field, showing off good instincts at second and short.  He does not possess any plus tools but has shown he can get the ball without issues.  His arm is average, but that could change as he begins to fill his body.  At the plate, he is a switch hitter that has shown he can be productive from both sides.  He is patient at the plate, and his pitch recognition is advanced for his age.

Hoy Park (Mark LoMoglio)

Hoy Jun Park

Hoy Park was part of the Yankees 2014 international free agent spending spree.  He natural shortstop signed out of Seoul, South Korea.

He went on to make his professional debut in 2015 with the Pulaski Yankees where he hit .239/.351/.383 in 56 games with 11 doubles, three triples, and five home runs.

In 2016 he was promoted to the Charleston RiverDogs where he hit .225/.336/.329 in 116 games.  He hit 15 doubles, 12 triples, and two home runs while driving in 34 runs.

He returned to Charleston to open the 2017 season before being promoted to the Tampa Yankees.  Between both teams, he hit .251/.348/.359 with 12 doubles, six triples, seven home runs, and 39 RBIs.

Park spent the entire 2018 season with the Tampa Tarpons where he hit .258/.387/.349 in 103 games.  He hit nine doubles, two triples, and six home runs.  He drove in 34 runs and walked a career-high 68 times.

Park is a strong fielder, rated above-average defensively.  His speed is above-average which makes him a good threat on the bases.

Trenton Thunder’s Gosuke Katoh during a game against Hartford in Trenton on Tuesday, August 21, 2018. (Photo by Martin Griff)

Gosuke Katoh

The Yankees drafted Gosuke Katoh in the second round of the 2013 draft out of Rancho Bernardo, San Diego.

He made his professional debut with the GCL Yankees that year hitting .310/.402/.522 with 11 doubles, five triples, six home runs, and 25 RBIs.

Katoh spent the 2014 season with the Charleston RiverDogs where he struggled, hitting just .222/.345/.326 with 19 doubles, six triples, three home runs and 37 RBIs.

He returned to Charleston in 2015 and continued to struggle to hit just .161/.264/.202 in 39 games before being demoted to Rookie-level Pulaski.  With the Pulaski Yankees, he had much more success, hitting .287/.426/.416 with nine doubles, a triple and five home runs with 22 RBIs.

Katoh spent the 2016 season back in Charleston where he hit .229/.320/.335 in 65 games.

The Yankees promoted Katoh to Tampa for the 2017 season where he had a breakout season, hitting .293/.376/.440 in 84 games.  He had 20 doubles, three triples, six home runs and drove in a career-high 43 runs.

Katoh got his first taste of Double-A in 2018 with the Trenton thunder where he hit .229/.327/.335 in 118 games.  He hit a career-high 27 doubles while also hitting two triples, five home runs and drove in 35 batters.

Katoh is a patient hitter that possesses plus speed.  He has a below average arm and strong instincts in the field.