Second base has some questions coming into the season, but the long term outlook is maybe the most promising on the team.
Chone Figgins- Listing him here is mostly a formality, because it would be a shock if he’s playing second regularly in 2011, at least in Seattle. I would imagine he’ll be the subject of trade talks, and if he’s back, it’ll likely be at third base, so I’ll talk more about him when I get to that post.
In the Minors
Dustin Ackley– Ackley is called many things (Former #2 Overall Pick, Best College Hitter of the Millenium, Future Batting Champion), but one thing we’re not sure about is whether he’ll be Opening Day Second Baseman. I would bet that he’ll be starting by the all-star break, barring injury, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he starts the year in Tacoma for a little more seasoning and for future salary purposes. Ackley is an on-base machine, a lefty with great contact skills and a phenomenal eye. Right now, he’s probably an average-ish defensive second baseman, with room for improvement. I think it’s completely reasonable to expect all-star level performance from Ackley after a few years, and if his power develops, the Chase Utley comparisons aren’t ridiculous.
Kyle Seager- Seager, Ackley’s former college teammate, put together a monster season at High Desert. The offensive profile isn’t drastically different from Ackley, just a little less extreme in all aspects. Thought of before the season as a future utility guy, his big season moved him more toward the potential average regular category, maybe slightly better. Whether the bat could play as well at a different position isn’t as clear, but he’s at least a year or two away and he’s no sure thing, so there’s no rush to define his future.
It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see an offseason addition starting at this spot come opening day. Either way, Ackley is the future here. No prospect is ever a sure thing, but his eye and contact combination is a good one to bet on.