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Charting the organization - Second Base

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First Base

I believe that second base is right with catcher as the strongest position in the organization, and when you take into account the fact that an all-star resides there at the major league level, I think you can argue that it is the strongest, at least at the upper levels. Though the surplus talent doesn't provide quite the caliber of trade bait that the backstops do, the Rangers could easily have three major league caliber second basemen waiting around behind Kinsler within a year.

Depth Chart:
Texas (MLB) - Ian Kinsler, Joaquin Arias
Oklahoma (AAA) - German Duran, Ryan Roberts, Drew Meyer
Frisco (AA) - Jose Vallejo
Bakersfield (A+) - Renny Osuna
Clinton (A) - Matt Lawson
Spokane (A-) - Kyle Higgins
AZL (RK) - Alejandro Selen

Top 2B prospects:
1. Jose Vallejo - much more powerful than some (I) realized going into the year
2. Marcus Lemon - reportedly figures to slide over, doesn't possess on-base issues that the other middle infield prospects do
3. German Duran - still right with Vallejo and Lemon but not an inspiring year, could still potentially lose prospect status with 29 September ABs
4. Renny Osuna - out of nowhere guy in the tradition of Kinsler and Duran
5. Drew Meyer?

Top 2B prospects in baseball (loosely ordered):
This is an extremely difficult position to project, because so many second basemen come from other positions. Just a best guess: Gordon Beckham (SS) CWS, Adrian Cardenas (SS) OAK, Carlos Triunfel (SS) SEA, Sean Rodriguez (SS) LAA, Jason Donald (SS) PHI, Chris Coghlan FLA, Jemile Weeks OAK, Ivan DeJesus (SS) LAD, Nick Noonan SF, Luke Hughes (3B) MIN

Top 2B organizations:
1. Philadelphia - Chase Utley, Jason Donald
2. Texas - Ian Kinsler, German Duran, Joaquin Arias, Jose Vallejo, Marcus Lemon
3. Boston - Dustin Pedroia, Jed Lowrie
4. LA Angels - Howie Kendrick, Sean Rodriguez, Macier Izturis
5. Oakland - Mark Ellis, Adrian Cardenas, Eric Patterson, Jemile Weeks

Where the Rangers fit:
Right at the top. Kinsler is one of the elite second basemen in the game, and the Rangers have minor league quality possibly only surpassed by Oakland. Some of these guys will go into the trade bait bin, but middle of the diamond depth is a great thing to have if you can maintain it. For one thing, it's a nice way to save a few million dollars in salary.

2009 outlook:
At the major league level, the only intrigue involves how the team decides to back up Kinsler. Assuming that he isn't the starting shortstop, Arias looks like a prime candidate to back up the middle infield, as he will need to be kept on the major league roster and appears very capable of making contact offensively. If Arias is on the roster, German Duran will have to continue to show defensive versatility and more offensive readiness to win a spot. 

If Duran cannot win a major league spot, we may see everyone return to the level at which they finished the (minor league) year. A decision on Lemon's ultimate position might be delayed indefinitely, considering the nature of the opening on the big league club. If he can develop enough as a shortstop, he could be an ideal third middle infielder, with a skill set that features an ability to get on base.

As strong as the organization is at the upper levels, there is currently little high profile talent to speak of below Osuna. It should be noted that Duran and Vallejo were not much more than afterthoughts until they reached Bakersfield, but a position switch from someone like Matthew West might be the most viable way to add another talent to the position.