Here are the potential long-term options for the Rockies' at second base:
LeMahieu was acquired from the Chicago Cubs this off-season in the Ian Stewart trade. He was taken in the second round by the Cubs in the 2009 amateur draft, and has since worked his way up quickly through minor league ball. He has a career line of .317/.353/.399 in the minors over three seasons. He made a brief appearance in the majors last season, but he struggled in the transition. He only hit .250/.263/.283 in 64 plate appearances and struck out 12 times while only walking once. He doesn't have much power in his 6'4" body, but he does play a solid defense and will hit for average. He's only 23 and has plenty of room to grow into his body and talents. He'll see some playing time in the majors this season where he'll have the opportunity to learn from Tulowitzki and Scutaro.
Rutledge was drafted by the Rockies in the third round of the 2010 amateur draft. He's currently a short-stop, but he's expected to make the transition to second base. That's a common trend for short stops in the Rockies' organization due to a man named Tulo. Rutledge has had a very impressive minor league career so far, posting a .331/.399/.487 line playing Low-A and High-A ball. He's only 22, so he has time to grow through the farm system and not be expected to produce right away. He's said to have some speed, a solid approach at the plate, and doubles power. He sounds like the perfect number two hitter in the order. It's still early to tell if he will be a formidable big league player, but so far he's proven that he's worth the look. He'll get the opportunity to work his way up to AA and AAA this upcoming season.
Story is an interesting option for the Rockies. He's another young short stop at the age of 19, but he's already tinkered with the idea of making a position change because of the Tulowitzki roadblock. He had a solid first year in professional baseball hitting .268/.364/.436 for the Rockies' minor league affiliate, the Casper Ghosts. He's a young player with a huge amount of upside. He has a very strong arm to go with his stellar defense and he looks to have a solid approach at the plate. He's currently 6'1" and 175 pounds, but at 19, that means he's going to fill out even more. Story played a few games at third base last season, but I have a feeling that there will be another road block in the form of Nolan Arenado at the hot corner. Story is young enough to make a position change, so why not switch him to second base and see if he can battle his way through the system and into the big leagues?
Eric Young Jr.
Out of Eric Young Jr., Jonathan Herrera, Chris Nelson, and Jordan Pacheco, I feel like Eric Young Jr. has the best opportunity to be the everyday second baseman. EY2 has had the opportunity to take over the second base job for the past three seasons, but he's botched the opportunities. He had a great season in Tiple-A last season with a .363/.454/.552 line in 275 plate appearances with 17 stolen bases, but his big league production floundered. He only hit .247/.342/.298 over 229 plate appearances with the Rockies in 2011. He did make for a great pinch-runner for the Rockies last season, swiping 27 bases in 31 attempts. His defense is below average at second base, but he has seen his On-Base Percentage increase substantially each season in the big leagues. At the age of 26, he needs to prove to the Rockies' organization that he's an everyday player. He's an exciting player with a great work ethic, but he needs it to all come together in 2012, or else these younger kids will be taking his backup job.
I left a few players off the list such as Jonathan Herrera, Chris Nelson, and Jordan Pacheco because of various reasons. I left Herrera off of the list because of his age and his lack of success in the big leagues. He's a fun player to watch and he sometimes is the "spark plug", but I don't think he's the future at second base for the Rockies. Nelson didn't find his way on this list because he's another younger player that can't seem to transition to the big leagues. I believe he's better off as the utility infielder because of his versatility. I left Pacheco off of the list because he really isn't a second baseman. He's being forced into the position because of the lack of options at the position. He's a solid young hitter, but I think he'd be a liability defensively at second base. Pacheco only played 11 games at second base before playing second base on the Rockies in 2011. Pacheco is another strong utility option because of his abilities to play catcher and third base.
Hopefully the Rockies can find a long awaited answer at second base, but until then, bring on the veterans!
Who do you think will be the Rockies' future second baseman? Is he in the system, or is there an option elsewhere that can be delivered through a trade?