It’s funny how much third baseman are like eggplants. Why am I drawing this off the wall parallel? No reason, other than I didn’t know how to open, and the first thing I saw was an eggplant. Yes, a real eggplant not a eggplant emoji, or item represented by said emoji. Here we are on a Sunday, not talking about the minor league happenings of the last week, but heading full steam ahead into the our off-season prospect coverage. Crazy to think we’re two seasons into my tenure here at Razzball as the resident Prospector In Chief. Memories, tears, and promise rings. Today we dive into the chilly waters of the hot corner. Not the most exciting group I’ll profile over the next few weeks, but not every position is as stacked as outfield. Ya dig? That’s not to say there aren’t a collection of future fantasy stars, as well as fantasy relevant talents outside the top 5. The top three names of Guerrero, Senzel, and McMahon should be familiar to all, as they’re some of the top talents presently in the minors. Unlike outfield and shortstop, there’s a particular profile associated with 3rd. It’s a power position, and one expected to produce some of the top middle of the order bats. The top 5 is filled with those, but the next 5 is where things get interesting. As always, remember my personal preference weighs heavy on this ranks (these ranks are my personal preference after all…), and the ability to stick at the position long term is taken with a grain of salt. I’m looking for the best bats with 3Bs on the back of their minor league baseball cards.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B Blue Jays | 2017 Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: .323/.425/.485 13 HR, 76 RBI, 8 SB
Unquestionably one of the top 5 prospects in all of baseball, Vlad Jr.’s hype is about to reach mania type levels over the next 6 months. At just 18 the spawn of Vlad started flashing very real game power over the last few months. Advanced approach, even more power to come, and the bloodlines, Vlad Jr. looks like a middle of the order masher for years to come. The only real negative is the questions surrounding Guerrero’s future position. Will he stick at 3rd or settle in across the diamond at first? Some foresee a future in a corner outfield spot, time will tell.
2. Nick Senzel, 3B Reds | 2017 Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .321/.391/.514 14 HR, 65 RBI, 14 SB
While Senzel’s ceiling is far lower than Vlad Jr’s his floor is as high as anyone. The former 2nd overall pick is as ready made for an everyday role in the majors as any prospect. He’s shown the ability to hit for average, get on base, and provide moderate power, that might play up in Great American Ballpark. My expectations for production are very similar to that of Alex Bregman. Very good across the board player, but his greatest strengths lie within his hit tool. He was shut down for the remainder of the season with a bout of vertigo. I could see how that might limit ones ability to hit a baseball. Cust Kayin.
3. Ryan McMahon, 3B Rockies | 2017 Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .355/.403/.583 20 HR, 88 RBI, 11 SB
The Rockies find themselves in the envious position of having one of the top 3rd baseman in all of baseball in Nolan Arenado, and one of the top 3rd base prospects in Ryan McMahon. The latter rebounded heavily this year from a disastrous 2016 campaign. With a .374 batting average in AAA, it’s easy to make the case that McMahon had the best statistical year in the minors this season. He showed improved approach slashing his strikeout by 10%, while tapping into more power. There’s zero chance he sticks at 3rd in the Rockies organization, and he was used at first and second base at points during the season. There’s an outside shot that McMahon is the starting first baseman for the Rockies as early as April of 2018, making him a pre-season darling in the making. Here’s another example of a player being ranked at a position he more than likely won’t log much time at.
4. Michael Chavis, 3B Red Sox | 2017 Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .282/.347/.563 31 HR, 94 RBI, 2 SB
After a string of disappointing power years for the 2014 1st rounder Chavis tapped into his game power and slugged 31 homers between high A Salem and AA Portland. He dropped his strikeout rate into the low 20’s while maintaining an acceptable walk rate. His power is evident upon contact, but his approach, and inability to hit lefties will always limit his batting average. Making him more of a Paul DeJong type with split issues. Though it should be noted his approach isn’t quite as hyper-aggressive as DeJong’s. With Rafael Devers at third, and news of Chavis playing some first in the Arizona Fall League it’s very likely he too moves off the position.
5. Colton Welker, 3B Rockies | 2017 Level: A | 2017 Stats: .350/.401/.500 6 HR, 33 RBI, 5 SB
Ranking 67th on my Mid-season top 100 list, a groin injury caused him to miss 2 and half months of the season. Effectively stealing the second half of Welker’s 2017. A rare mix of contact and power make Welker yet another potential elite bat in Colorado’s system. He’s still just 19 and there’s a chance he could move off the position, but his upside is as high as anyone on this list not named Guerrero.
6. Miguel Andujar, 3B Yankees | 2017 Level: AAA | .315/.352/.498 16 HR, 82 RBI, 5 SB
Controlled violence is the best way to describe Andujar’s swing. Witnessing his batting practice exploits first hand, massive raw power and bat speed are very present. Unfortunately he doesn’t always tap into his raw power in games due to a rather flat, maybe even downward slopping bat path. He’s continued to limit strikeouts and hit for a high amount of contact at every level. And there’s reason to believe he could make the right adjustments to draw more from his raw power in games. Should be up in the Bronx within the next few weeks, with an outside shot of breaking camp as the starter, that’s if he’s not dealt over the offseason. Should stick at third long term, and develop into an above average fielder at peak.
7. Nolan Jones, 3B Indians | 2017 Level: A | .317/.430/.482 4 HR, 33 RBI, 1 SB
The second rounder out of Philly Area Holy Ghost Prep, is starting to make good on some of his prospect hype heading into the 2016 draft. This season has been a true breakout showing an improved approach, and more game power than he flashed in his pro debut. Jones combines contact, plate discipline, projectable power, and the ability to stick at the hot corner.
8. Brian Anderson, 3B Marlins | 2017 Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .275/.361/.492 22 HR, 81 RBI, 1 SB
After two and half years of moderate power and production, Anderson tapped into his raw power in 2017, riding it to a late season callup. I see the Marlins top hitting prospect as a high floor player that could produce solid fantasy seasons in deeper leagues of 16 teams plus. Long term I’d expect a line of .270, 20 HR, 75 RBI at peak, with maybe a little more batting average upside than power. Should be a factor in Miami in 2018.
9. Jake Burger, 3B White Sox | 2017 Level: A | 2017 Stats: .263/.336/.412 5 HR, 29 RBI, 0 SB
The 11th overall pick in the draft had a storied college career, surpassing the 20 home run mark in consecutive seasons at Missouri State. His mix of plate approach, contact, and power made him one of the very top hitters in this year’s class. There are some concerns that he’ll face similar issues to 2016 Pirates first rounder Will Craig, who is yet to hit for power with wood bats. I’m a little more cautious on Burger than others, because if the power ain’t there, then Burger don’t play.
10. Austin Riley, 3B Braves | 2017 Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .275/.339/.446 20 HR, 74 RBI, 2 SB
Riley has bounced on and off of my top 100 lists, ranking 174th most recently on my Top 200. I’m not sure if Riley is a Razzball reader because there was a fire under his booty in the second half. Upon promotion to AA Mississippi in mid-July the former 1st round supplemental pick hit .315/.389/.511 with 8 homers in just 48 games. Riley has reached the 20 homer mark in each of first two full professional seasons, and the Braves seem focused on keeping him at 3rd. He showed improved plate discipline from 2016, cutting down his strikeout rate from A ball, while walking at a near 10% clip in AA. Riley is still probably a year away, but looks like he could be a decent source of power.
11. Ryan Vilade, 3B Rockies | 2017 Level: RK | 2017 Stats: .308/.438/.496 5 HR, 21 RBI, 5 SB
Here’s my surprise of the list, but I’m enamored with Vilade’s mix of power, contact, approach, and athleticism. Technically Vilade is a shortstop (I know Miketron I’m contradicting my shortstop post already), but he’s expected to move off the position, and his bat looks like it will play anywhere. Already showing the ability to make hard contact, best exemplified by his elite 26% LD%, Vilade has power to all fields. The whispers are the 2017 second rounder could see a full season assignment out of camp next year, making Vilade one of the more unheralded talents of the current draft class. Plus not sure if you realize this, but the Rockies do a great job of plucking talent at 3rd.
12. Sheldon Neuse, 3B Athletics | 2017 Level: AA | .321/.382/.502 16 HR, 79 RBI, 14 SB
The prospect community as a whole is very split on what Neuse projects out to be. He strikes out a lot, has only hit for middling power, and despite great numbers at the A ball levels was a little old for the competition at 22. On the other hand, it’s hard to ignore the production, and third base isn’t exactly the deepest position in the minors.
Others Considered: Lucas Erceg, Christian Arroyo, Dermis Garcia, Jeimer Candelario, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Bobby Dalbec, J.D. Davis, Joe Rizzo, Jake Gatewood, Renato Nunez, Mark Vientos
Follow me on Twitter @ProspectJesus and Tune in Tuesday’s @ 9PM (EST) to my Live Baseball Show on Fantrax YouTube. (and join the Crab Army in the chat)
If JP Crawford is indeed the Phillies 3B of the future, where would he rank?
Why is Bobby Dalbec tagged in this article? Someone just straight up dropped him in our dynasty league. Is he total garbage now?
When do we see Vlad in the Majors?
How about Bichette?
Any chance we see them next season?
wondering about Tatis, Jr. I know he’s a SS now, but he’s a big kid (6’3″, 190) who will continue to grow. The Padres have a few more SS in their system (Urias?). What are the odds that the Padres move Tatis, Jr to 3B? If so, he’s probably #2 or #3 on this list?
Excellent stuff again. I am liking the 3B prospects, have both Senzel and McMahon (thanks to you) in my dynasty. K Seager is my everyday 3B and I have Ryon Healy rost red too. I guess I can move on from Matt Chapman as per post 1 (12 team league).
Would you call Bader up if it meant throwing Kepler and Odd Herrera back ?
Am in a couple of play-off games in H2H. Pretty tight matchups. Probably should have won them, but started a new job on Monday so took my eye off the ball a little (good job I haven’t played in a cash league yet).
Hit top spot in my Roto league this week, but slipped back to 2nd (0.5 pts behind). Weird league – have dominated batting, but pitching is a car crash and I am suffering from whiplash.
Hope things are good with you.
Best wishes and thanks for reading the latest essay from across the pond,
with expanded rosters does Nelson go on the DL
If he doesnt then he just takes a roster spot
You think he is worth $6 next year in a keeper league.
if not i dump him for E-Rod or some other SP I can find
The King of the North! You are our Prospector King of the North now and should be addressed by us in each of your posts. If not they will be subjected to death by hanging. Well on 2nd thoughts maybe not…love your work though.
Where would you rank these strugglers in your prospect ranks, if you kept ranking players until they exceeded their eligability: D FIsher, F Baretto, F Martes. I’ve been underwhelmed by all 3, and trying to decide when is the point to move on from them in keepers and onto the next hottest sexy prospect. They make up 3 of my 10 prospects in my 12 teamer, I can’t see starting the clock on either of them for next year so it will only be 2019 they become relevant on my team.
H2H playoffs week 2!!!!! Please help!
Do I play Duvall with 6 games who has been cold
Pickup Mitch Haniger who has 7 games and has been hot?
@Shivdaddy: I’d take Haniger in Texas and Houston with an extra game
Rockies have a lot of talent offensively. Who do you see them moving in the offseason. Who will be the three starting outfielders for the Rockies next season
@Marti: Blackmon, Parra, Dahl, and Tapia with Desmond in the mix. I’m not sure we see a set 3. Really depends whether or not they move Desmond to 1B
Thx Ralph, great lists!! Good podcast on SS yesterday, love Tatis!! Can you expand a bit on Kieboom and his upside? Also, are you still real high on Shed Long ?
@Alan: Yeah Tatis had another big night last night.
Kieboom is solid but not spectacular, he has some pop and hitting ability. I’m not enamored but he’s solid.
Yeah the approach is till there I’m willing to give him a pass on his AA production.
@Ralph Lifshitz: thx!! Tatis a good couple games. Would love to see him get another 2-3 weeks down there before the season ended.
@Alan: There isn’t 2-3 weeks left though. At best a week.
10-my H2H cat keeper (keep 12) balanced stats, we get 3 moves per week max, but I only have 5 moves left all year.
I’ve got 2 guys that need to come off the DL (Wood and Richards) so I need to drop 2 to bring them on (even tho Richards might be the second drop). I Assume my drops are Richards and Betances? If so, and Paxton is back next week, whose my third drop? It’s a good problem to have but a problem nonetheless
SP – Carrasco
SP – Cole
SP – Verlander
RP – Chapman
RP – Holland
P – Diaz
P – Davis
BN – Betances
BN – Tanaka
BN – Nelson
BN – Bauer
BN – Quintana
DL – Richards
DL – A Wood
DL – Paxton
Thanks in advance bud
@Marv: Update: dropped Betances and Nelson (sad face), should I try out Richards double start or maybe just the second? Also, who’s then the drop for Paxton? Richards I assume? Basically, out of the list above (minus Betances and Nelson), who would you say are my worst 3, in order) this way if I need to stream a putching spot in a week I know who u can’t be flexible with
@Marv: Richards is the drop when Paxton is back.
I know this isn’t the right place to ask,but i have to cut one between Manaea and G.Richards before tomorrow and i can’t wait your top100. Who could be better for the last 3 starts(and for my winning hopes :D)?
Thanks a lot
@Ciwa: My 2 cents, it would be Richards because of the arm problems.
@Ciwa: I’d go Manaea, but I’m not too confident in either. I have no idea if Richards can go 6 innings.
Where would Matt Chapman have been in the list if he didn’t graduate this year?
@Tony: I’d have him 6.