There was a stretch of time where third base prospects comprised a fair subset of the elite prospects in the game. Guys like Evan Longoria, David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman were outstanding prospects that have blossomed into very good big leaguers. After a few years where third base seemed to disappear from the greater prospect landscape, the position is back in a big way. The BPN Top 150 rankings featured three outstanding third base prospects in the Top 30 overall, with another seven in the Top 100.
1. Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals
2. Miguel Sano – Minnesota Twins
3. Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
Rendon is a guy that, if healthy, could be among the top handful of prospects in all of baseball at this time next year. He has the natural hitting ability, power and defensive chops to profile exceptionally well at the hot corner. He has a chance to move quickly and he could be a big league star in short order. Sano is going to take a while to get there and he may not be a third baseman by the time he does, but his raw power is at the top of the charts and is enough to make him an elite prospect. Arenado is a very nice player that I think is a little under the radar nationally. There’s not as big a gap between Arenado and Rendon as I think many would believe, but I’ll dive into that more in my next article at Fangraphs.
4. Nick Castellanos – Detroit Tigers
5. Mike Olt – Texas Rangers
6. Jedd Gyorko – San Diego Padres
7. Will Middlebrooks – Boston Red Sox
This next tier of prospects isn’t all that far off from being a level above, and scouts that like each of these guys could make an outstanding case for their inclusion in the upper echelon of this list. That said, each of these players has questions/concerns that must be acknowledged. Castellanos is a pure hitter with an exceptional ability to barrel the ball, but some scouts wonder just how much home run power is going to develop. Olt is a solid all-around player that can pick it at third and hit for power, but questions surround his hitting ability against advanced pitching. Gyorko may be the best hitter in this group but he is not a good defender and his defensive misgivings will need to be overlooked because of the value of his bat. Middlebrooks doesn’t have any glaring holes but he doesn’t have any truly above-average or plus tools. His prospect status rests on the sum of his parts, and that could make him a solid regular.
8. Cheslor Cuthbert – Kansas City Royals
9. Garin Cecchini – Boston Red Sox
10. Dante Bichette, Jr. – New York Yankees
I might dub this tier the “All Projection Tier.” All three players are very early in their development and have a significant gap between their present ability and future potential. Cuthbert has good hitting instincts at a young age, power projection and the raw tools to be a quality defender at third base, but he remains quite raw. Cecchini is a personal favorite based largely on his considerable offensive potential. He can hit with the best of them, but he may not be able to stay at third base and he has shown little in the way of durability. Bichette is the least experienced of the trio, having only debuted in the GCL last summer, but he surprised scouts with a good bat, more present power than expected and a good idea in the field.
Just Missed: Matt Dominguez – Miami Marlins, Zach Cox – St. Louis Cardinals